EXPLORE THE WORLD FROM YOUR HOME
Enjoy virtual visits to a host of famous natural, cultural attractions
As governments across the world implement “social distancing” efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, bars, restaurants and other public spaces have been ordered to close.
That leaves self-quarantined people with a lot of free time and nowhere to go.
Museums, historical sites and national parks have stepped up to deliver their signature experiences by offering virtual tours to anyone from the comfort of their homes.
Here’s a list of a few places travellers can tour — without having to leave the couch.
The Louvre: Last year, the world’s most visited museum was the subject of lamentations about overcrowding and peculiar guest behaviour.
Now because of its closure, visitors to the Louvre can check out virtual tours of the Egyptian antiquities collection, remains of the Louvre’s moat and the Galerie d’apollon without having to brush by anyone’s shoulders.
Sistine Chapel: The national lockdown in Italy has forced the country to a near standstill, shuttering public events, soccer stadiums and even the Vatican.
Now, visitors can tour the interior artworks of the chapel, including its renowned ceiling and The Last Judgment, by the Renaissance-era painter Michelangelo.
Guggenheim Museum: The Guggenheim is offering VR access to its entire contemporary arts collection through a partnership with Google Arts & Culture. Using the Street View feature, visitors can tour the museum’s iconic architecture, sprawling design and any of its galleries.
Yosemite National Park: While parts of the park are still open for the season, those who can’t make it to California’s Sierra Nevada region can still tour the park — complete with sound — and visit some of Yosemite’s iconic landmarks, including the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, the top of the Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. https://www.virtualyosemite.org/ about-virtual-yosemite/
Van Gogh Museum: The largest Van Gogh collection in the world — 600 artworks and 700 letters — is housed in this Amsterdam museum and can be viewed via a virtual guided tour.
View the inside of the museum along with insights into the Dutch postimpressionist artist’s life through paintings including Sunflowers and The Yellow House.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: The Smithsonian is offering virtual tours that let visitors take a self-guided, room-byroom trip through the museum’s slate of exhibits.
The current exhibits include the Butterfly Pavilion and the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils, and visitors can even journey through past exhibits, on topics including the last
American dinosaurs, the universe, and DNA and genomics. https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/ virtual-tour
The Great Wall of China: China’s most famous attraction offers virtual tours of some of the most visited sections of the wall, 5,000 kilometres of which are walkable.
With some of the country under quarantine, the virtual tour offers a reprieve from the crowds who normally come from all over the world to see the 2,000-year-old marvel. https://www.thechinaguide.com/ destination/great-wall-of-china
Yellowstone National Park: National parks are known for their dazzling views and historical landmarks and Yellowstone holds some of the most iconic ones.
The virtual tour takes visitors through the first national park, showing Wyoming’s most treasured sites including its canyons, hot springs and geysers, the most famous being Old Faithful. https://www.nps.gov/yell/ learn/ photosmultimedia/virtualtours.htm
Museum of Modern Art: The MOMA is one of over 500 museums and galleries Google Arts & Culture has partnered with to offer an interactive experience of the gallery space.
The nearly 100-year-old museum is home to some of the contemporary art world’s most famous pieces, including Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’avignon.
San Diego Zoo: It’s known for its open-air, cageless natural habitats and is famous for being one of the few zoos that spearheaded conservation efforts of giant pandas. Even though it doesn’t have pandas now, the San Diego Zoo has set up live streams of its habitats for anyone to view the koalas, baboons and penguins that call the zoo home. https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/ live-cams
British Museum: The world’s oldest national public museum is another space that has partnered with Google Arts & Culture to showcase a virtual, interactive gallery.
Visitors can roam the halls of the museum, peruse the exhibits and see famous objects like the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and Egyptian mummies. Just don’t expect to see any Banksys lying around anytime soon. https://artsandculture.google.com/ partner/the-british-museum
Metropolitan Opera House: The Met in New York will host nightly encore performances of some of its most iconic shows throughout its season. The free streams will go live at 7:30 p.m. ET. each day and be available for 20 hours after the performance. The slate includes the likes of Puccini’s La Bohème and Verdi’s Il Trovatore for viewers on-demand.
“We’d like to provide some grand opera solace to opera lovers in these extraordinarily difficult times,” Met general manager Peter Gelb said in a statement. https://tinyurl.com/w2y4gy6
You can’t visit the Louvre in person right now, but you can go on a virtual tour of it.