Geology, Homeschooling, Life, Local Travel

Virtual Tours to Visit and Explore as Part of Homeschooling Activities

One of the best things about internet and technology are the development of virtual tours. While virtual tours do not really give the same thrill like the real ones, it’s the cheapest way to see the rest of the world. It’s also our only option now that we are still in this pandemic.

I have made a short list of virtual tours that we plan to visit this year for our homeschooling lessons as well as during leisure time. The list is a heterogenous mix of literature, art, adventure, and science tours and also by no means exhaustive. I’d probably add another list in the future as soon as I discover new virtual tours to try. Hope you will enjoy touring these sites as much as I did!

Virtual Geology Tour

Missed my Geology Tours? Me too. I can’t wait for this pandemic to be over so I could conduct the tours again. For now I invite you to watch virtual geology tours such as the one below. This tour explains how the river in Genesee River of Letchworth Park has shifted or changed course based on geologic rock formations. There are more tours like this on YouTube and I might explore for more and create another article dedicated for tours like this one.

Smithsonian Natural History Museum

You don’t need to travel to Washington DC to visit the 17 museums and galleries of the famous Smithsonian Natural History Museum. I haven’t explored all halls with my kids but I definitely am including the tour to this list to visit virtually this year because it displays relics and fossils arranged through geologic time. Fun!

From the origins of man at the Natural History Museum to the future of space travel at the Air and Space Museum (and its even bigger sister facility, the Udvar-Hazy Center), Smithsonian museums are a guide to the most fascinating aspects of our world. The museum collection contains more than 150 million objects, works of art and specimens altogether. 

https://washington.org/smithsonian-institution-museums-overview
Smithsonian natural history museum virtual tour
Screenshot of the homepage for the virtual tour of Smithsonian Natural History Museum.
Smithsonian natural history museum virtual tour
Fossils of various reptiles arranged according to their appearance in the geologic time scale are just some of the attractions in the museum.
Smithsonian natural history museum virtual tour
Timeline of the mass extinction because of asteroid impact on display in the museum also.

Street Tours

This is one of my favorite channels on YouTube now! Travel virtually around famous cities around the world without leaving your home through this awesome channel. The videos are best watched on a large TV screen with your kids. You can ask the kids to spot famous landmarks and tell stories on the spot right beside the screen. Instant performance task for English! 🙂

Here’s a video of Tokyo Street Tour:

Sau Paolo Museum of Arts

Ancient artefacts are my favorite displays whenever I visit a museum. If given time and resources, I’d probably pursue a masteral degree in Archaeology. I simply find digging for artefacts and exploring caves so much fun and interesting, not to mention thrilling! It’s also nice to know how artefacts, just like rocks and minerals, could be dated and connected to understand past histories. I have visited some of the major museums here in the Philippines but I also dream of travelling to different countries and visiting their museums. For now, let’s do it virtually! So here is the virtual tour page (screenshot) of Sau Paolo Museum of Arts:

Raphael on display at Sao Paolo Museum of Arts The Resurrection of Christ
Among the famous artwork on display at Sao Paulo Museum of Arts is The Resurrection of Christ by Raphael.
Paul Cezanne on display at Sao Paolo Museum of Arts
Also on display are works by Paul Cezanne including this famous “The Negro Scipio”.

The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is the official residence of the pope and features art works from 15th century including Michelangelo’s, “The Last Judgement” and “The Creation of Adam”. See the intricate wall decors, the ceiling, and frescoes, in 3D using this virtual tour without going to Italy!

the Sistine Chapel virtual tour
the Sistine Chapel virtual tour ceiling
The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel featuring Michelangelo’s works between 1508-1512.

Harry Potter – A History of Magic

Hey, Potterheads, this one’s for you! Wouldn’t you like to read the whole Harry Potter series to your kids while bringing them to the scenes, virtually? The beloved series has become such a global sensation that people have visited Disneyland and London just to experience Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, the red train, and whatnot. There are virtual tours now too!

This virtual tour has galleries of everything about the beloved series (screenshots below). One activity that I can recommend for homeschoolers is reading or revisiting the book chapter per chapter while exploring these galleries.

Harry Potter history of magic screenshot

Here’s another site to explore for those who want to learn some deep stuff about the series (it includes original sketches by the author, J.K. Rowling):

https://artsandculture.google.com/project/harry-potter-a-history-of-magic

The MET

If you’re looking for works by fashion icons, contemporary arts, and such, the Metropolitan Museum of Art virtual tour might be the one for you. The museum boasts of 5000 years worth of art collection. If I ever go to New York, I will definitely visit the museum!

The Met virtual tour homepage
The Met rock displays
Intrigued by their rock collection so I clicked the gallery and saw rock sculptures, gemstones, and jewelries. Cool!
Christian Dior ball gown at The Met
This ball gown by Christian Dior is so dreamy!
Christian Dior ball gown
This May ball gown for spring/summer collection by Christian Dior is so gorgeous. I know I can’t wear them at work as Geologist but I would love to try this gown during Flores De Mayo. Haha!

Coaster Force – For Roller Coaster Rides You Miss

Okay parents, this channel is just plain awesome because it shows videos of roller coaster rides around different states of USA, in case you’re into this kind of adventure. A word of warning though – it’s not for someone with vertigo! There are camera shots here that are almost level with the horizon so it would feel like you’re actually on the ride itself (as in the short video below). If your kids missed the rides, this is one of the channels to binge watch. Best viewed on a large TV screen. 🙂

Guggenheim Museum

Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications…

https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/solomon-r-guggenheim-museum?hl=en

This one I have not explored much but just like “The Met”, this museum features contemporary arts in sculpture, paper, photographs, mixed media abstracts, and various installations from artists from all over the world.

Guggenheim museum virtual tour
Guggenheim museum modern sculptures
Modern sculptures and installations have always fascinated me so this section was the first one I visited virtually.

The Acropolis

The Acropolis of Athens, Greece, is a complete ancient Greek monumental complex that’s considered a UNESCO Heritage site.

In the second half of the fifth century bc, Athens, following the victory against the Persians and the establishment of democracy, took a leading position amongst the other city-states of the ancient world. In the age that followed, as thought and art flourished, an exceptional group of artists put into effect the ambitious plans of Athenian statesman Pericles and, under the inspired guidance of the sculptor Pheidias, transformed the rocky hill into a unique monument of thought and the arts. The most important monuments were built during that time: the Parthenon, built by Ictinus, the Erechtheon, the Propylaea, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis, designed by Mnesicles and the small temple Athena Nike. 

https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/404/
Acropolis virtual tour
The Acropolis map
Entering the virtual tour will bring you this map and each colored dots on the map corresponds to relevant subjects.
You can click the different sections of The Acropolis and rotating your view 360 degrees.
Parthenon virtual tour
It looks like Parthenon is undergoing restoration.

San Diego Zoo

I have mixed feeling about zoos. But one can’t deny that animals bred in captivity would prolly have a hard time surviving in their natural habitats, let alone, have the higher risk of being killed by humans for game. I have visited quite a few in the country as well as in Australia and from those experience, I can appreciate the hard work and dedication that scientists and doctors did to help species survive and flourish. Zoos are cheaper alternative for kids to get to know the wildlife too compared to actually going on a Safari tour in Africa, for example. This website isn’t exactly a virtual tour but you can look at the live feed of some of the animals in the zoo. You do need a fast internet connection to view the live feed. The website also has activities for arts and crafts, as well as, read-along stories, for kids. Win!

San Diego Zoom live feed
This is a screenshot of the links to live videos of each animal in the zoo.

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