We all know we are living through a very strange, unnerving time at the moment. To stay healthy, keep from overwhelming our healthcare system, and to do our part to “flatten the curve,” we all need to stay home. I’ll say it one more time: STAY HOME. Ok, I’m done lecturing.
For those of us who have a hard time sitting still, it is definitely a challenge. We should take this time to slow down and appreciate that we have roofs over our heads. We should enjoy our homes and the belongings we fill them with. We can catch up on reading, drawing, cleaning, organizing, gardening, exercising, cooking, sleeping, and watching all those shows and movies we added to our watchlists that we haven’t had time previously to view.
Easier said than done when you can’t stay still, long for human interaction, and the adventure bug is constantly nipping at your heels. Luckily, the world is working together to quell the urge to travel further than the grocery store. Museums, libraries, adventure parks, national parks, art and academic institutions around the globe are making their collections, performances, landscapes, and resources available online and for free. Below is a collection of some of the MANY places you can visit virtually from the comfort and safety of your couch.
Paris Opera will be putting its most beautiful shows from its archives online free of charge. From Don Giovanni to Swan Lake, there are many great classics to see or rediscover from home.
Metropolitan Opera is offering free nightly live streams to keep opera lovers around the world connected.
BroadwayHD, a streaming service for theater fans is bringing Broadway performances to people’s living rooms. It is offering a seven-day free trial which means you can binge watch performances from Broadway, the West End, and other venues around the world. There are ballets, plays, and other performances available too.
Vancouver Symphony The Vancouver Symphony live streamed its final performance from their BeethovenFest, and it’s available for your viewing — and listening — pleasure any time.
Zoos and Aquariums
Monterey Bay Aquarium Go “Under the Sea” at one of California’s largest aquariums! Their 10 live cams bring you to glowing moon jellies, bright fish gathering at a coral reef, and sharks swimming through kelp canopies. Bonus: the soft instrumental music playing in the background of the Open Sea Cam is extremely calming.
Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta The largest aquarium in the United States offers eight webcams including a look at their jellies, penguins, and sea otters.
US National Parks
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska This virtual tour lets you explore glaciers, fjords, and icebergs located in the Alaskan wilderness.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park This virtual tour lets you explore the Nahuku Lava Tube and enjoy the stunning view from the volcanic coastal cliffs, “fly” over an active volcano, and see the effects of an eruption from 1959.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico On this virtual tour, you can take a walk through the fascinating caverns, view incredible rock formations, and even see thousands of bats who live in the cave system. You can even “experience” life as a bat thanks to this park’s impressive simulation.
Bryce Canon National Park, Utah The beautiful, red and orange hoodoos of this desert park are on full display. This virtual tour centered on Sunset Point lets you enjoy the star-filled night sky, get up close with the park’s unique rock formations, and even take a horseback ride through the canyon.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida Thanks to this virtual tour, you no longer have to book a seaplane or boat to get there (it lays 70 miles west of Key West). Visit the Civil War-era Fort Jefferson, swim through the third largest coral reef in the world, and even take an exploratory dive into a shipwreck from 1907.
Museums & Cultural Sites
Musée D’Orsay, Paris You can virtually walk through this popular gallery that houses dozens of famous works from French artists who worked and lived between 1848 and 1914. Get a peek at artworks from Monet, Cézanne, and Gauguin, among others.
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam Anyone who is a fan of this tragic, ingenious painter can see his works up close (or, almost up close) by virtually visiting this museum – the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and over 750 personal letters.
Uffizi Gallery, Florence This less well-known gallery houses the art collection of one of Florence, Italy’s most famous families, the de’Medicis. The building was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 specifically for Cosimo I de’Medici, but anyone can wander its halls from anywhere in the world.
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul One of Korea’s popular museums can be accessed from anywhere around the world. Google’s virtual tour takes you through six floors of Contemporary art from Korea and all over the globe.
British Museum, London This iconic museum allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies. You can also find hundreds of artifacts on the museum’s virtual tour.
American Museum of Natural History, New York You can still enjoy the museum’s exhibits and online offerings, from materials for families and teachers to virtual tours, videos, games, and more.
Palace of Versailles, France Explore one of France’s national treasures and all of the Baroque art, architecture and finery within. Go outside of the palace interior for an early birds-eye-view of the grounds, to get your bearings.
The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City There are a lot of museum collections to explore on the Vatican’s virtual site. But first, go straight to zooming in on all of the detail on the Sistine Chapel.
By Hannah F
Senior Art Director