Virtual Experiences to Enjoy While Social Distancing

*This blog is a repost originating from Gibson Sotheby’s International Realtor. See here for the original post.

While regular travel may be off the cards for the foreseeable future, virtual escapes are open to everyone with an internet connection. Discover how you can visit favorite attractions across New England and around the world that you may have never delved into before—all from the comfort and safety of home. 

Examine a local exhibit.

The Google Arts & Culture page has dozens of panoramic images of various exhibits currently on display. Peruse the Museum of Fine Arts, one of the largest museums in the country, or the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a house of art collected by Gardner, who asked that her collection be made available to the public for education and enjoyment. The virtual “walking tour” of Boston’s Black Heritage Trail explores the rich history of Boston’s 19th-century black community on Beacon Hill. Learners worldwide can draw with artist and children’s book author Mo Willems once a day through The Kennedy Center’s website. Grab some paper and pencils, pens or crayons and get creative together!

Visit with the animals.

The beloved New England Aquarium has temporarily closed its doors, but is taking virtual visitors behind the scenes with daily videos on its website. Kick back and watch Reggae the Atlantic Harbor seal brush his teeth, watch sea lions in training, and more. So far, the most popular video has been a feeding of Myrtle the turtle, which currently has over 12,000 views on YouTube.

Looking to “travel” a little further? The world-renowned San Diego Zoo is offering live camera and recorded footage of wildlife as they explore, eat, swing, pounce, groom, and play through their day.

Experience history at home.

Courtesy of Historic New England, virtual visitors can tour historic mansions like the 1878 Eustis Estate Museum in Milton and the 1938 Gropius House in Lincoln. Wander the buildings to check out photos, videos, and archival materials. If you’ve never had a chance to tour Newport, Rhode Island’s historic mansions, you can  do so now from the comfort of your couch: The Preservation Society of Newport has launched virtual tours of several mansions and exhibitions. At home with the kids? Explore the Family Ties Online Curriculum, which uses primary sources to teach children a history lesson.

Join a virtual book club.

Books, fictional or not, are windows into different parts of the world. Exploring books in your favorite genre, self-improvement, or even something outside of your comfort zone, can be a source of enlightenment and relaxation. What’s more, you can join a virtual book club to enhance your experience and connect with new people.

Wander a national park.

While the National Parks Service hasn’t closed any of its parks to the public, making a special visit to a national park may not be in the cards for travelers for the time being. Take a virtual trip to Cape Cod’s National Seashore, the great Outer Beach described by Thoreau in the 1800s. Or, virtually trek Acadia National Park’s famous 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain, where sunrises and sunsets are “bucket-list experiences,” according to Fodor’s. Part of Montana’s Rocky Mountains, picturesque views of Glacier National Park are sure to evoke a sense of calm. Smithsonian Magazine has compiled an exhaustive list of unique virtual reality experiences that open up some of the country’s most spectacular wonders to everyone.