Today, there are more ways than ever to see the world from the comfort of your home, or even your bed. Options range from live discoveries to websites that allow you to explore a location via 360° videos and photos under a full virtual reality experience. Are you seeing it interesting? Let’s follow this post to check-in on the best virtual tours around the world!
Virtual Field Trips
Your home may be hundreds of miles away from the White House or the International Space Station. Yet, thanks to high-quality virtual tours that make good use of voiceovers, texts, videos, and related activities, now you can get a real feel of what it is like to visit field trips.
- The White House virtual tour will take you to the Eisenhower Operations Office as well as a look at ground floor art and state floor. You can also explore the White House base, see portraits of the president hanging in the house, and investigate food that has been used in various presidential administrations.
- Thanks to NASA videos and apps, viewers can now easily explore the International Space Station under its virtual tours. In addition to learning about the space station, you’ll learn how astronauts exercise to prevent the loss of bone density and muscle mass, how they get rid of the trash, or how to wash hair and brush teeth with zero gravity, etc.
- Thanks to Heritage Documentation Programs, you can now take a tour of the Statue of Liberty in cyberspace. Yes, this virtual tour is the next best thing. With 360-degree panoramas, along with video, text, and a map, you’re in control of your field trip. Before you get started, read through the icon descriptions so you can get the most out of all the available extras.
Alongside, there are many other free virtual field trips that you can enjoy while preparing for the real ones such as the series of virtual tours of Lapland, Sơn Đoòng Cave in Vietnam, Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentinian Patagonia, Yosemite National Park in the USA, Ambrym Volcano in Vanuatu, Zhāngjiājiè National Forest Park in China, Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland, and Namib Desert Dunes in Namibia. Additionally, thanks to Google’s latest technologies, you are able to roam the Grand Canyon in the USA and even Mount Everest in Nepal via Google Earth.
Virtual Tours of Aquariums and Zoos
Many of the aquariums and zoos in the world are hopping into the “going online” trend. Indeed, with the advanced technologies, it’s a good step to sell tours to earn incomes and cope with the visitor shortage during Covid-19. Of course, the animals need to be fed. On the other hand, some aquariums and zoos are still providing live webcams to increase the indirect connection between humans and animals. You can find some of them in the list below:
Virtual Aquarium Tour
- Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada offers views of Shark, Jelly Fish, Rainbow Reef, and Ray Bay through live webcams. I have studied and even traveled from Toronto to Banff National Park, but do you believe, I haven’t been to this aquarium in Toronto. At least, now I know some sea creatures at the place.
- SEA LIFE has its brick-and-mortar appearances in many places in the world. Yet, on its website, after choosing a suitable destination, you should click ‘What’s Inside’ then ‘Virtual Aquarium’. There are different programs and activities for you to learn more about the sea creatures right from your bed. Of course, the aquarium is offering those for free.
- Live cam is the popular tool for an online aquarium tour, so does Monterey Bay Aquarium. They have 9 live cams from which you can see the birds, jellyfishes, sharks, different kinds of fishes, turtles, sea otters, penguins, etc.
- National Aquarium in Baltimore even has a 360 degree virtual tour for you to explore their area. You can stop by any animals and learn more about them.
Other virtual tours of aquariums that you could consider for a try such as Seattle Aquarium, Maritime Aquarium, Georgia Aquarium, Shedd Aquarium, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, New England Aquarium, etc.
Virtual Tours of Zoos
- Houston Zoo has a series of 8 live cameras and the feeding time. I can see there the flamingo one that my wife surely loves it.
- Zoo Atlanta has a PandaCam for any panda lovers. They also have Youtube videos of other animals and programs at the zoo.
- You can watch the animals at Cincinnati Zoo on its Facebook page. Surely you will love the animals from the videos they uploaded. They are so cute!
- San Diego Zoo provides many live cams of animals including ape, baboon, owl, condor, elephant, giraffe, hippo, koala, panda, penguin, platypus, polar bear, and tiger. Honestly, this is one of my favorite virtual tours of zoos with a stabilized connection and clean view.
