Staying in Portland while the Coronvirus crisis plays out doesn't mean you have to stay in Portland if you don't want to. Well—OK, physically, yes, you really need to stay indoors. But you can still go across the world from the comfort of your couch so long as you've got an internet connection. Museums, zoos, theaters, parks, and other organizations are also participating in notable live streams and making their digital content free to access. If you're longing for a change of environment and a solo walk around your neighborhood just isn't cutting it, we've compiled some excellent online resources available to expand your mind and soothe your anxiety
Jump to: Museum Tours | Travel | Animals & Nature | Arts & Performance | Education | Workouts & Fitness | Other Cool Resources
J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles)
Famous for its Medieval illuminated manuscripts—and once valued as the richest museum in the world—the Getty is available for tours via Google Street View. That means you can enjoy the grounds' hypnotizing circular gardens in addition to its collection of artwork and sculptures.
Save yourself the trouble of capturing a photo that makes your index finger appear to be touching the tip of this pointy museum and take a virtual tour instead. The famous Parisian tourist site offers interactive panoramas of its Galerie d'Apollon and Egyptian antiques exhibit, among others.
Musée D'Orsay (Paris)
Even if you could travel to Paris's Left Bank to visit the former railway station that is the Musée D'Orsay, you'd find that it, like many museums in Seattle, is closed. Luckily, you can take a cyber stroll through its galleries to see van Gogh's famous self-portrait and other impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces.
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul)
There's a lot to see at the Seoul outpost of this Korean museum complex, but definitely check out the retrospective of works by Korean modern and abstract pioneer Yoo Youngkuk. This Google Maps tour offers both an interactive video feature and slides focusing on select exhibits.
Palace of Versailles (France)
One benefit of virtually touring the mirror-lined hallways and manicured gardens of Versailles, the principal royal residence of France between the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XVI, is that you won't get lost.
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (New York, Washington D.C.)
Starting at the front desk where Ben Stiller himself sat in Night at the Museum, take yourself on a digital walk through the Museum of Natural History's permanent, current, and past exhibits, and come away with new knowledge of prehistoric life.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York)
New York's Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and considered a landmark work of 20th-century architecture, houses works by the likes of Paul Cézanne, Amedeo Modigliani, Helen Frankenthaler, and Vincent van Gogh, along with rotating contemporary exhibits. Explore the collection via Google Street View, which has a feature that tells you details about some (but not all) pieces.
Uffizi Gallery (Florence)
Home to the art collection of the de' Medici family, this museum features Botticelli's Birth of Venus, Caravaggio's Medusa, and lots of beautiful granite hallways that you'll have to imagine are populated with people while you explore via your computer screen.
Great Wall of China Digital Hike
Stretching more than 3,000 miles across several provinces of northern China, the Great Wall is an ancient structure worth exploring digitally until traveling abroad is safe again. This virtual hike will take you from Jinshanling to Simatai, a seven-ish-mile stretch that boasts some very cool views.
Kennedy Space Center Virtual Tours
The Kennedy Space Center (FKA the NASA Launch Operations Center) in Merritt Island, Florida, is NASA's primary launch center of human spaceflight. Astro-loving kids and adults alike can tour their Visitor Complex via livestreams, which take place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on their Facebook page. If you miss one, don't worry—they'll post the playbacks. You can also check out a number of educational videos (and even a reading of Dr. Suess's There's No Place Like Space) on Facebook, as well.
National Parks Virtual Tours
Five US national parks (Hawaiʻi Volcanoes, Alaska's Kenai Fjords, New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns, Utah's Bryce Canyon, and Florida's Dry Tortugas) have teamed up with Google Arts & Culture so you can enjoy desert vistas and snowy terrains from home.
Northern Lights Livestream
Visible when the earth's magnetic fields interact with charged particles from the sun, the beautiful Northern Lights are streaming on a webcam set up in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.
Virtual Disneyland Rides
Virtually experience Space Mountain and other classic Disneyland rides in 4K, courtesy of people who have ridden them in real life.
