A Complete Guide to Virtual Travel with Kids to Help you Travel the World from Home

With the wonders of modern technology, there are so many resources out there that allow you to experience virtual travel with kids. We’ve been overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of these virtual-travel resources that allow us to visit the world (and beyond) from our armchair.

We have been using these online resources along with some more traditional homeschooling methods such as exploring maps, learning basic greetings in different languages and making different food from various countries. We’ll also be re-visiting some of the countries we’ve travelled to with an A-Z challenge on our FlashpackingFamily Instagram account. We’ve travelled to over 90 countries between us but while writing this, I don’t even know if we’ll manage the challenge!

These great resources will enable you to enjoy virtual reality travel in a really fun and, in some cases, interactive way too. We decided to pull together a selection of the best websites in one easy list that you can refer back to whenever you want to travel virtually. Expect to take virtual field trips to museums, national parks and even outer space – all without leaving the comfort of your home.

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Virtual Museum Tours

There are a number of world-class museums to visit virtually through a combination of Livestream videos and 360-degree virtual tours.

British Museum in London

Natural History Museum in London

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.

Guggenheim Museum in New York

Musée d’Orsay in Paris

Louvre Museum in Paris

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (also check out Google Streetview)

Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller (the dinosaur capital of the world)

Roman Baths in Bath

Louvre Museum in Paris

Louvre Museum in Paris

Virtual Zoo Tours

London Zoo

Keep up to date with animal antics from London Zoo with webcams and live streams.

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo has a great kids section on their site with live footage of their animals and some lovely animal themed educational resources and activities.

Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo has been streaming live virtual tours of the zoo on their Facebook page but if you’ve missed them, you can catch them on their YouTube channel.

Melbourne Zoo

Some more live streaming of animals from Melbourne Zoo and if you miss them, you can catch up on their YouTube channel.

Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo have live webcams of pandas, penguins, tigers and koalas and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland have some fun animal-related home learning resources.

Cincinnati Zoo

We love the daily live safari talks by the Cincinnati Zoo. Each time it’s a different animal and after the live session, there’s an accompanying activity to do at home.

National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth

Watch live feeding sessions from the National Marine Aquarium via their Facebook page. These 30-minute sessions are aimed at kids and during the session the marine expert gives a really informative talk about the animals. As it is a live session, you can ask and answer questions.  Our kids love this and it really helps them retain the information.

spotting zebra on safari

Spotting zebra on safari

Virtual Wildlife Tours

Watching animals in zoos not your thing? We get that. We much prefer to see animals in their natural habitat, especially on a family-friendly safari in Africa, but, of course, that is not possible right now. Here are the next best ways to see animals in their natural environment from the comfort of your armchair.

African Safari

AndBeyond have some incredible safari lodges throughout Africa and they regularly host live sessions on their andbeyondtravel social media channels. You can also check out Explore for more live footage of African animals.

Fancy something a little closer to home? You can check out the Longleat virtual safari.

World Wildlife

Explore, a philanthropic live nature cam website, also has live webcam footage for a whole range of other animals across the world, although mostly US-based, including manatees in Florida, Osprey in Maine and Polar Bears in Manitoba. They have an enormous selection of webcams around the world and we also love their short global documentary films which give fantastic insights into life around the world, including stories from Tibetan nuns or footage of the Navajo Fire Dance.

National Geographic have some fantastic 360 animal experiences. Check out their Hammerhead Shark and Lion experiences.

While not virtual, we’ve also been enjoying the fantastic Seven Worlds, One Planet on bbc iPlayer.

Leopard spotting on safari in Botswana

Leopard spotting on safari in Botswana

Virtual Travel in the Great Outdoors

US National Parks

Google Arts & Culture has teamed up with five US National Parks to provide amazing footage of the breathtaking scenery in these parks. With all National Parks in the US and UK currently closed, you can immerse yourself in these extraordinary videos and really feel like you’re out in the great outdoors. The kids had a fantastic experience in Banff National Park in Canada and are now keen to visit some US ones.

Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii

Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah

Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida

You can also check the National Park Service website for a seemingly unending list of webcam shots from the US National Parks.

Virtual travel of Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Northern Lights

Watch footage of the Northern lights streamed from Churchill, Manitoba in Canada. We were so lucky to see the Northern Lights in Iceland and the kids were fascinated with this natural light display. Even if you travel to a specific destination to see the Northern Lights, a sighting cannot be guaranteed so this virtual livestream is a brilliant idea, especially if you have already tried to see the Northern Lights in person and not been able to.

National Geographic

NatGeo also has some wonderful educational 360 footage of natural wonders around the world on their YouTube channel. Some of our favourites are:

watching northern lights

Watching the Northern Lights

Stay Tuned Earth

Stay Tuned Earth is a great resource because it gathers together a lot of virtual videos and you can search using their interactive map. We were meant to be visiting Cappadocia in Turkey this summer so we’ll enjoy sharing this virtual tour with the kids.

