Virtual tours bring vacation destinations to your home

Staying healthy at home doesn’t mean you can’t take a trip somewhere new.

Virtually, at least.

Museums and national parks across the country are giving people virtual tours, so you can feel like you’re in the mountains or walking through exhibits even when you’re at home.

The Yosemite National Park virtual tour takes you right into California’s Sierra Nevada mountains and even has the sounds you would hear if you were actually there.

Or if a zoo is more your style. The San Diego zoo has live streams of some of its animals.

Across the country, the Smithsonian National Museum of National History has had virtual tours since 2008.

Normally about 20,000 people would be visiting a day in the spring. The museum is actually seeing more visitors than that virtually.

“We were seeing about 1,800 people a day on the site and then it jumped up when we closed the museum to about 30,000 people a day,” said Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Sant Director, Dr. Kirk Johnson. “So we’ve seen almost one million visitors to the virtual tour since we closed the museum on March 14.”

There are 15 past exhibits you can view online and 13 current ones.

Ironically, one of the current exhibits that was introduced in May 2018 is called Outbreak and it’s all about epidemics.

If you’d like to stay closer to home, the Kentucky Derby Museum is doing a series of virtual walking tours.

Director of Visitor Services for the Kentucky Derby Museum TeAirra McQuarter says the museum’s online presence is meant to celebrate Derby every day.

“We are sticking to our mission of engaging, educating and exiting everyone about the Derby experience and we want to make sure we can do that now and then bring it to life when we can actually run the Derby,” McQuarter said.

In addition to those virtual tours you can see artifacts, as well as old photos and newspaper clippings celebrating the Derby. 

So even though we have to wait until September to see it run, you can still have the Derby experience.

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