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My daughters and I have enjoyed going on many field trips over the years. We’ve had the opportunity to take a “behind-the-scenes” tour of two post offices, a few stores, a police station, a fire station, an apple orchard, multiple farms, a sawmill, a fish hatchery, a radio station, a couple of recycling centers, and more. There truly are so many interesting places to explore!
My daughters had the chance to fill out their first field trip journal entry after we toured an airport in February. Unfortunately, other planned field trips have been cancelled as a result of COVID-19.
So, does that mean we can’t take any field trips at this time? No! Thanks to technology, there are a lot of opportunities to take virtual field trips. No dress code, no preplanning, no commute, and no fee required!
“Visit” zoos, aquariums, observatories, museums, food factories, and more from the comfort of your home with these webcams, virtual tours, and videos.
This is a long list of virtual field trip opportunities. I would not recommend doing them all at once. You don’t want a field trip burn out! Choose the ones you are the most interested in and do them as time and patience allow. It’s okay to bookmark this page to come back to for future field trips. That’s what I plan to do! With that being said, some of these virtual field trip opportunities have been created within the last few weeks in response to COVID-19, and I don’t know if they will remain after the quarantines have ended. You may want to do those field trip opportunities first if you are interested in them just in case.
(As a side note, I can’t control what others put on their websites, so please use with caution. I have clicked through many of the links to make sure they work, but I don’t have the time to explore all of them completely. Some of these links I have included are links to YouTube videos.)
My family has had the opportunity to visit the Minnesota Zoo, Milwaukee Zoo, Racine Zoo, Madison Zoo, and (my personal favorite) Omaha Zoo. If you are unable to visit a zoo in person, watching the various zoo animal cams may be the next best option.
As the title suggests, this website offers links to zoo cameras all around the world. The list of zoos with webcams page includes the Alaska Zoo, Baton Rouge Zoo, Blank Park Zoo, Chattanooga Zoo, Chester Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Columbus Zoo, Cotswood Wildlife Park & Gardens, Dublin Zoo, Edinburg Zoo, El Paso Zoo, Greenville Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary, Highland Wildlife Park, Houston Zoo, Indianapolis Zoo, Kansas City Zoo, Marwell Zoo, Melbourne Zoo, Metro Richmond Zoo, Milwaukee County Zoo and Zoological Society, Minnesota Zoo, Monterey Bay Aquarium, North American Bear Center, Red Park Zoo, San Diego Zoo, St. Louis Zoo, Tallinn Zoo, Tennessee Aquarium, The National Zoological Park, Toledo Zoo, Tulsa Zoo, Virginia Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo, Zoo Atlanta, Zoo Sauvage, and Zoo Montana. The live zoo cameras page offers a long list of animals to watch via webcams.
Some of the links may not direct you to an exact webcam, but many of them still offer information about the zoos. For example, when I clicked on the “Ant Webcam”, a page about the Marwell Zoo Webcams with interesting facts about the Marwell Zoo appeared. At the bottom of the page, I clicked on “view the Marwell Zoo webcams”, which opened a new tab with links to the webcams Marwell Zoo currently offers. These include a flamingo, lemur, giraffe, and penguin webcam, so I didn’t find the ant webcam I had originally clicked on. I guess that is kind of like actually going to visit a zoo when you expect to see a certain animal but that animal’s exhibit has been closed for some reason.
Watch the cams for an ape, baboon, condor, elephant, koala, panda, penguin, polar bear, and tigers at the San Diego Zoo.
The Cincinnati Zoo is currently sharing information about their animals through a Home Safari Facebook Live each day at 3pm EDT. If you are like me and don’t have a Facebook account (or are unable to watch the presentations live), you can watch all of the videos on their YouTube channel.
The Omaha Zoo is offering daily interactive videos and activities to do at home during this time. Some animals they currently have information for include rhinos, frogs, sloth bears, chinchillas, red pandas, sea lions, rattlesnakes, goats, bongos, and aye-ayes.
The Milwaukee County Zoo offers a “zoo view” of some of their animals.
Learn about more than 100 animals you may find at the zoo with this zoo guide written with a Biblical perspective from Answers in Genesis. This is a great resource for animal-loving kids and your next zoo visit, whether virtual or in-person.
