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Take a Virtual Tour of National Parks

If there’s one person’s advice you should take on adventure, it’s American mountaineer and rock climber Conrad Anker. At a time when public health is a primary concern, Anker spelt out the obvious - but still harsh - truth: “climbing and adventuring can wait.” 

To recreate responsibly and safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, read The Rules for Going Outdoors During Coronavirus.

Staying active and getting fresh air are super important to keep our immunity systems in top form, but we all know that jogging around the block with the dog and doing squats in front of the TV is not the same as a real adventure in the great outdoors.

To alleviate the lockdown blues, check out The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks, a virtual tour offered by Google in 720p and 1080p. For the best experience, make sure your internet connection is stable and, if you can, take the tour on a screen bigger than your laptop. If you have kids, it’s a great experience to share.

The Hidden Worlds guides are park rangers who take you to the most beautiful and unknown places around the country. Through your screen, the tour explores Kenai Fjords (AK), Hawai’i Volcanoes (HI), Carlsbad Caverns (NM), Bryce Canyon (UT) and Dry Tortugas (FL). The parks have been carefully chosen to show off the astonishing diversity of American nature, and the stark contrast between their landscapes, available just at the click of your mouse, is truly astounding. Following the rangers, you get to see gems hidden far from the trailheads.

Apart from high-quality videos, the tour offers a wealth of interesting trivia, as well as some solid knowledge (for example, the visual representation of a receding Alaskan glacier over the years). The Hidden Worlds will definitely absorb younger viewers for longer and it is a great homeschooling idea: not only for geography classes but also for biology (the segment on bat’s echolocation will fascinate any juvenile scientist). At the same time, the breathtaking views and relaxing pace of the tour are worthwhile at any age.

Inevitably, you will end up getting ideas for your next foray into the outdoors. And although the thirst for adventure can’t be quenched at the moment, there are some unlikely advantages to the global lockdown. Most obviously, the air quality has seen dramatic improvements and additionally, the natural world gets some time off from visitors to rest, restore and be even more beautiful when we are once more free to roam.

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