Sooo, we’ve been at this stay-at-home thing for about four million days now, and I’m guessing that the natives are getting restless (or have been restless since day one). In an effort to ease the restlessness and offer a change of scenery, here are five wonder-filled travel destinations for you and the kids to visit without ever leaving home.
1. The Zoo! Since we’ve been home, we’ve visited the penguins at the Kansas City Zoo (Live!), checked in with the birds at the Nashville Zoo, and watched this baby polar bear at the Columbus Zoo learn to swim. A quick search for live zoo cams or subscribing to the YouTube channels for different zoos will give you an endless variety of destinations and adorable animals to help you “oooh” and “awww” the day away—and maybe learn a little about animals too!
2. Museums! Did you know that the Louvre was originally a fortress built by King Philippe Auguste? I didn’t—until I visited its virtual tour! You can walk around the original moat and see the piers that once supported the drawbridge, along with viewing its Egyptian Antiquities, the gorgeous ornate ceiling of the Galerie d’Apollon, and even a VR experience of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” And that, my friends, is just one museum. You can also visit the Guggenheim’s online collection, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art’s super-cool 360˚tour, just to name a tiny few.
3. The Theatre (and Other Live Performances)! Why not take this opportunity to travel across the pond and watch a Shakespearean performance in its original location? That’s right, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre is offering videos of complete performances right now and right on the very stage where Shakespeare first performed them. In fact, there are so many artists and authors and performers offering free performances right now. Natalie Grant and Brad Paisley, for instance, are performing from their Instagram channels on the regular. Andrea Bocelli broke records on YouTube with his live, stunning Easter performance from the Duomo cathedral in Milan, Italy, and you can still view it here. Whatever performance you’d like to see, just check in with your favorite artists on social media or YouTube and see what they’re doing from right there in their own homes and around the world.
4. Anywhere on Earth! Seriously. With the help of Google Earth, you can virtually travel to anywhere on earth. Fly over the Grand Canyon. Look up at the Eiffel Tower. Roam the thousand hills of Rwanda. Just head over to Google Earth and click “Launch Earth.” Once it’s loaded, you can go anywhere by clicking on the globe or entering a place in the search on the left. The menu on the left is full of other fun things to do too. Click on Voyager (the ship wheel) to read the ABCs from space, to explore poetry or cherry blossoms around the world, to go on an underwater dive, and so much more. For education-focused activities, click on Resources > Google Earth Education. And as your kids are learning and talking about different places around the world, you can always use Google Earth to enrich that experience by taking them there to see it for themselves.
5. Out of This World! Not even the sky’s the limit when planning your from-home excursion itinerary. Thanks to our buddies over at NASA, we can float around in the International Space Station or even explore the surfaces of planets beyond our own solar system. Pour rocket fuel on your little astronaut’s imagination by giving her a personal tour of these out-of-this-world destinations!
I know, I know, virtual tours are not exactly the same as visiting in person. But why not check off some of those places that we’d probably never visit unless it is virtually? Or better yet, take the time now to explore those places that you’re dreaming of, next year’s vacation, or that place you’re going to the very second we’re able to travel safely.
And as an added bonus, just for you parents out there dreaming of a sandy shore, swaying palm trees, and a never-ending surf here’s a live beach webcam from Maui.