Virtual Museum Tours
Almost all museums in the world apply the 360-degree view and simulation of the space to bring to their customers not only the info of the exhibits but the experience of the museum’s area as in real. Yes, if you want to have that particular experience right from your home, here I made a list of the best free virtual museum tours so you can check them all easily, in which:
- Google Art & Culture is the top platform that provides access to so many virtual museum tours around the world. You can find there the collections of more than 10,000 places, over 2,000 museums, and at least 100,000 artworks from so many topics.
- If you are a fan of artworks, don’t forget to check out the virtual tours at Van Gogh Museum, Washington’s National Gallery of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, or Vatican Museums, etc.
- Museums such as Smithsonian Natural Museum of Natural History, Pergamonmuseum, or Vietnam National Museum of History bring to you their collections of archaeological and anthropological artifacts of the history.
- Alongside, some of the special museums that surely you will find them so much interesting like Museum of Broken Relationships, National Women’s History Museum, or Studio Ghibli Museum, etc.
Other Free Online Tours and Platforms for Education Purpose
Platforms that Support VR Technology
With new and increasingly affordable technology, it’s easy now to find online field trips that deliver a complete virtual reality experience. Indeed, the explorers can buy cardboard for less than $10 each, giving users an almost good experience by actually visiting that location. No mouse actions or clicks required to navigate. Evenly, an inexpensive pair of glasses offers a life-like experience that allows visitors to look around the place just as you would when you are visiting. OK, let’s check out the best platforms with VR experience for online educational tours below!
Google Expeditions offers one of the best virtual reality trip experiences. Of course, it’s one of Google’s products. You can download the app for Android or iOS devices to explore on your own or in groups.
If you choose the group option, there is a person, usually a parent or a teacher, who acts as a guide and leads the expedition. The tour guide is able to choose adventure and explore, direct participants to points of interest. Via the platform, you can visit historical landmarks and museums. Furthermore, you could swim in the ocean or head to Mount Everest.
Unfortunately, Google announced a shutdown of this platform happening on June 30th, 2021. Most of the data and experience from Google Expeditions will be moved to Google Art & Culture so you can continue to enjoy the virtual tours there.
Another high-quality VR field trip option is Discovery Education, with the Experience section in particular. For many years, the Discovery Channel has provided viewers with an educational program. Now, they provide a modern virtual reality experience for classes and parents.
Similar to Google Expeditions, you can enjoy Discovery’s virtual field trip on desktop or mobile devices. Its 360° video was breathtaking. Additionally, to add the full VR experience, you will need to download an app and use their VR viewing.
Live-streaming Online Tours
Another option to explore via virtual tours is to join a live streaming event. All you need is an internet connection and a device such as a desktop or a tablet computer. The advantage of live events is the opportunity to participate in real-time by asking questions or participating in polls. Besides that, if you miss an event, you can view the recording at your convenience. There are some of the platforms that provide live-streaming virtual tours that you can try:
A website that provides such events for classrooms and home schools. There is an annual fee for using the service, but it allows a single classroom or homeschooling family to participate in as many field trips as they want throughout the year. Moreover, these online tours are not only virtual excursions but educational programs designing for specific grade levels and curriculum standards. For example, options include visits to the Ford’s Theatre, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, DNA learning at the National Law Enforcement Museum, trips to the Space Center in Houston, or the Alaska Sealife Center.
You are able to view pre-recorded events or subscribe to upcoming events and watch them live. During live events, you can ask questions by entering the Questions and Answers tab. Occasionally, a field trip partner will set up a survey that allows participants to respond in real-time.
National Geographic’s Explorer Classroom
Finally, don’t miss National Geographic’s Explorer Classroom. All you need to take part in these online tours are accessing the YouTube channel. For one of six on-screen slots, you will have a chance to interact directly with the explorer and be featured in the stream. Yet, anyone can ask questions using Twitter and hashtag #ExplorerClassroom. The experts leading National Geographic’s virtual field trips include deep-sea explorers, archaeologists, conservationists, marine biologists, space architects, and more.
You may want to subscribe and participate directly at scheduled times or watch hosted events on the Explorer Classroom YouTube channel.
Enjoy, and have fun times exploring virtual tours with your beloved ones!
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