One gift during the COVID pandemic has been the increased availability of virtual field trips. Popular field trip sites such as museums, zoos, and aquariums led the way in creating many virtual field trips made as temporary replacements when in-person visits weren’t permitted.
Now, the ability to travel to places across the country, world, and beyond virtually has opened up new doors for interactive learning that may be here to stay.
Encourage Your Scientists
Kids can attend interactive Virtual Field Trips from Discovery Education during live sessions or on-demand. Visit the Boeing lab and watch engineers test new aerospace ideas or the Idaho National Laboratory to learn about nuclear energy research and development. With hundreds of STEM trips all matched with interactive learning materials, future scientists are sure to be inspired!
In the creative and interactive game Reading the ABCs from Space, students can travel the earth while learning science facts with each letter of the alphabet. NASA earth science took the images from land imagers and space stations.
Visit Animals in their Habitats
The San Diego Zoo provides live webcams for their giraffes, pandas, penguins, tigers, and more. Join in as they sleep, play, and eat. Their kid’s corner videos also provide an animal-based lesson with a coordinating craft or activity. Learn how animals like chameleons and coral reef fish use camouflage to protect themselves, and then make your own underwater scene with botanical bugs.
Here’s a list of other Live Streaming Animal Webcams, Zoos around the World by zoo and animal species. Visit the Edinburgh Zoo, The Melbourne Zoo in Australia, or the Dudley Zoo in England.
The Georgia Aquarium’s Ocean Voyager webcam is one of the largest aquatic exhibits in the world and brings you underwater to observe thousands of marine animals, including sharks, manta rays, and various fish. Other webcams include viewings of the Beluga whale, piranhas, or penguins.
Other aquarium webcams to check out include Monterey Bay’s sea otters and moon jellyfish or the Aquarium of the Pacific’s tropical reef or shark lagoon. The Maritime Aquarium’s Virtual Programs were named one of the best educational initiatives in 2020 and offer classes you can register for online.
Take Off for Space
Access Mars is an experiment in collaboration with Google and NASA. Roam around Mars in a 3D model of the planet created from real images. Your budding space explorer will love driving their own Curiosity rover.
Nickelodeon Community Partner Resources makes learning about space a lot of messy fun! Watch and learn as NASA astronauts do experiments with slime in space. Supplemental resources and activities are available.
Virtual Planetarium Shows from the National Air and Space Museum include interactive programs led by staff. Learn all about the sky and how it impacts our daily lives. Or NASA at Home—Virtual Tours let participants explore space stations and visit star systems or other planets’ surfaces.
Immerse in Nature & National Parks
Nature Lab provides a four-week program to explore the world and learn about sustainability. Lessons are broken down by weekly themes and include guides and hands-on projects. Or, learn about the Ridge to Reef concept of how what happens on land impacts nearby water by exploring Hong Kong’s Pak Nai region.
Tour the World’s Best Museums
Walk through the National Museum of Natural History exhibits, including the Hall of Fossils or the Journey Through Deep Time to explore the origins of life on earth. Access past exhibits and current exhibits, or take one of the guided tours.
Visit the American Museum of Natural History and tour the Hall of Planet Earth. Use Google Arts and Culture to explore topics such as plate tectonics. Videos, writing activities, and worksheets are available.
When you tour the virtual museum Museo Galileo, you’ll learn all about Galileo’s life and inventions. Each room has a theme, including the Science of Navigation, Teaching and Popularizing Science, and the Science of Warfare.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art allows virtual visitors to explore exhibit collections, including in-depth descriptions, or take a tour through the museum. See the works of Van Gogh or discover a new favorite artist. Other Google Arts & Culture museum tours include La Galleria Nazionale in Rome and Shimane Art Museum in Japan.
Engage with American history with Colonial Williamsburg webcams that provide an opportunity to view the historic sites in the village, including the Market House, Merchants Square, and Duke of Gloucester Street. The American Revolution virtual tour is a re-enactment of the unfolding of this historical war and critical moment in American history.
History buffs may also want to take a Virtual Field Trip to Ellis Island to learn about the story of immigrants arriving at the land of opportunity. Or, engage in The Manhattan Project through The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, which takes students through the history of the atomic bomb.
Travel the World
Students can truly travel the world with panoramic views from 360Cities. Visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris, watch the crowds at the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, or watch the sunrise in Buenos Aires. Use the 360Cities map to pick which part of the world you would like to explore today!
Take a virtual tour of The Great Wall of China with its incredible views and high-resolution images. See how the president lives by touring The White House. Or how about the Queen’s home, Buckingham Palace? You can even travel back in time by exploring what still remains of the Pyramids of Giza.
No matter which subjects, places, or creatures interest your children, there is bound to be a virtual field trip that will engage their curiosity. These virtual field trips provide vast opportunities to explore places as far away as space itself.
Parenting Today is presented by the Minnesota Department of Health.