As a frequent traveler, museum-goer, and lover of all things mind-expanding, this quarantine at first glance could feel like doom. Sure, for the most part, we all have to stay home and keep to ourselves.. but at the same time – for the most part, WE GET TO STAY HOME AND KEEP TO OURSELVES!
I know I’m not alone when I see this rather chaotic time as a blessing in disguise. Though the economic repercussions of this pandemic may be another story, the fact that collectively we are getting some time to rest, reflect and re-discover what we truly enjoy in life is actually quite magical.
The news cycles and current scrolling through social media may fail to tell you – keep calm, remember to stay hydrated and keep your health and mental-wellbeing as first priority. It may (or may not) be getting worse, but at the end of the day there are still great things happening on this planet and nice people DO exist (regardless of what you think of the lady who just stole that last supply of TP you were about to grab for yourself).
Now, not all of us may have as much ‘free time’ as others – as many do still have to work from home or even take care of children that they otherwise would take to school. So for those of you who are searching for new ways to keep your kids occupied but don’t want to just throw them into endless and useless feeds of media – I HAVE AN ANSWER!
A lot of companies, businesses, and people have thought about YOU/US and have created FREE digital offerings for these times and I just wanted to spread the love where & how I can by sharing them with you as I find them.
Fundamental Education Based Offerings
Ways to Help Your Child Continue Learning
Scholastic has created a ‘learn at home’ portal offering “Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing.”
If YOU are looking for ways to continue learning or seeking to expand your mind
More Art-Inclined Offerings
(This portion of our list was originally posted on Conde Naste Traveler)
Head to the museum
“A number of museums have virtual tours available online—including the Louvre, which offers a tour through its Egyptian antiquities department and the recently restored Galerie d’Apollon, and Madrid’s Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, which has its Rembrandt and Portraiture in Amsterdam, 1590-1670 exhibit on virtual view. The Vatican Museums offer 360-degree tours of the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms and more, and the Smithsonian also has a self-guided tour (albeit a little clunky) of the National Museum of Natural History in New York.
If you don’t need to see the art in context of a wall, head to Google’s Arts and Culture collections, where works from museums like the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and the Tate Modern in London are all on view. It might not be quite the same as seeing the works in person—but the zoom will get you closer to the art than any museum docent ever will. There are also virtual tours of sorts (less freewheeling around the galleries, more history lesson) of places like the Uffizi Galleries available.
Take the kids to the virtual aquarium
The teams at Boston’s New England Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium are bringing the day-to-day life of its residents to the public, offering scheduled Facebook Live–access to feedings, tours, behind-the-scenes looks, and more. So far, we’ve gotten to see Myrtle, the green sea turtle, eat some breakfast (a delicious mix of lettuce, broccoli, and brussels sprouts), and learned all about epaulette sharks and stingrays. (For parents needing some kid-friendly distractions, head to the aquarium’s at-home activities sections.)
Blast some music
Symphonies around the world are streaming live rather than cancelling their performances entirely, or are replaying old shows for free online. The Philharmonie Berlin is closed until April 19, but has opened its digital library of performances, filled with more than 600 shows. Use the code BERLINPHIL by March 31 to get 30-day access to the orchestra’s stunning work (look for performances conducted by Simon Rattle, the orchestra’s principal for 16 years). The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is live-streaming its performances on YouTube, as it is closed to the public until April 13. While the 7 p.m. AEDT (or 4 a.m. EDT) showtimes may not be an ideal time to watch a symphony performance, you can rewatch the show later on the orchestra’s YouTube channel. So far, they’ve hosted performances of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, with plans for more throughout the closure.
Spend a night at the opera
If you’ve gone to a movie theater in recent years, you’ve likely seen a trailer for the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series, where they throw the storied opera’s most popular performances onto movie screens for all to enjoy. Since most theaters—of both the opera and movie variety—are closed, the Met is opening that series up to all, streaming live each night. Each performance will become available at 7:30 p.m. EDT and will be viewable for 20 hours.
If you don’t want to be tied down by a schedule, OperaVision offers free recorded performances from all over the world, including Madama Butterfly from the Royal Swedish Opera and Tosca at the Polish National Opera.” – CTT
More Wordly Explorations
Here is a list of landmarks you can ‘visit’ via virtual tours!
And there are SO MANY MORE! If you find yourself going through all of these, you can always search online for others as it seems so many museums, travel boards, and organizations are following suit!
Again, I find it important to reiterate that though these are rare times we are being faced with, it is up to us to reveal how we wish to see these unfoldings manifest in our reality. Continue to do your part in being kind to others and yourself, take care of your health and that of those around you by living simply and calmly, and most importantly – remain at peace with what is, and allow what is coming to continue to flow with the knowing that we are doing the best we can with where we are and what we have available to us.
May we take this time to dive deep into ourselves, our bonds, and our creativity to further explore who we are as a people, and who we wish to be as individuals. Now more than ever we are given the opportunity to really expand and evolve. How are you coming out of this pandemic cocoon?
See you on the other side, beautiful butterfly!