Travel in the age of pandemics, virtual tours of your home town or region

Travel from the comfort of your home with virtual tours of your city or region

Governor Newsom encouraged Californians to shelter at home effective March 20. Since then, many of us have been home-bound, finding ways to function and stay active from the friendly confines of our house, get groceries or meals home-delivered and have learned the intricacies of online video conferencing with family and friends through Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Go to Meeting and the like.

Many of us have had to cancel travel and vacation plans, but, we are dreaming of future travels. With a bit of discussion and planning, many families have built dream travel lists to nearby and further-afield travel destinations – yet we don’t know when the ability to travel beyond our county or state will return to something akin to “normal”.

What to do to end cabin fever and “get on the road” – all from the comfort of your home? Here are ideas for local, regional and more distant travel, which can be done from home by you, kids and grandkids. If you will, “virtual road tripping”.

I started locally, by checking in with Visit Stockton, our local travel and visitor organization. Delightfully, Visit Stockton offers virtual tours of many of our area’s most noteworthy visitor attractions – and I’m betting many of us have not yet toured to these in the flesh.

Stockton Cambodian Buddhist Temple (Visit Stockton photo)

Hence, jump to the VisitStockton.org website, for tours of the Stockton waterfront and the Joan Darrah Promenade in Downtown Stockton, stand on stage at the historic Bob Hope (Fox California) Theatre, or gaze at home plate from the pitcher’s mound at Stockton (Banner Island) Ballpark. Tour the Children’s Museum, the Haggan Museum, even the evocative Stockton Cambodian Buddhist Temple and more, including a walk through the gorgeous grounds of University of the Pacific.

Use your smart phone, tablet, iPad or laptop computer; from the VisitStockton.org website, scroll down to the blue section and select the suitcase icon that is labeled “VIRTUAL TOURS.” This link will take you to the homepage for these exciting adventures. You can immediately start with the full screen experience, or scroll down the page to start with one of the most popular tours.

Author’s grandson Jack drives an RTD bus and Stockton’s Children’s Museum.

Once you make your selection, you will be transported to your destination in a slick display of virtual technology. Upon arrival, you can look up and down, left and right, using your mouse (desktop) or finger (mobile device) and experience the space as if you were there. Tap or click the blue location icons to travel, by high-speed video imagery, to the next stop on the virtual tour.

To move between different locations in the city, select the menu icon (four dots next to four stacked bars) located on the left side of the grey task bar that sits across the bottom of the page. This will bring up other virtual tours available for you to explore across Stockton. Select one and continue your virtual experience. It’s fun, kids and adults can do it, and, it really is that easy.

Wes Rhea, head of Visit Stockton, notes, “While staying at home to protect the ones we love and our community I highly encourage you to take the opportunity to explore places close to home in a new and exciting way. Virtual tours are an excellent way to do this so, what are you waiting for? Head over to VisitStockton.org today”.

In the Sacramento area, with popular museums and destinations temporarily closed many local area museums have gone virtual with fun and free activities for families to do at home. Many of our favorite stops have joined the virtual tour society, including:

Southern Pacific locomotive 6051 pulls out of the California Railroad Museum.

The Aerospace Museum of California offers hands-on activities and tutorials that are fun for children and families. Easy-to-replicate demonstrations are available on the museum’s Facebook page @AerospaceMuseumCA; for online events, including Hubble’s 30th Birthday Celebration, see: aerospaceca.org/events.

The California Museum launched a new Distance Learning program providing educational materials for K-12th grade students aligned with Common Core and California State Content standards. A State Symbols Coloring Book and a series of five California Indians Oral History worksheets are currently available. For details or to access activities, visit californiamuseum.org/distance-ed.  

Sacramento History Museum docents celebrate Easter a few years ago.

The California State Railroad Museum offers virtual versions of All Aboard for Story Time! on Mondays at 11 a.m. with local influencers reading children’s railroad-related books via Facebook Live. Each week, live and previously recorded book readings are available for viewing on both the California State Railroad Museum and Foundation Facebook pages @CaliforniaStateRailroadMuseum or @CaliforniaStateRailroadMuseumFoundation.

The Crocker Art Museum offersgallery tours and activities for all ages are available on the museum’s blog at crockerart.org/oculus and on the museum’s YouTube channel as well as on their social media channels @crockerart.

The Sacramento History Museum offers a website and free app for iOS and Android devices that takes users on a journey through some of the more amazing moments in Sacramento’s history. “Anytime Tours” feature 50-minute digital walking tours through the Historic City Cemetery and Old Sacramento Waterfront highlighted by 10 stops at each location. The tours can be accessed at sachistorymuseum.org or downloaded free of charge from the App Store or Google Play by searching Anytime Tours.

For insight into 25 additional greater Sacramento area museums working in partnership, check out Sacramento Area Museums, sacmuseums.org.

Contact Tim at tviall@msn.com or follow him at recordnet.com/travelblog. Happy travels in your world.

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