There’s something about being stuck at home that makes seeing the world all the more desirable. Luckily, livestreams, webcams and other high-tech solutions are here to provide an escape. Here are some ways to satisfy your travel bug without leaving home.
Get your #farmlife fix with 360-degree videos from Canadian farms of all stripes, from dairy, sheep, pig and mink farms to an apple orchard, grain farm and even an oat farm and processing facility. The videos, which can be found at farmfood360.ca, introduce viewers to family farmers, give a behind-the-scenes look at the business of farming and, of course, feature many cute animals.
Many zoos and aquariums are livestreaming their charges right now. The Melbourne Zoo has set up 24/7 livestreams of its snow leopard cubs, penguins, giraffes, lions and zebras, while the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., periodically streams its sharks, sea otters, penguins and jellyfish on Periscope.
The 24/7 live streams at Explore allow armchair travellers to visit the elephants of Tembe Elephant Park in Emangusi, South Africa, the manatees at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa, Fla., or the giant pandas at the Shenshuping Gengda Panda Center in China’s Wolong Valley Nature Reserve, not to mention hummingbirds, bald eagles and even rescue kittens elsewhere in the world.
Explore also has some zen nature livestreams, including a new one featuring the Northern Lights. The camera is set up at Churchill Northern Studies Centre in Churchill, Man., one of the best places see the aurora borealis.
A new documentary will give viewers the chance to experience a 27-kilometre journey along the Rideau Canal from Manotick, Ont., to Ottawa’s downtown. Tripping the Rideau Canal runs for four uninterrupted hours and contains no music or narration, which makes it feel like you’re along for the ride. (Tripping the Rideau Canal premieres on April 10 at 7 p.m. on TVO and at tvo.org.)
Trekking to some of North America’s coolest parks may not be possible right now, but you can still catch a glimpse of their natural wonders via webcam. Check out Old Faithful, the most famous geyser at Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park , which currently erupts about 20 times a day, usually 60 to 110 minutes apart (a nice bit of regularity in an increasingly unpredictable world). Or check out a live view of Ontario’s Algonquin Park for some virtual forest bathing.
The Camino de Santiago, or Way of Saint James, is a Catholic pilgrimage to Spain’s Santiago de Compostela. An increasingly popular route for hikers and cyclists, you can recreate the experience at home – though it may take a tad longer than the 30 to 35 days it would require to complete the course IRL. Log onto walking4fun.com, then choose one of three routes: the famous Camino Francés, which starts in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, and two Portuguese trails: the coastal, which starts in Porto, or the central, which starts in Lisbon. Log in to track your steps as you walk around your own neighbourhood, then apply them to the route you choose. And while you won’t get to see actual views of your chosen trail, the site does have photos from the journey to help you pretend that you’re there.
For real history buffs, Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, is a must-visit. For now, take a guided virtual tour of the site.
Get unobstructed views of sites like the Acropolis, the ancient citadel that sits on a hill overlooking Athens, or the Colosseum, the ancient amphitheatre in Rome. Find both, as well as other historical sites and cityscapes, here.
Or explore the Great Wall of China. A 360-degree video tour offers three options for taking in the ancient structure: the view along Jinshaling to Simatai, one of the most popular hiking routes, the view from one of the thousands of watchtowers and the view during winter.
A wide swath of the world’s museums are accessible via Google’s Arts & Culture app. You’ll find everything from the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, Musée d’Orsay and Frida Kahlo Museum (also known as the Blue House) to hidden gems like Turkey’s Museum of Innocence, a museum set up by Turkish author Orhan Pamuk to accompany his 2008 novel of the same name. And if you didn’t get a chance to check out now-closed exhibits, like Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby” or Ai Weiwei’s 2015 takeover of Alcatraz, here’s your chance.
Closer to home, take a new guided tour through the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The 20-minute video covers two galleries, Indigenous Perspectives and Canadian Journeys.
Music lovers should take advantage of Boise State’s virtual field trips to music destinations . Visitors can experience Vienna, Austria; New Orleans, La.; Cleveland; and Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia through text, photos, audio and video.
Get inspired by the weekly Sightseer newsletter, with travel advice, destinations and more. Sign up today.