Explore From Home
Check out these activities!
The library has compiled a list of free online offerings for you. Most of these activities are free and open access year-round, but a few have waved fees during the Covid-19 epidemic.
If you do not have access to the internet we will still be providing WiFi which is accessible from outside the building.
Thank you to the Altoona Public Library for the suggestion of this page and all the work they went to providing the original content to share.
Oh the Places You’ll Go…
- Animal & Nature live streams
- Music Live Streams
- Virtual Museum Tours
- Digital Libraries and Collections
- Virtual Field Trips
- Story Hour Online
- Online Book Clubs
- Free Coloring Pages
- Adult Continuing Education
- Writing Assistance
- Historical Resources
Animal and Nature Live Streams
Zoo Live Cameras
Atlanta Zoo – Has a live camera feed of Pandas.
Houston Zoo -Has live camera feeds of Chimps, Elephants, Giraffes, Gorillas, Leafcutter Ants, and Rhinos.
Kansas City Zoo – Has live camera feeds of Giraffes, Penguins, and Polar Bears.
Maryland Zoo – Has live camera feeds of Flamingos, Giraffes, Goats, Lions, and Penguins.
National Zoo– Has live camera feeds of Elephants, Lions, Naked Mole Rats, and Pandas.
San Diego Zoo – Has live camera feeds of Apes, Baboons, Burrowing Owls, Condors, Elephants, Giraffes, Koalas, Penguins, Polar Bears, and Tigers.
Aquarium Live Camera’s
Aquarium of the Pacific – Has live camera feeds of Jellyfish, Penguins, Sharks and large aquarium views.
Georgia Aquarium -Has live camera feeds of Beluga Whales, Jellyfish, Penguins, Piranhas, Sea Lions, Sea Otters, and the Indo-Pacific Barrier Reef.
Monterrey Bay Aquarium -Has live camera feeds of Aviary, Coral Reef, Jellyfish, Kelp Forests, Penguins, Sea Otters, and Sharks.
Other Live Cameras
Explore.org – This site has multiple live streams covering everything from nature cameras to animal sanctuaries.
Other nature options:
Learn Wisconsin Bird calls!
Music Live Streams
NPR Music – NPR offers up not only a large collection of music to listen to, but a large collection of live streamed and recorded jam sessions, concerts and events.
NPR’s List of Free Livestreamed Concerts – NPR is constantly updating this list of free live streamed concerts that are happening during the pandemic.
Berliner Philharmonic – Free access to live streamed concerts and recordings for the next 30 days.
Göteborgs Symfoniker – “The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra will be available to all music lovers on GSOplay. The concerts can be enjoyed for free for anyone on the web or through [their] app – wherever you are.”
All three organizations above provide recordings and live streams of their performances at no-cost year round.
Metropolitan Opera – “Every day for the duration of the Met’s closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series will be made available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for a period of 20 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 3:30 p.m. the following day.”
Virtual Museum Tours
Van Gogh Museum– “The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam houses the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) in the world.”
MASP – “The Museu de Arte de São Paulo is a private, nonprofit museum founded by Brazilian businessman Assis Chateaubriand, in 1947, as Brazil’s first modern museum.”
Uffizi Gallery – “The Uffizi was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de’Medici to house the Granducal Magistratures of Tuscany. “
Musée d’Orsay – “The Musee d’Orsay, … displays collections of art from the period 1848 to 1914.”
Louvre – “Visit the museum’s exhibition rooms and galleries, contemplate the façades of the Louvre… Come along on a virtual tour and enjoy the view, thanks to the sponsorship of Shiseido.”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art – “The Met presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy.”
The J. Paul Getty Museum – “The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center features works of art dating from the eighth through the twenty-first century, showcased against a backdrop of dramatic architecture, tranquil gardens, and breathtaking views of Los Angeles.”
The Art Institute of Chicago – “The Art Institute of Chicago is a world-renowned art museum housing one of the largest permanent collections in the United States. “
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – “Modeled after a Venetian palazzo, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston houses one of the world’s most remarkable art collections.”
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston– “The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world with a collection that exemplifies the breadth, richness, and diversity of artistic expression, from prehistoric times to modern day.”
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston– “Established in 1900, the MFAH is the largest cultural institution in the region. The majority of the museum’s presentations take place on its main campus, which is located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District .”
Science and Natural History Museums
National Museum of Natural History – “The Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History virtual tours allow visitors to take self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibits and areas within the museum from their desktop or mobile device.”
National Museum of Computing– A British museum that talks about how computing came to be and what we are still using today.
Zoology Museum of Barcelona – While also containing a panoramic view of their collections, this museum also contains 360 digital renders of over 500 animal bones to explore. Not all of the website is fully translated, so be careful.
Canadian History Museum – Head up north and learn more about the history of our neighbors.
Arizona State Museum– Go to Arizona and take a tour of four different exhibits from their pottery vault to woven arts.
Boston’s Children’s Museum – “Boston Children’s Museum is the second oldest, and one of the most influential children’s museums in the world.”
Digital Libraries and Collections
NASA – If you are interested in space and science, NASA has an e-book collection available to the public for free. Their website also contains multiple educational resources to explore.
International Children’s Digital Library – This online library has over 4,000 children’s books from around the world in a multitude of languages. If you are looking for tales from around the world or if you are learning a new language this is a place to stop by.
Poet.org – Produced by the Academy of American Poets, Poet.org has a large selections of poems available to read, including poem-a-day. Check out their selection, fall in love with a few new poems and maybe sign up for their poem-a-day newsletter. April is National Poetry Month, so maybe you should start thinking of how to celebrate.
The Internet Archive – Not an archive of the internet, but an archive on the internet. It’s a “non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.” Access old radio shows, early computer games, T.V. shows and over 23 Million books.
