The 21 Best Free Virtual Field Trips of 2020

Stuck at home? Travel virtually all over the world instead

Just because your kids are learning at home doesn't mean you have time to take them on field trips. When you can't get away, your kids still can by taking a virtual field trip to a museum, farm, zoo, or another fun location. We compiled our list of favorites to help you keep your kids engaged and entertained.

01
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Best Tours of the World: AirPano

The Zhangjiaje Glass Bridge virtual tour
What We Like
  • Bright, well-produced videos and images.

  • Offers tours of numerous countries.

  • Includes video and still frame-images.

What We Don't Like
  • What's not to like?

AirPano has a variety of tours in China, Portugal, Switzerland, and more countries. Children can visit the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge in China, an underwater cave in Indonesia, ski resorts in France, and more destinations around the globe.

What makes this site so good is that it offers narrations of several tours, provides closeups through interactive actions, and includes short chunks of written information that's easy for kids of most ages to read. The tours are also fairly short, which makes these tours great for younger kids, but older kids will still enjoy the trip.

02
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Best Virtual Dairy Farm Tour: Will-O-Crest Farm

Will-O-Crest Dairy Farm virtual tour
What We Like
  • Covers all aspects of dairy farming.

  • Useful, easy-to-understand explanations of farm activities and how milk is made.

  • Includes student questions.

What We Don't Like
  • Don't get the smell of an actual dairy farm.

  • Doesn't show other students, so it can feel like a lecture.

Designed for 4th through 6 graders, this 45-minute tour of Will-O-Crest dairy in New York state walks through every step of working on a dairy farm. It shows how calves are housed, how cows are milked, and everything in between. The video is hosted by a narrator with a live instructor (employee) from the farm onsite.

03
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Best Aquarium Virtual Tour: National Aquarium

National Aquarium virtual tour page
What We Like
  • Easy to find exhibits.

  • Fun to explore using the 360-degree options.

What We Don't Like
  • Some scenes spin quickly, which can frustrate young learners.

Baltimore's National Aquarium features more than 20,000 aquatic animals. Kids can click and drag images to navigate their way around and use arrows, the map, or a scene list to explore various exhibits. Explore eight areas, such as the Amazon River, a tropical rain forest, and jellyfish.

04
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Best Natural History Tour: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History online tours
What We Like
  • So many exhibits to see!

  • Easy, clickable maps.

  • Quick and easy to navigate.

What We Don't Like
  • It's not always easy to read the signs in the exhibits.

This iconic museum is dedicated to understanding the natural world and humanity's place in it. There's so much to see it can't possibly be listed here. However, the museum offers an online tour of most of its exhibits. Split this tour up into multiple lessons, so kids don't get overwhelmed.

Skip the ground floor and go straight to the first or second floors.

05
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Best Tour of Space: NASA

NASA Galleries page
What We Like
  • The volume of space videos.

  • The approachable aspect of the videos.

  • So much more to see on the site.

What We Don't Like
  • It's not easily searchable unless you know what you're looking for.

This might be cheating a bit because it's really a collection of videos, but, oh boy, what a collection to tour! The Galleries open up an array of videos covering space topics from testing a parachute for Mars to moving water in space. Each video is a mini virtual tour that will awe kids and encourage interest in science and space.

06
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Best Virtual Tour for Car Lovers: Lane Motor Museum

Lane Motor Museum virtual tour
What We Like
  • Totally unique tour.

  • An inside look that allows for deep diving into collections.

What We Don't Like
  • There's no way to tell what a specific vehicle is unless you know cars.

Scroll to the bottom of the link to watch a fun virtual tour of one of the most unique car museums in the world. Lane Motor Museum is home to an oddball collection of vehicles dating from the 1920s up to modern times.

Your child will love seeing amphibious vehicles, microcars, prototypes, and more. The tour is easy to click through and offers six angles to entertain viewers.

07
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Best National Park Virtual Tour: Yellowstone

Fort Yellowstone virtual tour page
What We Like
  • Offers multiple tours.

  • Lots of historical information.

  • Amazing images.

What We Don't Like
  • No video tours.

  • Lots of written information that can turn off some kids.

Yellowstone offers seven virtual tours appropriate for older elementary and middle school ages. There's a lot of written information along with the images, and the tours aren't in video. However, the information is fascinating, and the photos are stunning.

