In our home bound state, many of us are finding lots of productive things to do. From homeschool’ing young kids to catching up on those to-do list items that keep falling to the bottom of the list to cleaning house, we’re busy. For travel bugs, though, there’s a thirst for adventure, a disappointment in canceled trips, and an unknown of how long this will last. So much is going virtual, and I’ve been overwhelmed with the number and quality of opportunities to connect.
What if I told you that you could visit London; stream free Broadway musicals; plan a field trip every day to farms, aquariums, and historic sites; explore caves in Vietnam; and more, all from the comfort of your own home? You’re in luck…This list of experiences that doesn’t require a passport caught my eye. Enjoy, and add a comment to this post if any of your “visits” are particularly fun!
Thanks to Maureen Paap of The Art of Hospitality for sharing this AMAZING list of free virtual tours around the world.
British Museum, London
A popular site in London for some of the best galleries and exhibits, the so-called “Museum of the World” offers a very interactive and easy-to-navigate virtual experience. It’s divided up by sections of the world, offering a very similar experience that an in-person visit would. Take the virtual tour
Guggenheim Museum, New York
No matter where you are, the stunning architecture of the Guggenheim Museum is something to be admired. This virtual tour allows you to literally walk through the museum as you would on Google Maps street view, admiring both the art work on the walls and the art work in the architecture. Take the virtual tour
The Louvre, Paris
It was a sad moment when we all saw the Louvre close its doors recently. But with the museum’s online tours, you can see the best of the Louvre, from Egyptian antiquities to the Galerie d’Apollon. Take the virtual tour
The Metropolitan Opera, New York
Feel cultured (even when wearing sweatpants!) by spending a night at the Metropolitan Opera. Performances will stream live each night. Each performance will become available at 7:30PM EDT in case you can’t make the live performance. Go to the virtual opera
Stream Broadway Musicals
Bring the excitement of a Broadway musical in your home. Even better, there are 7 day free trials for you to test out the service, but $8.99 a month is a steal when we’re talking Broadway prices! Stream Broadway musicals
The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
The Van Gogh Museum features 2 stories/online exhibits that provide context to the paintings and how they relate to Van Gogh throughout his life. Take the virtual tour
Art Institute of Chicago
Have your very own Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (at home!) at the Art Institute of Chicago. Through Google Map’s street view technology, you can walk through the museum and get close to the paintings – just don’t touch the artwork! Take the virtual tour
This virtual tour let’s you get up close and personal with the artwork – and close enough to read the information placards. Take your time on this tour, without worrying about spending too much time in front of one piece.
Pergamon Museum, Berlin
Berlin’s art scene is renowned around the world, so a virtual stop by this museum is a must do. Although you cannot physically walk to the other museums located on the infamous Museum Island, you can virtually tour them, such as the Bode Museum.Take the virtual tour →
Vatican Museums, Vatican City
These virtual tours of the Vatican Museums offer a 360 degree view of top favorites like the Sistine el and Raphael’s Rooms. Even better, you didn’t have to wait in those impossibly long lines!Take the virtual tour
Although it is now closed, the Berliner Philharmoniker has now made it’s Digital Concert Hall free for everyone using voucher code BERLINPHIL. Just redeem that code by March 31! Attend the virtual Philharmoniker
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
This museum, made famous by a notorious heist in 1990, is more than just a building with some paintings in it. The architecture alone is a piece of art, and the curated collection of pieces is one to be admired world-wide. Take the virtual tour
Virtual Field Trips Farm Edition
Learning about animals is just about every kid’s favorite thing. Their fascination with two- and four-legged creatures is unmatched. No wonder so many schools incorporate a trip to a farm or petting zoo into elementary school. So, why not visit a farm virtually?
- Farm Fresh 360
Farm Fresh 360 lets kids immerse themselves in life on a Canadian farm through a variety of tours. In the process, kids will learn about everything from producing milk and cheese to raising pigs.
