Virtual Tours to Take Through Washington State

While Washington begins to reopen in some areas, not everyone feels quite ready to be out and about just yet. Here are some fun ideas you can explore from home now, and add to your list to visit in person when the time is right.

hermit crab

Harbor WildWatch

Gig Harbor’s Harbor WildWatch has new marine life videos each week on their YouTube channel. Videos are geared toward kids and adults and include beach walks at area beaches, STEM lessons and workshops and even sea creature yoga.Check out their website for more program information, stewardship resources and info about the reopening of the visitor and interpretive center.

bingo board

Mount St. Helens Institute

Did you know May 18, 2020, marked the 40th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens? Connect online with the Mount St. Helens Institute (MSHI) to learn more about Mount St. Helens and other Pacific Northwest volcanoes. Volcano Tuesdays presentations and activities begin at 11 a.m. PST each Tuesday. You can also view recordings of previous presentations and get a card to play MSHInside BINGO from home and in your neighborhood.

During normal operations, MSHI also offers educational programs, camps, guided hikes and science pub lectures.


Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

You can meet some of Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium’s animals in online videos (including one of red wolf pups!), pictures and articles. Check out the Zoo News blog for behind-the-scenes pictures and information, including learning about a sea otter dental appointment, nurse shark exam and the zoo’s tapir calf.

The zoo has also reopened with a new outside-only, one-way experience. Timed entry tickets will be sold online.

park sign

Kent Parks

Kent Parks at Home has a variety of at-home parks and recreation programs for kids, adults and families. Look for virtual cooking classes, arts and crafts ideas, esports tournaments, STEM learning videos and online fitness classes and videos.If you’re ready to explore outside, some Kent parks and trails are open. Before you head out, check their website for current conditions, health recommendations and any closures.

trail map digital

Washington Trails Association

Washington Trails Association’s (WTA) hike finder map and hiking guide let you plan your next adventure from home. Explore their website for information on hiking during coronavirus, getting outside with kids and ways to get involved with preserving trails. When you’re ready to head outside, check out the trip reports for details on current trail conditions with pictures, notes and tips from other hikers. Create a WTA account and add your own trip reports after your hikes. Bring your camera and enter your best pictures in the Northwest Exposure photo contest starting Aug. 17.


Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge near Olympia is home to many animal species, including bald eagles, great horned owls, beavers and minks. Virtual visitors to the Refuge can learn more about its animals and habitat here

Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

The Refuge’s annual summer lecture series will be held online and started in July. Topics include the natural history of Mount Rainier National Park, backyard mason bees, whales of the Salish Sea and preserving the Nisqually Delta. Check out the Friends of Nisqually Wildlife Refuge for more information and to register for the free lectures.

Trails at the Refuge are open but buildings (including restrooms) are closed and parking is limited. There are about four miles of trails, including some flat boardwalk trails.

Photos: Brewbrooks & Joe Mabel

Christine Hunt

Born and raised in Washington, Christine currently lives with her family in Kent, Washington. She enjoys reading and crafting and exploring with her family. She studied communication at Western Washington University and completed a continuing education certificate in storytelling and content strategy at the University of Washington. Follow her on Instagram: @christine.pnw

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