Virtual Trips
By: Posted On: 2020-07-23

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Image by FunkyFocus from Pixabay

We thought that since many people still had to stay inside, or at least not be able to go on that summer vacation that the family would typically take…that we would investigate some virtual tours and places to see and visit from inside your home. Many museums and other vacation spots all over the world are enabling folks to try to find new things to see and do by offering free virtual performances, exhibitions, videos, and exclusive performances for people to take in from their homes. You can (with the help of your computer) go for a stroll through Main Street in Disney World's Magic Kingdom, view art from impressive names like Van Gogh, Picasso, and da Vinchi, or take it easy by considering the sunset looking over the sand dunes of Lake Michigan — all while not leaving your home. These are some ways to be pleased by an afternoon at the museum, the zoo, or your favorite National Park without getting up off of your sofa.


Go and see what is displayed at the web site of Google Arts & Culture.   They have a collection that incorporates the Van Gogh Museum, in Amsterdam, the British Museum in London, and lots more places where you can get smarter about art, history, and science. This collection is especially suitable for students who are looking for ways to stay on top of their studies while schools are closed. There are around 30ish virtual tours of national parks around the US, giving people a chance to imagine themselves walking around many beautiful landscapes all over this nation. Tours made available include looks at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Grand CanyonJoshua Tree National Park, and lots of others.


Disney Theatrical Productions made its interactive art class known as "The Lion King" Experience free for families and kids looking for a learning experience. The program, according to Playbill, includes 11 online sessions for students aged 8 to 11, and an 18-part curriculum for ages 12 to 15. The theatrical learning time includes videos and instructional materials that learners can follow along with at home.


Next, if you visit The Art Institute, you’ll find that it has made several learning tools accessible online, such as audio tours and coloring activities. If you visit the art museum, you’ll find that the museum also has many of its collections available to view online. Several famous paintings are available for you to click on, including A-Sunday-on-la-grande-Jatte-1884, which some folks may remember from the movie Ferris Buehlers' day off.


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Image by 鹏 赵 from Pixabay

Another idea is using Google Earth to take a tour of a city block, any city you want, anywhere from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Malmo. These virtual trips to unique places are perfect for those who love wandering around but can’t or don’t want to leave the house. 


Also, for those people who might have started looking forward to summer vacation and maybe thinking about what's usually a big travel season... Go again (or for the first time) to virtual tours of major attractions around the world. You can visit the Colosseum, the Pyramids of GizaMachu Picchu, and Christ the Redeemer. Also available is the chance to take a virtual hike on the Great Wall of China, through The China Guide.

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Image by Erik Tanghe from Pixabay


How about for those of us who would like to see what is happening in Times Square, live time? Does it seem like it would be a cool thing to view a picturesque vantage of Paris during the workday? This isn't exactly a trip, but around the clock, live feeds are relatively standard for urban centers of the world, just like a live vantage of Paris from the top of a hotel. You can watch the Eiffel Tower the same as it exists in real-time. Check out views over Time Square any time with this live feed or watch ships pass through the Panama Canal with this one.


Zooming in to the state level, a handful of efforts have developed virtual tours of some of America’s most picturesque landscapes. Begin with the Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma's virtual field trip – you have to see for yourself just how calming these views can be. Sit by your favorite computer and let your eyes take in the mountains, the valleys, and the buffalo wandering around in Yellowstone National Park. For a Google-free trip, the National Parks Service has a very cool trip to Yellowstone National Park: the park has nine webcams scattered around, one of which has a Livestream feed.





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Image by WikiImages from Pixabay


Perhaps you would like to escape earth’s gravity and journey into space, if so, then now is a pretty good time to think beyond planet Earth.  NASA is a leader in getting us into space and in visualization. You can be amazed by the trip on your computer, but if you want to experience the journey in its best way, use a smartphone and grab Google Expeditions for a really excellent trip to NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center.  You can also check out a tour of the Hubble Space Telescope's mission operation center.


Lastly, we thought some people might be interested in Virtual dives.  They are a cool and refreshing idea. Because of the work of the National Marine Sanctuaries, you can visit the ocean deep of the Florida Keys, the American Samoas, and Monterey Bay. There are also real-time adventures that you can see, check-in with the New England Aquarium to view real-time happenings of the marine life they can provide you with.


We hope that these virtual tourist ideas will help fuel your own adventures this summer. Perhaps you’ve already taken a trip virtually? If so, would you be kind enough to share your experience with others in the space below?


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