the great outdoors — indoors
8 virtual Texas outdoor experiences to cure COVID-19-induced cabin fever
After weeks of staying home and counting a trip to the grocery store as our big adventure for the week, it’s safe to say we all may be going a little stir crazy. It may be too soon to start planning our next trip, but technology can help with wanderlust.
Here are some outdoor experiences you can have virtually through videos, webcams, streaming, or photographs. Plus, the weather’s always fine and the crowds nonexistent.
Houston Zoo, Houston
Every weekday at 11 am, zookeepers at this facility share updates on what some of its 6,000 resident animals are up to while the zoo is closed via a Facebook live presentation. Plus, you can go back and watch previous episodes.
Big Bend National Park
Spring is high season at Big Bend National Park, but the park remains closed for now. You don’t have to miss this season entirely, though. Check out the park’s photo gallery and the Panther Junction live webcam, and take in the stunning scenery of the Rio Grande’s Lower Canyons when you stream the film Bravo y Grande for free.
Lake Marble Falls, Marble Falls
Enjoy 14 minutes of zen during a virtual tour of this scenic lake from the perspective of a stand-up paddle board at sunset. And you don’t even have to paddle.
National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg
In normal times, you could wander this facility’s more than 55,000 square feet of exhibition space spread over six acres to learn about events in the Pacific theater during World War II. Instead, while it’s closed, enjoy "Nimitz Minitz," short, educational videos posted every Tuesday and Thursday.
Science Mill, Johnson City
Take a virtual tour of the Aquaponics Greenhouse, check out the live-stream tortoise cam, and watch episodes of "Explorer Zone" provided by this cool, interactive museum in an old feed mill in Johnson City.
South Padre Island
Who doesn’t miss the beach right now? Take a virtual trip to South Padre Island via drone footage of the island, the ocean, the beaches, boats, skimboarders, and even a sunset and some fireworks. Feel free to grab a cold one, mute the sound and crank up the Beach Boys.
Texas State Parks
Many state parks are open again, but with some restrictions and limited services — and other people. Stay at home and enjoy various parks and programs through the TPW Television series on PBS. Find dates and times and watch previews on the state parks website and view past episodes on YouTube. You also can learn outdoor skills watching the 30-episode series from the Texas Outdoor Family program, and many parks are hosting online events.
Zilker Botanical Garden, Austin
On this virtual tour, choose specific spots around the Zilker Botanical Garden from a drop-down menu and enjoy a 360-degree view of said spot, along with more info icons to learn about different attractions. Don’t miss the Hartman Prehistoric Garden (dinosaurs!).