From zoos to museums to world wonders (and even outer space!), these virtual trips let you explore the world from your couch.
With the kids home from school and no place to go, it can begin to feel isolating quickly as we traverse these uncertain times. Zoos, museums and aquariums have all closed their doors for the time being, but many are offering free online tours and animal cams. Feeling the cabin fever setting in? Don’t worry – we’ve rounded up the ultimate list of virtual field trips you can take without leaving the house.
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo has an entire site for kids with live cams, animal facts, activities and games. Check out favorites like the polar bear cam and the baboon cam for an experience that almost feels like being there.
Every weekday at 11 a.m. CST, tune into the Houston Zoo’s Facebook page for behind-the-scenes livestreams of daily zoo life, including zookeepers bathing elephants, taking a cheetah on a walk or feeding giraffes.
Similarly, the Cincinnati Zoo has begun hosting Home Safari Facebook Live events daily at 3 p.m. EST. The zoo highlights one animal a day and includes a related activity that you can do at home. Viewers can even ask questions about each animal in the comments during the live event.
Atlanta Zoo Panda Cam
There’s nothing more cheerful than a couple of pandas noshing on bamboo or soaking up some sun in real-time. Below the livestream, guests can learn more about giant pandas and even see what it’s like to be a keeper for a day.
You can soak up some culture while wearing your pajamas and take an online tour of several exhibits at this iconic Paris museum. The tour even takes you to the Louvre’s basement, where you can explore the ancient remains of the Louvre’s original moat. Be sure to check out the Egyptian Antiquities virtual tour and get up close and personal with the Great Sphinx of Tanis.
Boston Children’s Museum
Powered by Google Maps, this virtual field trip is pretty close to the real deal. Virtual visitors can “stepâ€ through the museum’s three levels and even walk through the queue, but you won’t find any lines here. They have also provided resources to play and learn at home while you can’t venture out to the museum.
The British Museum
This engaging and interactive tour is super cool. Check out hundreds of artifacts that can be searched by era, category or region of the world. Round clay tablets from schoolchildren in ancient Mesopotamia, a crocodile-skin suit of armor from ancient Egypt or even the Rosetta Stone are just a few of the treasures you can check out from home.
This virtual tour is perfect for those interested in European history or for those who just want to pretend they’re strolling around Florence for a bit. This world-famous gallery is known for its stunning Renaissance pieces like “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli and “Medusa” by Caravaggio. Besides the fascinating step-by-step Google Arts & Culture gallery tour, there are four online exhibits you can choose from, and you can zoom in on high-quality photos of the art for optimal detail viewing.
Great Wall of China
Trek across 3,000 miles of the Great Wall of China without even having to stop to catch your breath with this virtual tour. You can explore some of the more famous sections of the wall, such as Badaling and Jiankou in Beijing, but you don’t have to push past huge tourist groups for the best views!
Virtually venture to Easter Island, one of the most remote islands in the world and check out the moai – the mysterious giant statues that the island is known for. It’s easy to get lost in researching all about the approximately 900 moai and 300 ahu (or the ceremonial platforms) that can be found along the island’s coast.
Surface of Mars
Explore the surface of Mars in the ultimate form of social distancing. While the team at NASA is currently updating the site, you can still take a peek at 360-mode and get a feel for what the Curiosity rover sees every day.
Expedition 33 Commander Suni Williams floats through the International Space Station and gives those of us stuck on Earth a tour of the laboratories, observation deck, the crew’s sleep quarters and more. It’s fascinating to see our planet down below from the observation deck and to find out what life is really like on the station.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Choose from 10 live cams ranging from hypnotic jellyfish to playful penguins at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. There’s even a cam set up to view Monterey Bay itself and home viewers can spot various birds and sea mammals that call the Bay home.
Piranhas, puffins and beluga whales are among some of the animals that can be seen via the aquarium’s live cams. Explore the Indo-Pacific Barrier Reef exhibit and try to spot each fish and coral listed below the live cam.
National Aquarium in Baltimore
Not only does the National Aquarium in Baltimore have live animal cams (the blacktip shark cam is extra cool), but you can do a walkthrough tour of the aquarium as well to really feel like you’re there. The National Aquarium even provides at-home activities to add extra learning and interactivity to your tour.
The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma
Escape the confines of your home and take a virtual field trip through Oklahoma’s vast wilderness by clicking through several 360-degree views of the Conservancy’s various preserves. You can also click on features of the landscapes to learn more about the unique prairie ecosystem.
You won’t need scuba gear to feel like you’re underwater with these stunning high-res 360-degree views of national marine sanctuaries like the Florida Keys, Monterey Bay and the Olympic Coast. You can even pair your device with a virtual reality headset for the ultimate immersive experience.
Virtual Farm Tour
Explore 11 different Canadian farms and food processing facilities. Learn how to milk a cow, go behind the scenes at a sheep farm and meet some of the livestock guardian dogs, or visit an apple orchard.
Google Arts & Culture National Parks
Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, home-bound explorers can visit hidden worlds in national parks – Hawaii Volcanoes, Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and more. Put on a pair of headphones and be prepared to be seriously wowed by the world around you.
Yellowstone National Park
Experience the main attractions of Yellowstone National Park from the comfort of your favorite chair. Feast your eyes on famous sights such as the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs and Mud Volcano. Scientists have also created 3-D models of some of the landscapes and geysers that are not to be missed.