Library of Congress Digital Collections – The Library of Congress has multiple collections available online, consisting of over 2 million scans of historic books, photos and other materials. This includes a large selection of historic children’s books, Abraham Lincoln’s Papers and a collection of Folk songs from Michigan and Wisconsin.
Digital Public Library of America – A collection of digital copies of original materials from various university libraries around the US.
Project Gutenberg – Project Gutenberg “is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison Digital Collections – “The University of Wisconsin Digital Collections (UWDC) contain millions of images, books, maps, recordings, documents, and more from across the UW, Wisconsin and the world.” Enjoy learning more about our state’s past by browsing this collection.
HaithiTrust – “HathiTrust is a partnership of academic & research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world.” While many books on HaithiTrust requires an institutional membership, reading online is free.”
American Archive of Public Broadcasting – “Discover historic programs of publicly funded radio and television across America.”
Virtual Field Trips
DiscoveryEducation– Take a field trip with Polar Bear researchers, blast off into space at the Johnson Space Center, go behind the scenes with the NFL or any number of behind the scene tours with Discovery Education. Includes teaching guides and curriculum for interested parents and adults.
OK360– Go to Oklahoma and take a virtual hike. When you’re stuck inside with nothing to do and it’s a grey day, enjoy a scenic hike. With 360 views and multiple videos of nature trails in OK, you can learn more about nature in the panhandle state.
360 Cities– 360 Cities is a large collection of panoramic interactive photographs that allow you to virtually travel around the world.
Star Atlas– An online planetarium that will show the stars from any location in the world and where the constellations are in the night sky. The site tells you how far the stars are away from earth, for information on the constellations head here.
Nature Works Everywhere– Take a field trip into nature. Nature Works Everywhere has 11 virtual field trips for multiple age ranges, alongside videos and lesson plans for parents and teachers.
ASU Virtual Field Trips– Arizona State University offers up virtual field trips for high school and college students, covering everything from the Mars rover, prehistoric times to the rain forests.
Mount Vernon– Mount Vernon is the most popular historic estate in America. Come and visit George Washington’s home virtually.
Buckingham Palace – Take a virtual tour of some of the rooms in the Buckingham Palace and learn more about the history surrounding the British Monarchy.
Story Hour Online
Story Time from Space– Listen to a story read by an astronaut living on the International Space Station.
Storyline Online– A large variety of children’s picture books read aloud by numerous celebrities. Close Captioned.
Union Square Play– While the little one’s are stuck at home Union Square Play is proving: one offline at-home activity, one children’s class video (live or prerecorded) and one online community event for parents. Everything from singalongs to art projects.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems– Join children’s book author Mo Willems live every weekday at 1 pm E.T. or whenever with the recordings as he teaches us how to create. “Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join Mo to explore ways of writing and making together.”
Draw Every Day With Jarrett J. Krosoczka– New York Times-bestselling author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka everyday for a drawing lesson. Author of everything from the Punk Farm picture books to the Lunch Lady graphic novels.
Online Books and Bookclubs
Goodreads – Goodreads has thousands of bookclub groups available, where you can discuss amazing books with a community of readers. Goodreads is completely free and provides book reviews, interviews with authors, giveaways and much more in addition to having a place for an online book club.
- Oprah’s Book Club
- Reese’s Book Club
- Around the World in 80 Books
- The Next Best Book Club
- The History Book Club
- SciFi and Fantasy Book Club
Wisconsin’s Online Digital Library
Free Coloring Pages
Coloring Nature – This website focuses mainly on animals and natural scenes.
Just Color– This website will provide multiple themed coloring pages for you to print off.
Super Coloring– This website will provide multiple themed free coloring pages for you to print off. Does contain ads.
Crayola– The absolute classic coloring medium provides free coloring pages for adults and kids.
#ColorourCollections – Launched by The New York Academy of Medicine Library in 2016, #ColorOurCollections is an annual coloring festival on social media during which libraries, museums, archives and other cultural institutions around the world share free coloring content featuring images from their collections.The coloring books from 2020 and previous years remain accessible year-round for free download
Adult Continuing Education
Edx– Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX houses multiple college level course available for free.
Coursera – Coursera offers both free and paid courses online. Certificates are only available in paid courses, but you can still learn something new for free.
Khan Academy – “Created by experts, Khan Academy’s library of trusted, standards-aligned practice and lessons covers math K-12 through early college, grammar, science, history, AP®, SAT®, and more. It’s all free for learners and teachers.”
Open Culture – “Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community.” This site collects multiple free education resources for anyone to use for free.
Open Yale Courses – “Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University.”
OpenLearn – “Produced by The Open University, a world leader in open and distance learning, all OpenLearn courses are free to study. We offer nearly 1000 free courses across 8 different subject areas. Our courses are available to start right away.”
Teaching Poetry – PoetryFoundation.org has options for all ages, adult through children to help aspiring poets.
Helping Writers Become Authors – A blog style website created by a published author to help others on their writing journey. Contains helpful guides on how to tackle tough writers block and how to start writing on your own.
List of College Courses on Writing – LearningPath.org has put together a list of free online college courses on creative writing. They cover a variety of topics and will help walk you through the writing process.
Reading like a Historian– “The Reading Like a Historian curriculum engages students in historical inquiry. Each lesson revolves around a central historical question and features a set of primary documents designed for groups of students with a range of reading skills.”
Atlas of the Geography of the United States – A dynamic map of the United States showing not only how states have changed and grown, but also the growth of churches, population and much more have moved throughout the early days of our country. There is an introductory video showing how it works, I’d recommend taking a glance before diving in.
American Panorama – Similar to the above atlas, but with a more diverse selection of maps encompassing everything from canal growth and use to the changes in our House of Representatives.
Information on Covid-19