Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many families have found their favorite destinations are closed or limitations are placed on attendance, such as theme parks. Sports and trips may be cancelled or put on hold, leaving at-home activities to be the new norm.
Instead of hitting the road for vacation, hit the search bar on your browser to find the best virtual tours you must take during the Covid pandemic. Your summer will be the social distance staycation of your dreams!
Want to Explore Historical Sites? Check Out Cyark.org.
Cyark is a non-profit whose mission is “to digitally record, archive and share the world’s most significant cultural heritage and ensure that these places continue to inspire wonder and curiosity for decades to come.”
The site is amazing because it features virtual tours of some of the most important historical sites in the world. Cyark also is a great site to integrate into virtual history lessons for kids if their school district has decided to utilize online learning.
Site visitors also can click through an exhibit for each historical landmark and check out other features, too. Cyark isn’t a recorded trip, per se. That is, you shouldn’t expect to get a walking tour. However, you can seemingly step into these amazing destinations as if you were there.
Cyark offers so many historical sites to explore that it’s impossible to list them all. However, here are several you may want to check out this summer:
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Mount Rushmore features the carved faces of four presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt. However, as many know, there also is controversy surrounding the monument. The land originally belonged to the Lakota Sioux; the Black Hills were a sacred area to the tribe. Debate over the ownership of the land continues today. While a 1980 Supreme Court opinion stated that the U.S. owed the tribes a financial settlement for the Black Hills, the Sioux have refused to take the settlement (perhaps for fear that accepting the money means forfeiting the land claim).
The cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo have long since been abandoned. However, the intricacies of these stone structures are a sight to behold. Take a virtual tour of this National Park to see the dwellings and visit the online galleries to learn more about the Navajo and their culture and traditions.
Brandenburg Gate (Germany)
While the Brandenburg Gate was ordered to be built in the 1700s by Friedrich Wilhelm II (King of Prussia), the gate came to be symbolic of a dividing landmark of East and West Germany. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan gave a speech at the gate that ended with an unforgettable remark to Mikhail Gorbachev: “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev — Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” In November 1989, the Berlin Wall came down.
Tower of London
Built by William I The Conqueror, the Tower of London is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The official site of the tower notes that it was a “Mighty fortress. Royal palace. Infamous prison.” The landmark protected royalty, served as the site for the Royal Mint and even featured a zoo! Even today, the Yeoman Warders guard the tower; visitors can observe the changing of the guard every day.
Visit the remains of ancient Greece from your home. Corinth was the home of the Fountain of Peirene, which you can explore via the virtual tour. For more historical data, visit the Ancient Corinth exhibit on Cyark.
Where Else Can You Visit This Summer?
Cyark isn’t the only online portal to world travel and historical landmarks. Ready to go on a virtual worldwide adventure? Cue up YouTube, grab some snacks and travel to Europe, Asia and Africa. Here’s a roundup of YouTube’s best virtual tours:
Rick Steves’ Europe provides some of the best virtual visits throughout the continent. His tour of Salzburg, Austria includes amazing views of the city’s beautiful mountains and lakes, with a focus on the sounds of Austrian musicians.
Phi Phi Islands (Thailand)
Need a beach vacation? Book it over to the YouTube channel of “Babe, where’s my passport,” and get ready to explore the tranquil Phi Phi islands. Ko Phi Phi was famous for its inclusion in the movie “The Beach.” Yes, that beautiful blue cove exists in real life!
Kruger National Park (South Africa)
If you’ve ever wanted to take a safari in Africa but just can’t make the trip, you can visit Kruger National Park for free via YouTube. 4K Relaxation Channel offers a virtual tour of Kruger National Park, where you can see the amazing plains and get a glimpse of all the animals. The whole trip takes about 90 minutes, so get comfortable!
The Great Wall of China
Sawyer Hartman filmed his trip to the Great Wall via drone so you can experience this historic site. As many of the shots are filmed overhead, the views are amazing. The entire tour clocks in a little over five minutes, so this is a quick tour.
If you’re looking for a longer ‘walking tour,’ check out VisualJ’s tour. The video is shot to feel that you’re walking along on the tour, too. This tour will take you about 30 minutes.
The Amazon Rainforest Canopy
Explore the jungles of the Amazon Rainforest. This tour takes you for a stroll along the Amazon Rainforest Canopy walkway, where you can view the lush greenery of the rainforest; Biophilia calls its tour is a “zen experience.”
One of the most historic pieces of artwork can be found on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo painted a series of scenes on the ceiling that depict accounts and stories from the Bible (Noah and the creation of Adam are both adorned on the ceiling). However, one of the most famous scenes is The Last Judgment. ItalyGuides. It lets you take a virtual tour of the chapel and glimpse this famous work of art.
While you and your family may be stuck at home and limited to the places and spaces you can visit, the internet can be your free ticket to a great ‘staycation.’ Virtual tours found online can let you visit all the places on your must-see list. Search YouTube for your favorite destinations and check out sites like Cyark for historical exhibits and virtual tours.