How to Virtually Explore Attractions, Museums and More in Raleigh, N.C.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 7am by visitRaleigh
Learn. Discover. Distract.
It's no secret that times are tough right now, especially in the hospitality industry. Much of the Raleigh area's tourism infrastructure—museums, historic sites, sports facilities, concert venues etc.—are not open at the moment. But there are still ways for people of all ages to discover new information and ideas through virtual visits to museums and beyond.
We've rounded up a bunch of ways to learn something new and distract your children (or yourself!) below.
Note: Local businesses in the hospitality industry need your help right now. See this page on how to purchase gift cards, packaged goods, tickets to future events and more in order to support the more than 67,000 workers employed by restaurants, hotels, museums and retail shops.
Founded in 1902, the North Carolina Museum of History allows visitors to access more than 14,000 years and 150,000 artifacts of state history in downtown Raleigh. The History at Home program allows the public to explore exhibits, search the collections, tune into a podcast, check out blog posts, download activity packets for students and more—all from home.
The North Carolina Museum of Art is one of the Raleigh area's most treasured public spaces. The free-admission museum boasts a permanent collection that spans more than 5,000 years, from ancient Egypt to the present, and its 164-acre museum park showcases the connection between art and nature through site-specific works of environmental art. Through the NCMALearn program, anyone interested in the arts can browse through videos that explore artists and artwork, search more than 200 works of art from the permanent collection or dive into 100 lesson plans meant to challenge students of all ages.
Note: The Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park is currently open to visitors.
Since launching as a professional company in 1998, Carolina Ballet has earned national and international praise and staged more than 100 show-stopping ballets, delighting audiences at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh with performances that include the holiday tradition The Nutcracker.
Unfortunately, the remaining programs for the 2019-2020 season (Macbeth and Cinderella) have been postponed until next season. While live performances are suspended, the ballet plans to release past performances online. Rotating in and out each week, the current video available is stunningly-beautiful 27 minutes of a 2018 performance of In The Gray.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS) is the state's most visited attraction (for five consecutive years now) and the largest museum of its kind in the Southeast, sitting at the nexus of research, collections, exhibits, digital media, community events and more.
One recurring event—Science Café—is a wildly-popular, free-admission gathering where actual scientists give talks, presentations and lead discussions about a new topic each week (lasting approximately one hour) inside the museum's sit-down restaurant, The Daily Planet. Incredibly, more than 200 of these events have been recorded and are free to watch online. Topics include black holes, climate change, dragonflies and many other subjects.
Triangle Rock Club's state-of-the-art facilities offer both lead and top rope climbing, expansive bouldering terrain and comprehensive fitness areas in two Raleigh area locations.
To help stay active and keep the climbing community connected during times of social distancing, the team at TRC is live-streaming fitness classes two to three times per day—yoga, core strength, handstand fitness and more classes are on the schedule for the week ahead. Due to closed facilities, instructors are streaming to Facebook from their homes.
Note: Memberships are not required at Triangle Rock Club. Plenty of day pass and gear rental options are available (once facilities re-open after COVID-19 issues are gone).
Note: This is a password protected page. The password is 1932 (the year the symphony was founded).
Based in Raleigh and one of the state's premiere arts organizations, the North Carolina Symphony puts on an incredible 175 concerts and events per year (and fulfills a music education mission that reaches 70,000 students!).
To help continue that mission during social distancing times, the symphony has released a digital broadcast of a North Carolina Symphony Education Concert and its companion materials for students, teachers, parents and audiences of all ages to access and enjoy free of charge. The 33-minute video features material from a previously filmed concert in Raleigh and stars the symphony’s professional musicians performing music by Beethoven, Brahms, William Grant Still and more. Along the way, associate conductor Wesley Schulz takes students on a journey to learn “What Makes Music, Music,” exploring fundamentals such as melody, rhythm, dynamics, tempo and texture.
The ultimate hands-on museum for children, Marbles Kids Museum is routinely one of the state's most visited attractions, drawing more than 600,000 visitors per year.
While the museum is closed (and schools are, too), the staff at Marbles has introduced Daily Dose of Play, a video series of energetic how-to videos demonstrating fun activities using household items in order to spark the imagination and keep the hands-on learning happening at home. In addition to how-to videos, Marbles is also offering Playful Parenting tips to help parents with the challenges of raising and educating children with creativity and positivity. You can follow along each day on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
Part of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the State Archives has a mission to collect, preserve and provide public access to historically significant archival materials relating to the state. The digital collections contain maps, photographs, audio recordings, videos, family records and many, many other historical documents.
The digital collections also includes a Flickr account that hosts more than 100,000 photographs (some more than 100 years old) organized by event, location or time period that make for easy (and fascinating) discoveries. A few Raleigh-related albums that are worth a look: North Carolina State Fair; St. Agnes Hospital; Sir Walter Hotel, Raleigh, N.C.; and Raleigh's First Pride March 25, June 1988.
Kid Lab, a non-profit and community art collective, is used to hosting arts and crafts activities, workshops, birthday parties and more at their downtown Raleigh location. For now, though, they've moved digital, rolling out a S.P.A.R.K. (STEM, Play, Art, Reading and Writing, Kindness and Collaboration) series for activity ideas each day of the week.
Geared towards children ages 10 and younger, the series offers a weekly video lesson, playful ideas, printable worksheets and more. Follow along on Instagram, YouTube and the Kid Lab website to join in on these free offerings—the theme for March is oceans, and April will introduce a new topic of bugs.
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