Visit US national parks, specific cities and the their museums, track wildlife in Africa and so much more, all without leaving home and without a US Passport
Most are FREE, but some of these tours are ticketed, for about the same price you would pay for a real in-person tour or admission fee, with all proceeds supporting the museum or its employees.
Here are our choices of the best places to roam from home and be a virtual ecoXplorer.
Roam From Home Around the World
Go on safari in South Africa, to track elephants, lions, giraffes and more.
These FREE live-streamed safaris are filmed at private game preserves, and broadcast daily at 9:30am and Midnight Eastern Time, which is dawn and dusk in South Africa, when the animals are active.
WilThere’s also the chance to send your questions by email, to be answered during the broadcasts by the expert safari guides.
Tour one of the world’s most famous and finest art collections with a licensed English-speaking guide.
The one-hour virtual tour includes:
The Vatican Museums
- Over the years, Popes have collected some of the most important art treasures as testament to their power and opulence. The Borgia Apartments, for instance, were made exclusively for the Borgia Pope Alexander VI. The Gallery of Maps, which are included in the tour, feature some of the most accurate hand-drawn maps of their day.
- Painted by Michelangelo over the course of four years, this feat of Western art stands as one of the most important pieces in the world. With your guide, learn the details of the painstaking labor behind this great work, as well as others nearby like the frescoes painted by Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli.
Saint Peter’s Basilica
- This is the largest church in the world, and the last stop on the virtual tour. Baroque sculptor Bernini built the impressive Baldacchino above the spot where St. Peter himself is supposedly buried. With your guide, you will experience this amazing work as well as another of Michelangelo’s masterpieces: La Pieta.
Tickets for this virtual tour are $15, and all proceeds go towards keeping the licensed guides employed and paid while the sites are shut down by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Old Town dates from the 1200s, with crenelated buildings and a huge town square.
Even 800 years later, Altstadt (Old Town in German) remains the heart of the city, with museums, theater, sidewalk cafes and a thoroughly modern vibe.
This virtual tour of the old town shows it all, including the recent renovations that recreated several historic buildings according to their original plan.
Click here to take a virtual tour of Frankfurt’s old town.
- Full disclosure – My father was born in Frankfurt and I have visited many times, including to research and write the Frankfurt chapter of multiple recent editions of Fodor’s Germany.
Roam From Home in the USA
Take a tour of Steel City with the curator at the Carnegie Museum of Art Heinz Architectural Center.
His FREE virtual tour retraces the steps first taken by the University of Pittsburgh professor of art and architecture history Franklin Toker in his 1986 book Pittsburgh: An Urban Portrait.
Photographs taken during Ryan’s Toker-inspired walks around Pittsburgh are being shared as part of Storyboard, CMOA’s online journal whose fourth issue, per the museum, features “reflections from our staff and members of our community on ways that their lives and work have been affected by the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.”
Pittsburgh’s wealth of landmark architecture makes it a rich and somewhat unsung city to explore by foot with the express purpose of gawking at buildings—admirers of Gothic revival are in for a real treat—no matter what Frank Lloyd Wright may have once said.
You’ll find more of Ryan’s photos, accompanied by snippets of critical commentary pulled from Toker’s book, at the Storyboard website.
National Park Week was the last week in April, but every week of the year should be National Parks Week so we can appreciate these wonders any time.
Virtual Vintage Vehicles
The Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles houses one of the most fabulous collections of historic vehicles on the planet, with the most valuable and rare of them parked in what’s called The Vault.
Take a ride into the first ever full Vault Tour, with more than 60 minutes and 250 of the rarest and most expensive cars in the world.
See everything from celebrity cars, Ferraris, Bugattis, and race cars.
It’s on the Peterson’s YouTube channel, and it’s FREE.