Now that school (such as it was) is out for many of us, we’re finding ourselves staring at the long days of summer while still at home with no playdates, and with many of our favorite summer activities—pools, theme parks, amusement parks, zoos, aquariums, museums, and even playgrounds—still closed. What’s a family to do? How about taking virtual tours of some amazing locations! I’ve put together a list of some fun places to check out.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: This was one of my family’s favorite museums to visit when we lived in Northern Virginia. If the virtual tour is anything like a real-life visit, make sure you’re comfortable because there is so much to see that it’s hard to get through in just one day!
National Aquarium: Another of my family’s favorite places to visit in real life, Baltimore’s National Aquarium’s virtual tour lets you walk through most of the exhibits at the aquarium (the Jellies!) to view and learn more about the aquarium’s specimens.
Disney Parks: A couple years ago, Disney Parks launched 360o street views via Google. You can check out a variety of Disney locations and attractions listed at the link above by searching them at Google Maps.
Legoland (Florida): Take a virtual tour of Legoland in Florida, courtesy of Visit Orlando. It’s just like being there—minus the crowds, which is really pretty cool.
Bronx Zoo: You may not be able to wander the paths, but the Bronx Zoo offers a wide variety of Live Cams so you can enjoy watching animals like African Wild Dogs, Sea Lions, or the birds in the Aquatic Bird House from afar.
Smithsonian’s National Zoo: This zoo says its webcams are “some of the most famous on the internet,” and given that one of them is focused on giant pandas and one of them cheetah cubs, it’s easy to see why. Although the cameras are not currently run by live operators, it’s worth tuning in.
The Louvre: Travel restrictions aside, this museum is one that’s more bucket-list than budget-friendly, so a virtual tour is especially awesome. Right now, there are seven galleries open for virtual touring—including one featuring Darth Vader—so there really is something for every interest.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The whole museum is amazing, but they’ve gone and curated a special online collection just for kids: #metkids. The Time Machine tab allows kids to explore art by time period, geography, or big ideas (theme).
Yellowstone National Park: Is your family more of the outdoorsy type? (Or are you like my parents and you’re bummed because you had to cancel a national parks trip due to COVID-19?) Take a virtual tour of the sights at Yellowstone National Park. There’s a livestream featuring Old Faithful, too.
Where is your family going to “go”? If you’ve found an awesome virtual tour, tell us about it in the comments!