With social distancing in place worldwide thanks to the COVID-19 virus, being stuck at home might drive you and your family a bit stir-crazy after a few days. Thanks to virtual reality, self-isolation doesn't mean you can't explore the world's top museums, zoos and theaters. Many institutions are offering free access to their facilities online through virtual tours and streaming services. So if you’re still longing for adventure, travel the world from your couch until it’s safe to venture out again.
• Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York City contains almost 200,000 works of modern and contemporary art. More than 84,000 works are currently available online.
• The Louvre
The Louvre Museum in Paris, France, is the world’s largest art museum. Virtual tours include Egyptian Antiquities, Remains of the Louvre’s Moat and the Galarie d’Apollon. Visitors can also explore artworks featured in a Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s music video, as well as touring the various collections of the museum.
• The Museum of the American Revolution
Experience the museum’s immersive galleries featuring 360-degree, high-resolution images. Explore the museum’s nearly two-story replica of America’s first Liberty Tree; mingle among men and women from the Oneida Indian Nation as they discuss whether to support the British or Revolutionaries; navigate aboard a large-scale replica of an 18th-century privateer ship to discover the war at sea, and more.
The Guggenheim is offering VR access to its entire contemporary arts collection through a partnership with Google Arts & Culture. Using the Street View feature, visitors can tour the museum’s iconic architecture, sprawling design and any of its galleries.
• Van Gogh Museum
The largest Van Gogh collection in the world — 600 artworks and 700 letters — is housed in the Amsterdam museum and can be viewed via a virtual guided tour. View the inside of the museum along with insights into the Dutch postimpressionist artist’s life through paintings including “Sunflowers” and “The Yellow House.”
National Parks and World Monuments
• Yellowstone National Park
National parks are known for their dazzling views and historical landmarks, and Yellowstone holds some of the nation’s most iconic ones. The virtual tour takes visitors through its canyons, hot springs and geysers, the most famous being Old Faithful.
• The Great Wall of China
China’s most famous attraction offers virtual tours of some of the most visited sections of the wall, 3,000 miles of which are walkable.
• Yosemite National Park
Visit some of Yosemite’s iconic landmarks, including the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, the top of the Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.
• Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
This virtual tour lets you explore the Nahuku Lava Tube, a cave formed by flowing lava, which can drain lava from a volcano during an eruption.
• The Statue of Liberty
Whether you want to relive a previous visit to the Statue of Liberty, or you've never been to the park and want to get an idea of what it's like, a virtual tour is the way to go.
Zoos and Aquariums
• Tennessee Aquarium
The Tennessee Aquarium is currently closed to visitors, but anyone wanting to check in on some of its most energetic, charismatic residents can virtually drop in on them at any time — no invitation required — via the aquarium's collection of live webcam streams.
• Zoo Knoxville
Zoo Knoxville is also currently closed to in-person visitors, but zookeepers and staff are “Bringing the Zoo to You!” via their Facebook page. Explore exhibits and learn about the animals in videos posted each weekday.
• San Diego Zoo
Even though the zoo’s iconic pandas are no longer in the United States, the San Diego Zoo has set up live streams of its habitats for anyone to view the koalas, baboons and penguins that call the zoo home.
• Zoo Atlanta
Roly-poly pandas and their antics are a perennial animal-lover favorite. The zoo website has a panda page with a live camera, information on a panda keeper’s job and regular panda news updates.
• Monterey Bay Aquarium
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Monterey, CA, the aquarium offers 10 live-streaming cameras from both inside the facility and in the nearby ocean waters.
Learning and Entertainment
•Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts
The Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts will begin live streaming performances and offering an expanded lineup of digital learning activities and workshops, which are all available for free online.
•The Metropolitan Opera
The Metropolitan Opera announced that it would stream encore presentations from the award-winning Live in HD series of cinema transmissions on the company website for the duration of their closure. All “Nightly Met Opera Streams” will begin at 6:30 p.m. CDT and will remain available via the homepage of metopera.org for 20 hours.
•Living Room Concerts
Broadway World has partnered with some incredible singers to launch a series of daily Living Room Concerts — performances direct to you from the living rooms of Broadway performers.
Authors are grabbing their favorite books and phone and are recording themselves reading. Search the hashtag #OperationStoryTime on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to find a beloved author or discover a new one!