By: Andrea Dillon
Learning through experience is a great benefit of homeschooling. The freedom to go on field trips is a huge homeschool perk. However, there are many times that a trip isn’t possible. Luckily, that’s when virtual field trips can come in handy.
What are the benefits of a virtual field trip?
- Virtual field trips are free or low cost.
- You can start and stop as needed.
- Anyone can participate.
- You can repeat them as you want or need.
- Virtual field trips can also help ignite curiosity and encourage children to want to learn more!
How do you do a virtual field trip?
For most virtual field trips, all you need is an internet-connected device to access a link. A few virtual field trips require or work better with a virtual reality headset. You can find a decent virtual headset at a local store or online pretty cheaply. You can also try your hand at making your own cardboard virtual headset. Once you are ready, you pull up the link and follow along to start your virtual field trip experience.
Virtual Field Trips
What kind of virtual field trips are out there? There are all kinds! Google contains over 100,000 virtual field trips alone on their Google Arts and Culture site! Other sites like YouVisit and National Geographic offer many 360 videos and virtual tours too. You can find museums, zoos, theaters, and even out-of-this-world field trips! There is something for all ages and interests. I can’t list them all here but below are some of our favorites.
Virtual Art Museum Field Trips
There is something magical about art museums. They are a wealth of awe and information. While all ages can enjoy art museums, the virtual art for kids in these field trips are generally best for older elementary students and up. As you know, art can vary. Please preview the museums to make sure you are okay with your children viewing the subject matter shown.
The Art Institute of Chicago houses one of the largest permanent collections in the United States with more than 260,000 artworks and artifacts. Take a virtual Google tour, explore the institute through their virtual resources, and use their educational resources to help build on the learning.
The Baltimore Museum of Art contains over 95,000 works of art and is home to the largest holding of works by Henri Matisse in the world. Try the virtual exhibits, take the Google tour, and get online resources to help extend the learning after the virtual trip.
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco is made up of the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor museum in Lincoln Park. Explore both of these museums with Google and get educator resources to enhance the learning experience further.
The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. In this 360 tour, you get an idea of the atmosphere and wonder located in the Louvre. Expand the learning with a closer look at specific artwork, short videos for kids, and information about the elements of art.
The Mauritshuis displays many great Dutch paintings from the Golden Age, like the famous Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. Visit the museum via Google and discover other ways to enjoy the museum at home with resources on their website.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located in New York and holds over 5,000 years of art from around the world. Explore the museum and it’s collections via Google, as well as expand the learning with the MetKid site and educator resources.
Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico is dedicated to the life and art of Frida Kahlo. The museum is located at The Blue House in Mexico City, where Frida was born, lived, and died. Google tour The Blue House, view the collections and learn more about the life and art of Frida Kahlo.
The Museum of Fine Art Boston displays a visually stunning collection of art from prehistoric to modern times. Tour the museum and view online exhibits via Google.
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea is a museum of Korean modern art. Explore multiple tour options of the museum and online line exhibits provided by Google.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts is located in Washington D.C. This is the only museum solely dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women in the visual, performing, and literary arts. Use Google view to explore the museum and download educational resources to help continue the learning after the virtual field trip.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is an internationally recognized museum located in Kansas. This museum houses more than 33,500 objects from ancient times to modern-day. Take a Google virtual tour, browse the online exhibits, and further the learning with educational resources found on their site.
The Salvador Dali Museum is an art museum located in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States. This museum is dedicated to the works of Salvador Dalí. After the tour of the museum, go deeper into the collections online and educational videos.
Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum is the world’s most extensive collection of aviation and space artifacts. Take a stroll through the museum via Google, explore the online collections, and get educational resources to keep the learning going at home.
State Hermitage is one of the largest museums in the world and is located in Sankt-Peterburg, Russia. This museum holds over 3 million exhibits. Explore the museum tour and view the online exhibits through Google. You can also take a virtual visit and find other educational resources on the museum’s site.
Van Gogh Museum is located in Amsterdam and houses the largest collection of Van Gogh artwork in the world. Tour the museum, view the online collections, and get free online resources to learn more about Van Gogh.
