By definition, self-isolating is isolating. Since the odds of developing COVID-19 increase with age, the CDC is advising adults ages 65 and older to stay home. Senior living facilities have restricted visitors, making nursing homes and assisted living facilities even lonelier than before. Not being able to leave the house and interact with others is making us all a little stir-crazy. While avoiding Coronavirus, we’re developing a severe case of cabin fever. Even the most hermetic of us need to get out once in a while.
Various virtual experiences offer stimulation and entertainment to keep you distracted while social-distancing. Visit these museums, national landmarks, and cultural institutions from the comfort of your couch.
Explore the Smithsonian Institution’s museums, galleries, and gardens virtually. View the National Museum of Natural History’s permanent, current and past exhibitions, like the Hall of Human Origins, Deep Time Hall of Fossils, and the Butterfly Pavilion. You can also view the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery’s past, current, and upcoming exhibitions. Arts and culture enthusiasts will also enjoy the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of Asian Art. Check out the National Air and Space Museum’s aviation and space artifacts. Smithsonian Magazine’s extensive virtual travel collection includes A Photographic Tour of the World’s Most Colorful Places, A Virtual Tour of Two Recently Excavated Homes in Pompeii, Tate Modern’s Andy Warhol Exhibition, and A Vibrant Tour of America’s Neon Signs.
While the world’s best cultural institutions are closed to the public, they’re opening their doors virtually. The Louvre, The Met, the MoMa, the Sistine Chapel, and the Guggenheim are just a handful of the world-class museums you can tour online. Google Arts & Culture brings the collections of over 2,000 museums to your fingertips.
Google Arts & Culture also makes it possible to see some of the most fascinating wonders of the world. Look out over Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower, tour the Palace of Versailles without the throngs of tourists, check out the Taj Mahal without having to fly to India and stand in line. You can also check the landmark’s website for virtual tours, such as Stonehenge’s 360-degree view from inside the monument and the Great Wall of China.
Check some of our nation’s beloved parks off your bucket list, including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Arches National Park, and Smoky Mountain National Park with Google Earth. Satellite images come together with aerial photography and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) data to create a 3D map of our home planet. Google Earth allows you to see cities and landscapes from various angles, while it’s Voyager feature feeds you facts about an area. Clicking “I’m feeling lucky” takes you somewhere random, otherwise, you can search where you’d like to “go”.
Celebrity chefs are offering virtual cooking demonstrations, like Alton Brown’s Quarantine Quitchen series YouTube. Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski is sharing recipes on an Instagram series dubbed Quar Eye: Cooking Lessons in Quarantine. Cozymeal offers live interactive online cooking classes taught by professional chefs for under $30. If this is the kind of content you’re craving, be sure to check out the America’s Test Kitchen YouTube channel.
See the Seattle Symphony perform on its YouTube page. The Metropolitan Opera is doing free live streams of masterpieces by the likes of Mozart, Verdi, and Strauss. For more concerts you can catch from the couch, check out Billboard’s comprehensive list.
Sign up for a free trial of BroadwayHD to see musicals, ballets, plays, and other performances. From classics like Cats to Shakespeare and Cirque du Soleil performances, view the library of hundreds of productions at your leisure without any annoying ads. A monthly membership is under $10, while a yearly one is just under $100.
Aquariums and zoos
Animal habitats like the Monterey Bay Aquarium and San Diego Zoo have live animal cams set up so you can watch from home. It’s always fun to see what Beekman 1802’s cute baby goats are up to. Check out the live webcam footage of the Smithsonian National Zoo’s brand new cheetah cubs, so-ugly-they’re-cute naked mole rats, lazy lions, giant pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiang, as well as their Asian elephants.
Astrophiles should download NASA’s free Space Center Houston app for an audio tour of its educational facility. Travel 238,900 miles to the moon with the app’s augmented reality. NASA also offers free virtual tours of their Langley Research Center in Virginia and the Glenn Research Center in Ohio.
Look up at the night sky
Another stellar interstellar website for amateur astronomers is Stellarium Web, an online planetarium. See what constellations are over your area on the star map and use the search bar to find other galaxies. There’s also a calendar feature that shows celestial happenings, like the next full moon.
Visit friends and family
Technology makes it possible to see friends and family even when you can’t be in the same room together. Video call loved ones using Zoom, Skype, Facetime, or Facebook Messenger on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Go on a Florida vacation
Visit Orlando without stepping foot in the Sunshine State with more than 20 virtual experiences, ranging from theme parks to arts and culture. Zipline over alligators, ride a 200-foot roller coaster, and explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley.
AirBnB online experiences
AirBnB’s online experiences star hosts, olympians, and animals. Unique activities include a class on the Secrets of Sourdough, Creative Smartphone Photography at Home, and Goal Setting with Olympic Gold Medalist Breeja Larson. Simply sign up for the date and time of your choosing. Once you book, you’ll receive an email with a link and details on how to join the class from your computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Not only does 360 Cities let you visit virtually any city in the world, but it also features interactive panoramic underwater and aerial views. You can even see snapshots of Mars! Not sure what you’re looking for? Browse the website’s curated galleries to find 360-degree photos of a World War ll Military Aircraft, Monastery Exteriors From Tibet To Spain, and Natural Pools Of Water.