ANIMALS & NATURE
Atlanta Zoo Panda Cam
The Atlanta Zoo houses more than just pandas, but the fluffy black and white cuties get all the attention on their website.
Audubon Puffin Burrow
These Atlantic puffins love to be cozy. Watch them lounge and occasionally mingle off the coast of Maine in a burrow where they raise their young.
Baby Goat Livestream
Watch kids (as in baby goats, not small humans) hop around a pen with their adorable clip-clop feet.
Bald Eagle Nest
If you've only ever spotted a member of the endangered species flying through the air, here's your chance to see them sleeping in a nest and watching the sky on big branches.
Georgia Aquarium’s Beluga Whales Live Cam
Great big Beluga whales wave their graceful tails in an aqua-blue expanse at the Georgia Aquarium.
Go on Safari
Getting out of the house is not a thing we're supposed to be doing unless absolutely necessary, but there's a lot of outdoorsy folks that might be reading and wishing there was some way to slake their wanderlust. That's where Twitch.tv comes in! Normally Twitch is where sub-cable-access-level "talents" earn millions for playing other people's video games as loudly as possible, but it's also home to WildEarth, a channel that livestreams walks through a game reserve in South Africa. The stream isn't consistently on at all times, but that's okay because you can check out their video clips for on-demand wildlife just chilling out.
Houston Zoo Livestream
Wach Texan giraffes, gorillas, elephants, rhinos, and even leafcutter ants on the Houston Zoo's live webcams.
Get a close look at a hummingbird nest. Sometimes you'll be looking at eggs and sometimes you'll be looking at a very pretty long-beaked creature sitting on those eggs.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Sea otters, jellyfish, and sharks alike are recorded live at the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.
National Parks Wildlife Cams
Peek inside the everyday lives of Brooks River brown bears, Channel Islands sea creatures, and bald eagles on the National Parks Service's wildlife webcams.
San Diego Zoo Live Cam
A handful of the well-known zoo's 3,500 animals are going about business as usual. See the whereabouts of baboons, penguins, pandas, polar bears, apes, koalas, giraffes, and other residents on their live cam page. For more information about the San Diego Zoo, click here for their updated guide.
Fishies of many shapes and sizes swim around in this tropical reef exhibit modeled after the coast of Palau.
Wolong Grove Panda
Watch big fluffy bears mostly take naps in the yards of the Shenshuping Gengda Panda Center in China's Wolong Valley via Explore Bears & Bison's live cam.
ARTS & PERFORMANCE
On the Boards TV
You have until the end of April to take advantage of On the Boards TV's free streaming offer (use the code ARTATHOME20) which will unlock some of the country's most audacious experimental theater and let it spill all over your various screens.
(Through April 30)
Broadway HD Livestream
Broadway HD is offering a seven-day free trial for new viewers to experience classic and new musicals on their website.
National Theatre at Home
Starting April 2 and continuing every Thursday thereafter, National Theatre Live shares one of their recorded live London stage performances for free on their YouTube page. Literally some of the best theater in the world, weekly, for free. Not bad.
The Kennedy Center Digital Stage
Washington, D.C.'s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will show original works, new clips, and picks from their archives that you can peruse at your will. Plus, resident artist Mo Willems invites you to join him every weekday for virtual lunchtime doodling (which on the West Coast is late-morning doodling, at 10 a.m.).
Live Readings with Tommy Pico
In anticipation of the April audiobook release of his book Nature Poem, Kumeyaay Brooklyn-based poet/editor Tommy Pico will read excerpts live on Instagram every Sunday.
You've probably heard of this before, because it's been around forever thanks to PBS, which is a national treasure that must be protected at all costs (donate already). Currently available plays include Noël Coward’s Present Laughter, Red, The Sound of Music, and a reimagining of Much Ado About Nothing.
(Through May 27)
Readings By Writers
Every Monday and Thursday, Readings By Writers will host a writer on Zoom, including Pam Houston (March 26), Paul Lisicky (April 2), Rebecca Solnit (April 16), and Garth Greenwell (June 4).
(March 26-June 4)
Royal Opera House Livestreams
The iconic Covent Garden opera house will stream opera and ballet performances, as well as behind-the-scenes looks at its beautiful interiors, on Facebook and YouTube.
