While attractions have closed across the world, many have opened their doors virtually for guests to experience them. So just because a specific theme park, zoo, aquarium, zoo or museum has closed, guests can connect to those attractions via the internet. As a mom of three kids who are so bored and counting down the days until we can go anywhere, I love that so many attractions have launched virtual experiences. Honestly, we are desperate for culture and new experiences, we will take what we can get!
Thanks to the IAAPA , below if a great list of North America attractions to check out for free virtually:
Zoo America, Hershey, Pa.
Through daily Facebook Live sessions, parents and children engage with experiences that include a behind-the-scenes look and educational sessions with many of the park’s animals, including reptiles, the Canada lynx and even a skunk that leads children in finger-painting exercises.
Houston Zoo, Houston, Texas
The Houston Zoo shares information about the animals in its care – and how the community can help save threatened animals in the wild – through its social media channels, especially during “Houston Zoo Live,” Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. CT.
St. Louis Aquarium, St. Louis, Mo.
The St. Louis Aquarium hosts breakfast sessions with some of its animals. Fans are encouraged to dine virtually with sloths, river otters, and more during live weekly sessions on the aquarium’s Facebook page. Later in the day, the conversation continues as the aquarium posts an activity for fans to continue the fun and learning from home.
Looking for something more relaxing? The “QuaranStream” Live on Facebook, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10-11 a.m. CT, features live video from the aquarium’s webcams set to soothing music.
Gatorland, Kissimmee, Fla.
Airing live every day at 10 a.m. ET on Gatorland’s Facebook page, “School of Crocs” is a 20-minute segment that teaches viewers about alligators and the many other animals at the park. For guests that can’t tune in that early, a YouTube segment called “Later Gator” is posted each day at 5 p.m. ET.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Fla.
From lessons on rocketry to creating rockets at home from recycled materials, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex provides content for kids on its Facebook page, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:30 a.m. ET. Programming for middle and high-school age students begins at 1 p.m. ET. In addition, downloadable activity sheets and experiments can be found online.
Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughn, Ontario, Canada
Since there’s nothing quite like the feeling of riding a thrilling roller coaster, Canada’s Wonderland has created 34 point-of-view videos to help families feel like they are really there. They are then encouraged to make their own video, pretending they are riding the coasters. Submitted videos may be shared by the park on its social channels.
Hersheypark, Hershey, Pa.
The sweetest park on earth has created downloadable coloring pages for kids at home, and is adding point-of-view videos from their rides and attractions for families to experience from home.
Denver Zoo, Denver, Colo.
During its closure, the Denver Zoo launched its “virtual zoo,” providing entertaining, educational, and engaging content. Zoo to You: Virtual Safari is complete with popular videos, articles and daily activity ideas for parents from the zoo’s Learning Experiences team. A new Facebook Live series, #BringingtheZootoYou, goes behind the scenes around the zoo to interview animal keepers and curators, answering user questions in real time.
Carowinds, Charlotte, N.C.
Carowinds has created a virtual stroll through the park fans can take from home. Point-of-view videos throughout the entire park allow guests to feel like they are riding the roller coasters and strolling through the park.
Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, Ga.
Known for its educational content, the Georgia Aquarium now has a dedicated, comprehensive landing page for remote learning. Unique content includes nine webcams of the aquarium’s most popular animals, including whale sharks, penguins, beluga whales, rescued sea otters and many more. Educational videos focus on what it takes to run one of the largest aquariums in the world. Live feeds provide an exclusive behind-the-scenes look, lunch time topics, animals at play and animal training sessions. The aquarium’s educational content is great for parents with kids of all ages and includes a video series and downloadable curriculum materials.
OdySea Aquarium, Scottsdale, Ariz.
The OdySea Aquarium has created an “oceanic adventure from home” for its fans. Along with a virtual classroom, the aquarium’s live webcams give guests the chance to see what the animals are up to at any given time.
San Diego Zoo, San Diego, Calif.
A dedicated website and YouTube channel for kids are just two examples of the many ways the San Diego Zoo is communicating with its audience. Live webcams allow people to peek in on the habitats of pandas, burrowing owls, elephants, polar bears, koalas, giraffes, tigers, condors and more. Supplemental – and downloadable – educational curriculums provide additional information about the zoo’s incredible menagerie.
Ripley’s Aquariums – multiple locations
Urban Air Adventure Parks – multiple locations
Urban Air Adventure Parks use Facebook Live sessions to provide cooking tips for kids from their corporate chef, virtual scavenger hunts inside the parks and other engaging activities through its social channels.
Escapology – multiple locations
Escapology, the live escape game attraction, has created #DailyDistinction Brainiac Challenge puzzles on its Facebook page for fans to try to solve. The quick games are similar to challenges guests face when in one of the attraction’s mystery room.
The National Cowboy Museum, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Not all content has to be focused on kids. The National Cowboy Museum has created a unique and hilarious commentary on its Twitter channel. Daily content is provided by the museum’s head of security and takes a full, unfiltered look at the museum’s exhibits.
The attractions industry continues to innovate and entertain its guests. Guests and fans are encouraged to visit their favorite park, zoo, or attraction’s website or social channels to learn more.
IAAPA is a diverse and dynamic community of global attractions professionals. As the largest international trade association for permanently located attractions, IAAPA unifies the attractions community, connects people to learn and grow together and strives to promote the highest professional standards for excellence and safety around the world.