From learning about old Fort Yellowstone to discovering park anomalies like Mud Volcano, these tours are a great way for kids to discover unique facts about America.

08
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Best Tour of the White House: Google Arts & Culture's The White House

Google Arts & Culture's White House tour page
What We Like
  • Stunning 360-degree images.

  • See inside and outside the White House.

  • Offers views of 140 paintings.

What We Don't Like
  • Once inside a tour, it's hard to know what you're looking at.

  • No search functions.

Every President since John Adams has occupied the White House and now your children can visit it, too. Google Arts & Culture offers four museum views (three tours of The White House and one of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building) plus a look at more than 140 paintings that grace (or have graced) the walls of the country's most famous abode. The 360-degree images let kids explore to their heart's desire.

09
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Best Tours of Nature: Nature Works Everywhere

Nature Works Everywhere virtual rainforest tour
What We Like
  • Tours are narrated and easy to follow.

  • Provides student handouts, vocabulary, and discussion questions.

What We Don't Like
  • We wish there was a larger library of tours!

Explore nature around the world with Nature Works Everywhere's virtual tours. Visit the coral reefs of Palau, the deserts and grasslands of Africa, a rainforest (from a canoe's viewpoint), a renewable energy plant, and more.

The tours are narrated and give great, quick facts to help kids learn in simple, straightforward ways. All tours are appropriate for grades 3 through 12 but are marked with notes about the grades most likely to enjoy the tour.

10
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Best Historical Tour: Ellis Island

Ellis Island virtual tour
What We Like
  • A clear explanation of Ellis Island, how it worked, and why it was needed.

  • Includes children asking questions of tour guides.

What We Don't Like
  • The images in much of the tour are small in order to focus on the tour guides.

Ellis Island is a key piece of American history. This virtual tour offers lots of anecdotes and features actual guides from Ellis Island telling stories. Plus, it includes lots of pictures and views of the island.

It's more appropriate for fourth grade and up, mainly due to the litany of facts and complexity of the information provided.

11
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Best Slime-Based Virtual Tour: Slime in Space

An astronaut plays with slime in a microgravity environment.

Nickelodeon

What We Like
  • It's playful and educational.

  • Good production values.

  • Fun experiments.

What We Don't Like
  • It's a video, not an interactive virtual tour.

What happens to Nickelodeon's iconic slime when it's in space? That's the concept behind the Slime in Space virtual field trip. Featuring real astronauts and Nickelodeon celebrities, the 15-minute video shows kids how slime and water react in a microgravity environment 250 miles above the Earth. Along the way, it answers burning questions like, "Is slime a solid or a liquid?" and "Can you slime a person in space?" (The answer is: yes, very slowly.)

12
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Best Virtual Zoo Tour: San Diego Zoo

A live cam shot of elephants in the San Diego Zoo
What We Like
  • Live cams of the animals.

  • A variety of educational videos.

  • Fun games and activities.

What We Don't Like
  • Fixed camera angles mean you're not always guaranteed to see the animals.

The San Diego Zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies. It's widely considered one of the best zoos in the world. But, if you can't make it to California, it has a robust virtual experience online.

You can peek in on the animals through live cams. There's also a variety of videos that teach kids about vultures or show them how to draw a tiger, for example. There are also zoo-related games and activities kids can do at home.

13
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Best General Farm Tour: FarmFood 360

The FarmFood 360 homepage
What We Like
  • 360-degree views of the farm.

  • Offers a free app for Android and iOS.

  • Compatible with Google Cardboard and Gear VR headsets.

What We Don't Like
  • It can be hard to see things on a mobile device.

FarmFood 360 gives an inside look at the activities of a Canadian farm. Kids see 360-degree views of the farm as they learn about milk and cheese production, sheep farming, egg processing, and more.

There's an app available for Android and iOS devices, and it's compatible with some virtual reality headsets.

14
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Best Virtual Planetarium: Stellarium

A view of the Andromeda Nebula in the Stellarium web app.
What We Like
  • Realistic night sky simulation.

  • Mobile apps are available.

  • Includes a telescope control module for experienced astronomers.

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to navigate.

  • The mobile apps aren't free, but the money supports the project.

Stellarium Web is an online planetarium created by two brothers. Offering an accurate and realistic view of the night sky, it lets you pan around and spot stars, satellites, and other celestial bodies.