I had a daughter who went through a phase years ago where she wanted to learn all about animals. This book was a great curriculum option for that time. We learned a lot about flying creatures!
We also learned a lot about land creatures with this Apologia book around that same time.
More Animal Cams
You might be able to see birds live through your own windows! As I write this, I can see a robin in the grass and two birds on my deck. But if you are looking for more choices of watching birds and other animals around the world, you may be interested in these options.
This website links to multiple other animal cams around the world. I spent quite a bit of time watching the meerkat cam from Miami, Florida. The meerkats were very active and so adorable!
If you like watching birds, this is the website for you. They offer links to live cams of multiple bird feeder locations and specific birds such as owls, red tailed hawks, Bermuda petrals, northern royal albatrosses, and more.
This is a live feed of a bald eagle family in Decorah, Iowa near a fish hatchery that my family has had the opportunity to visit.
My family has had the pleasure of visiting the Georgia Aquarium, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Reiman Aquarium, and other aquariums. Something about watching the fish and sea creatures swim around is mesmerizing!
Going to an aquarium provides so many wonderful experiences. We have touched jellyfish, horseshoe crabs, stingrays, sharks, sea anemones, sea urchins, and sea stars. We have watched sharks, penguins, and stingrays being fed. We have seen Winter and Hope (the dolphins from the Dolphin Tale movies) in person, and we have been awed by the size of the sea creatures as they swim over our heads. Isn’t God such an amazing designer?
Unfortunately, traveling to an aquarium is not always feasible (especially at this time). So, here are some aquarium cams and at-home resources to check out at various aquariums in the United States.
See what Winter, the dolphin from the movie Dolphin Tale, and the other animals are up to at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium with the live webcams.
Check out the sea otters, sharks, penguins, jellyfish, birds, and other animals at the Monterey Bay Aquarium with the webcams.
Watch the penguins above and below the water, the creatures of Shark Lagoon and the Tropical Reef, sea jellies, and other fish on the webcams at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
The Georgia Aquarium is offering quite a bit of at-home educational resources. Check out their website for videos, facts, webcams, lesson plans, teacher resources, and more. They are also currently accepting artwork from kids and have a gallery of some artwork that has been submitted to them.
This website offers links to various aquarium webcams. Listed aquariums include the Blank Park Zoo Aquarium, Aquarium of Pacific, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and National Aquarium Baltimore.
Learn about more than 100 animals you may find at the aquarium with this aquarium guide written with a Biblical perspective from Answers in Genesis.
Of course, we couldn’t learn about land animals and flying creatures without learning about swimming creatures, too. This is another Apologia book my daughters and I completed years ago.
There are quite a few hands-on activities to do along with the Apologia books. Below is a picture of an underwater-themed diorama we created as an idea from this book.
Planetariums and Observatories
My family has had the opportunity to visit a few planetariums together, and I have had the chance to visit the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. We’ve also taken part in an event at a nature center where we looked through telescopes, went into a portable planetarium, and learned about space. I don’t remember ever visiting an observatory, though.
Years ago I wrote a story about a boy who insists “I’m a big kid now, and I can count really high, so let’s try to count all the stars in the sky.” The boy learns a lot about stars and the solar system while on a visit to a planetarium with his grandma, but he discovers there really are too many stars in the sky to count (even for adults). That story is still in a file of “unpublished works”. Looking into the night sky, whether in person or in a planetarium, is a reminder of Psalm 147:4.
Anyways, below are some planetariums and observatories you can virtually visit.
This website offers different virtual tours of various observatories and planetariums.
Learn more about the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, International Space Station, and more through the virtual tours and apps available on NASA at Home.
Take a virtual tour of the Palomar Observatory and learn about their telescopes on the Palomar Observatory’s website.
The Adler Planetarium offers a variety of online resources to check out.
This is another Apologia book my daughters and I have completed together.
Children’s museums, art museums, natural history museums, living history museums, city museums, and more. There are so many different types and sizes of museums to visit. I think the living history museums are my favorite!
There are a few virtual tour options available at the National Museum of Natural History.
My daughters have had fun at the Madison Children’s Museum, Milwaukee Children’s Museum, and the Children’s Museum of La Crosse. I really think children’s museums are more fun to explore in person, but the Boston Children’s Museum does offer you a glimpse of their museum through their virtual tour.
