As we continue to teach from home and practice safe distancing, many of us are looking for ways to keep students excited about learning. It’s become vital to expand their horizons past local school yards and playgrounds. Virtual tours from around the country contribute to not only adding some fun alternatives to their day (and ours), they also help broaden our world. Museums, zoos, art galleries, and more, have opened their doors and welcomed us to visit them through virtual field trips.
You can assign these virtual field trips to students by sharing a link in Google Classroom, Canvas or even via email. Or, you can do the tour during a video chat by sharing your screen.
I strongly suggest previewing each of the virtual tours before sharing with your students so that you are certain it is a good fit for your class.
All of the tours are hyper linked in the descriptions below.
New York City
New York may be the most-famous city in the world. Home to so much culture and history, it may be a challenge in what not to see more than what to see. Home to the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Wall Street, and Broadway, a visit to New York usually takes days to complete.
However, thanks to virtual tours, you can visit unique locations, such as Ellis Island and the Museum of Modern Art without having to stand in line. Virtual field. trips allow you an opportunity to explore exhibits that you find interesting, such as the Museum of Modern Art’s sculptures or paintings by artists such as Van Gogh. The museum even features a daily special, for children to study and learn.
Have fun as you learn about New York’s subway system at the New York Transit Museum. Dating back to the late 1800s, you’ll get an up-close look at how the underground transportation was built and what it takes to run the system for millions of people.
Learn even more about New York’s history with a virtual tour of the New York Historical Society.
The nation’s capital is full of historic and cultural attractions, such as the National Mall with the Washington Monument at one end and the Lincoln Memorial at the other. With attractions, such as the Vietnam War Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and more, a visit to Washington, DC, is truly a life-changing experience.
Virtual tours offer a variety of experiences, including the Smithsonian collection of museums. With museums focusing on natural history, art, Native American history, and American history, as well as much more, you can virtually visit each museum and explore exhibitions, such as Native American photographers, Chinese migrants and their impact on the transcontinental railroad, as well as exhibitions no longer available in the museums, including the role of nurses during World War I.
Ford’s Theatre may be best-known as the site of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. But, the theatre has a long history, including being turned into government offices following the assassination. Now a museum, you can tour the exhibits related to President Lincoln.
Outside of the city, travel to the estate of America’s first president at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, which features a look at historic artifacts and offers a daily livestream, where you can learn interesting information about the estate.
The largest city in the southeast United States, Atlanta is home to several historical exhibits, as well as pop culture attractions, including the Coca Cola Museum.
The Atlanta History Center offers virtual learning opportunities regarding the area’s history, with online exhibits about the Civil War, virtual guest talks, and online resources.
The South’s story can’t be told without a look at civil and human rights. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights offers a virtual look into the struggle for equal rights for people of color and others, including online exhibits and webinars featuring guest speakers.
Nature lovers will enjoy a virtual tour of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, featuring a tour of the nearly 45-year-old attraction. Located on 30 acres of pristine land in midtown Atlanta, online visitors can learn about the flowers, plants, and insects that call the garden home.
With about 1,500 animals at the zoo, you can select animals and learn more about them – such as the red panda and sun bear – as you virtually explore Zoo Atlanta. You can even download an app for cell phones that will feature virtual tours.
Located in the heart of Texas, a virtual visit to Dallas includes tours of the world-famous state fair, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, as well as the Dallas Arboretum.
With a focus on education, agriculture, and history, the State Fair of Texas targets lesson opportunities to grades, separating them into 4-8th grade and 9-12th grade. “Amaze Your Brain” challenges students on a weekly basis at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, with subjects such as physics, chemistry, weather, and earth science.
Dallas Heritage Village offers a look into the area’s history through video tours of the living history area, and online exhibits.
From dinosaurs to the La Brea Tar Pits, the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County features a unique look into the area’s history. With more than 35 million artifacts on hand, the Natural History Museums is home to the largest natural history collection in the western United States. As you browse the websites of the museums’ collection, click on each photograph to learn interesting facts about that subject.
The J. Paul Getty Museum features a look into the history and culture of art of all types, from contemporary paintings to ancient artifacts.
Explore the stories behind the songs with a virtual tour of the Grammy Museum. Offering online learning opportunities with its Exhibits at Home, Education at Home, and Programs at Home, the Grammy Museum encourages homebound students to learn more about songs than just the beat.
Seeking to share the stories and art of African American artists, the Museum of African American Art virtual tour looks at contemporary art pieces.
Offering a look into underwater life in the Puget Sound, Pacific Ocean, and the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Aquarium offers a virtual tour of animals including otters, tufted puffin, seahorses, and the octopus. You can also learn about special topics such as the importance of recycling on sea life.
The Pacific Northwest welcomed immigrants from Scandinavia, and the Nordic Museum celebrates the history with a series of online exhibits aimed at people of all ages. From children’s projects to a look at Nordic innovation, the Nordic Museum is an excellent attraction to virtually tour.
With exhibits ranging from ancient art to Native American artwork, as well as contemporary pieces, the Seattle Art Museum offers a colorful learning opportunity with its online galleries.
Woodland Park Zoo is home to animals from around the world, including gorillas. With its exhibits featuring animals in areas reminiscent of their native areas, the Woodland Park Zoo seeks to provide a pleasant environment. Exploring online, you’ll enjoy seeing animals such as lemurs, gray wolves, and brown bears.
As we study from home, virtual field trips allow us the opportunity to learn about places we haven’t been or places we can look back on and appreciate having the opportunity to have visited. Virtual tours also offer us a break from the routine. These activities are perfect for the end of the school year.
Have fun learning and teaching!
Have a Not So Wimpy day,