EX­PLORE THE WORLD FROM YOUR HOME

En­joy vir­tual vis­its to a host of fa­mous nat­u­ral, cul­tural at­trac­tions

Calgary Herald - - TRAVEL - DREW JONES

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.

https://tinyurl.com/vx6a98e

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.

https://tinyurl.com/j6zqbta

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.

https://tinyurl.com/slo4ulu

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.

https://tinyurl.com/wa93k9b

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.

https://tinyurl.com/syx2ox7

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

CHRIS­TIAN HARTMANN/REUTERS

You can’t visit the Lou­vre in per­son right now, but you can go on a vir­tual tour of it.

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