Must-See Virtual Tours

virtual tours

Explore the world without leaving your desk, with virtual tours of everything from the Guggenheim to the Great Wall.

When travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip analyzed Google data and discovered that the rise in searches for ‘Virtual Tours’ increased 7x (from 1,300 in February to almost 10,000 in March), they decided to put together a guide to highlight the top virtual tours available. Enjoy!

For the Art Enthusiast

Feel like spending a day at the museum? Google Arts & Culture has teamed up with over 2,500 museums and galleries around the world to bring priceless art and experiences into your living room.

From the Guggenheim in New York City to London’s National Gallery, the possibilities are nearly endless. Most museums allow you to walk the halls of the institution using “street view,” making for a more realistic experience. If you are feeling overwhelmed by choices, Google offers a quick link to their top 10 virtual museums.

For those wanting to dive deeper into the art, some museums, like the Louvre, offer more detailed virtual tours on their websites. And others, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, further enhance what visitors would see in person with additional interactive offerings.

For art lovers who prefer an urban adventure, Google Arts Project: Street Art explores the world’s greatest graffiti and the stories behind it. Viewers can take virtual walking tours, view online exhibitions, and learn about the artists themselves through interactive features.

For the Adventurer

Nature lovers can tour five of the world’s most incredible National Parks thanks to Google Arts & Culture and the National Park Service. Virtual visitors can have experiences ranging from a descent into an icy crevasse at Kenai Fjords in Alaska to snorkeling the third largest coral reef in the world at the Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys.

Google’s Heritage on the Edge is a unique virtual experience that showcases a handful of UNESCO World Heritage sites using 3D maps. This is particularly special because the featured sites are currently threatened by climate change and the goal of this interactive experience is to digitally preserve them. Not only are the sites beautiful to see but the entire experience provides education about the history, heritage, protection, and conservation efforts for these landmarks.

Explore life under the sea thanks to the National Marine Sanctuaries offering virtual dives of the blue depths of the American Samoas, the Florida Keys, Monterey Bay, and more.

For the Animal Lover

Enjoy visiting with adorable animals? Many zoos across the United States are live-streaming their animal areas, allowing viewers to virtually visit their favorites anytime. Some favorites include the San Diego Zoo and Houston Zoo, each offering multiple animal cameras focused on different habitats.

For an extra dose of adorable, the Atlanta Zoo even features a PandaCam, showcasing the rolly polly adventures of their giant pandas. For a trip under the sea, aquariums like the Georgia Aquarium and Monterey Aquarium are offering live streams for an array of creatures, from sea otters to jellyfish to beluga whales. The New England Aquarium offers virtual visits for special live presentations and activities to try at home.

For the Thrill-seeker

If a theme park vacation is more your speed, virtual travel experiences are available to thrill and entertain. Tour through the Disney Parks and Universal Studios, hop on the Mako roller coaster at SeaWorld, or pretend to check into the Legoland Hotel. The number of theme parks offering virtual versions of their in-park experiences continues to grow so riders of all ages (and heights) can enjoy the exciting offerings.

For the Explorer

Virtual tours of popular tourist destinations like the Great Wall of China, the Blarney Castle, the Cliffs of Moher, and the Eiffel Tower let you visit right from the safety of your own home.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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