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Suggested Virtual Tours
This information was last updated on July 31, 2000
Virtual tours are an excellent way to learn about another country, a wildlife exhibit, a museum, outer space -- even a roller coaster! Online mentors and their protˇgˇs can go on "tours" of such places in their spare time, and then discuss together via e-mail what they learned, what their favorite features were, and what might have made the experience better.
Below are a few suggested web sites that provide virtual tours of countries, places, and various other subjects. Some require special software (such as a plug-in, Quick-Time, Real Audio, or a high version of a web browser). Below are also suggestions on how to find even more virtual tours for a variety of subjects.
If you are working with young people under 18: BEFORE you and your protˇgˇ visit one of these sites, make sure, via the online mentoring program manager, that these sites are appropriate for the protˇgˇs to visit.
Virtual Tour Examples
- Virtual Field Trip to Haiti with CARE
Walk through city streets and rural villages in the poorest country of the Western Hemisphere. Learn about the history of this small nation -- from its discovery by Christopher Columbus, to its present day struggles with hunger, unemployment, and community development. Witness the hope and struggle of Haitian families as they work with CARE to overcome the many daily challenges they face.
- Discover.com's Look at Roller Coasters: High Anxiety
Offers virtual rides on the scariest roller coasters in America. Quiver and quake as you fly through coasters such as Busch Garden's Alpengeist or Six Flags' Viper. The RealVideo clips are fast-loading but fuzzy; if you have the time, you will get a better view from the slow-to-load Quick Time clips. Other options at this site include an article by a former coasterphobe and a build-your-own roller coaster program.
- The Sun: A Multimedia Tour
The tour walks visitors through the basics of how the sun works, supplementing the text with images and videos -- a highlight is getting peeks at our favorite star's incredible 1,000-mph winds and solar flares. The site ends with a diagram of the sun's lifespan. This includes the rollercoasterlike final years that will eventually-in a billion or so years-destroy the solar system.
- Minnesota Zoo Tour
This tour is interactive. Three "trails" can be explored, then you are given a choice of 15 to 20 different species to examine per trail. You can also explore Discovery Bay, and virtually tour a marine habitat. A detailed description and picture are given for each species. Learn things like range and habitat, habits and adaptations, diet, and breeding and maturation. No special plug-ins or software are required, as there are no sound or video clips. After taking this tour, people might talk about which of these animals were their favorites, or which ones they have seen personally. They might also talk about other experiences at zoos, or with their own pets.
- Virtual Safari
Take a Virtual Safari through several of Africa's National Parks. While on this safari, you can take virtual photos and also have an opportunity to learn more about the wildlife from the Safari Guidebook that is provided. After taking this tour, people could discuss what new information they learned from the guidebook, or which animal photo they enjoyed the most.
- The Field Museum's Online Exhibits
This site offers virtual tours of exhibits at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Some of these exhibits offer unique interactive opportunities, such as the chance to virtually play one of The Field Museumās musical instruments. Other exhibits include Sue - the world's largest Tyrannosaurus rex, the man-eating lions of Tsavo, and The Field Museum's Anthropology collections. Some parts of this tour require the Macromedia Shockwave
- Expedia.com 360 Degree Tours
This is an awesome site with a myriad of tours of interesting places. A panoramic view of the location is provided, and one can move around the view. No extra plug-ins or software are needed. Particularly interesting is the information on the subject that each tour provides. Teenagers would possibly be interested in viewing what different parts of the world are like and interesting facts about them, as well as discussing these facts and images.
- China Virtual Tours
This site provides virtual tours of approximately 40 areas in China. Although the quality of the tours differs greatly, there are many that are very informative and interesting. No external plug-ins or special software are necessary. Possible conversation topics include users favorite location in China, based on their experience on this tour, and how the Chinese culture differs from their own, and how it is similar.
- Virtual Tour of Washington, D.C.
Although the tour is not interactive, one comes to know the city, as well as the guide, very well. Many photos accompany the information, and the tour is quite thorough. Users may enjoy learning about the capitol of the U.S. and seeing the many photos of famous places, such as the Whitehouse. It would be interesting to discuss the rich history behind the city, as well as their favorite places in the city.
- The Tower of London Virtual Tour
This site is extremely interesting and informative. There is a wealth of both information and imagery. Much of the information is incredibly interesting, such as folklore and rumors concerning the tour. This would possibly interest many teenagers. Although no extra plug-ins or software is needed for the tour, Windows Media Player offers music to enhance the experience. It would be possible to discuss their thoughts concerning the history of the tower and what they thought was most interesting concerning the tower.
- The New England Aquarium Virtual Tour
This tour is interactive. A guided tour is available, or a tour can be taken using a clickable map of the aquarium. Learn about the exhibits at this aquarium, such as the Sea Otter Exhibit, or the Giant Ocean Tank. Some information is given about the different species that make up each exhibit, along with pictures. No special software required. People could talk about their experience with marine life, such as whether they've had pet fish, or if they have ever gone fishing. Issues involving the environment and pollution could also be discussed.
- Wayne Community Schools Internet Tours
Provides a link list of tours of nations and other interesting destinations.