How to Get Access to Virtual Tours and Events

Free Virtual Tours and Events

Due to the public safety measures in places, many of us have had our summer vacation plans disrupted. Despite the closing of public spaces, some very resourceful and tech-savvy people have found a way for you to still enjoy world class virtual tours and events. This means that we now have access to the most loved galleries and landmarks around the world. The public can now tour some of the most famous sites and museums absolutely free. Here are ten amazing virtual tours and events that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

Museums

One major factor in my travel planning is the local museums. I always set aside a few days to immerse myself in the art, history, geography and culture of my destination. I had planned to mark another bucket list item with a visit to the British Museum this summer. Even though my travel itinerary has been indefinitely postponed, I can still peruse their extensive artifact collection. The tour includes photos and an interactive inventory for you to browse without worrying about closing times.

Another benefit of virtual tours and events is that I have the freedom to spend as much time examining the exhibits as I please. When I’m studying the masterpieces in the Louvre, no one is rushing me to the next display. I can also absorb the information and timelines of the fossil records as I explore the archives of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Best of all, there are no lines or crowds to contend with.

Astronomy

For the more scientifically minded crowd, NASA has published all its images online as public domain. You can search images, listen to audio, or watch videos discussing information collected using research satellites. If you decide to take a break from scanning the skies, you can return to Earth with virtual tours and events of NASA Research Center in Langley, Virginia. It’s also an excellent tool if you need resources to supplement you children’s science education.

Cultural Landmarks

As a student of history, cultural landmarks and ancient sites are my top priority when traveling. However, many of these locations are inaccessible until further notice. Thankfully, there are a number of sites that have published free virtual tours and events for these tourist attractions. You can now meander the subterranean tunnels of the Roman Colosseum or stroll along the expanse of the Great Wall with a few clicks. If you have more time to dedicate to the experience, you should consider a virtual reality trek and tour of sites like Petra. Once remote wonders of the ancient world are now at your fingertips.

National Parks and Zoos

Those who lead an active lifestyle and love the outdoors are especially suffering under quarantine. If you are aching to get back to nature, there a few online resources where you can take in the beauty of America’s national parks. Thanks to modern technology you can traverse the sequoia forests and famous peaks of Yosemite National Park. You can then continue on to the craggy canyons and iconic geysers of Yellowstone National Park.

Animal lovers can also enjoy the open-air habitats of the San Diego Zoo with live streams. You can observe the animals without combating weather and large groups of people. While it still remains the most visited zoos in the world, it is now available for people around the globe.

No matter where your interests lie, there are tons of virtual tours and events available online. Check out this complete list of free tours and resources to help you plan your next virtual vacation.

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The Surprising Costs of Living in the Suburbs

The Surprising Costs of Living in the Suburbs

Life changes dramatically when you move to the suburbs. Several factors come into play when choosing the best place to raise your family. These usually include finances, safety, schools, and personal preferences. However, before you decide to relocate, you should consider some of the surprising costs of living in the suburbs.

Cost of Commuting from the Suburbs

Although there are many advantages of living to the suburbs, you will have a significant increase in your drive time every day. While you gain space for your family, you are probably sacrificing convenience when commuting to work. You will be spending more time in your car, which translates to more money in transportation costs. This includes gas, tolls, parking, and monthly maintenance of your vehicle. If your spouse is also commuting to work daily, you can count of doubling these expenses. Vehicles are an essential expense for any family choosing to move away from urban areas.

Higher Shopping Prices

Since there are fewer suppliers in the suburbs, prices are not as competitive as in the city. This means you will spend more each monthly for groceries and other necessities for your family. To find the best discounts on food and clothing, you will need to drive further distances. The good news is that many suburbs have discount shopping clubs to help your family balance the surprising costs of living in the suburbs.

Increased Energy Costs

A larger home will require more energy to keep you comfortable through extreme weather. Heating and cooling units will work overtime in the summers and winters to keep the temperature in your home regulated. You can drastically reduce your bills by ensuring air isn’t escaping your house through doors and windows. Teach your family simple ways to conserve energy and inspect the home before you sign anything. However, if you do notice leaks, you will need to get it taken care of right away. Replacing windows, seals, and HVAC units present another unexpected cost of living in the suburbs.

