Escapes That Will Take You Anywhere, Virtually

By Donna Long

The world has been a crazy and frustrating place for the last few months. Closed borders, travel restrictions, self-quarantines, social distancing, the resurgence of Covid cases – it wears on a person’s soul. We need a break. You need a break. 

So take a trip, yes, get out of the house (virtually)! Go on a trip someplace fun, exotic, or just around the corner. Explore the wonders of the world. Watch penguins and sharks at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Catch a Broadway show. Tour Buckingham Palace or go on a virtual deep-sea dive.

Take a moment to give yourself a break from the perils of current events and virtually escape your surroundings. Go on an armchair travel escapade to rediscover the wonders of life.

Tour Buckingham Palace

Serving as the official London residence of England’s royalty since 1837, Buckingham Palace is also the current administrative offices of the Queen and the immediate royal family members. You will not see all 775 rooms of the palace during the virtual tour, but you will get to meander the Grand Staircase continuing to the White Drawing Room, Throne Room, and the Blue Drawing Room. You will get a glimpse of the elaborate rooms where national celebrations, weddings, garden parties, and jubilees are held every year.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Give yourself a bit of relaxation with the Monterey Bay Aquarium live cam. Chill to live sights and sounds of jellyfish, penguins, sea otters, sharks, and the splashing of the waves of the Monterey Bay. The shark, kelp forest, and penguin cams have music as well so if you have the bandwidth, they are fabulous to let stream. 

Bubble Machine

This is a fun one. Not super adventurous, but younger grandkids will get a kick out of it. From what I can tell (and from what it says) this live cam is of Andie and Mike’s backyard Florida patio. What makes it fun is that you can click a button and blast 30 seconds of bubbles from their bubble machine. Give it a try. 

Look for Nessie

Has Nessie the Lockness monster been a curiosity of yours since childhood? Well then this cam will be of interest to you, just keep in mind that it is located in Scotland which is 6 hours ahead of Texas.

Swim with Sealions

Join the National Marine Sanctuary on a deep-sea dive, without getting wet. Experience four different narrated tours where you will explore underwater ecosystems, sealion encounters, and shipwreck discoveries. These virtual tours are easily experienced on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. If you have a VR headset or goggles, the experience will be even more thrilling. You can practically feel the water.

Beatles Fans and Abby Road

For all The Beatles fans out there this cam is for you. Gaze upon live views of Abbey Road in London, the infamous road that The Beatles strolled across. Watch cars and mopeds drive the street and people cross on that historic zebra-striped crossing. I have seen people getting dropped off by taxi, double-decker buses, and emergency vehicles. This cam also has audio so you can hear an occasional word or two.

 African Safari

If you have wanted to go on an African safari but can’t really afford it then this may be the next best thing. Tip, make sure your sound is on for these. There are eight different locations with cameras going. The same as the Nessie cam, keep in mind the time when you are checking out the cams. Africa is 7 hours ahead of Texas.

These cameras do have night vision so if something is moving around, you will see it. They will also zoom in and rotate. I saw some of the largest flying critters I have ever seen, and no they were not birds or bats. I also saw a mongoose-type critter and monkeys sleeping in a tree.

Watch a Broadway Show

Broadway and Broadway World have teamed up to satisfy your craving for live theatrical performances from stages around the world. In addition to streaming plays, you can also stream dance classes, concerts, and activities for the grandkids. Just because we are stuck at home, does not mean we have to forgo the fine arts. 

Life on Earth

If you want to see if there is still life left on this planet or if you are the sole survivor then check out EarthCam. EarthCam is a network of live camera feeds spread around the world. I had to check in on one of my favorite cities, NYC. The Square was pretty vacant with just a few cars and people. Another cam I checked out was the Fort Lauderdale Marina. It was nice to watch boats meander through the water. Also scope out St. Thomas, Dublin Ireland, or Rick’s Cafe in Jamaica.  

Explore with a 360 Tour

Take a break from your regular routine to stroll through the Louvre, walk the Great Wall of China, or tour Pompeii – all virtually of course, with a 360-tour. Investigate natural history with a virtual walk through the Smithsonian National Museum of History or see what it is like to be a rocket scientist for NASA as you traverse the Glenn Research Center facilities touring ballistic labs to simulated lunar operations to supersonic wind tunnels. 

Perhaps you are feeling the need to get back to nature and hike trails in National Parks or explore Yosemite. for Virtual 360 tours are a wonderful way to ‘get out’ and explore destinations that you may not be able to visit, even after social distancing is lifted. 

Explore Stonehenge

Sitting in the midst of a World Heritage site is Stonehenge, one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world. The English Heritage society has created two ways to explore Stonehenge virtually. Skyscape allows you a live view of Stonehenge as if you are standing in the center of the stones learning about how the moon and sun’s movements align with Stonehenge.  The interactive 360-virtual tour will give you a narration of historical highlights about how the stone circle was created and the burial mounds located nearby.

Get Out, Virtually that is

We may be confined to stay home during this trying time, but as you can see, we can still travel, explore, and see this remarkable world. These are just a few of the virtual excursions that are available at the click of a mouse. There are many more virtual adventures waiting for you to discover from the comfort of your home. So grab your smartphone, iPad, tablet, or scoot to your computer and take a tour, walk in The Beatles footsteps, create bubbles, or hunt for Nessie. Get out and virtually discover.

LINKS:

Buckingham Palace – https://www.royal.uk/virtual-tours-buckingham-palace

Monterey Bay Aquarium – https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

Bubble Machine – http://andieandmike.org/bubblecam/index.php

Look for Nessie – https://www.lochness.co.uk/livecam.html

Swim with Sealions – https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/vr/

Beatles and Abby Road – https://www.abbeyroad.com/crossing

African Safari – https://www.africam.com/wildlife/live-african-wildlife-safari-channels/

Watch a Broadway Show – https://www.broadwayworld.com/streaming-schedule/

Life on Earth – https://www.earthcam.com/

NYC – https://www.earthcam.com/usa/newyork/timessquare/?cam=gts2_broadway

Fort Lauderdale Marina – https://www.earthcam.com/usa/florida/fortlauderdale/marina/?cam=lauderdalemarina

St. Thomas – https://www.earthcam.com/world/virginislands/stthomas/?cam=stthomas

Dublin Ireland – https://www.earthcam.com/world/ireland/dublin/?cam=templebar

Rick’s Cafe in Jamaica – https://www.earthcam.com/world/jamaica/negril/?cam=rickscafe

Explore with a 360 Tour

 Louvre – https://petitegalerie.louvre.fr/visite-virtuelle/saison5/

Great Wall of China – https://www.thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china

Pompeii –https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7489468,14.4848331,3a,75y,209.48h,82.37t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s1e-bu_kis-dL1BnVGZhDdw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

Smithonian National Museum of History – https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour

 Glenn Research Center – https://www.nasa.gov/glennvirtualtours

National Parks – http://www.360parks.com/

Explore Stonehenge – https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/history-and-stories/stonehenge360/