Virtual Day Trips: Penguins at Shedd Aquarium

Virtual Day Trips, Free Performances, and Other Opportunities to Alleviate Boredom

No one said social distancing had to be dull and joyless! Several individuals and organizations have created content for you to enjoy for free! We’ll capture these virtual day trips and other opportunities to keep learning and alleviate the boredom as I find them (and as you share them!) here.


Missing the Finger Lakes? Enjoy Samantha Brown’s Places to Love on PBS!

Spend time with the falcon cam! High above Rochester is a nest box occupied by two Peregrine Falcons. Get an up close view into the fascinating world of these falcons as they raise their young and prepare them for life on their own.


Keep your mind fresh with distance learning with Rochester Brainery! ⁣⁣For a limited time, they’ll be offering many of their classes online. ⁣

Social Distancing in Public Places
Graphic by the National Recreation and Park Association

We 💚 Our Monroe County Parks!
The CDC has flagged mental health as a top concern during this time of high-stress & anxiety. Our parks can provide a well needed respite & escape for our residents, with trails, open spaces & unique characteristics to enjoy.

Open for Curiosity! During this time, the Rochester Museum & Science Center is focused on elevating science fact, stimulating curiosity, and igniting discovery.
Plus, check out their fun videos!

Our Rochester museums continue to share knowledge even if we can’t be there on site. Follow along to learn about science, animals, art, history, & sneak-peeks behind the scenes!

Strong National Museum of Play
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Rochester Museum & Science Center
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Memorial Art Gallery
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George Eastman Museum
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Did you know that OnCell is a Rochester-based company? It’s great way to be an armchair explorer! Read their Small Business Spotlight at
Here are a few local OnCell experiences:

Visit Rochester and the Democrat and Chronicle are also keeping track of businesses we can continue to support:


Take a 360° tour of Dubai, the Taj Mahal, Niagara Falls, Machu Picchu, and more intoxicating locations with AirPano.

Music & Theatre

Andrew Lloyd Webber will be releasing a full-length, smash-hit musical once a week for free, starting with Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, with Jesus Christ Superstar premiering April 10! Future shows will include Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, and more!

London’s Royal National Theatre is releasing a new production every Thursday on YouTube, which will remain live for one week. Freely enjoy “One Man, Two Guvnors” with James Corden for free until Thursday 9 April at 7pm UK time, and “Jane Eyre” the following Thursday.

The Met Opera will host FREE “Nightly Met Opera Streams” on The encore presentations will begin at 7:30 p.m. EST each night, available for 20 hours thereafter.


The DEC has great educational resources and activities that will help people of all ages become better stewards of the environment! Take these activity & information sheets with you the next time you go exploring.

Free Worksheets & Activities From Scholastic Teachables
Here are some resources for keeping the learning going from home. Videos, articles, printable worksheets, and more! They’ll be adding more each day.

Support deep, meaningful learning with an online universe of authentic resources and tools for making them your own. Smithsonian Learning Lab puts the treasures of the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex within reach. The Lab is a free, interactive platform for discovering millions of authentic digital resources, creating content with online tools, and sharing in the Smithsonian’s expansive community of knowledge and learning.

WXXI – Learn at Home
In response to area school closings, WXXI-TV is broadcasting a grade level “Learn At Home” schedule from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. WXXI Kids 24/7 channel will remain the same with PBS KIDS favorites for our youngest viewers. WXXI Education has curated and created resources, virtual events and hands-on activities in support of educators, students, and families posted on this site, in social media and e-newsletters.


Stay Active with Les Mills’ 100+ Free At-Home Workouts. This temporary site offers high intensity interval training designed to improve strength and fitness fast, dance fitness workouts, martial arts, mindfulness practices and more!

An interesting reflection on taking solo-strolls. “As we navigate these challenging times, I’ve been reflecting on some of the treasures and small delights that inhabit our collective urban backyard.”


Take a virtual day trip to hidden places in our National Parks! Follow rangers on a journey to places most people never go.

Tour Nashville’s Cheekwood Estate & Gardens! They hope to bring you more virtual tours of Cheekwood as the gardens change. Listen to the video with the sound ON as the birds chirping is just what you want to be hearing right now.

Enjoy the New York Botanical Garden at Home! As spring unfolds, they’ll bring you the brightness & color of the season—a reminder of how the natural world brings us joy.


Google Arts & Culture – Give yourself a break from scrolling through headlines to scroll through the collections of the world’s greatest galleries!

Explore the Museum of the World from home! An interactive experience through time, continents & cultures, featuring some of the most fascinating objects in human history.

Free Doodle Classes! For the next few weeks, Mo Willems — the award-winning children’s book author & illustrator — is offering free, virtual art lessons over the lunch hour on weekdays and they remain online to be streamed afterwards.


Our wonderful libraries may be closed, but Libby is open! Did you know your local library has thousands of ebooks and audiobooks? You can borrow them, instantly, for free, using the device in your hand.

Audible has made hundreds of titles available for free! The collection is curated to appeal most to younger listeners home from school, though adult listeners can find plenty of classics like ‘A Brave New World’ & ‘Roots’.


Take a virtual trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium! With ten live cams to choose from, you can experience the wonder of the ocean no matter where you are.


The Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History virtual tours allow visitors to take self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibits and areas within the museum from their desktop or mobile device. Visitors can also access select collections and research areas at our satellite support and research stations as well as past exhibits no longer on display.


Take a ride on Disney’s Frozen Ever After!

Take a front row seat on It’s A Small World at the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World!

Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney Magic Kingdom

Universal Studios’ Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. No wait!

Here’s a list of more rides you can enjoy virtually.

Such a great list of fun virtual-vacation ideas from My Livingston Life!


Explore the universe from home! Here’s a list of online activities, e-books, podcasts and other content from NASA.

Space can be a wondrous place, and they’ve got the pictures to prove it! Take a look at‘s favorite pictures from space, and if you’re wondering what happened today in space history don’t miss the On This Day in Space video.

Get Outside

Solo walks, or walks with a partner 6-feet apart, are still encouraged as of the time of this writing, so please take advantage of any day that offers you sunshine, fresh air, and the opportunity to observe and interact with nature. Be safe and avoid any activity that would endanger you or another and risk hospitalization. And certainly, driving to a destination qualifies as a risk.

71 Hiking Trails Around Rochester

Here are a few less populated, rustic, or unusual trails around Rochester that will inspire you to take a hike. A diverse collection of rail-trails, waterside trails, and inland trails.

Read more

23 City of Rochester Parks

Many of our City of Rochester parks have beginnings embedded in Rochester’s youth. Some were even designed by notable landscape architects.

Read more

Our Favorite 5 Town Parks to Explore

These town parks have a unique offering of woods, wildlife, and water features to explore walking paths ranging from pavement to boardwalk.

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21 Monroe County Parks

Monroe County parks are free, so take advantage of 12,000 acres of natural, zoological, horticultural, historical and geological experiences!

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49 New York State Parks Within a 2-hour Drive of Rochester

Venture into one of these New York State Parks within a two hour drive of Rochester and discover what makes them each unique!

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Rochester’s Olmsted Designed Parks

Rochester is fortunate to be one of a handful of American cities that have a park system comprised of Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks.

Read more

Are there other virtual day trips you would recommend during our “pause” that encourage social distancing?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!


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COVID-19 NOTE: Some of the information you find in our articles may currently be inaccurate due to closures and cancellations.

Please follow the most current recommendations from the CDC and New York State for spending time away from your home. The great outdoors can provide a well needed respite & escape during stressful times. Please move quickly through parking lots, trail heads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. Please day trip responsibly.