Staying Home: 20+ Virtual Orlando Cultural Tours and Experiences

Tours, museums, music, verse and more—both local and far away.
Poet Billy Collins, Photo By Roberto Gonzalez

Poet Billy Collins (ROBERTO GONZALEZ)

Tour Pompeii

It’s likely that the Orlando Science Center will have to postpone its long-awaited June-to-September hosting of Pompeii, the Immortal City—a touring exhibit featuring priceless artifacts from the storied Roman metropolis that was buried beneath untold tons of ashes and lava by a volcanic eruption two millennia ago. If so, you can find some consolation in the numerous videos about Pompeii that are posted online, including several walking tours of the ruins, a re-creation of Pompeii as the prosperous, lavishly designed metropolis it once was, and the latest reports on archaeological discoveries. For two places to start, click here and here.

Science to go: To bridge the gap while it’s closed, the science center has created a website filled with activities and resources custom-made for at-home learning experiments.

Keep On Walkin’

While we’re on the subject of virtual walking tours, you can find many of them on the Google Arts & Culture site. Check out “Hidden Worlds of National Parks.’’ (The Carlsbad Caverns video is spectacular).

Art and Museums To Go

Major art museums have offered virtual tours for years, but until recently it was just one way of seeing their galleries. Now it’s the only way. Here’s a partial list of art museums and galleries—local, national, and international—that offer noteworthy virtual tours.

Orlando Museum of Art has posted a “museum from home” selection of video tours on its Facebook page.

Miami’s Art Basel offers tours of associated art galleries.

Tour The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg at Also check out a cool tour of the Dali Theatre-Museum in Spain at

Google Arts & Culture lists numerous virtual tours of art museums around the world:

The Winter Park Paint Out plein air festival has been postponed, but you can enjoy a virtual show of the participating 25 artists at

Poetry Man

Taking a daily vitamin keeps your body in shape. A poem a day can tend to your soul. We know just the guy for the job. Billy Collins is a two-time U.S. Poet Laureate—a sage, scrappy native New Yorker transplant to Central Florida who could probably make his living as a stand-up comedian if the poetry gig ever dried up. Lately he has made it a point to read of one of his slyly humorous but ever-thoughtful poems every day on his Facebook page:

Collins has been at this for a while and he has numerous poems, some of them accompanied by clever cartoons, on YouTube. If you happen to be a would-be poet or you are just interested in the craft, you might also want to check out his virtual class about writing poetry at It’s one of many such classes, led by artists, entrepreneurs, and other high-performing professionals, on that pay-for-tutorials site.

Home Movies

Enzian, Maitland’s nationally recognized, nonprofit art-cinema café and theater, is offering Enzian on Demand. It’s a partnership between the theater and film distributors so you can watch new releases at home via the Internet for about the same price you’d pay—$12—had you been able to see it the old-fashioned way. BYO popcorn.

At-Home Theater/Concerts

Orlando Shakes is keeping in touch with fans with a weekly series of retrospective moments from past productions at its Facebook site:

Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts concert hall in Winter Park has pay-per-view and streaming video of artists ranging from rock/soul band Souljam to songwriter/singers Terri Binion and Beth McKee.

Bach Festival Society of Winter Park’s series of free classical “Musical Moments” can be enjoyed at

Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra is starting a new digital series, “Sound Bites,” that features individual orchestra members providing mini lectures about their instruments and performing short selections of their favorite classical works.

National Public Radio is offering an ongoing link to free online live and rebroadcast concerts. Go to and search “virtual concerts.”

Every night at 6 except Thursdays, Central Florida Community Arts presents a live concert at Past concerts are also available for viewing.

Timucua Arts Foundation is offering rebroadcasts and live performances of the various musical groups that perform at this intimate concert venue near downtown Orlando.

You may or may not know that Orlando magazine dining critic Joseph Hayes is also a playwright and jazz producer. Watch a variety of plays and concerts—many of them staged at Timucua—on his YouTube channel. Click here

Revisit the amazing “Playing for Change” YouTube series of videos, linking dozens of musicians from around the world to sing old favorites like “The Weight.’’ 

Home Companionship

There’s nothing as reassuring as a visit with a familiar old friend in times of trouble. Garrison Keillor, the brilliantly folksy impresario of the Prairie Home Companion radio show, is still writing and frequently turns his attention to this current shut-in predicament of ours.

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