With borders (international and state) closed for, who knows how long, we are needing to find creative ways to get our travel fix. Whilst nothing beats that feeling of getting on a plane to take you on a new adventure, we just need to sit tight for a little longer. And so it is, we introduce, virtual travel.
As inconvenient as COVID-19 is, we do have to be grateful that it has happened at a time when technology has allowed us to stay connected and keep businesses ‘operational’ in new ways. Which is exactly how we’ve been able to explore this idea of virtual travel. With major art galleries, museums, zoos, theme parks and more all ‘opening their doors’ to the world, we are able to head off on a different kind of adventure.
Here are our picks to get you and the family started (be sure to bookmark this page for multiple visits):
Have fun with the kids to see how many animals you can spot and name as they come across the cameras.
Aquariums lend themselves well to the virtual experience as static cameras can capture tanks and large pools well.
Image Source: Sea Life Sydney
Zoo webcams have allowed visitors to drop in on the habitats of some of the zoo’s favourite animal exhibits. Here are some highlights.
Image Source: Melbourne Zoo
If your children love learning about wild animals there are, of course, plenty of nature programs for them to enjoy, but for a more bite-sized version take a look at these sites:
Perhaps less educational but definitely a huge ton of fun is taking a trip to a theme or water park while on lockdown.
Image Source: Disney
Wandering city streets is accessible and interesting to children, as well as an interesting way to teach them about social history and political commentary.
Image Source: Pinterest
Some of the world’s most famous art galleries were offering interactive experiences and virtual content for kids well ahead of lockdown.
Many of the world’s famous museums have put their collections online. While you can’t replicate the experience of learning from something firsthand, children may gain more from a briefer and more focused virtual visit without the crowds, the lines and onset of museum legs. To name but a few, your kids can:
Google has done some great work in making some of the most well-known attractions in the world digitally accessible. With its trek experiences you can walk through the Great Pyramids of Giza, visit the temples of Angkor, and explore the canals of Venice – and all with bite-sized shots of information, short clips and footage that makes you want to click on. Perfect for kids.
Image Source: Google Street View
If you want to take virtual travel to the next level then it’s time to visit some of the fascinating space-related sites online.
If you are not sure where to start, think about places your kids like visiting and any major museums or attractions that they have particularly enjoyed.
Do your research in advance. Take a look at what videos appear to be the most engaging. Some of the zoos have saved videos that show animal interactions so these are a great place to start to ensure engagement, otherwise (just like when you visit a zoo in person) you might be waiting some time to see the animals!
Set your expectations. It’s unlikely that you are going to keep your kids engaged for hours with a virtual tour. Be ready for it to be a fairly quick visit, but use it as a vehicle to discuss what you’ve seen and whether you might like to visit in person, when travel is accessible again.
Be prepared for technical issues - between WiFi connections and camera feeds, there are many ways things could go awry and you might not be able to view your chosen activity.