Is it gauche to describe this as "Netflix but for theater nerds?" Whatever it is, it's accurate. Subscribe for a £9.99 monthly fee (do the conversion yourself) and gain access to filmed versions some of London's most acclaimed stage productions.
Handmade Pasta with Grandma
Can you imagine anything more comforting than learning to make pasta with the guidance of a sweet Italian grandmother? Normally, Nonna Nerina hosts in-person classes in her home in Rome, but in light of social distancing, Nerina and her sisters are going live on the interwebs for two-hour sessions. A week before your class, you'll receive a shopping list of ingredients and utensils to buy to make things like ravioli with butter, gnocchi with pesto, cannelloni, and other wholesome dishes.
Podcasts can be more than true-crime docs, breathless radio dramas, or strings of daisy-chained stand-ups guesting on each others shows! Sounds crazy, but it's true! For example: Minnesota Public Radio makes a show called "BRAINS ON" that is 100% aimed at your kid and their curious mind. Kind of like an audio-only combination of The Electric Company and 3-2-1 Contact.
Ivy League Courses
Didn't get into Harvard? Prestigious Ivy League schools across the country offer nearly 500 free online classes in computer science, programming, art and design, and other subjects.
Bill Nye Saves the World
Bill Nye is evergreen, Bill Nye is eternal, Bill Nye is the BEST - but just in case your kid thinks they're too old for classic episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy (they're not, nobody is, but you can't tell teenagers anything) turn em towards this Netflix talk show instead.
Science with Sophie
Comedian, science educator, and YouTube star (one of the good ones, we promise) Sophie Shrand hosts this educational series focused on helping an entire generation of girls get into STEM careers.
Scholastic Learn At Home
From PreK to ninth grade, Scholastic has several online programs to help educate kids during school closures.
Stuff You Missed in History Class
This long-running podcast isn't exactly aimed at kids, but it is family friendly (no swears!), and the illicit thrill of hearing positively engrossing lost histories (that your teachers are hiding from you) is a good way to turn the spark of learning into a big ol' fire.
WORKOUTS & FITNESS
Barre 3 offers a free 15-day trial that allows access to unlimited barre3 workouts.
Portland Fit Body Boot Camp has launched their "28-Day Stronger Together At-Home Workout Challenge" for $28 (or $1 a day if you prefer to look at it that way) that includes a daily 30-minute workout, a customized nutrition guide, and access to a community page to talk with coaches and other participants.
Woodstock Wellness Center is offering a lot of varied and various Yoga classes streaming live.
Firebrand Sports has responded to gym closures by setting up a virtual studio and introducing 18 weekly classes, as well as coach-curated playlists for supercharging those workouts.
The Bhakti Yoga Movement Center has made many of their pre-recorded online classes available, while also making sure to keep a schedule of livestreamed classes going.
Me Fitness has been uploading new videos to their YouTube channel since the shutdown, with online classes like "Yoga Connection," "Cyberbooty," "Homegrown Fit," and more.
The Refinery has taken their workouts to Zoom, and is offering daily online classes that help you hit the weights, get through some high intensity training, cool down with some Yoga, and more.
Yoga Bhoga is serving up free online yoga and pilates classes, live classes via Zoom, both updated regularly.
Point Gym and Kitchen is dedicated to developing and maintaining your body strength and agility through Zoom classes if you're already a member, and non-members can drop in to the online sessions for $10 a sesh, or $99 a month.
OTHER COOL RESOURCES
Interactive Internet Apps
Platforms like Zoom, Google, and Netflix are serving as tools for "our reconfigured socialization," as Vox puts it. Give these virtual hangouts a go to connect with loved ones who are quarantined in faraway places.
JSTOR Open Access
Libraries are closed, but here's some good news: Your favorite research database, which has over 6,000 accessible ebooks and over 150 journals, has expanded much of its material to be free and available to the public.
NASA Digital Resources
NASA has made its entire media library (which includes over 140,000 images, sounds, and videos) available to the public. Not a bad deal if you feel the need to escape this planet for a while.