Today I’m sharing with you 5 of our favorite free tours for visiting places around the world (and beyond!) without having to travel.
The Secret Annex at Anne Frank House
I think this is probably the very best virtual tour I’ve taken so far. You feel like you’re really there, exploring each of the rooms. A cutaway of the building lets you know exactly where you are at all times and the rooms are filled with interesting excerpts from Anne’s diary, short videos filled with a mix of photos and voiceovers, old photographs, and more. Click here to explore Anne’s Secret Annex.
The last time I visited Ellis Island virtually, my 6 year old daughter wandered into the room and stayed for over 20 minutes exploring the island with me. She absolutely loved “walking” through the space, changing the seasons, seeing where she was on the floorplan, and more.
I think her favorite part was looking at all the historical images and comparing the “then” and “now” photos. She did need me to read the explanations to her, but I loved how it held her attention and prompted more and more questions! Click here to explore Ellis Island.
Son Doong Cave in Vietnam
“I definitely hear water, maybe there’s a waterfall…”, said my 6 year old as she toured the world’s largest cave!
I love how well-done this tour is…360° photography lets you guide your own feet and eyes, and the immersive sound all around you adds a whole other layer to the experience. It also includes a map, information along the way, etc. It was so fun! Click here to explore Son Doong Cave.
I bet you didn’t expect to see this destination on this list, huh?
Yes, you can actually explore Mars in 360° thanks to NASA and the Curiosity rover’s photographs. Although the navigation on this one is a bit harder to use, I really liked the intro video, immersive sounds, and the brief informational boxes that are read to you…perfect for kids. Click here to explore Mars.
Last, but not least, I had to include Colonial Williamsburg’s virtual tours. There are four in all, and this is the one my daughter asked to go back to. Much like Anne Franke’s Secret Annex, they have done a great job at incorporating interesting videos, images, and even 3D models of artifacts. Click here to explore Colonial Williamsburg.
Using these free tours, my family has been able to visit places and times in history that our budget and geography would have otherwise prevented. I don’t think I’ll ever make it to Mars no matter how hard I try!
I checked out A LOT of virtual tours as I was developing the Show Me the Money Tour into a virtual experience to see what my kids and I liked best. If you’re interested in learning about the National Mall and visiting 8 places on it, you can check it out here.