=This May 25, 2017 file photo shows a view of the world-famous hoodoos, also called tent rocks, fairy chimneys and earth pyramids, at Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. The park has become the latest to close its gates to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Photo: AP Photo/Eva Parziale, File
Photo: AP Photo/Eva Parziale, File

5 virtual ways to have springtime fun

With warm, lovely weather fully blossomed, it’s normal to want to enjoy typical springtime fun. But, the unforeseen pandemic requires more creativity than usual when it comes to seasonal plans for the spring. If you’ve grown weary of being deprived of your warm-weather activities, now is the time to be innovative and start using your computer for something other than work and social networking. There are countless virtual experiences designed to help fill the void of lost things to do during the spring because of the COVID-19 crisis. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution offers a few ideas to get you started.

Take a journey

Traveling during the springtime is an unofficial pastime. Yet, even during these times, you can take a journey and discover something new. Explore the underwater world of a historic shipwreck off the coast of the Dry Tortugas in Florida or canoe a lagoon in the Kenai Fjords of Alaska via The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks. The 360-degree virtual tour visits five national parks and includes Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Bryce Canyon in Utah and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Produced by the National Park Service in partnership with Google Arts & Culture, the tours feature aerial and underwater video, 360-degree photos, short narrations by park rangers and interactive elements. Go to artsandculture.withgoogle.com/en-us/national-parks-service.

Not the outdoors type? Venture to Great Britain, and take a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace, the official London home and administrative headquarters of the British monarchy. The tour starts at the grand staircase. From there, you can click through to other rooms and on icons that open text blocks containing information on various objects in the rooms. Visit royal.uk/virtual-tours-buckingham-palace.

Watch a concert

Spring concerts have been a staple of the season, but these days, spring concerts have gone virtual. Check out new concerts featuring Billie Eilish, H.E.R., Sharon Van Etten and the Raconteurs, as well as classic shows by Stevie Ray Vaughn, Roy Orbison and Etta James from the archives of “Austin City Limits,” the long-running PBS show featuring intimate concerts with some of the greatest musicians and songwriters in rock, country, blues and more. Visit https://acltv.com.

“Austin City Limits” has opened up its archives and made its concerts available online, including one by Billie Eilish. AJC File
Photo: For the AJC

If you like talking about music and learning how your favorite artists create their sound, the Grammy Museum hosts a variety of features including Spotlight, videotaped interviews about craft with artists such as Alice Merton, Common, John Prine and Brandi Carlile. There’s also a feature called Music Club in which a single album such as Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” is analyzed and discussed in depth. Go to grammymuseum.org/museum-at-home.

Enjoy the theater

Forced to cancel the 2020 Southern Writers Festival due to COVID-19, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival has launched a series of new, original monologues on the theme of home written by 22 Southern playwrights including Pearl Cleage, Lauren Gunderson, Topher Payne and Mary Lynn Owen. Performed by actors around the country, the series is called “22 Homes” and it launches April 21. Watch them at ASF.net/PlayOn.

Learn a new skill

Everybody is looking for ways to stay active in captivity, and Atlanta Ballet provides a fun opportunity. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at noon, it livestreams dance classes for all ages and genres on its Facebook page at facebook.com/AtlantaBallet.

Want to learn how to master a skill from a pro? Take lessons in cooking from Gordon Ramsay, writing from Margaret Atwood and violin from Itzhak Perlman at masterclass.com. Most classes feature six lessons that last about 10 minutes each. Currently, two-for-one memberships are available for $180. Memberships permit access to all classes.

You can also learn to play chess for free at chess.com.

Learn to play chess for free at chess.com. Contributed by Jim Bridgeman/Bridgeman Studios
Photo: For the AJC

Visit a museum

The High Museum of Art has created online exhibitions of featured artists whose works currently hang in the institution’s vacant galleries. Check out the photography of North Carolina-based artist Alex Harris, a Georgia native who photographs film sets around the South. “Harris photographs the actors and landscapes that will appear on film,” wrote AJC contributing art critic Felicia Feaster in her review of his show, “Our Strange New Land.” “But he also pulls back even further to document the tattooed and baseball cap-outfitted male and female crew members working on the sets, positioning spotlights or scrambling up a ladder to record a shot.” The show is part of the museum’s “Picturing the South” project that has been commissioning new work by Southern photographers since 1996. To see Harris’ work, go to high.org/explore.

The High Museum has posted online photographs from its Alex Harris exhibition. Contributed by Alex Harris
Photo: For the AJC

Atlanta History Center also boasts a bounty of online exhibitions, videos and archives, including items featured in its “Atlanta in 50 Objects” show, including a first edition copy of “Gone with the Wind, a microphone from WSB Radio’s early days and the Pink Pig, a vintage version of the monorail that appeared at Rich’s downtown department store every Christmas. Among other features are photo archives from the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition and videotaped oral histories from the Voices Across the Color Line Oral History Project. Visit atlantahistorycenter.com/explore/museum-at-home.

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