The coronavirus pandemic refuses to budge. Everyday there is an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases (not to mention the rise in number of deaths. Put on the news, and there’s no escaping the numbers that every news channels seems to bombard us with. So much in the information overload, that every time I put on news, even to just keep abreast of what’s happening in India and world over, my mind automatically goes in overdrive and anxiety creeps in. This lockdown feels no less than a zombie apocalypse to me, with no place to run (technically, there isn’t a place to run because everything is in lockdown).
I can’t just get up and go to my favourite Crossword, enjoy a good book while sipping on coffee, or go out with friends to destress (god, what I would give to step out of these four walls! And, I know this feeling right now is universal. So, while I am trying to shake this anxious feeling with various means, one such tool I found was virtual tours. Here are come which anyone can enjoy:
Airbnb Online Experiences
Airbnb recently am up with a new initiative, Airbnb Online Experiences, under which they are offering not just tours but even activities online. So, while you are locked up in your homes, you can visit Airbnb site and participate in virtual cooking and bartending classes, bike tours, makeup tutorials, take drawing lesson and more. There are also a few classes for the elderly, who can keep themselves engaged in these testing times. This virtual experiences won’t be free though: The activities range from a few bucks to $65 per person per activity. Visit to participate.
For the love of art
Lovers of all things art and antique can now indulge in virtual museum tours at the click of just a button. In India, museums like Dr Bhau Daji Lad (BDL) Museum in Mumbai, National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, Partition Museum in Amritsar, The Birla Industrial and Technological Museum, Indian Museum and Victoria Memorial are offering virtual tours of their premises.
"While the Museum's doors are temporarily shut to visitors, you can still access the highlights of our collections & 11 virtual exhibits via the BDL Museum's page on @googleartsandculture! Do follow us on our Instagram and Twitter handles for weekly trivia and themed virtual tours of the collection! Handle: @bdlmuseum," said a post on Bhau Daji Lad Museum’s Facebook page.
Not just this, but now you can also waltz in (virtually of course) in several museums across the globe. British Museum in London (britishmuseum.withgoogle.com), Le Musee du Louvre in Paris (louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne), Musee d’Orsay in Paris (artsandculture.google.com/partner/musee-dorsay-paris), Guggenheim in New York (artsandculture.google.com/streetview/solomon-r-guggenheim-museum-interior-streetview), Uffizi Gallery in Florence (artsandculture.google.com/partner/uffizi-gallery) are all bringing their masterpieces right in your living rooms.
Famous landmark on your fingertips
Fancy a tour of the Central Park in New York? One of NYC’s most famous and biggest tourist attractions is now available at the click of a button. Not only an you revel in the greenery virtually, but you also get a virtual guide who takes you back in time to give insights into the Park’s history.
The Grand Canyon, which is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and 1,857 metres deep needs no introduction. One of world’s famous landmarks was formed some two billion years ago. You can now take a tour of this archaeological marvel through nps.gov/features/grca/001/archeology.
Yosemite National Park in California and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado are also offering various forms of experiences. You can walk around Yosemite National Park in real time through their web cams. Take a tour of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome from the floor of Yosemite Valley, and vistas from the High Sierra at nps.gov/yose. Rocky Mountain National Park on the other hand take you on a different experience. They encourage you to use your ears instead of eye while touring the Park through their online ‘sound’ library. Visit nps.gov/romo.
Now climbing the snowy Mount Everest is also easy…virtually again. All you need to do is visit and have fun.
If you are done with taking a tour of the land, while not travel the space for a change? Yes, we aren’t kidding, NASA is offering a number of virtual tours and activities through NASA at Home. This has videos, podcasts, do-it-yourself projects and virtual tours. You can also take a virtual tour of NASA’s various space centres on earth and in space too! There’s also an option where you can virtually explore NASA’s flying observatory called SOFIA, which is a Boeing aircraft modified to carry a 106-inch telescope. You also get a chance to venture into the famous Hubble Space Telescope missions operations centre along with an array of other tours. Visit: .