What’s on this list?
- Theaters and opera houses offering live-streamed performances
- Art museums with virtual tours and/or digital archives of their collection
- Don’t forget about public art!
- Science and Natural History Museums with activities for kids and parents to do at home
- Zoos with live-cams on specific animals
- Virtual walking tours of parks and cities around the world
The All-Important Disclaimer: I have not personally vetted all of these resources. There just isn’t enough time right now to do that. So if something looks interesting to you, be sure to check it out first to make sure it will work for you and your child.
Catch a virtual performance
Several world-famous theatres and opera houses are offering free live-stream performances. Here are just a few:
- The Kennedy Center is offering a variety of live performances and on-demand videos at Kennedy Center @ Home
- The Metropolitan Opera is live-streaming a different opera every night
- As is the Vienna State Opera
- And the Staatsoper Unter Den Linden
Browse the world’s best art collections
Art museums worldwide are also generously sharing video tours of some of their best / most famous pieces. Here are just a few:
- Google Arts and Culture (a medley of interesting things, ranging from 7 Awesome Facts about Dinosaurs to a list of Italian Historical Sites you can explore from home)
- The British National Museum in London, UK
- The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia (website in Russian)
- The Uffizi Galleries in Florence, Italy (a digital archive of various art works)
- The Louvre in Paris, France (requires Flash)
- The Museo de Prado in Madrid, Spain
- The Met in New York City, USA (link takes you to the Met’s Digital Digest, which summarizes its online offerings)
- The MoMA in New York City, USA
- The Guggenheim (New York, Venice, Bilbao, and Abu Dhabi)
- The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, CA now offers a 360-degree tour
In fact, so many art museums are doing some version of this, I bet your local favorite is as well.
Don’t forget about public art!
Assuming your town still allows you to go outside for exercise, remember to keep an eye out for public art. Looking at public art with your kids is a great way to get them outside for a little exercise while observing all appropriate physical distancing protocols.
- Need a place to start? I’ve got a small collection of public art posts on Caterpickles. Skim through them to get some ideas on where the public art might be hiding in your area.
- Need some conversation starters? I have a book out on how parents (even non-artistic ones) can talk about public art with their kids. Find What’s That, Mom? on IndieBound or Amazon
Visit world class science / natural history museums
- The Smithsonian in Washington, DC
- NASA’s online gallery of short videos about space stuff
- The Field Museum in Chicago, IL
- The Boston Museum of Science in Boston, MA
- The Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA
Again, every museum I’ve checked so far has some sort of online content on offer. So if you aren’t as interested in the ones I’ve listed here, it’s probably worth visiting your personal favorite’s website to see what’s there.
Miss going to the zoo?
- The Smithsonian National Zoo has a set of webcams trained on its pandas, lions, elephants, and mole rats.
- The San Diego Zoo has live cams trained on its penguins, polar bears, apes, koalas, butterflies, tigers, condors, elephants, baboons, and burrowing owls.
- EarthCam has a selection of live streams from zoo around the world
- Every Wednesday, the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo offers a free virtual visit with their zookeepers and animals. Meet the animals and learn how zookeepers keep them happy and healthy. Register here.
- Still not satisfied? The Verge has published this list of soothing animal cams to watch out of the side of your eye while you’re working at home.
Miss your own zoo? Visit its website and see if they’ve put up a live cam on some of your favorites.
Virtual walking tours
4K Urban Life (YouTube)
The 4K Urban Life channel on YouTube offers virtual tours of places like Santorini, Greece; Berlin, Germany; Haarlem and Delft, Netherlands; and of course, London, UK.
- Check out 4K Urban Life
The ProWalk channel on YouTube offers a somewhat different collection of walking tours of places like Amalfi, Italy and Cairo, Egypt.
- Check out ProWalk on YouTube
Golden Gate Bridge Park
The Golden Gate Park turns 150 this year. Recognizing that you likely won’t be able to visit it in person to celebrate this year, Virtual Golden Gate Park wants to bring the celebration to you. Listen to podcasts and playlists, view concerts, do virtual learning activities for kids, take virtual tours, and more!
The GoUSA YouTube channel offers full-length documentaries about various American locations and the people who live there. The channel has episodes on various national parks and cities, including Nashville, New Orleans, and Chicago.
- Check out the the GoUSA YouTube channel
Find a resource I’ve missed?
I’ll add more resources as I find them, but this list will be much better with your input too. You’re inevitably going to come across things I’d miss. If you do, please let me know about them, either by dropping a comment below or finding me on Twitter (@shalahowell).
Also, although I hope this won’t happen, I could easily add something to this list that either doesn’t exist anymore or really shouldn’t be on here. If you see something like that, please let me know.
Thank you and good luck!