While we are stuck inside and social distancing, there are still things we can do from our mobile devices and desktops at home:
Virtual exhibitsThe Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel UniversityLearn more about burrowing owls, follow along as scientists discover a new species of fish and take a tour of Philadelphia’s natural history museum through The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University’s Google Arts & Culture site at artsandculture.google.com. The digital destination features a handful of storybook-like experiences, as well as close-up photos and descriptions of many of the species and fossils featured in the attraction’s Center City building.
Barnes FoundationThe endlessly impressive permanent collection at the Barnes Foundation — featuring 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes and 59 Matisses, along with works by Manet, Degas, Seurat, Prendergrast, Titian and Picasso — is all available online at collection.barnesfoundation.org. Website visitors can sort by colors, lines, light and more (an homage to Dr. Albert C. Barnes’ mission to connect art and intellectual stimulation), and test out a neat slider tool that shows visually similar and surprising works side by side. Pro tip: Don’t miss the African ceremonial masks, part of Barnes’ private collection curated in the early 1920s.
The Franklin InstituteWant to see some club moss get set on fire? Science fans — as well as fans of (always safe!) explosions — have lots of virtual options to enjoy courtesy of one of the oldest and most beloved science institutions in the country. The Franklin Institute’s #SparkOfScience series at www.fi.edu/sparkofscience highlights fascinating experiments like the ones conducted for visitors at the attraction, while interactive activities explore the depths of the human mind.
Free Library of PhiladelphiaThe digital resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia at freelibrary.org are as vast as the archives of the institution’s citywide branches. A few clicks and a library card unleash access to ebooks, audio books, movies, TV shows and electronic editions of publications like The New York Times. Plus, more than 100 searchable academic, research, media and visual databases provide access to full-text articles and citations.
Independence Seaport MuseumPhiladelphia’s maritime heritage museum has an expansive digital collection at phillyseaport.org, including nearly 700 maps and charts documenting waterway changes and the city’s contribution to naval history, as well as other works and artifacts that explore the Delaware River’s role in the African-American journey through the Middle Passage, enslavement, emancipation, Jim Crow and the civil rights movement.
Museum of the American RevolutionTake a virtual tour of the Museum of the American Revolution’s 118,000-square-foot attraction in Old City at amrevmuseum.org for an up-close look at museum highlights like George Washington’s Headquarters Tent, the replica Boston Liberty Tree and nearly 500 artifacts from the earliest days of America’s independence. Educators and caregivers can also download the Beyond the Battlefield classroom kit for young students who want a virtual field trip.
National Constitution CenterThe National Constitution Center — dedicated to the four most powerful pages in America’s history — hosts weekly podcast episodes and videos that visitors can enjoy from anywhere at constitutioncenter.org. Discussions and lessons explore important historical moments like women’s suffrage and the Vietnam War, as well as current U.S. Supreme Court cases — all through the lens of the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, the Interactive Constitution space offers insight from constitutional experts and a deep-dive into drafts of the historical document.
Penn MuseumSet aside time to travel through time — thousands of years, give or take — in the digital archives of the Penn Museum at www.penn.museum, home to a million objects and artifacts from around the globe. Start your online exploration with the anthropology and archaeology museum’s collection highlights, like the 25,000-pound, 3,000-year-old Sphinx of Ramses.
Some social distancing areas
(but stay home) Things to keep in mind before heading outside:
If you are sick or experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19, stay at home
Figure out where you’re going and how you’re heading there
Bring with you any supplies you may need like water, hand sanitizer, etc.
Be prepared to cross the street or move more slowly or faster in order to maintain a distance from others
Plan ahead for bathroom breaks as many parks and public spaces have closed restrooms
MLK Jr. DriveThe city closed Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to motor vehicle traffic on Friday to allow people to keep their distance while walking, biking and running along the tree-lined road. It’s a scenic spot for a long walk.
Tacony Creek ParkAccording to public health experts, parks are a safer bet during this time because there’s so much space, making it easy to keep 6 feet apart from other people. Tacony Creek Park in Northeast Philadelphia is a great option for those looking to be out in nature.
The WoodlandsThe Woodlands is a 54-acre 19th-century rural cemetery and garden located in West Philadelphia. The tranquil grounds are now a “modern green oasis” for residents to enjoy and remain open during this time. Just make sure to stay six feet away from others
The Navy YardThe Navy Yard is only open to the public from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. as of Tuesday, March 24. Although the hours are subject to change, the Navy Yard is positioning itself as a place to “step out and reset” during this precarious time. They have a list of ten ways to enjoy yourself at the Navy Yard, ranging from nature walks to fishing and more.
North Broad StreetNorth Broad Street is the perfect strolling street — it’s wide enough for you to keep a distance from others and there’s plenty of architectural eye-candy. Make sure to look up and notice the ornate cornices on the Divine Lorraine and the grand touches on the Burk Mansion. Catch the ‘Boner4ever’ tag before it’s gone. For those that were supposed to run the now-postponed Broad Street Run in May, this might be the street to visit.
John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at TinicumStop by America’s first urban refuge for some nature, peace and wildlife. You can admire the open waters, bird watch, walk the refuge trails and so much more. This National Wildlife Refuge is the ideal place to practice meditation or breathing exercises — simply close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature. It’s the calmness we all need right now.