It offers mobile apps for Android and iOS that aren't free. The money goes toward paying server and development costs for the two-person project.

15
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Best Children's Museum Tour: Boston Children's Museum

A virtual view of the first floor of the Boston Children's Museum
What We Like
  • Uses Google Maps to provide a detailed view of the museum.

What We Don't Like
  • Supplemental information isn't available with the tour.

  • Can't play with the fun exhibits online.

Using Google Maps, you can take your kids on a virtual walk through the Boston Children's Museum. Explore all three floors and tour exhibits like the Construction Zone and Kid Power. You can't interact with the exhibits in a virtual tour, and the site lacks supplemental information to go with Google Maps. But it's a beautiful museum and worthy of a look.

16
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Best Art-Centric Virtual Tour: The Met

A Google Street view of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
What We Like
  • A glimpse at some of the greatest works of art created.

  • Online exhibits on various topics.

What We Don't Like
  • There's only one view of the museum currently available.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is home to over 5,000 years of art from around the world. You can see some of it from the comfort of your home. Take a virtual stroll through part of the museum using Google Street View. There are also numerous online exhibits on topics like Coco Chanel, Vermeer, Catholic allegory in art, and more.

17
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Best Living-History Virtual Tour: Colonial Williamsburg

A webcam view of the armoury in Colonial Williamsburg
What We Like
  • Next best thing to being there.

  • The virtual scavenger hunt.

  • The virtual tours are highly interactive.

What We Don't Like
  • Virtual tour models can load slowly.

  • Condensation or inclement weather can obstruct the webcam views.

Colonial Williamsburg is a living-history museum in Virginia that offers a glimpse at what life was like in the 18th century. Its virtual tour is highly interactive and includes videos, informational signs, and 3D models you can rotate.

With its various webcams, you can see the armory, courthouse, merchants square, and more. Colonial Williamsburg's website also offers a virtual scavenger hunt your kids can participate in as they tour the area.

18
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Best European Museum Virtual Tour: The Louvre

A first-person look at a painting in the Louvre's virtual tour
What We Like
  • It's the Louvre.

  • The website offers a list of online family-friendly activities.

  • The virtual tours include a map and an information button.

What We Don't Like
  • The website offers limited language options.

Sure, we'd love to jet off to France and tour its fabulous museums personally. But if that's not an option, the Louvre has several virtual tours available on its website. The offerings include exhibitions on the body in movement, founding myths, Egyptian antiquities, and more.

The Louvre also has a handy list of family-friendly online resources everyone can enjoy, including a Mona Lisa VR experience.

19
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Best Cave Virtual Tour: Son Doong Cave

A virtual view of a subterranean river in Son Doon, the world's largest natural cave.
What We Like
  • Son Doong is beautiful.

  • The virtual tour includes lots of information.

  • Zoom into areas for a more detailed look.

What We Don't Like
  • No supplemental online activities.

Son Doong is the world's largest natural cave. Located in Vietnam, it features a subterranean river and the largest cross-section of any cave worldwide. National Geographic's virtual tour lets you explore the cave with full 360-degree views and immersive sounds. You can even zoom in one area to check out the campers in their tents. Son Doong is beautiful and worth a virtual visit.

20
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Best Factory Virtual Tour: M&M Factory Tour

A pile of chocolate candies

Zoonar RF / Getty Images

What We Like
  • Who doesn't love chocolate?

  • 360-degree views of the factory.

What We Don't Like
  • It's short.

The Food Network teamed up with candy maker Mars to give M&M fans a virtual tour of one of its factories. During the short YouTube video, viewers can pan around as a tour guide explains how unrefined chocolate is turned into the little candies we know and love.

21
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Best General Virtual Tour Resource: Discovery Education

Discovery Education's website offers many virtual field trips for kids.
What We Like
  • An eclectic variety of virtual field trips.

  • Watch live or on demand.

  • Trips come with a companion guide packed with activities.

What We Don't Like
  • A schedule of when field trips go live would be nice.

Discovery Education offers a variety of virtual field trips for kids learning from home. The offerings change often but currently include an NFL experience, a doodling experience meant to encourage creativity, and a virtual field trip through the internet of things. You can watch the field trips live or catch the videos later on-demand.