Virtual Field Trips

The coronavirus pandemic shuttered many museums, zoos, aquariums and other venues whose missions and business plans were dependent upon people visiting in person. This motivated them to be creative about how to bring people in virtually to view their exhibits. They installed live webcams in zoo enclosures, filmed guided tours of their art exhibits, created interactive virtual tours and adapted field trip presentations so they can be done over Zoom. And now, even as we return to in-person life, most of these resources are still accessible. That enables teachers, homeschooling parents and anyone who is interested to explore these venues around the world.

Octane Seating has a guide to the benefits of virtual field trips and lists several recommendations for tours of museums, zoos, aquariums, farms and space, including the Met and the Guggenheim, Ellis Island and Plimouth Plantation.

Prodigy has a list of “22 Ultimate Virtual Field Trips” which actually links to more than that, including: national parks, coral reefs, the Great Wall of China, Smithsonian Natural History, the White House and the world’s largest cave. (see image above)

Lifewire lists the 21 best virtual field trips, including dairy farms, Lane Motor museum, Nature Works Everywhere, Slime in Space, the Met and Colonial Williamsburg.

Zoo Cameras Around the World has links to over 50 zoos with live webcams of their animal exhibits. I like that they have a list of particular animals, so if your child really wants to see, say, elephants or lemurs, you can find a webcam of that animal. The trick with live webcams is sometimes all you’ll see is an animal sleeping or sometimes the animal has wandered off camera completely and you just see bowl of food and some bedding.

AirPano has 360 degree images of beautiful places that slowly rotate around as music plays… it’s so tempting to just have a screen sitting on my desk next to my laptop showing these all the time…. Some videos are narrated.

Google Arts and Culture is a collaboration with over 1,200 leading museums and archives, and is a storehouse of great art. Check out the Play section for fun things like Play a Kadinsky that lets you experience the artist’s synesthesia – what his paintings “sounded” like to him

Enjoy your adventures!

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