Whether it’s a break from school, a bad-weather weekend, or the simple desire to adventure outside of day-tripping range, there are plenty of places to explore. These eleven destinations are yours for the visiting—all from the comfort of your own space.
#1: The Tech Interactive (San Jose, CA)
A recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest honor for a U.S. museum, this world-class science center is on a mission to inspire the innovator in everyone. Explore the exhibits with a 30-minute virtual field trip created in collaboration with Discovery Education. Educators will appreciate the accompanying standards-aligned classroom activities available in the educator guide.
#2: The California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco, CA)
The California Academy of Sciences’s mission is to explore, explain, and sustain life. The physical space boasts an aquarium, planetarium, indoor rainforest, natural history museum; and the Academy’s distance learning resources are nothing to sneeze at, either. Peruse more than 10 recorded events, each with a list of recommended materials to prepare and pre-program activities. Bonus: don’t miss the penguin cam!
#3: The de Young Museum (San Francisco, CA)
This fine arts museum may be in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, but anyone in the world can explore six of its galleries through the Google Art Project. Explore 11 online exhibits, get the scoop on individual pieces, and even do a digital walk-through.
#4: The National Women’s History Museum (Alexandria, VA)
The National Women’s History Museum is on a mission to tell the stories of women who transformed the nation. The online exhibits feature women in STEM, fashion, legislature, the Olympics, and outdoor adventuring—just to name a few. Educators will appreciate the teacher resources, from biographies to primary sources to downloadable posters.
#5: The National Museum of Natural History (Washington, D.C.)
This museum is dedicated to promoting understanding of the natural world and our place in it. The virtual tours allow visitors to take self-guided, 360-degree, room-by-room tours within the museum, including past exhibits no longer on display. Not sure where to start? Check out African Voices, the Hall of Fossils, or the Ocean Hall.
#6: Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, CA)
On a mission to inspire conservation of the ocean, the Monterey Bay Aquarium makes it possible to experience the wonder of the ocean from anywhere. Tune in daily from 7 AM – 7 PM Pacific time to catch live feeds from ten different exhibits. Jellies, penguins, and sharks—oh my! These are also great for finding moments of calm and lightheartedness. Teachers, be sure to check out educator resources like games, curriculum, and project-based science projects.
#7: The San Diego Zoo (San Diego, CA)
Love an animal cam, but prefer animals of the furred and feathered variety? No sweat. The San Diego Zoo, voted #1 zoo in the world, has 10 animal cams to choose from so you can pal around with pandas and kick it with koalas without leaving your natural habitat.
#8: Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)
Yellowstone may not quite be the largest national park in the country, but at nearly 3,500 square miles—bigger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined—it’s got plenty of room to explore. You can take a virtual tour of the boardwalk-adjacent features of Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin, plus check out hydrothermal feature models, photos, videos, and interactive maps.
#9: The Louvre (Paris)
You don’t have to go to France to explore the largest art museum in the world. Check out the remains of the Louvre’s moat, examine Egyptian antiquities, or meander under the high ceilings of the Galerie d’Apollon on one of the Louvre’s online tours.
#10: Hubble Space Telescope Mission Operations (Greenbelt, MD)
This tour won’t get you all the way into space, but it will get you to the nervous center of this essential research tool. Launched in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope is still in operation today. Explore the mission control room and more in a series of 360-degree videos.
#11: The Moon (yes, really)
Okay, this field trip will get you all the way to space! Take tours of lunar landing sites with narration from Apollo astronauts, check out 3D models of rovers, take in 360-degree panoramic views, and more.