Virtual Travel & Tour Options
We started this page while everything was shut down during COVID. We've had such a great response as people continue using it, so we decided to keep updating the page as we find more things to do while you decide you're ready to travel again in person. And if you know of a virtual tour you think others might like, by all means, send it our way to check out and we may just add it below.
Many museums, zoos, aquariums, and other popular world landmarks and destinations offer virtual tours and videos.
Why not do a little "couch travel" by checking out these great boredom busters?
READER SUGGESTIONS (Updated January 31, 2022)
- Interested in traveling to New Zealand, but feel it's too far or it's on your list you plan to tackle once COVID lets up? We had a reader send us this Top Reviews website link to six virtual tours in New Zealand that includes an amazing dark water rafting and glow worm cave as well as, of course, Hobbiton, the movie set where some of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies were filmed (image at right). After seeing these, we bet you'll want to add New Zealand to your must-visit list for in-person travel.
- As the COVID spread changes without notice from day to day, some people still aren't able or do not want to travel. If you'd like to see Ireland without traveling there, a reader sent us a link to a beautiful site where you can "experience" (virtually) 7 amazing tours around the Emerald Isle!
- For people who love exploring other cultures or want to add to their travel bucket lists, the internet is a never-ending resource. Ms. Rhodes, a STEAM teacher, wrote to tell us that one of her students, Pierce, suggested a page for us to add here, one that he enjoyed exploring when looking at cool countries he'd like to visit. Thank you, Pierce, for recommending this great site that explores the food and culture of Dubai. (Click the photo above to access this site to learn more about things to explore in Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates and a very popular travel destination for people around the world.)
- Want to see Da Vinci's work in the Sistine Chapel, visit the Egyptian pyramids, scale Mount Everest, visit a rainforest, or even watch an astronaut play ping pong with slime? You can do all of this and much more on this awesome site! (Note: A big thank you to the family who shared this page with us! They found our page here on VisitMcKinney.com helpful during their COVID shut-in time. Thank you so much, Stephanie and Joanna. We're glad you, your mom, and nana found our page helpful and wanted to share your find with us and our website users this cool page you found!)
- Check out this great link for STEM-based activities for kids of all ages, submitted by Mark Coster, a PhD-trained chemist who is behind the website, STEM Toy Expert. These boredom busters for kids are not only fun but will help them get some hands-on learning with STEM concepts. Click the image at right to watch this fun experiment with Skittles and water. (Thank you, Mark, for submitting this link for our readers! Great activities for homeschoolers, kids doing split school/home schedules, and just for fun learning on the weekends!)
'END NATURE DEFICIT DISORDER' (Added December 2020)
A great online source of ideas for "putting an end to Nature-Deficit Disorder" can be found at StopNDD.org.
This webpage provides a wealth of suggestions and information about the benefits of getting kids outside, exploring nature, and integrating education with nature.
LONE STAR STATE PLACES (Added November 2020)
- The Texas travel office website offers a wealth of great ideas for places to see in the state. For those of you not ready or able to travel to or within Texas, TravelTexas.com has a great list of seven virtual tours to take in the Lone Star State!
- Travel Texas's website also provides a page of ideas for ways to enjoy all things Texas from wherever you are in the world!
ESPECIALLY FOR KIDS
- Access four dozen virtual learning opportunities and other experiences that parents and kids can do together.
- Involve your kids in some hands-on educational activities at sources like the California Science Center that is offering fun science project how-tos. Find a huge list of science activities HERE.
- If you have a curious older elementary school student, you’ll find 35 fun and creative 5th-grade science projects on the WeAreTeachers website.
- Remember when schools taught Civics class? Check out this website that provides games to teach kids Civics lessons!
- Cinemark Theaters has a fun page designed for kids - animated movie coloring sheets.
- Celebrities like Betty White, Oprah Winfrey, Rami Malak, Haley Duff, Viola Davis, and many others read a large selection of children’s books on video. All viewing is free!
- Texas State Parks virtual tours
- Texas State Aquarium
- National Parks
- The San Diego Zoo’s "live cams"
- The Northern Soltice Alpaca Farm in Maine virtual tours via their YouTube channel
- Monterey Bay Aquarium on the California coast is offering live-streaming webcams of all kinds of creatures, including sea otters, jellyfish, penguins, and more!
MUSEUMS & OTHER WORLD ATTRACTIONS
- World Famous Destinations - Many locations have new Google Street View tours offering experiences like the view from the top of Paris, France’s Eiffel Tower or a walk around the Taj Mahal in New Dehli, India. This site offers a wide range of other Google Street View Tours, too.
- The Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum current exhibits
- The Guggenheim Museum in New York City offers three different views - interior, aerial and tripod imagery.
- Disney has closed its parks temporarily, but you can visit them via 360-degree panorama views!
- You can live-stream the view of the North Lights from your couch!
FOR CAR ENTHUSIASTS
- Take a behind-the-scenes tour to see an incredible pristine antique car collection in the vault of The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California. The Vault includes 150 vehicles including a Mercedes-Benz that belonged to Saddam Hussein, President Clinton’s golf cart, an imposing 1925 Round Door Rolls-Royce that was once doomed to a New Jersey junkyard, and much more.
- Check out the incredible Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar in the Los Angeles area. The Nethercutt Collection was founded in 1972 by J.B. Nethercutt (1913–2004), who was the co-founder of Merle Norman Cosmetics with his aunt, Merle Nethercutt Norman.