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There’s no doubt the coronavirus pandemic has altered your travel plans, whether immediate or in the future. And with social distancing now of the utmost importance, some of Florida’s favorite attractions, theme parks and museums have temporarily closed in an effort to help fight the spread of the virus. Whether you’re stuck at home fighting off boredom or trying to keep your kids entertained, many of the Sunshine State’s beloved parks and cultural attractions are making it easy to explore Florida from the comfort of your couch. Here are several ways you can keep yourself occupied and virtually visit your favorite places.
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Explore Dry Tortugas National Park
You can see one of the most secluded national parks in the world without leaving your home, thanks to a virtual tour of Dry Tortugas National Park. While normally only accessible by boat or seaplane, you can now take an online tour this 100-square-mile park that sits 70 miles west of Key West. One of the most awe-inspiring sights at the park is the historic Fort Jefferson and its natural beauty is sure to inspire a trip here in the future.
Take a Virtual Tour of the Salvador Dali Museum
Art aficionados and budding art lovers can explore one of Florida’s best art museums, as the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg is offering virtual tours during the coronavirus pandemic. You can take in the impressive, internationally renowned collection right from your computer. The museum houses a comprehensive collection of the surrealist painter’s work, including eight of his masterpieces. Hopefully the virtual tour will inspire you to visit this amazing museum in the future.
Roam Walt Disney World on a Virtual Tour
Walt Disney World was among the first major theme parks in Florida to close to the public and help encourage social distancing. And while you may not be able to physically explore the place where dreams come true, you can still roam the parks without the crowds thanks to Disney’s 360-degree panoramas on Google Street View. The new images on Google Street View includes theme parks, water parks and Disney Springs, and you may even spot one or two of your favorite characters. Not only is this a great way to entertain the kids, but it’s also the perfect way to plan and organize your next trip to this magical destination.
Go Behind the Scenes with Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Sarasota may be closed to the public, but it’s using social media to keep you entertained while quarantined with behind the scenes videos and a virtual shark feeding on Facebook. Mote Marine Lab is a nonprofit marine research institution that shares its passion for ocean conservation with its visitors. The Mote Aquarium features more than 100 marine species and showcases the working laboratories. Stay connected to this educational and entertaining Florida attraction on Facebook for science opportunities for kids home from school and for the super cute sea life videos and photos.
Virtual Rides and Experiences at Florida Theme Parks
Need a little more action and adventure while stuck at home? You can find plenty of virtual rides and experiences from Florida’s theme parks on YouTube. The Disney Parks YouTube channel shares sneak peeks of Walt Disney World’s new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, as well as character meet ‘n greets and more from other Disney parks and resorts. Meanwhile, Universal Orlando Resort’s YouTube channel offers 360-degree videos of some of its most popular roller coasters. Explore the Flight of the Hippogriff, Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket and Incredible Hulk coasters all from your couch. Need a bit of cuteness in your life? Get your animal fix with videos from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or SeaWorld Orlando.
Daily Videos with Florida Aquarium on Facebook
You’ll find some of Florida’s cutest creatures online thanks to the Florida Aquarium’s new SEA-SPAN video series on Facebook. The aquarium in Tampa is known for offering both education and entertainment to children and adults, and the coronavirus isn’t stopping those efforts. The Florida Aquarium will host daily Facebook Live videos at 10 am to provide fun and educational content to families who are stuck at home. If you miss the live feed, you can catch the videos on the aquarium’s website too.
See The Ringling Museum’s Works of Art Online
Looking for the finer things in life? You can explore the collections from The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art online. This 66-acre museum complex in Sarasota is home to more than 28,000 works of art, ranging from ancient periods and European middle ages to American art from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. You can view objects from a variety of collections — including Ca’ d’Zan and Circus museum highlights — online and learn more about the amazing pieces featured at this Florida museum. Viewing these amazing exhibits online is sure to inspire a future trip to this Renaissance-style museum on Florida’s west coast.
See the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum Online
Experience this National Historic Landmark in Palm Beach from the comfort of your computer screen, as you take a virtual tour of Whitehall, Henry Flagler’s Gilded Age estate. The 75-room, 100,000-square-foot mansion was built in 1902 and today, nearly 100,000 people from around the world visit the museum each year. While it’s temporarily closed for health precautions during the coronavirus pandemic, you can take a virtual tour of some of the rooms of the first and second floors of the museum, as well as the Pavilion. You’ll get a glimpse inside the library, music room, billiard room as well as several bedrooms. This must-see mansion on Florida’s east coast will make for a great getaway in the future.
Go Virtual with Vizcaya Museums and Garden
This breathtaking estate on Biscayne Bay in Miami is a cultural museum that should be added to your future travel bucket list. It showcases a unique part of Miami’s history and offers visitors a chance to step back in time at the incredible estate of former agricultural industrialist James Deeringin. While you may be daydreaming about a visit here, you can explore this National Historic Landmark via virtual tour while you’re stuck at home. It will be like you’re almost there as you explore the grounds of the waterfront East Terrace, formal gardens, ground floor of the estate, as well as the rooms along the north, south and east galleries. This incredible destination is a must-see on your next getaway to Miami.
Daily Dose of Cuteness at Zoo Tampa
Get your daily dose of cuteness from Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park on Facebook. The zoo is closed to guests to encourage social distancing, but you can find Facebook Live videos with animal care teams that go inside animal habitats to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the zoo. You can also follow the adventures of African penguins Tiziri and Palmira, as they follow the animal care staff to check out the exhibits at the zoo.
Virtual Tour of All Things Fun in Orlando
In addition to its theme parks, Orlando is a mecca of attractions, shopping and dining. However, many of the city’s well-known destinations are temporarily closed for social distancing. You can still experience everything this destination has to offer, thanks to Visit Orlando’s virtual tours. Experience virtual thrills like the city’s tallest roller coaster or zipline over alligators. Take in the vast virtual views from The Wheel, a 400-foot-tall observation wheel at ICON Park on International Drive, or roam the shopping and dining district on Park Avenue in Winter Park. It’s certainly a great way to experience one of the most visited places in the country while you’re stuck at home, and it helps while planning your next trip too.
Connect with Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex is a truly awe-inspiring place to visit, where you can get up-close to real rockets, including Space Shuttle Atlantis, and walk among rockets from NASA’s Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. Kennedy Space Center is also a working spaceflight facility, so you can watch shuttle and rocket launches too. While it may be awhile before you can visit this incredible facility in person, you can find educational videos on its Facebook page and catch interviews with former astronauts on its YouTube channel. It’s a great way to connect kids with science and explore Florida’s history with the space industry.