I am the only one in my family who has actually had a chance to visit the Louvre in person and that was over fifteen years ago. I’m pretty sure we will not be taking any family trips to France, so this virtual tour of the Louvre will have to suffice.
See the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Room, and more virtually. This is probably the closest I’ll get to seeing them myself!
Learn all about Ellis Island through the stories of some immigrants who stopped in Ellis Island, photos, facts, and more on this interactive tour of Ellis Island brought to you by Scholastic.
This offers only three views of the Henry Ford Museum (at the bottom of the page), but it does have a lot of pictures to look through. If you are wanting even more resources for The Henry Ford, make sure to check out their Digital Collections, their Virtual Visit, and even more things to explore.
Take a virtual tour of the National Museum of the United States Air Force and check out the interiors of aircraft.
Read about more than 100 common museum exhibits in a Biblical perspective from Answers in Genesis.
More Virtual Tours and Resources
I was disappointed to see that WebRangers retired at the end of 2019, but I guess we will see what they have in store for the future.
My family has had the opportunity to explore quite a few caves, but none of them come even close in size to the Son Doong Cave. Explore the world’s largest natural cave located in Vietnam virtually from your home through National Geographic’s website. Many interesting facts are provided as you journey through the cave. (As a side note, it does state the cave was formed “over the course of hundreds of thousands of years.”)
Videos and teacher guides are available to learn about rain forests, deserts, coral reefs, renewable energy, and more. Curriculum is also available to download on the Nature Conservancy’s website.
Learn about coastal wetlands, algae, and lake sturgeon through the “virtual field trip” videos Great Lakes Now has on their website.
Visit a few portions of the Great Wall of China virtually. No hiking involved!
Visit Orlando offers virtual tours of the things you can see and do in Orlando including Sea World Orlando, Walt Disney World Resort, and Universal Orlando Resort. All places I have never visited!
Travel virtually to the Pyramids of Giza through Google Maps.
Food Production Tours
These FarmFood 360 videos are really neat! Not only can you watch a video tour of an egg farm, sheep farm, pig farm, cheese processing center, grain farm, apple orchard and more, but you can also move the video screen around to see a full view of the area. Hence the name 360 (for the 360 degree view). FarmFood 360 also has a website you can view here if interested.
SchoolhouseTeachers.com is an online homeschool curriculum site with over 425 courses and resources for all ages at one low price for the entire family. My daughters have used SchoolhouseTeachers.com for quite a few of their own school subjects, which I hope to write more about in future posts. SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership also includes a subscription to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, RightNow Media videos, course certificates, and much more.
The Foods and Food Production course includes 154 pages of information about 26 different foods and how they are grown, harvested, processed, and used. I included opening and closing questions, links to videos, book lists, interesting facts, geography information about where each food is grown with a flag matching worksheet, information about what the products can be used in, and recipes for each of the 26 foods.
Of course, I won’t be listing all of that here, but the following food tour links are some of the links found within that course. My daughters and I watched all of these videos (and more) while I was creating the course.
This is a quick video about the process of growing almonds throughout the year.
This is a very detailed video that shows the outside process of almonds as well as an inside tour of Blue Diamond factory. It has interviews of some employees of Blue Diamond, history of Blue Diamond, interesting questions and answers about almonds, and discusses the variety of foods almonds can be used in. Since the video was done by Blue Diamond, it does advertise Blue Diamond.
This video shows the process of washing, waxing, and packaging apples at an apple packing facility.
Dole Harvesting Bananas (5:12)
This video goes through the process of picking and packaging Dole bananas.
Blueberry- How Does it Grow? (can stop at 8:33)
This video talks about the history of blueberries, differences of wild blueberries and cultivated blueberries, the stages of a blueberry as it ripens, how to pick blueberries by hand, the machine used to pick remaining blueberries, how blueberries are sorted and processed, and where blueberries may go once sorted.
This video shows how purple sprouting and broccoli crowns differ in harvesting techniques, the amount of broccoli picked, and how the broccoli is processed before reaching your local store.
Georgia Broccoli Farm (3:59)
This is a video of a news report showing how broccoli is grown, harvested, packaged, and iced on a farm in Georgia.
