Tired of being stuck indoors? I may be a confirmed introvert, but these days even I am feeling restricted and restless.
John Muir said, “into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul”, and while many of us cannot actually do that as easily as we once did, virtual tours can offer alternative ways to feel like you’re getting out of the house. Here are four virtual tours I think are terrific.
Virtual Yosemite National Park Tour
This immersive tour went live in 2019. It features views from over 200 locations in the Park complete with ambient sound, so not only will you see high-resolution 360-degree views you’ll also hear birds, rushing water, crickets and, in several locations where people have congregated, quite a bit of background chatter.
Take the Yosemite National Park tour here. (Sometimes this page can take a few moments to load, but it’s very much worth the wait!)
At any point in the tour viewers are able to toggle landing points on or off, so you’re able to view the surrounding nature without navigation overlays. Panoramic shots have been taken across the seasons and at different times of the day and night. Virtual Yosemite is the creation of VR Photographer Scott Highton, who’s been in the business since the early 1990s. Hands down my absolute favorite virtual tour.
Bran Castle Virtual Tour
If you have even the slightest familiarity with Bram Stoker’s fictional character Dracula, you know that he is a Transylvanian Count who lives in a castle on a high rocky crag overlooking a river in the valley far below. Bran Castle is the only castle in Transylvania that comes close to matching the description Stoker wrote in the book, and so it’s commonly known as Dracula’s Castle.
Take the Bran Castle tour here.
Unlike the Virtual Yosemite tour the Bran Castle tour doesn’t have ambient sound, but you still get to wander through several rooms and through the courtyard. I got lost in the torture exhibit upstairs, which was unpleasant, but I was able to navigate my way to an open door onto the balcony once I got my bearings. There are several historical information boards around the castle that you can read and they add some context to the tour, which was developed by a Google team.
Great Wall of China Virtual Tour
This is the only virtual tour you have to pay for ($8 American) in order to experience all fourteen scenes; however, there are four scenes you can access for free so I’m including it in this post. Sponsored by The China Guide, the four views you do get to experience give you a taste of just how incredible this 13000+ mile long Wall is. The best-preserved portion of the Wall was built during the Ming Dynasty (14th-17th centuries AD).
Take the Great Wall of China tour here.
Taliesin West Virtual Tour
American architect Frank Lloyd Wright built Taliesin West near Scottsdale AZ in the 1930s (his home Taliesin, in Wisconsin, was built on land homesteaded by his Welsh grandparents; he named it Taliesin to honor them). Developed by the Taliesin West Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Leica Geosystems, this virtual tour gives you an opportunity to wander in and around the rooms (including the kitchen!) and plazas, and affords views some stunning long-range vistas of the surrounding terrain.
Take the Taliesin West tour here. (Scroll about midway down the page to the photo that has a “play” toggle on it and says “Explore 3D Space”.)
Soon, although perhaps not soon enough for many of us, we’ll be able to wander through the world again. For now, virtual tours can offer us immersive experiences of some natural and human-made wonders from the comfort and safety of our homes. It most certainly is not the same thing as being there, but sometimes the next best thing is pretty okay indeed.
You can hear more of The Corner Crone during her Moments For Meditation on KPPR Pure Pagan Radio on TuneIn.