The current lockdowns due to the outbreak of COVID-19 have put a damper on plans for those of us bitten by the travel bug and even those just looking to get away for a weekend. However, all is not lost. Some museums, zoos, and aquariums have turned to the internet to help us while away the hours in quarantine. While we may not be able to travel in person, virtual opportunities abound. Here’s a look at some of those virtual travel options.
For arts and culture, you need to look no further than Google Arts & Culture. Here you can have limited access to the collections of over 2,500 museums worldwide. Opportunities include art, history, and science museums, along with parks, libraries, and homes of literary or historical importance around the world.
If street art is more your thing, with Google’s Art Project Street Art, you can go on a virtual walking tour focused on street art found all over the world.
While zoos are closed during the quarantine, zookeepers and staff are still there to care for the animals, and many of them offer live online experiences daily. You can check out the Atlanta Zoo’s Panda Cam, or the Houston Zoo’s live cam offering views of several different animals. The San Diego Zoo also provides live cam options that allow you to switch between tigers, polar bears, and even koalas. The Cincinnati Zoo hosts a daily Home Safari at 3 p.m. on its Facebook Live Feed, but you can catch past episodes right on their website or on their YouTube Channel as well.
Another fantastic option from Google Arts & Culture, in collaboration with National Park Service, is the ability to tour several national parks, including Carlsbad Caverns, the Kenai Fjords in Alaska, and Bryce Canyon.
On a more local level, some state conservation efforts have created their own virtual tours. For example, the Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma offers a virtual field trip filled with blue skies, wildflowers, and red clay formations that you won’t find anywhere else.
Much like the zoos, many aquariums are offering live streams of their exhibits, too. The Georgia Aquarium’s live cam offers views of African penguins and Beluga Whales. The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago also uses its Facebook page to share behind-the-scenes footage of their caretakers and residents. The National Aquarium in Baltimore provides a floor-by-floor tour, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium offers live streams of many of their aquatic residents.
Landmarks such as Times Square, the Eiffel Tower, and the Panama Canal provide live cams that stream panoramic views. While these might not be tours, you’ll still be able to visit these iconic landmarks from the comfort of your own home. The National Mall in D.C. even offers a Bloom Cam with a view of the cherry blossoms in spring.
This post only provides a smattering of the numerous adventures available online these days. So while you may not actually be able to get out of the house right now, there’s still plenty of traveling you can do right from your living room.