Brussels Sprouts Harvesting (3:28)
This video has a Brussels sprouts farmer talking about growing Brussels sprouts in the UK. He talks about harvesting as the video shows the process.
This video shows carrots being harvested and packaged in a factory in Britain.
This video shows carrots being harvested, prewashed, polished, sized, cooled, and boxed as music plays in the background.
Washington Cherry Harvest (5:45)
This video talks about the history of one family-owned cherry farm, Allan Brothers Fruit. It shows how the cherries are handpicked, the different varieties of cherries, ways they keep birds away from the cherries, some information about a cherry farm, and how the cherries are processed in the packing plant. This company can process up to twenty-seven tons of cherries per hour according to the video!
This video gives an inside view of the Washington Fruit and Produce Co. factory and shows some machines used to check and process cherries for packaging.
How Does Corn Grow? (5:24)
The beginning of this video is a cartoon of ducks planting corn, but then it moves on to real pictures and discussion. It talks about sweet corn, field corn, and popcorn. It also shows the different parts of a corn plant including the roots, stalk, leaves, tassel, silk, ears, and kernels. It also shows how the corn grows with a video of roots forming underground, and it lists a number of items that can be made with corn such as candy bars, ethanol, bubble gum, soap, and more.
Cranberry| How Does it Grow? (5:22)
This video shows how cranberries are grown and harvested. It also shows how to make fresh cranberry sauce at home.
Best Maid Pickle Factory (3:07)
This video shows the production of Best Maid pickles made in Texas.
This video shows the processing of pickles at Mount Olive Pickle Company up until 9:35. After that, the video discusses Mount Olive Pickle Company’s recycling program, community service activities, yearly Pickle Festival, and New Year’s Eve pickle drop.
Tour of Welch’s Grape Farm (3:13)
This video shows the process of growing grapes beginning with pruning in the winter (by machine and hand) and ending with harvesting.
Kiwi Picking and Packing Process (stop at 10:00)
This video shows what happens to kiwifruit plants in preparation for growing season, harvesting of kiwifruits, how to wear the collection bag for harvesting, and the steps the kiwifruit goes through inside a processing center all the way until it is loaded in the back of a trailer by forklift. Text on the bottom of the screen labels each stage.
How Olive Oil is Made (4:45)
This video shows two different ways olives can be harvested and processed into oil. It also shows the olive oil being sampled and mentions why olive oil may be bottled in green glass jars.
This video shows green and black olives being processed and canned in a factory.
This fast-paced video has no explanation, but is shows orange trees being planted, oranges being harvested, and oranges being processed to make orange juice.
How Does It Grow: Oranges (7:38)
Learn where oranges are sold with a green peel, how oranges grow, about different types of oranges, how oranges are harvested, and information about pests that affect the orange groves.
From the Farm to Factory (:30-11:32)
This video shows a peanut field being prepared, peanut plants growing, peanuts being harvested, and the process the peanuts go through once at a factory. A man narrates what is happening throughout the entire process.
This video shows how fields are prepared and how pineapples are grown at a farm in Costa Rica. It also demonstrates how each pineapple plant is planted and how each pineapple is picked, placed in bins upside down, checked, and processed in a factory.
Dole- Growing Pineapples (4:45)
This video shows the different stages of flowering, harvesting pineapples by hand, temperatures needed for proper tasting pineapples, how pineapples are planted, how to properly prepare fields for pineapples, and how the pineapple fields are maintained once planted. The video states that it takes 13-16 months per plant to produce a pineapple!
This video shows potatoes being planted, harvested, and processed in a factory for packaging. At one point, the video says that the fields are desiccated prior to harvesting, which is a word many kids (and possibly adults) may not know. Desiccated means to dry up, so it is saying the fields must be dry before they can harvest the potatoes.
How Does it Grow: Potatoes (stop at 4:02)
This video shows how potatoes grow, what tubers are, and what turns some potatoes green. It also shares information about potato beetles and Ireland’s potato famine. Then, the potatoes are taken to a factory where they are peeled, sliced, fried, and prepared as chips.
Pumpkin- How Does it Grow (3:56)
This video talks about the history of pumpkins, how they are harvested, and more facts about different kinds of pumpkins.
This video shows how raspberries grow and are harvested (very carefully).
