We’re quickly closing in on one year since the start of the coronavirus pandemic — and after months of staying home to stay safe, you’re probably really pining for your favorite local attractions.
While vaccines are starting to roll out, we still have at least a few months left of staying home ahead of us, but that doesn’t mean you have to cancel all the family fun (remember fun?).
Over the last 12 months, give or take, local museums and zoos have prepared virtual experiences for guests to enjoy while they are climbing the walls waiting for the pandemic to pass.
You can find a list of some of our favorite virtual options below. Take a look and visit some local gems from home — and don’t forget to share any other virtual experiences offered by metro Detroit and Ann Arbor spots that you like in the comments.
At Home with the DIA
The Detroit Institute of Arts has created a series of ways to access its renowned artwork online. You can scroll through art videos that feature information from curators, conservators and gallery teachers or scroll through images of the art with detailed descriptions. It even offers a Monday newsletter that offers a round-up of must-see online displays for the week.
Belle Isle Aquarium Virtual Tours
Join the aquarium’s education team on a field trip through the aquarium to see the animals that live there, learn about their ecosystems and more. You can also look through the aquarium’s collection online and learn about the historic building, too.
Echo Live with the Michigan Science Center
Ford Motor Company, DENSO, the Weiser Family and Mi-Sci has put together this series of free, live and online science experiments for kids that has reached more than 100 episodes. You can tune in on Zoom, YouTube or the Mi-Sci Facebook page and learn a hands-on science experiment that you can do from home.
Explore American’s Ideas & Innovation with The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
Families can explore our country’s history of innovation through the museum’s Connect 3 online gallery. Here, families can explore millions of artifacts in the museum’s collections. Plus, read first-person articles and watch videos on American’s innovators, learn about social injustice and get fun new recipes to try at home.
Live Animal Cams at the Detroit Zoo
While the zoo had animal cams prior to COVID, they’re still going strong with opportunities to watch the penguins, giraffes, snow monkeys, prairie dogs and other animals day-to-day. The zoo offers virtual “Vitamin Z” lessons, too.
Museum at Home with the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History
This Ann Arbor natural history hub is offering online tours of its exhibits. Take a tour to see fossils, including dinosaurs and both a male and female mastodon skeleton, learn about DNA, explore time and space, see a collection of rocks and minerals and much more. It also offers science experiments to do at home, video demonstrations, virtual meet-a-scientist and more.
UMMA Sight & Sound
The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance has put together a virtual project showcasing original musical works by students as they were intended to be heard.
Virtual Pure Michigan Tours
Have you ever wanted to pack up the kids and explore Michigan’s rolling fields and dazzling waterfalls? Now is your chance! Thanks to Pure Michigan, you can take a trip to some of Michigan’s most popular spots including the Mackinac Bridge, Frankenmuth, Port Huron and more, with the ever-growing collection of live webcams.