18 museums, attractions, and theme parks you can visit virtually including the Louvre, San Diego Zoo, Disneyland, and The Wizarding World of Harry PotterGet the Full StoryWith leisure travel largely on pause in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, many are mourning their summer plans for travel, adventure, and cultural exploration.
Fortunately, there's never been a better time to access some of the world's leading art, culture, and activity venues, which are now available virtually, and for free.
We rounded up links to some of the most famous museums, attractions, and theme parks in the world without leaving the house.
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With the summer season nearly underway, travelers around the world are grieving dashed plans as a result of the novel coronavirus. And while nothing can truly substitute for face-to-face interactions and in-person experiences, there is some good news: it's never been easier to traverse the world online and experience its cultural riches.
Indeed, as the pandemic began to spread throughout the United States, Google Arts & Culture partnered with thousands of museums and galleries to present tours and exhibits, available virtually, and for free.
In addition to museums, cultural institutions such as zoos, aquariums, and theme parks as well as their fans and proxies have all put versions of their offerings online, providing a much-needed dose of diversion, sense of escape, and education to people of all ages. Inventive formats include tours, live cams, virtual reality experiences, and more.
Here are 18 of the world's most famous museums, attractions, and theme parks, available virtually, for free.
Museums and Galleries
Museums and Galleries
Loren Ybarrondo Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
Louvre: The Mus e du Louvre, or, the Louvre Museum in Paris, is offering a substantial slate of virtual tours including a historical tour of the building, and a Mona Lisa virtual reality experience, which is a much closer and less congested look than you'd get even if you visited in person.
Uffizi Gallery: Florence, Italy's world-class Uffizi Gallery is home to the art collection of the de'Medici family. The beautiful building dates back to 1560 built for the family but you can tour it in a very 2020 fashion: online. Just choose a room and zoom in.
Smithsonian: The Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History welcomes guests for virtual self-guided tours of various areas and exhibits within the museum. Visitors can check out current and permanent exhibits, as well as past exhibits that are no longer on display. Click around the arrows, and zoom in on objects for an up-close look.
British Museum: The British Museum in London is a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits and now features an impressive array of online offerings. Tour the blockbuster Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibit, learn about the Rosetta Stone and tour the Egypt galleries, or take a virtual tour via Google street view.
Norval Foundation: Pop over to South Africa on your lunch break with a virtual walk around the Norval Foundation. This art museum is packed with modern art from South Africa and elsewhere, and exhibitions include a lovely sculpture garden with works from African sculptors.
Versailles: The former home of French royalty, Versailles is an easily accessible metro ride from Paris and a must-hit sightseeing stop. You can now enjoy an excellent look online, too. A virtual visit to Versailles includes up-close tours of artworks and never-before-seen content including 3D and VR experiences.
J.Paul Getty Museum: Los Angeles' Getty Museum is known as much for its art collection as it is for its beautiful environs with lush gardens and stunning views upon prime real estate. View exhibits spanning 6,000 years of history, and navigate through spaces within the museum using the street view function, clicking on individual artworks for a better look.
Boston Children's Museum: Kids can use arrows to click around and explore the Boston Children's Museum, a beloved organization that is more than a century old. The museum also offers a substantial archive of daily activities and learning tools.
Mus e d'Orsay: Paris' Mus e d'Orsay is an iconic attraction, housed in the former Orsay railway station, that was originally built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. Take a virtual walkthrough to admire French artists including Monet and C zanne, or explore an exhibition about the building itself.
MoMA The Museum of Modern Art: New York City's Museum of Modern Art, or, MoMA, is providing a virtual look into its galleries, which include some of the most famous modern artworks in the world. Think Van Gogh's The Starry Night and Henri Rousseau's The Dream.
Van Gogh Museum: Devoted Van Gogh fans will want to catch a virtual tour of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which houses the largest collection in the world of artworks by the painter. The permanent collection includes more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and more than 750 letters, plus other exhibitions from the same period in art history.
Neon Museum: Las Vegas' wildly colorful Neon Museum is offering at-home viewers a range of ways to access its large-scale neon signs and artifacts. Watch videos on its YouTube channel or learn about the attractions in its outdoor Boneyard via a web app.
Shedd Aquarium: Chicago's Shedd Aquarium offers a virtual look at aquatic biodiversity through a beautiful underwater live stream, a virtual reality penguin exhibition, and a whole range of additional digital resources for all ages.
San Diego Zoo: The world-famous San Diego Zoo is offering incredible live cams showing a closer look at pandas, hippos, platypus, and many more animals. They are also offering a host of digital curricula for kids, including printouts, videos, games, and other activities.
Monterey Bay Aquarium: Explore the Monterey Bay Aquarium by way of 10 hypnotic different webcams. Check out playful sea otters, watch beautiful tropical fish glide by, or get lost in the peaceful drifting of the jellyfish, which is an excellent stress reliever in a pandemic.
Universal Studios via Xplorit
Disney parks: Disneyland may be closed, but the pandemic does afford a chance to check out some of its most popular rides without waiting in line. A series of YouTube videos from various unaffiliated accounts include rides on the exciting Indiana Jones, the soothing It's a Small World, and iconic Pirates of the Caribbean. You can also check out Disney Parks' first-ever 360-degree digital panoramas by way of Google street view.
Universal Orlando: Experience Universal's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley virtually, or visit the park's YouTube channel for an inside look at Universal holiday events and restaurants. Or, try out 360-degree videos of some of the most popular rides like the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit rollercoaster at Universal Studios Florida, the Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure, and Krakatau Aqua Coaster at Universal's Volcano Bay.
Legoland Florida: Visit the Legoland Resort Castle from the comfort of your couch with a virtual tour. For a more heart-pounding experience, navigate the indoor-outdoor steel rollercoaster The Dragon, virtual reality-style.
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