Close to home: Here are 5 inspiring no-travel experiences
This month, gaze at the largest full moon of the year, protect the planet on Earth Day, and tour museums virtually.
Warm, sunny days and blooming gardens bring on spring fever. But with much of the world sheltering due to the coronavirus pandemic, far-flung explorations are off the itinerary. Fortunately, staying at home does not mean closing off from the beauty around us. Here are five seasonal adventures you can enjoy wherever you are.
Bask in peak blooms
In California, bright orange poppies (Eschscholzia californica is the official state flower) are springing up in the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. To comply with social distancing practices, the state park is streaming the blooms live.
Delicate and colorful, cherry blossoms, or sakura, symbolize springtime to people around the world. The Trust for the National Mall in Washington D.C. is streaming live from the Tidal Basin.
Even a necessary drive to the grocery store can become a colorful journey. This month, cerulean bluebonnets blanket the roadsides of Texas’s Hill Country (including highways 281, 16, and 290). The Lone Star State flower gets its name from both its hue and the shape of its petals, which resemble old-time women’s bonnets.
View 25 gorgeous photos of cherry blossoms from around the world.
See the moon light the sky
On April 7, marvel at the biggest supermoon of the year. Reaching peak illumination at 10:35 p.m. EST, the pink moon (the first full one of spring), will be about 30 percent larger and 14 percent brighter than a typical full moon. Bask in the moonlight from the comfort of home; it’s all the brighter if you live near a dark sky region (in states including Utah, Pennsylvania, and Maine).
These are the world’s best stargazing spots.
Honor Earth Day at 50
Since its first gathering in 1970, Earth Day has brought together millions of people to inspire action for environmental protection. Thanks to those efforts, many countries have cleaner air, water, and land. But we face a rapidly warming climate, rising extinction, and other challenges. Learn more at National Geographic and discover how you can make a difference—including a special focus on how kids can help. Use the Earth Day Network toolkit to help calculate your plastic use and create a plan to cut down on consumption. Mark the 50th anniversary on April 22 with virtual protests, social media conversations, and online teach-ins organized by the first-ever Digital Earth Day. Go wild with Nat Geo’s Earth Day playlist, featuring symphonic celebrations of the beauty of our planet.
Discover more ways to help reduce your carbon footprint.
Tour a museums, take in a concert
Google Arts & Culture has partnered with thousands of international and stateside museums and galleries to provide online 360-degree, immersive views of historic landmarks, famed artworks, and inspiring exhibits. Explore the works of Monet, Gauguin, and van Gogh at Paris’s Musée d’Orsay. Learn about Japanese art of the Edo period at the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum. Dive into the cosmos with NASA’s virtual exploration of Orion Nebula.
For a bit of drama, the Metropolitan Opera is streaming productions from its archives (including Bellini’s Norma and Verdi’s Don Carlo) through April 5. The Colorado Symphony plays on with webcam recordings of members practicing from home. On April 4, the 52nd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Memphis’s National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel will hold a virtual commemoration. It will include performances from the MLK50 Legacy Choir and previously recorded remarks from civil rights icons Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and Rev. James Lawson.
Watch elephant seals sunbathe
After months at sea, female and juvenile northern elephant seals haul themselves out of the frigid Pacific Ocean for molting season. The seals fill beaches along the California and Oregon-Washington coasts for a period of four to six weeks as they molt layers of old fur and skin before returning to the water. Check out the Friends of the Elephant Seals live cam to watch pups bask in the sun and learn to swim in the intertidal zones.