- Virtual Egg Farm Field Trips
Another fantastic option is the American Egg Board website, which features Virtual Egg Farm Field Trips. Tours explore the challenges facing the farms that produce the nation’s egg supply. They cover how farmers manage their ecological footprints to operate more sustainably.
Aquarium Virtual Field Trip Options
Are your kids fans of marine life? Then, take them on a virtual tour of one of the nation’s many impressive aquariums.
- Seattle Aquarium
One of our favorite options is the Seattle Aquarium’s 30-minute video tour, which teaches kids about Puget Sound’s food web and the marine wildlife found there.
- The National Aquarium in Washington, D.C.
If you’re after a more traditional aquarium experience, then check out the self-guided virtual tours available through the National Aquarium in Washington, D.C.
- Georgia Aquarium
Kids also have a wide variety of options when it comes to scoping out the behavior of marine animals on live streaming webcams. Among our favorites? The Georgia Aquarium’s Ocean Voyager webcam offers fascinating glimpses below the surface of the water, including a whale shark!
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
There’s also the “jellycam” at Monterey Bay Aquarium. It’s sure to pique your children’s interest in learning more about the oceans.
Virtual Field Trips Zoo Edition
Like aquariums, you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to observing wildlife at zoos. Many across the nation have live webcams in some of their most popular exhibits.
- Smithsonian National Zoo
For example, Smithsonian National Zoo’s Panda Cam will delight kids interested in knowing more about these gentle mammals.
- San Diego Zoo and Safari Park
The San Diego Zoo also maintains a variety of live camera feeds highlighting different exhibits. Among our favorites? The Giraffe Cam lets you view giraffes, rhinos, and more at the Safari Park’s African Plains habitat. There are also endless antics on the Penguin Cam.
Biomes Virtual Field Trip Options
Are your kids ready to explore biomes all over the planet in search of biodiversity? From the vast coral reefs of Palau to the deserts and grasslands of Africa and the mind boggling biodiversity of Peru’s coastal ecosystems, there are fantastic virtual options.
- The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy has created 11 excellent virtual field trips that will change how your kids view the natural world. Each field trip lasts approximately 45 minutes.
- Great Lakes Now
If you’re looking for an exploration of ecosystems a little closer to home, check out the virtual field trip from Great Lakes Now. This tour explores three topics in brief five-minute-long videos: coastal wetlands, algae, and lake sturgeon.
- The US Geological Survey
For kids interested in geology and volcanoes, there’s also the US Geological Survey’s interactive volcano map. It allows kids to click on and learn about any volcano located in the US.
Science and Discovery Virtual Field Trips
Bring science to life for your kids through websites offering virtual tours. From learning about the future of technology to exploring the surface of Mars, you’ll find plenty of options to captivate children of all ages. Let the discovery begin!
- Discovery Education
Discovery Education offers a variety of fun virtual events that’ll fascinate your kids and open their minds to new experiences. For example, there’s Tech for Tomorrow, which explores four exhibits at The Tech Interactive. Another timely virtual field trip is How Science Powers Us, providing a behind-the-scenes look at pharmaceutical labs at AstraZeneca to explore how scientists are working to create medical breakthroughs.
- Stellarium Web
Stellarium Web lets kids take astronomy virtual field tripswhere they get to explore more than 60,000 stars and try their hand at locating planets. They’ll also enjoy the opportunity to watch eclipses and sunrises. What’s more, when you enter your location, your kids will see constellations visible in your area’s night sky.
- Access Mars
What’s one of the best things about virtual field trips? The chance to explore places where no human has ever set foot. Such is the case with the virtual field trip to Mars by Access Mars. It allows your children to explore the real surface of Mars based on images recorded by Nasa’s Curiosity rover.
Social Studies Virtual Field Trips
From the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Smithsonian and the Louvre, your kids can experience renowned institutions across the nation and around the world through virtual tours.
- Google Arts and Culture
There are a variety of resources for exploring museums such as Google Arts and Culture. A collaboration with more than 1,200 leading museums and archives, this app represents an amazing storehouse of monumental artwork. Choices include Street View virtual tours and Art Zoom guided tours. You can also explore many institutions through individual links.
