Field trip out of the question? Think again. Thanks to technology, it’s now possible for kids to visit all kinds of places from the comfort of their classroom (or home!). We’ve compiled a list of the best virtual field trips for you, so enjoy your “visit”!
Note: For anyone who needs it, YouTube offers a closed captioning option. Just click CC button at the bottom righthand corner.
1. The Zoo
There are so many amazing online options when it comes to zoos that we couldn’t narrow it down to just one. Most zoos have live webcams in some of their most popular exhibits, such as the Panda Cam at Zoo Atlanta. However, some zoos offer a more in-depth look. You’ll definitely want to check out the San Diego Zoo. Their site for kids includes behind-the-scenes videos and stories, as well as a variety of printable activities and online games.
2. The Aquarium
It’s a similar story with aquariums. You have your pick of live webcams, but our favorites are the Georgia Aquarium’s Ocean Voyager webcam (wait for the whale shark!) and the “jellycam” at Monterey Bay Aquarium (so soothing). You can get a more traditional, “self-guided” virtual tour of the National Aquarium, whereas the Seattle Aquarium has a 30-minute video tour.
And definitely check out The Maritime Aquarium where you can register for their virtual programs for all grades. Talk to a research vessel captain, learn about water pollution, and more!
3. The Farm
The classic preschool field trip goes online! Farm Fresh 360 allows you to immerse yourself in Canadian farm and food tours—from raising pigs to making milk and cheese. We’re also loving these virtual egg farm field trips from the American Egg Board.
4. A Planetarium
Through Star Atlas, kids can explore over 60,000 stars, locate planets, and watch sunrises and solar eclipses. If you enter your location, you can see all the constellations that are visible in the night sky in your corner of the world.
The U.S. Geological Survey monitors volcanoes in the United States. Their interactive map allows you to click on and learn about any volcano in the country.
The Nature Conservancy offers 11 virtual field trips that allow students to do everything from exploring a coastal rainforest while in a canoe to unlocking the secrets of coral reefs in the Dominican Republic. Each video is about 45 minutes long.
The first established National Park and popular vacation destination is now accessible to virtual travelers. The interactive maps are a great way to see the Mammoth Hot Springs and Mud Volcano, but we think kids will be psyched about the Old Faithful Geyser live-stream and the opportunity to make their own predictions for its next eruption.
This virtual field trip from Great Lakes Now has three components: coastal wetlands, algae, and lake sturgeon. Each video is a quick five minutes.
Discovery Education hosts a variety of virtual events —each with a companion guide with hands-on learning activities. Current offerings include Teaching with Testimony and NFL Play 60. Our pick? Tundra Connections (AKA fun with polar bears).
“Walk” through all three floors of the Boston Children’s Museum on this virtual tour. Direct your kids to fun exhibits like Explore-a-Saurus and the Japanese House.
Kids can learn about the upcoming 2020 Census and how census data is collected and used. This virtual field trip also features interviews with subject matter experts and an interactive challenge.
12. The Smithsonian
The National Museum of Natural History’s virtual experiences are self-guided, room-by-room tours of permanent, current, and past exhibits. Make sure to send kids to the second floor Bone Hall so they can take a look at all different kinds of skeletons.
Bring the iconic New York museum into your classroom or home! Experience The Met online with any of the 26 online galleries, including Christian Dior: Ball Gowns and The Art of Music Through Time.
A collaboration with over 1200 leading museums and archives, Google Arts & Culture is an incredible storehouse of monumental works of art. We recommend the Street View virtual tours as well as Art Zoom guided tours.
Boise State put together this fully interactive virtual field trip with text, photos, audio, and video. The four featured music locations are: Vienna, Austria; New Orleans, Louisiana; Cleveland, Ohio; and Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia.
This living history museum provides a look into life in an early American community. The website offers eight different webcams, featuring areas such as the tavern, the armoury, and the market house.
18. Ellis Island
Want to enhance a unit on immigration at the turn of the century? Look no further than this virtual field trip to Ellis Island, the former immigration inspection station in New York Harbor that is also home to the Statue of Liberty.
19. 360 Cities
Boasting the world’s largest collection of 360° images videos, 360 Cities provides kids with the opportunity to see stunning panoramas across the globe. Their video of black ants walking on the dirt is pretty amazing.
Everyone wants to go to Paris! But you don’t need a passport to see at least some of the exhibits at the world’s most famous art museum. Check out the current virtual tours: Egyptian antiquities, Galerie d’Apollon, and what we think will be the biggest hit with kids—the remains of the Louvre’s moat!
See one of the wonders of the world with this amazing, thousands-year old fortification system known the world over. This virtual tour has three options for touring the ancient structure: Jinshaling to Simatai, watchtower, and winter.
22. Easter Island
Most of us recognize the giant stone statues of Easter Island, but what’s the story behind them? Nova’s online adventure “Secrets of Easter Island” delves into the mystery with a virtual tour.
23. Son Doong Cave
National Geographic lets you explore the world’s largest cave, located in Vietnam. Use the interactive map to enjoy the fully immersive experience (sound on!).
24. Ancient Egypt
You don’t need a time machine! Discovering Ancient Egypt has a ton of free resources, but it’s the interactive pyramid map and 3D temple reconstructions that really give it a field trip feel.
No, really! You can absolutely “go” to the red planet. With Access Mars, you can see the actual surface of Mars, recorded by NASA’s Curiosity rover. Trust us—don’t skip the intro.
What are your favorite virtual field trips? Come share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.