5 fun and educational ways to pass time during ‘Stay at Home’ order

Old Faithful erupts from behind the trees at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in this screen shot from the park’s webcam taken Sunday, March 22. Valley News/Courtesy photo

I’m obeying California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order issued Thursday, March 19, but thanks to a plethora of virtual tours online, I’ve avoided boredom by traveling from Disneyland to Alaska to France all in the comfort of my own home.

As I work to think outside the box to keep the boredom at bay, I realized that from stay at home mothers to working professionals on furlough, we are all looking to find interesting things to do with our spare time.

So I’m the interest of those looking to fill their time, here are my top 5 favorite online tours.

Visit Disneyland.

Who wouldn’t enjoy spending a day at the happiest place on earth? Once again, the Disney Company leads the pack by sharing virtual versions of its rides online. From the beginning of the line to the end of the ride, Disneyland’s virtual tours, just like the real parks, are fun for the entire family. Pro tip: turn off the lights, stream to a big screen and it’s almost like actually being there. Just do a search on https://www.youtube.com for a full listing of rides.

Learn something new. 

Coursera has hundreds of free classes online. From the University of Michigan to Stanford University and University of California Irvine, hundreds of universities and colleges are offering anyone with an internet connection and a desire to learn the opportunity to gain a little knowledge. I’m currently enrolled in The Science of Well-Being offered by Yale University. Pro tip: for $49, you can get a certificate of completion to share or hang on your wall. Visit https://www.coursera.org for their course offerings.

Visit a museum. 

From the Louvre to the National Gallery of Art to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, there are hundreds of museums offering online tours. Pro tip: be sure to tour the remains of the Louvre’s moat for a unique look back into medieval times. Visit https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne for tours of the Louvre.

Head to the Zoo. 

For years, zoos around the world have offered webcams giving a behind the scenes and up close and personal look at the animals housed on their properties. I could watch the giant panda cam at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington for hours. Also see the webcams at the San Diego Zoo for hours of animal entertainment. Pro tip: some animals are nocturnal so it’s best to watch them in the evening hours. Side bonus, have the children do some research on the animals they are interested in to determine the best time to watch. Visit https://nationalzoo.si.edu/webcams.

Visit a national park. 

There is nothing better than the majesty of wide-open spaces and national parks are the cream of the crop when it comes to nature. My favorite has to be Yellowstone’s upper geyser basin featuring Old Faithful. Also check out Zion National Park’s sled dog puppy webcam for a cuteness overload that is sure to bring a smile to your face. Pro tip: watch at dusk or dawn for the best chance to view the more elusive wildlife.

Kim Harris can be reached by email at valleyeditor@reedermedia.com.