Are you stuck at home? Whether you’re dealing with a travel ban or coping with self-quarantine, sitting around and staring at the walls can be incredibly draining on you both physically and mentally. As a human being, you naturally crave stimulation from new information and want to explore your world as much as possible.
Well, technology is coming to the rescue once more. Virtual tours have become increasingly popular in 2020, especially as more promoters, organizers and institutions step up to the plate and add new offerings.
Without further ado, here are some of the must-see virtual tours you can take:
1. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo
If you love fur-babies of all sizes, head over to the webcams being run by the National Zoo. While the zoo may be closed, the zookeepers are still on the ground making sure that the animals are carefully maintained. Check out the Cheetah Cub Cam, the Giant Panda Cam or the Elephant Cam, among others. If you have kids, the zoo’s website also provides some fun interactive activities you can use to help your kids learn more about the animals they’re seeing.
2. The National Museum of the United States Air Force
Located in Dayton, Ohio, the National Museum of the United States Air Force is the oldest and biggest military aviation museum in existence. You can take a virtual tour that will let you see examples of aircraft from the dawn of aviation forward. It’s hard to take in the scope of how greatly things have changed until you compare some of the first airplanes to make it off the ground to the sleek, solid models in use today.
3. The Grand Canyon
Does hiking the trails through the Grand Canyon seem like an impossible dream? It doesn’t have to be. Through the magic of Google’s Street View Trekker, you can virtually wander your way through the canyon along Bright Angel Trail and take in all the sites. You can even get close-up views of notable locations, like Angels Window. While it may not be exactly the same as being there, it does offer angles and views that you probably couldn’t get on foot.
4. The Louvre
You don’t have to go to Paris to see the Mona Lisa. The legendary Louvre is currently closed to in-person visitors, but it has expanded on its gallery of virtual tours. Part viewing spectacle and part educational, you can look at exhibitions that are tied into ancient myths and examine the interchange between art and political power — all without leaving your room.
5. Disney World
The Magic Kingdom may have shut its gates for a while, but that doesn’t mean the magic isn’t still flowing. Disney is making it easy for you to bring all of the excitement and adventure of visiting their theme park into your home. Take the kids on a virtual theme park ride or wind your way through the streets of Disney World via their 360-degree panorama tour.
6. Google Arts Project
Art is meant to be dynamic and provocative — and street art is doubly so. The Google Arts Project: Street Art showcases some of the most remarkable works of graffiti from all around the world. Graffiti is among the most organic kinds of artistic expression, so it often defies the conventional aesthetic. If you love graffiti art, this tour is for you. You can view the art and learn about the artists and their motivations all at the same time.
7. The Georgia Aquarium
There’s something incredibly soothing about watching aquatic creatures play — and the Georgia Aquarium has plenty of offerings for your viewing pleasure. Like the zoos, the aquarium has found its cameras where the wildlife is most active: Watch the beluga whales swim, the sea otters play and the penguins do what penguins always do. There’s a whole variety of sea life out there just waiting for explorers like you.
8. The Winchester Mystery House
Built by Sarah Winchester in the 1880s, this allegedly haunted house is filled with twisted staircases that lead to nowhere, rooms that have no doors and passageways that appear out of nowhere. You can take a guided, 360-tour that may actually be better than seeing the house in person. You won’t have to walk anywhere and there’s no chance of actually running into a ghost!
9. Shukkeien Garden
Maybe you just want a reminder that spring is here, summer is coming and the world will continue healing. What better place to go than a four-hundred-year-old garden? The Shukkeien Garden in Hiroshima is — for the first time ever — allowing virtual tours of the grounds. The immersive experience may have you feeling like you’re right next to the koi pond or sitting under the cherry blossoms.
10. The White House
“The People’s House” isn’t exactly open to the public right now — except in spirit. To make up for the closure, the White House is offering virtual tours that will let you look into the library, ceremonial rooms and other notable spots. You can also take in all the artwork and listen to the historical facts as you’re guided along.
The need for social distancing and self-isolation won’t last forever. Taking a few of these tours now may whet your appetite for more adventures down the line (when you can get out in person). At the very least, they can help you keep your spirits lifted and stay engaged while you’re doing your best to stay safe.