This video shows how strawberry plants are planted, grown, and watered. It also talks about pollination and maturing strawberries.
Tomato | How Does it Grow? (11:02)
This video shows a farm in Northern California, explains where tomatoes come from, how they are grown, and how they are harvested for processing.
This video shows tomato plants grown inside. It also shows how the tomato plants grow, how the tomatoes are harvested by hand, how they are transported inside by driverless mini tractors, and packaged at a packing plant.
Even More Tours
How It’s Made (YouTube Channel)
I love watching videos of how things are made, so the How It’s Made YouTube Channel is a place I will definitely have to come back to again. It offers over 1,000 videos that are each about 5 minutes long on how various items are made. That’s over 1,000 short virtual field trips! My daughters and I recently watched the videos of how rubber bands, balloons, crayons, toothbrushes, and aluminum foil are made.
Blippi (YouTube Channel)
Blippi is a very energetic character! This YouTube channel provides video tours of quite a few places including a children’s museum and bakery for toddler and preschool age.
My daughters and I have had the opportunity to tour two different recycling centers. One was much larger than the other, so it was interesting to see the different aspects of each. This video field trip to a recycling center is available on the South Florida PBS channel and is intended for a younger audience. It has cartoons along with actual recycling center tour footage.
Years ago, my daughters and I toured a fire station with our homeschool group. The kids had a lot of fun trying to control the fire hose as water gushed out of it (with the help of others). This virtual video of the Memphis Fire Department is a great alternative if you can’t visit one in person.
My daughters and I toured a saw mill a few years ago with a couple of friends, which I found to be quite interesting. This video tours a saw mill beginning with trucks loaded with logs. It shows the process of the logs being unloaded and transformed into utility poles, cut boards, and more. The video was put together very well. The camera goes places (in the machines) that we obviously couldn’t go through in person. (There were a couple of commercials at one point during the video, which I was able to skip after a few seconds each.)
My daughters and I have had the opportunity to tour two different post offices, but we didn’t get to see the inside of any of the post office delivery trucks since they were delivering mail at the times of our tours. So, this video was a nice complement to our post office tours. It shows the inside of an LLV (Long Life Vehicle) including some of the gauges and gadgets. The man videotaping kept mentioning how old these vehicles are, which is something that was discussed on our most recent post office tour. Towards the end of the video, he unsuccessfully shows how to latch the seatbelt (probably because his one hand is preoccupied with holding the camera).
Raising Hatchery Trout (6:39)
I love feeding the fish at fish hatcheries. The fish swarm to where the food is and splash all over (as seen in the photo below). The fish even follow you as you walk along their tanks as though they are waiting for you to feed them (at least on certain days). This video gives a tour of a fish hatchery starting with the delivery of fish eggs via FedEx. It goes through the process of taking care of the eggs and the fish as they mature. The fish hatchery shown in the video raised over 1 million trout in 2015!
Yes, this is another video of a fish hatchery, but different tours offer different perspectives of the industry. This video also goes through the process of raising trout, but it doesn’t discuss the process of taking care of the eggs like the last video did. It also provides more information on the machines used to filter the water. The fish hatchery in this video raises 250,000-300,000 trout each year.
Even More Resources
Obviously, there are many other virtual field trip opportunities available. Virtual School Activities currently offers additional links to webcams, virtual tours, and other educational sites that may not have been mentioned here. And here is another link sent to me by St. Paul’s Girl Scouts Troop 30 with even more virtual field trip tours.
Don’t forget to visit fun extras for free coloring pages, activity ideas, and a teacher’s guide. Story Monsters at Home is also full of book downloads, activities, and videos of authors reading their books. Authors Everywhere is another resource to check out for book lovers. It is a YouTube channel filled with videos of authors reading their books, writing prompts, activities, and more.
And make sure to check out this list of 110+ free resources for kids to use during the Coronavirus school closures found on A Fine Parent for even more learning opportunities. If you are a homeschooling parent like me, this will be a great reference even after the schools open again!
I’m looking forward to being able to go on field trips in person again when we are able, but there are so many options here to explore with my daughters in the meantime. I definitely want to watch more of the FarmFood 360 videos and How It’s Made videos!
Please share this with others who may enjoy these virtual field trips!