Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

Miss going outside? – Take a virtual field trip

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:

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

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.

ProWalk (YouTube)

The ProWalk channel on YouTube offers a somewhat different collection of walking tours of places like Amalfi, Italy and Cairo, Egypt.

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

GoUSA (YouTube)

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!

6 Responses to “Miss going outside? – Take a virtual field trip”

  1. rayworth1973

    I’m off Thursday and Friday because of the Las Vegas Writer’s conference which was cancelled. I decided to take the two days anyway and I’m draining, scrubbing, fixing and refilling the pool. Not much I care to see around Las Vegas, especially with the state in shutdown, even though I have a “Corbin Dallas Moolteepass” because of work. I wanted to go out with my telescope, which is an isolated enough condition, normally, but like my wife says, there are enough crazies out there that might come along for a closeup look and if I don’t comply, they might get nasty about it. So, no telescope viewing and missing another night in the “realm of the galaxies.” Oh well…pool repair it is. At least I have some TV to catch tomorrow night, plus Bosch and one more Sharknado to repeat. I’m rambling.


    • Shala Howell

      Hey, sorry it took me a while to see this. The upside of letting you comment freely on my blog as a frequent visitor is that you don’t have to go through the moderation process so you know right away that your comment took. The downside is that I don’t always see right away when you’ve visited.

      It’s so nice to hear from you. My husband dragged our telescope out into our backyard recently. The view from there is mostly limited to the pits on the moon, but it’s better than nothing. I miss seeing the owls flying around our normal night viewing spots, though.

      I’ve had a few conferences I was counting on attending cancelled as well. Some of them have migrated to online versions of themselves. Others are just waiting a year. I’m finding it hard to write the way I normally would so have taken to crashing draw-alongs meant for much younger folks. I went to Georgia Dunn’s drawalong last Friday to learn how to draw the cats from her comic, Breaking Cat News. Very fun. I may end up doing more of these. 🙂 It was a nice way to ring in the weekend.

      Hope you and yours remain well.


  2. rayworth1973

    Great hearing from you!

    Still no telescope a couple of weeks later. I DID go out and look at the moon and the planets lined up next to it. Okay, I cheated. I was in the parking lot at work and looked out the car window…

    Right now my latest book, Spanish Gold is being formatted and I’m doing the back cover blurb, the dedication and thanks, and a Q&A for the publicity sheets. Not much else going on that way. Still working on book #3 of the Meleena series too. I write a new blog article every week and of course, my weekly what’s up articles for each of my book Facebook pages. Always writing! Well, that’s it for now. Thanks so much for the reply! All the best!


    • Shala Howell

      OMG I need to reread your Meleena series. Three now? Congratulations! I’m glad you’re keeping busy and getting new writing done. I’m mostly blogging and editing existing work. Don’t seem to have much in the well when it comes to writing new stuff. I keep hoping that will change now that I have more of a routine around shelter-in-place (there’s a lot more cooking, cleaning, and educating to do in this version of the universe).



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