Keeping kids engaged at home

The Alamo in San Antonio, one of Texas’s most revered landmarks, offers online virtual tours. 

The coronavirus outbreak has led to the temporary closure of many tourist attractions, theme parks, and public event spaces. Thankfully, many museums and tourist attractions all over the world are inspiring people to stay curious and occupied by offering free virtual tours, exhibits, live web cams, and videos for kids and kids at heart to enjoy from the comfort of their homes. For those looking for a dose of the great outdoors, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has a livestream option on their official YouTube channel. The Department also has a vast amount of video uploads with various park features, Texas historic sites, camping, outdoor cooking and activities, and wildlife.

To experience sea life and aquatic animals up close and personal, the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi offers that and more. Explore a variety of animals from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, along with virtual tours of coral reefs, a stingray lagoon, and of course, sharks.

To catch a glimpse of land animals, the Houston Zoo offers live webcams that feature gorilla habitats, elephants, rhinos, chimps, and flamingos.

NASA’s Houston Space Center offers free virtual exhibits, virtual tours, audio tours, and even a free immersive mobile app that lets space enthusiasts virtually step into mission control. To top it off with a dose of fun, the app also lets kids take astronaut selfies.

For Texas history buffs, visiting The Alamo in San Antonio, one of Texas’s most revered landmarks, is a must see. The Alamo offers a virtual tour, along with 360-degree panoramic images of the Alamo Shrine and grounds.

For kids more artistically inspired, there are plenty of places offering free online classes, as well as virtual tours of the world’s most famous art galleries. With Google’s Art and Culture, kids can explore high-definition artwork with Art Camera, and tour famous sites and landmarks using Street View.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., also features a virtual tour with a majestic tyrannosaurus rex on display. Kids can even move at their own pace through the 360-degree, room-by-room tour of every exhibit in the museum.

For world travelers, the British Museum in London has the Rosetta Stone, and exhibits of Egyptian mummies on a virtual tour. BBC also offers virtual tours of the World Wars, and reconstruction of a typical day in the trenches.

No need to book a ticket to Paris to check out some of the famous pieces in the world’s largest art museum. The Louvre offers free online tours of three famous exhibits and galleries, including Egyptian antiquities featuring collections of the Pharaonic period.

Back in the U.S.A., the Museum of Modern Art in New York City offers free online classes featuring contemporary art, fashion, and photography. The courses are self-paced, and three of the classes are for homebound parents and teachers looking to create interactive exercises for kids.

Whether immersing in art, science, or history in Texas, the U.S., or around the globe, there is sure to be something for everyone. The tough part is deciding where to go first.

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