Keukenhof Gardens in The Netherlands

OK, not the great outdoors but Keukenhof is famous for its absolutely stunning tulip fields. They have a virtual tour of their tulip fields which are in bloom right now after planting 7 million bulbs. We’ve included this because we thought everyone can do with a bit of colour right now!

BBC Bitesize

David Attenborough will be giving Geography lessons on BBC Bitesize from 20th April for 14 weeks. His lessons will take us around the world. This is bound to be informative and entertaining. I would have loved to have had David Attenborough teaching me geography when I was a kid!

Famous Landmarks

Pyramids of Egypt

How about visiting Discovering Egypt first to read up on the Egyptians before heading off to take a virtual tour of the 5000-year-old tomb of Queen Meresankh III.  You take an incredibly realistic walking tour of the tomb, to the point that you might actually feel a little claustrophobic as you descend into the depths! Move on to a virtual tour of the ancient monuments of Egypt or the Pyramids with Google Streetview.

Ancient Pyramids of Giza in Egypt

Ancient Pyramids of Giza in Egypt

New Seven Wonders of the World

Explore the New Seven Wonders of the World courtesy of 360-degree tours pulled together by the New York Times.  Some also have their own separate virtual tours.

Visiting Petra with Kids

Visiting Petra with Kids

Buckingham Palace

Explore the official London residence of the Queen virtually with a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace. There are 775 rooms in the palace but you’ll only be able to explore 3 of them virtually, the Throne Room, the Grand Staircase and the White Drawing Room.

Vatican City

There are 7 virtual tours through the Vatican city, including the spectacular Sistine Chapel.

Palace of Versailles

Take a virtual tour of Versailles with Google Streetview

Stonehenge

Learn more about the mysterious Stonehenge in Salisbury, UK with a 360-degree virtual tour and accompanying educational resources.

Virtual City Tours

Live cam footage of major cities is incredible to see at the moment as the streets are all but deserted. It’s a phenomenon that we may (and hope not to) see again. Check out the famously busy Tokyo Shibuya Crossing. It’s also interesting to see usually busy holiday destinations with no crowds such as Copacabana Beach in Brazil, the Trevi Fountain in Rome or the waterways of Venice.

You can also take virtual tours of major cities.

Virtual Tour of Space

It’s not just every corner of the earth that is covered by Webcams though. We can also explore space virtually thanks to footage from space stations and other space exploration tools.

View of Earth from Space

View of Earth from Space

Access Mars

Explore the real surface of Mars with images from NASA’s Curiosity Rover.

NASA

Tha main NASA website is incredibly informative if you have a space enthusiast in the family.

Want to see what the Hubble Space Telescope saw on your birthday? Check out the Nasa website and enter your date of birth. You can also watch Nasa astronauts take spacewalks on YouTube or watch live streams of the Earth from space. Check here for interactive Q&A sessions with astronauts from space and other educational resources.

You can also have a virtual tour of the International Space Station Columbus to see how the astronauts live for many months at a time. They live the ultimate stay at home life!

Virtual Amusement Parks

Nobody does amusement parks like Disney so how about checking out all the Virtual Disney World rides on their YouTube channel. If you can put them on a widescreen TV, you can get a very realistic experience! Here are a couple of their most popular rides and you can find more than 20 virtual Disney rides here.

Frozen Ever After at Epcot

Ride Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid

Rise of the Resistance

Travel Movies

We’re pulling together a post on the best travel movies for kids but some of our favourites are:

Travel Movies for Kids to Help with Virtual Travel

Travel Movies for Kids to Help with Virtual Travel

When the kids are in bed, why not have a little well-deserved downtime and catch up on some of the best travel movies for adults.

Traditional Home Learning

If you want to move away from technology, here are a few things we like to do with the kids at home to help:

  • Use a children’s Atlas for reference
  • Draw the flag of the country you are learning about
  • Learn a few simple words about the country you are learning about (Hello, Goodbye, Thank you, Yes and No)
  • Try out recipes from the country you’re learning about like pizza and pasta from Italy, curry from India, noodle dishes from China, burgers from the US and fajitas from Mexico. All very child-friendly!

Until it is safe to travel again, we hope this has given you some great resources to help fuel wanderlust in your kids. If you have any ideas you think we should add, please leave us a comment. Happy ‘virtual’ travels!

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A Complete Guide to Virtual Travel with Kids

A Guide to Virtual Travel With Kids

11 replies
  1. Trisha
    Trisha says:

    These virtual tours, and Facebook live sessions, have been huge lifesavers the last few weeks! My children, and I, really love the Cincinnati Zoo one.

    Reply
    • Jacs
      Jacs says:

      That’s great to hear. We try to use anything we can to keep the kids entertained and it’s a bonus if it’s educational! Our kids love the animal talks from the keepers.

      Reply
  2. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    This is a great list! I have been trying to incorporate things like this into my homeschooling with my daughter-this list will be a great resource! I will have to show her the virtual Disney rides as well-my daughter is a huge Disney fan.

    Reply
    • Jacs
      Jacs says:

      Thanks Melissa. We love that they’re factual and fun so they’re great for homeschooling. Although the Disney rides are just fun really, which is what the kids need too :)

      Reply

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