Property Maintenance

If you are a homeowner, it’s wise to keep an emergency fund in case you encounter unexpected home repairs. Unfortunately, these expenses are unavoidable and usually come at the worst possible time. However, the longer you wait, the bigger the problem becomes. Whether it’s a fallen tree, hail damage, a broken water main, or the HVAC systems, property damage requires immediate action. Furthermore, these headaches are usually accompanied with huge repair bills. Disaster can strike unannounced, so it’s best to plan ahead so these costs don’t blindside you.

Service Fees for Living in the Suburbs

Many suburbanites are surprised by how many services were included in their apartment’s monthly rent. Most building fees include water, cable and trash removal. In addition, many apartment complexes also include free access to health clubs, pools, and laundry facilities. However, when you live in the suburbs, you will be responsible for the additional service fees. Not only will you need to pay for these services out of pocket, but you may also be subject to a homeowner’s association fee. If you don’t read the fine print of your neighborhood’s housing association rules, you could wind up with huge membership dues while you settle into your new home.

The Final Decision

There is more to consider than just the cost of housing when deciding between the city and the suburbs. At the end of the day, your final decision comes down to your priorities and preferences. There are many surprising costs of living in the suburbs that you may never have even considered. Before you make this tough decision, get as much information as possible. The better informed you are, the less likely you will make a costly mistake.

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Free Learning Resources for Teachers and Parents

Free Resources for Teachers and Parents

With schools closed for foreseeable future, parents and teachers alike need resources while their children are home. It is important that everyone finds ways to stay stimulated when living in close quarters. Many schools have transitioned their classes online, but it is impossible to replicate the classroom learning environment. However, there are tons of online resources to help supplement your children’s education at home. Until school is back in session, here are some free resources for teachers and parents.

Top Resources for Teachers and Parents

1. The Khan Academy

The Khan Academy is a free, nonprofit website full of educational resources. There are curriculum for every grade level which cover all the core subjects as well as elective courses. Each lesson walks you through vocabulary and key concepts with a series of short videos. In addition, they are followed with quizzes for comprehension checks. This also includes tutorials for AP courses and university exams.

There are also tools to help teachers manage classes and facilitate lessons. You can track and submit assignments and easily communicate through the site. If you have no idea where to begin with homeschooling, Khan Academy is an excellent online resource for teachers and parents.

2. Project Gutenberg

Now is a prime opportunity to catch up on your reading list. Since you can’t get to the library to borrow books, Project Gutenberg provides an extensive library of free eBooks. With over 45,000 titles, you are certain to find material required for English or literature courses of all levels. It could also be a great way to spend time with your kids if you get an audio version and listen together. Not only is Project Gutenberg useful for students, but also for avid readers looking to build their personal libraries.

3. How to Smile

If you are looking for math and science lessons for your children, How to Smile is where you need to begin. With more than 3,500 STEM activities to choose from, the lessons provide a hands-on teaching approach to math and science. Many of the activities come directly from the country’s top museums, universities, and educational programs. The site even allows you to customize your search filters by age, time requirements, and the cost of materials. With so many activities to choose from, you are certain to find something that captures your children’s interest.

4. Duolingo

Foreign languages homework can be a tricky task. Luckily there is a website that can assist parents with their children’s education. Duolingo offers grammar, vocabulary, and listening lessons in dozens of languages for free. The lessons are so user-friendly that your kids can complete them with an app on their phone. Furthermore, it tracks your progress and allows you to revisit old lessons. Duolingo is a simple solution and a helpful tool for anyone wanting to learn a foreign language.

5. Homeschool.org

If your family is thriving under the new online formats, you may consider making a permanent change. If you decide to take charge of your family’s education, Homeschool.org offers unrivaled support. In addition to printable lesson and curriculum reviews, it also provides links to local groups. It is the perfect resource for any family that is new to homeschooling.

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