Just because our morning commutes have been reduced to walking a few steps to our desks, our calendars are emptier than Al Capone’s vaults and our social life has been reduced to carrying on long conversations with our pets doesn’t mean we can’t virtually see masterpieces, visit amusement parks and even look down from the Eiffel Tower.
Here are several ways to virtually tour the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, watch a panda bear at the National Zoo, ride on Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom and view masterpieces by Van Gogh. See Broadway shows, listen to operas and visit National Parks. You can even check out the view from the top of the Taj Mahal.
One of my favorites is the bison at the watering hole in Saskatchewan, Canada. At least some species are still allowed to congregate in large groups. See link below in the Animals section.
I Want to Tour a Treehouse and a River Boat
Well, we have to share our own videos, right? We have a really fun interview with an owner of an urban Airbnb treehouse, which has hosted celebrities and a cast party for one of the Hunger Games films. The owner took us on a tour and explained what the three parts of the treehouse represent. We even got to test out the rollout bed where guests can truly sleep under the stars.
We also show you what it’s like to cruise on a riverboat through Russia . You won’t believe the magnificent wooden structures made without a single nail on the island of Kizhi. We also show you what life in like on board an Emerald Waterways boat. The pool that turns into a cinema was one of my favorite parts!
I Want to Stroll Through Some Beautiful Gardens
Nothing can lower your stress level like a stroll through a beautiful garden. See a video of Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France, and then take a virtual tour of his home. The blue-and-white tile and bright yellow walls really perked me up. As did this walk through the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.
We’ll never see the inside of the private home of Prince Charles and Camilla but we can take a virtual tour of Highgrove gardens in Gloucestershire.
Tulips are my favorite flavor and I saw thousands of them in this 4k video of Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower garden. The nearly hour-long video, by Wanderlust Travel Videos, feels like you’re walking through these magnificent gardens on a beautiful sunny day. Check out other virtual walking tours of attractions, nature and parks, beach areas and urban environments by Wanderlust.
Take Me Under the Sea
Listen to the soothing voice of David Attenborough and travel with him to explore the Great Barrier Reef from the research vessel The Alucia.
I Need Some Thrills From a Roller Coaster Ride
I just took a pretty realistic ride on Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom with the help of this video, creepy music and screaming people included. Of course a lot of this ride is in the dark so turn out your lights for optimal effect. I loved hearing the giggles of a child on this ride through The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot.
You can practically feel the wind rushing through your hair during this 4k video on the Slinky Dog Dash at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Take Me to a Foreign Country
View landmarks and monuments around the world with videos on Google Arts & Culture section. Go backstage of the Paris Opera, look down from the Taj Mahal in New Delhi, India, and view the Sydney Opera House.
I’ve never been to Barcelona so clicked on Guggenheim Bilbao. I found it a bit disappointing as it only shows what it’s like on the exterior. But there’s plenty more to explore here, including museums. (See section below for more details on museums.)
Pick out which castle hotel in Ireland is right for you, take a 360-degree tour of the Cliffs of Moher and go down in the Ailwee Caves with virtual tours of Ireland. You can even take a tour of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin but will need to BYOB.
One of my best trips ever was to Peru where we spent a few days in Lima, then stayed in the magnificent Sumaq Machu Picchu where a shaman led us on a tour of one of the world’s most fascinating sites. Watch a short video of a shaman performing an offering ceremony to Pachamama, the Mother Earth goddess of the Andes people.
Take Me to Some National Parks
Again thanks to Google Arts & Culture, we can tour the hidden world of National Parks. Climb into a crevasse in Kenai Fjords in Alaska, fly with the bats 750 feet underground in Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and explore the night sky in Bryce Canyon in Utah.
Take Me to the Animals
I love watching bears catch salmon with a live web cam from Brooks Falls at Katmai National Park in Alaska. I will never understand how a salmon can jump so much higher than I can when it doesn’t even have feet.
The Explore Cam site also has views of gorillas at the Grace Center in Kasugho, Democratic Republic of Congo. There’s a section called Zen Cams with views of the Northern Lights in Manitoba, Canada, honeybees in Buchloe, Germany and bison in Saskatchewan, Canada.
See jellyfish, penguins, sea otters and even sharks during a virtual visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. Try to spot the turtles in the million-gallon Open Sea Exhibit. I’m partial to the jelly fish, who always seem to be engaged in a beautiful synchronized swimming routine.
Smithsonian’s National Zoo has web cams of its Asian elephants – Spike, Ambia, Shanthi, Bozie, Swarna and Maharani. I just watched an elephant lumber around its outdoor play area and found it quite relaxing. I also watched the lion, but as usual, he was just hanging out and barely moving. Which may be the same thing we could say about a majority of our population right now.
On the panda cam you can see giant pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiang. On the opposite end of the adorable spectrum, catch the naked mole rats clamoring through 25 feet of tunnels and chowing down on lettuce. Fun fact: these nearly blind rodents can live to be in their 30s and dig through dirt with their powerful jaws.
The Melbourne Zoo put some animal cams online, which led to one dancing zookeeper going viral with his entertaining movements in the giraffe area.
Take Me To a Museum
The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been on the top of my list of museums I’d like to visit. You can take a virtual tour of the exterior and then view some of the permanent collection, like a plaster lobster phone.
Through the Google Arts & Culture site you can visit dozens of museums, including the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway. See the appropriate-for-our-times painting called “Anxiety,” with the same background as “The Scream.” The Städel Museum in Frankfort, Germany, has views of 91 pieces of art from its extensive collection.
I Want to Watch Ballet and Opera
The Wiener Staatsoper in Vienna is closed, but the shows go on. You can watch previous recordings of opera and ballet every day on its streaming platform.
The Paris Opera will also be sharing performances from its archives online. Here’s a schedule of upcoming performances.
March 30 – April 5: Swan Lake (2019)
April 6 – 12: The Barber of Seville (2014)
April 13 – 19: Tribute to Jerome Robbins (2018)
April 20 – 26: The Tales of Hoffmann (2016)
April 27 – May 3: Carmen (2017)
March 17 – May 3: Cycle of Tchaikovsky‘s six symphonies played by the Orchestra of the Paris National Opera, conducted by Philippe Jordan
– Jan Schroder, Editor-in-chief