Explore the World from your Couch

Here we all are, stuck in our homes. Sure, there’s cleaning to be done, purging of closets can happen, and of course there’s always laundry. But sometimes you need to take a break, and being the creative types we are sometimes we’d rather do something interesting (or even educational) instead of binge-watching yet another season of whatever show. Of course most (if not all) museums, aquariums, zoos, and theme parks are closed, but a great number of them are offering free virtual tours and live streams, from all around the world.

Pro tip: If you’re trying to come up with ways to educate and entertain your children, most of the things in this post count.

There are a LOT more museums offering virtual tours than what I’m listing here. I just wanted to give you an example of what’s out there.

The Louvre; a place most of us will probably not get a chance to go in person, but is world famous for a reason.

The Guggenheim; even if you’ve been there and/or plan to go, it’s worth seeing again.

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History; one of my favourite places since the first time I went as a child.

The Vatican Museum; religious or not, Catholic or not, there is some incredible artwork to be seen.

Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology; a fantastic exploration of our neighbour to the south.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art; another place you can visit repeatedly and still find something new.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); while perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea, what you’ll find is always interesting.

Many of the above links have additional links to similar tours or other tours of the same facility. I encourage you to check them all out!

Aquariums! If you’re one of those people who turn into a child when you see aquariums, then by all means explore every single one of these and also anywhere else they may send you. Some have dedicated webcams on certain tanks, so you can choose your favourite sea creature to watch. I could spend hours with stingrays!

Monterey Bay Aquarium; hands down my number one aquarium in the country, with live cams on a number of different tanks.

The Shedd Aquarium; my second choice, and a place I’ve been numerous times but am always willing to return. They have a YouTube series I love, and if you haven’t seen their video of penguins visiting other animals during the shutdown, you must!

The Georgia Aquarium; I haven’t yet made it here, but I hear good things from friends who have.

The National Aquarium; I was fortunate enough to tour this one shortly after it opened. It was my first aquarium visit, so it holds a special place in my heart.

Zoos! What a lovely way to see animals in person you would otherwise never get a chance to be near. Of course, these webcams and virtual tours will not put you there in person, but they will let you see a lot of neat stuff.

The Houston Zoo; pretty much every website I sought to find virtual zoo tours had the Houston Zoo listed first, and with good reason. It’s pretty neat!

The San Diego Zoo; if Houston wasn’t listed first, then San Diego was. Pick your favourite animal and off you go!

Zoo BRNO; with dozens of animals to choose from, you won’t be bored with this Czech Republic zoo.

The Virginia Zoo doesn’t just offer virtual tours and webcams. They’ve got all sorts of activities, a YouTube channel, and a blog where you can learn a bunch of interesting things.

The Cape May Zoo; is offering virtual zoo school! You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it; the whole family can learn together.

You can’t go very far on the internet without running into some sort of nature webcam or another. I just picked some of the ones I found neat to highlight.

Northern Lights; do I really need to explain why you’d want to watch this?

Galapagos Islands; a place I’ve been fascinated with since childhood, and even more so since my nephew went there on a high school trip.

While there are a number US National Parks with webcams, I’m particularly fond of Katmai National Park in Alaska.

Since we’re on National Parks, I would be remiss not to include Yellowstone.

The Great Barrier Reef is another one I could lose several hours watching.

When I was very small, my grandparents went to the Great Wall of China, and I didn’t understand how amazing a structure it is, especially considering its age.

The Gardens of Versailles have been gorgeous since the mid-1600s. Not only are they beautiful, but they are steeped in history.

For our final section, I’m going to focus on cities, theme parks, and other interesting places. I’m particularly excited about the last two, and have “toured” them more than once already.

Walt Disney World has several different tours, along with some virtual rides.

LegoLand Florida is offering a virtual tour of their hotel while they’re closed, and now I really want to stay there.

Seaworld Orlando has jumped on the bandwagon as well, offering a virtual tour of their entire park.

WorldCams has live webcams from numerous cities around the world. Some of them are eerily disturbing (the Las Vegas Strip leaps to mind) due to quarantines and stay at home orders, but it’s still neat to take a little vacation in your mind.

And now we come to my two favourites, both on my short list of vacation destinations…

The Winchester Mystery House is fascinating purely for its architecture, but throw in ghosts and I’m there.

The Catacombs of Paris can’t help but be haunted, right? Also timely, considering they were created due to a major health crisis.

If you can’t find something in this post to catch your interest, I’m not sure what to tell you. I’ve whiled away probably more hours than I should virtually visiting places I’ll probably never see in person, and it’s been fabulous!

Be safe. Be well. STAY HOME. And as always… WASH YOUR HANDS!