You don’t need to miss out on seeing some of Melbourne’s best attractions while you’re social distancing at home.

Here, our Ambassadors review some of the virtual tours, talks and other online activities available at Zoos Victoria, Melbourne Museum, National Gallery of Victoria and SEA LIFE.  

Melbourne Museum

Review by Lily Li.

My virtual tour of Melbourne Museum was full of surprises!

Guided by the Google Map’s virtual reality, I explored different sections including Top Designs 2020 and Marvellous Melbourne. I also did an audio tour with amazing tour guides online!

In Marvellous Melbourne, I learnt Melbourne’s history and understood how the city was planned and how it flourished. It was displayed in a timeline over different periods – early settlement, the gold rush, the Depression, Melbourne Summer Olympic Games and modern times. I strongly recommend checking out this tour. It shows Melburnians’ resilience of living on this land and their stories of hope for the future.

In the audio tour, I was greeted by Rich and Matt. They introduced the beautiful blue bowerbirds in the forest garden on the ground floor. I loved how passionate Rich and Matt were with their listeners. They explained that bowerbirds are interior designers who turn blue plastics, such as bottle lids, into treasure to decorate their nest.

Overall, the Melbourne Museum virtual tours are a great way for us to reconnect with the land and appreciate the beautiful nature and species around us.

National Gallery of Victoria

Review by Kimberly Mitchiko Clemencio

Art lovers like myself need not worry about missing major exhibits. The NGV brings them to us through virtual tours of works such as ‘KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness’.

I admire how the artist, Brian Donnelly (also known as KAWS), depicts real societal issues in his bright and huge sculptures. The underlying meaning demonstrates emotional despair and loneliness in modern times. My personal favourite is ‘GONE’, a massive sculpture of ‘companion’ carrying their departed best friend.

Most people are surprised by how these massive and colourful sculptures were completed. But I also want people to understand that the world we live in needs more of KAWS’ companion who will embrace us in difficult times.

NGV is also conducting virtual excursions  for students hosted by an NGV educator. Click here to find out more. All you have to do is book online and it’s as if you are physically there at the gallery! Staying at home is definitely no hindrance in the digital age. 

SEA LIFE

Review by Yiran Wang

SEA LIFE Melbourne’s ‘virtual aquarium’ series and multiple live streams allows you to get up close and personal with the marine environments and sea creatures.

There are exhibits and presentations on breathtaking moon jellyfish, live workshops with the staff and the cutest activity of all: feeding the wobbly penguins!

I recently followed the live tour led by education manager Olivia and learnt about habitat adoptions. From the cuttlefish that can change their texture and colours to camouflage into their surroundings to the rare Tasmanian handfish, not only am I amazed by the diverse life teeming in the ocean, but also SEA LIFE’s effort to preserve endangered aquatic animals and diminishing habitats.

All the live streams are through Facebook so you can easily join from any device. Even if you are busy during the live stream, you can still access a list of past video recordings here. What better ways are there to learn about the ocean and underwater conservation? So hop onto the SEA LIFE Facebook page for a virtual tour and become a more ocean-aware safe keeper of our underwater world.

Zoos Victoria

Reviewed by Saaniya Kadam

In ‘Animals at Home’ from Zoos Victoria, you can listen to zoo keepers walk you through the daily lives of our loved wild animals.

Sarah Jones gives a talk on the elephants of Melbourne Zoo.  Manjai is the most loved elephant in its herd. The six-year-old baby elephant loves to be in its own company. Sarah tells us that between the age of three and seven years, male elephants go through hormonal changes and prefer living in solace. Manjai loves playing with his elder sister Mahli in the pool.

Kathy Scanlon tells us about gorillas at the Werribee Open Range Zoo. The gorilla dad lives with his two 20-year-old sons. You will find them playing and the gorilla brothers chasing each other. Just like us, animals also live with their families.

It is great that in this pandemic we can all stay indoors and still be a part of the outdoors. The virtual tour with the zoo keepers not only helps in understanding the wildlife but also educates us in saving them. You can check out the 'Animals at home' today!