Virtual Performing Arts Field Trips
Visiting theaters, concerts, and shows in person is a breathtaking experience. There can be times, however, that an in-person visit isn’t feasible to do. You don’t have to give up on the performing arts–give one of these virtual field trips a try. These virtual field trips for students are best for older elementary ages and up.
Carnegie Hall is a national historic landmark that was opened in 1891. Explore the hall and the collections then step on stage with a 360 video experience of “Cool” from West Side Story and a performance from the Philadelphia Orchestra via Google. You can also keep the learning going with the educator’s toolbox of free resources on the website.
Elbphilarmonie, also known as Elphi, is a concert hall in Hamburg, Germany. Explore the hall and the famous organ, as well as many different online exhibits via Google.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, located in New York, is one of the most iconic cultural destinations in the world. Explore the center via google and catch live streams and videos of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Metropolitan Opera is located on Broadway in New York City. While there isn’t a virtual tour of the building, you can view online exhibits on Google. The Metropolitan Opera also provides nightly opera streams and opera on demand.
The National Theatre of Korea is the first nationally managed theater in Asia. The National Theatre of Korea is located in Jangchung-dong, Jung-gu, South Korea. Tour the theater and then take a look at the online exhibits with Google.
OperaVision is not a specific physical location. However, they offer different free operas from around the world to help you and your children experience the wonder of opera performances from the comfort of your own home.
Paris Opera House was founded by Louis XIV and is considered one of the world’s greatest opera and ballet houses. Take a tour of many different locations of the opera house, virtual exhibits, and a 360 ballet experience from Google. Then learn more about opera history on the Paris Opera House website.
Sydney Opera House is one of the most recognizable and famous buildings in the world. The Opera house is located in Sydney Harbour in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Explore the opera house and view online exhibits via Google. You can also find educational digital content to further learning on the opera house’s website.
Teatro Bibiena, located in Italy, is a theater full of history. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed on the opening night of the Teatro Bibiena on January 16, 1770. Take a walkthrough of the theater and online exhibits provided by Google.
The Theatro Municipal is a historic theater in São Paulo, Brazil. Use Google for a walkthrough of the theater, watch an opera performance in 360, and explore online exhibits. There is also a virtual tour located on the Municipal Theatre of São Paulo page.
Virtual Zoo and Aquarium Field Trips
We all love animals. Virtual field trips for students to the zoo are a great way to help break up the blahs in your homeschool day. Animals are great for all ages but are perfect for getting preschool, kindergarten, and young elementary-aged children excited about learning.
Alaska Zoo is dedicated to promoting conservation of the Arctic, sub-Arctic, and like climate species through education, research, and community enrichment. Learn about the animals that are housed in the zoo and watch the polar bear camera.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is an aquarium that works to rescue, rehab, and release. What makes this Aquarium extra special is that it is also home to the famous dolphin Winter that you may have seen in the movie Dolphin Tale! Learn about the different animals currently calling Clearwater home, view the live streams of the animals, and download free curriculum lessons to use along the way.
Edinburgh Zoo is in the United Kingdom on 83 acres. This zoo homes almost 1000 rare and endangered animals. Explore the main attractions, meet the animals, and view their live webcams. Expand your visit with lesson ideas too!
Georgia Aquarium is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and different types of marine life. The aquarium offers at-home learning resources, webcams of the animals in their habitats, and recommended learning plans to help make the experience extra educational.
Monterey Bay Aquarium contains over 200 exhibits and 35,000 creatures. Learn about all the animals and then watch the live cams to see them in action. The aquarium also has an educator’s section to help your children learn about the zoo and animals at home.
National Aquarium in Baltimore offers a virtual tour of the aquarium in addition to live cams of their multiple animals and educator resources. Give the National Aquarium in Washington D.C.’s tour a try too!
National Eagle Center in Minnesota is home to non-releasable bald and golden eagles. Learn about eagles, view the eagle and nest cams, and find lesson plans to help expand the learning about these wonderful birds.
Omaha Zoo offers zoo-at-home experiences with zookeeper videos and additional activities.
San Diego Zoo in California is home to more than 3,700 animals. The zoo’s live animal cams help you visit the zoo from afar. Watch the animals and then use the San Diego Zoo Kids section to learn more about the animals and their habits.
