Living in State College, PA means having access to a variety of educational, artistic, and quirky attractions. And given the current pandemic, many of these famed destinations have begun offering virtual experiences that you can enjoy from the safety and comfort of home. Take a look at our top picks:
Museum of the American Revolution
101 South 3rd Street, Philadelphia
The best way to teach history is to live it. This is why the Museum, in cooperation with book publisher Scholastic, created Beyond the Battlefield: A Virtual Field Trip. Designed for students Grades 2-8, it features real artifacts from the American Revolution, as well as the actual tent that George Washington used while traveling with his troops.
The museum also offers free content to enrich the learning experience. These include a downloadable scavenger hunt that challenges kids to find historical clues, as well as a historical bingo game to test what the kids have learned.
University of Pennsylvania, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia
For a state steeped in history, it’s no wonder that Pennsylvania is home to one of the best museums of world history. Launched in 1887, this attraction boasts one of the nation’s leading archeology and anthropology collections that trace the evolution of both man and culture. It’s home to over a million artifacts collected across North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The museum currently offers free video tours of its Africa, Central America, and Middle East galleries. Need a moment of Zen? There’s also a video tour of the Penn Museum’s serene main entrance garden.
The Frick Pittsburgh
7227 Reynolds Street, Pittsburgh
Founded in honor of Henry Clay Frick, a steel magnate who came to wealth in the 1800s, The Frick Pittsburgh was originally his family’s estate. It now houses an impressive collection of early renaissance paintings, baroque bronze sculptures, and 19th-century artworks. It also offers a glimpse into the highlights of the First Industrial Revolution and the lifestyle of the times.
Check out The Frick Pittsburgh’s extensive vintage car collection, which is among the free virtual tours on offer. It also has curator’s talks covering topics such as renaissance art, the craft of jewelry making, and architecture, among others.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
1020 South Street, Philadelphia
The popular attraction is proof of the transformative power of creativity. Once a rundown vacant lot, it was converted by artist Isaiah Zagar into a walkable piece of art. Every inch of the place is covered in colorful and eclectic mosaics made from materials such as bottles, bicycle wheels, glass, ceramic shards, and other knick-knacks. These mosaics reflect the influences he picked up during his travels to Morocco, Iran, Latin America, Indonesia, and China. The interior gallery also hosts a rotating exhibit of works from noted artists like Warren Muller, Russel Craig, and Ornella Ridone.
The Magic Gardens offers a free virtual tour that takes you through the entire 3,000-sq.ft. venue.
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
3830 Dorney Park Road, Allentown
Visiting amusement parks is one of the most enjoyable things to do in State College, but the current pandemic means these attractions had to close for the season. However, you can still experience butterflies in your stomach thanks to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom’s virtual roller coaster rides featured on YouTube. Four of its famous roller coasters – Thunder Hawk, Hydra the Revenge, Talon the Grip of Fear, and Steel Force – have the most visitor clicks. If you have a virtual headset, you can link this to your phone’s YouTube app for an even more immersive and exhilarating experience.
25 W. Third Street, Bethlehem
With more time on your hands, now is your chance to indulge your artistic side. ArtsQuest in Bethlehem, PA is offering virtual classes to get your creative juices flowing. Sharpen your comedic skills and your ability to think on the fly by taking up an improvisational comedy class. Get crafty and create DIY artworks like watercolor paintings, found object assemblage, collagraphs, and pressed flower art. Be sure to tag your works with #quarantineartclub while you’re at it!
You can also watch live-streamed concerts and exclusive films through ArtsQuest’s website, and a portion of the ticket sales will go to its endowment fund.
Of course, it’s not just visiting attractions that you can do virtually. The Heritage Realty Group can also help you buy homes even if you’re out of state through virtual showings.