These 6 Beautiful Florida-Based Virtual Tours Will Entertain You at Home

Amanda Clark-Rudolph

These 6 virtual tours will have you "traveling" from your couch in no time!

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(Photo by Daniel Corneschi/Unsplash) An up-close view of fish in an aquarium.

COVID-19 affected how we do many things, including how we entertain ourselves. Even during the vaccine rollout, you still may be avoiding large crowds and staying closer to home.

Thanks to the World Wide Web, we're exploring, learning, and discovering creative ways to view the word from the comforts of our couches. No, it’s not the same as physically being there, but Florida virtual tours offer learning opportunities and escapism during these unique times.

So how about giving one, or all of these Florida-based virtual experiences below, a shot?

1. The Norton Museum of Art

Funded in 1941 by Ralph Hubbard Norton (1875-1953), an industrialist who headed the Acme Steel Company in Chicago, and his wife Elizabeth Calhoun Norton (1881-1947), the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach features a top-notch virtual tour.

Not only can visitors explore their five curated departments: European, Chinese, American, Photography, and Contemporary, but they can also listen to podcasts, watch video lectures, and view art activities.

According to the Norton website, visitors can "explore these videos and podcasts of talks by artists, curators, and notable speakers in the fields of art and culture; as well as behind-the-scenes insights and unique perspectives of collections, exhibitions, gems from the Norton archives, and more."

Perks:

  • An expansive video library of curator and artist talks, including one with Georgia O’Keeffe.

2. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Did you ever see the 2011 blockbuster, Dolphin Tale? The film was inspired by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s dolphin, Winter, that lost its tail and then thrives with a prosthetic. Since the film debuted, Winter has become a SENSATION, and thousands of visitors come to see her at the Clearwater Aquarium.

Now, you can see Winter and other sea friends virtually via webcam on the aquarium’s website, as well as visit the education station and even shop for souvenirs online.

Perks

  • Virtual backgrounds
  • Easy-to-follow research on marine life.

3. The Appleton Museum of Art

Gifted to nearby Ocala by Arthur Appleton in 1982, the Appleton's mission is to "exhibit fine art and artifacts as well as offer educational programming."

Their permanent collection showcases 18,000 objects from various time periods, cultures, and locations.

Now, the College of Central Florida has made it possible for you to download the free Appleton Museum app on any mobile device.

On it, you can see and learn facts about their popular artifacts and hear audio tours. Plus, read up on the history of Appleton’s stunning travertine marble building, an architectural interpretation of Italian classical architecture.

Perks:

  • Available on Apple and Android.
  • Dives deep into the museum’s permanent collection.

4. The James Museum

Take a virtual tour of the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art located in St. Petersburg. As their website states, “Connect with us through weekly curated content based on our collection. Explore art, movies, books, music, children’s activities, and more.”

The James Museum virtual experience provides a weekly theme, such as Navajo culture, which online visitors can explore through six separate tabs: Artwork, books, movies, foodways, family activities, and movies and games.

Let’s just say that’s this is one of the most jacked-up tours you’ll see that will keep you entertained for hours.

Perks:

  • The artwork is clearly categorized with well-written and informative information about each work.
  • Virtual tours

5. Florida Historic Capitol Museum

History buffs won't want to miss the Florida Historic Capitol virtual tour, where, as their website reads, “Through photographs, recordings, and audiovisual displays, visitors experience the people and events that have shaped today’s Florida.”

Located in Tallahassee, this online experience comes jam-packed with ALL the bells and whistles, including a virtual floor plan with 360 panoramic views of its exhibits and architecture, as well as a section dedicated to video and audio tours.

Perks:

  • Each audio snippet also has a transcript.
  • Engaging video tour.

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(Photo by Capricorn song/Unsplash) A panoramic view of Disney's castle.

6. Disney World

Of course, Disney went above and beyond with its digital experience. Visitors begin their virtual tour by zooming in from the world to their parks on a beautiful satellite map.

From there, choose your park. Fan of Epcot? Great, with the click of a button, you'll be transported to real-life photos with videos along the way.

Once you're in one of the parks, just click on the well-labeled blue dots to view other fun places.

This Florida virtual tour will have you guiding others when you venture back to the actual park.

Note that this tour is one of many available through Visit Orlando, which also leads you to other amusement parks like Seaworld, museums, etc., and even virtual learning for kids.

Perks:

  • high-quality imagery
  • User-friendly site.

The Lowdown

Florida virtual tours offer a way to learn about and see places in a whole new way. Even though we may be more confined to our homes than in the past, we are fortunate to have access to these visually appealing destinations.

The best news, no suitcase required.

Bon voyage!

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Hi, I'm Amanda - a freelancing mama who writes about family, travel, holidays, and more! In addition to freelancing it up, I'm a Content Coordinator for neighborhood magazines. My favorite pastimes: Writing, slurping lattes, and playing freeze tag with my two sons.

Ocala, FL
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