Shedd Aquarium in Chicago welcomes about 2 million guests a year. However, you can enjoy the aquarium right from your home with a Google Tour and online collections. You can also view some of the many animals that call the Shedd home by booking a virtual field trip or watching their multiple animal and exhibit videos (some 360) online.
Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute in Washington DC offers webcams, at-home activities, and downloadable zoo activities to help you enjoy their zoo from your home.
Virtual Historic Landmark and Parks Field Trips
Learning about historic and nature locations can be hard when you can’t visualize them.
While in-person visits are encouraged, there are times when you can’t make it to these beautiful locations. The next best thing is an interactive virtual field trip to explore the world! All ages can find something fun and engaging in these virtual trips.
The Acropolis Museum is an archaeological museum in Athens, Greece. This museum houses more than 3.000 famous artifacts from the Athenian Acropolis. Tour the museum with Google and find more learning resources to expand the learning afterward.
Chili 360 offers interactive trips around Chile via their app. Explore the Torres del Paine, the Atacama Desert, Easter Island, and plenty of other destinations from the comfort of your home.
Cliffs of Moher is Ireland’s most visited attraction. The cliffs are located in County Clare and face out to the majestic Atlantic ocean. Take in the beauty and grad some free activity sheets for the kids too!
English Heritage cares for over 400 historic buildings, monuments, and sites. Explore different palaces, houses, hill figures, castles, abbeys, industrial sites, Roman forts, and even deserted medieval villages through Google virtual tours and experience the story of England. Grab additional educational resources too!
Great Barrier Reef is a fantastic location full of awe and wonder. Take an interactive virtual field trip with David Attenborough.
The Great Wall of China is the collective name of a series of protective structures built across the historical northern borders of China. Explore the wall with a YouVisit 360 experience and video from National Geographic.
National Parks Services have partnered with Google and offers over 100 virtual tours of national park including Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska, and Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida.
The Palace of Versailles in France is one of the most visited cultural sites in the world today. Explore the different historical locations with Google view, explore the online art galleries, and visit the Queen’s Hamlet online.
Son Doong Cave in Vietnam has a virtual interactive tour through National Geographic that offers audio, images, and information for a full educational experience.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England. Take a Google tour and learn more about this historic location.
The Taj Mahal is located in the Indian city of Agra. Explore this beautiful location with Google.
The Tower of Belém is an architectural landmark of Portugal’s history. Take a virtual stroll through the tower provided by Google.
The White House is not only the home to our President, but it is the only private residence of a head of state that is open to the public, free of charge. Explore the White House, inside and out, using Google view.
Yosemite National Park offers an educational and interactive virtual field trip available on their site.
Virtual Science and Natural History Museum Field Trips
Science is a great way to get all students into learning and asking questions. These virtual learning trips or kids are perfect for getting them asking questions and wanting to experiment on their own.
The American Museum of Natural History, located in New York, is one of the world’s most distinguished science and education institutions. Explore the museum via Google and their website. You can also find educational resources on their site to enrich the learning experience.
The National Museum of Computing provides a virtual look into the museum and the history behind the science of computing.
The Science Museum in London contains a world-class collection of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Explore the online exhibits and walk through via Google and expand the learning with their online learning resources.
Virtual Space Field Trips
A field trip out of this world definitely isn’t something most of us can do. Virtual field trips make it possible, though! Learn about space, explore new worlds, and get inspired. These field trips are great for all ages and grades.
Hubble Space Telescope is located on Earth but gives us a good look into space. Explore the Space Telescope Operations Control Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Journey to the Edge of Space with this 360 virtual trip view from Seeker.
Orion Nebula is a diffuse nebula located in the Milky Way. Get a 360-degree look at this nebula via Google.
Mars is the 4th planet from the sun and one that we are striving to learn more about. Get a view of Mars via the Curiosity Mars Rover in Google 360.
Space Shuttle Discovery is one of the orbiters from NASA’s Space Shuttle program. The Discovery flew from August 30 to September 5, 1984. Take a 360-degree tour with Google.
Trappist-1D is a small exoplanet about 40 light-years away from Earth. This exoplanet orbits the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. Take a virtual 360 tour of the Trappist-1D via Google.
Whew, that is enough to keep us busy for a while! Do you know of other cool virtual field trips or interactive videos? Let me know in the comments below!