- Boston Children’s Museum
The Boston Children’s Museum’s virtual tours let kids explore all three floors with exhibits ranging from the Japanese House to Explore-a-Saurus.
- The Metropolitan Museum
New York’s iconic Metropolitan Museum virtual tourshowcases 26 online galleries. Exhibits include the Art of Music Through Time and a New Look at Vermeer.
- The Smithsonian
The Smithsonian’s virtual experiences allow you to take self-guided tours room-by-room through past, permanent, and current exhibits. For the ultimate fossil virtual field trip, have your kids check out the Hall of Fossils and the Fossil Lab.
- The Louvre
The Louvre in Paris also offers many virtual exhibit tours, including its Egyptian Antiquities collection and the remains of the Louvre’s moat, built in 1190 AD to protect Paris from Viking attacks via the Seine River.
Explore American History
With these online field trip options, your kids will step back in time, learning firsthand about American history and the people and ideas that shaped our nation.
- Virtual Field Trip of the Mayflower and Plimoth Plantation
The Scholastic virtual Mayflower trip allows kids to learn more about the Mayflower’s journey to the New World and the colonists aboard. Through four 20- to 30-minute-long videos, they’ll explore daily life in a pilgrim village, the lifeways of the indigenous Wampanoag tribe, and preparations for the first Thanksgiving.
- Virtual Field Trips: Underground Railroad
On this trip along the Underground Railroad, children will travel back in time to the year 1860. They’ll witness a young slave’s flight from a Kentucky plantation to freedom in Canada following the Underground Railroad. In the process, they’ll learn more about the lives of slaves, the dangers of the Underground Railroad, and the brave abolitionists who helped runaways achieve freedom.
- Gettysburg Battlefield Virtual Tour
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is home to one of the most scenic and historic Civil War sites in the country. This 360-degree Gettysburg virtual field trip lets kids follow in the footsteps of soldiers, exploring famous places such as Little Round Top and Cemetery Ridge.
- Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
Let your kids go on an Ellis Island virtual field trip to explore the former immigration inspection station in New York Harbor, home to the Statue of Liberty. America’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 to 1954, the station processed approximately 12 million immigrants.
- The Statue of Liberty
Besides a field trip to Ellis Island, your kids will also enjoy this virtual field trip Statue of Liberty option. They’ll learn more about the statue, dedicated on October 28, 1886 and its role as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.
- Mount Rushmore Virtual Field Trip
Amidst South Dakota’s rugged Black Hills sits one of the nation’s most iconic monuments, Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Showcasing four of America’s most prominent presidents—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt—this virtual exploration lets kids view the monument from multiple angles.
Uncover Iconic Destinations Around the World
Your kids can explore some of the world’s most incredible landscapes and monuments from the comfort of your living room through virtual field trips, too.
- Son Doong Cave
National Geographic has created an interactive map that lets you explore the world’s largest cave, Son Doong Cave in Vietnam. The map immerses you in the full experience of the cave, so make sure your computer’s sound is on.
- Easter Island
Your kids can also explore the secrets of Easter Island through Nova’s virtual tour, which provides the inside scoop on the island’s impressive megaliths.
- The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China represents a series of fortifications built across the historical northern borders of China beginning in the 7th century BC. For a closer look at the ancient site, check out this virtual tour with three viewing options: the watchtower, winter, and Jinshanling to Simatai.
- Machu Picchu
There’s also an incredible Machu Picchu virtual field trip. Quite possibly, one of the most amazing urban creations of the Inca Empire, kids will explore its giant walls, ramps, and terraces cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. They’ll also enjoy breathtaking views.
- Egypt Virtual Field Trip
The Discovering Egypt website lets kids dive into an exploration of Ancient Egypt. Kids will explore hieroglyphs, pyramids and temples, kings and queens, gods and mummies, and much more.
Editor’s Note: Thank you Maureen for this incredible and comprehensive list! MomTini friends, let me know in the comments section if you have found any adventures beyond this list? Or did you visit any of these gems and want to share something about your experience?