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News >  Family

Water cooler: Oh, the places you’ll (virtually) go with online tours

UPDATED: Wed., March 25, 2020

Shakira, a meerkat, suns herself on a log in the meerkat exhibit on April 16, 2019, at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in Cincinnati. (Meg Vogel / AP)
Shakira, a meerkat, suns herself on a log in the meerkat exhibit on April 16, 2019, at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in Cincinnati. (Meg Vogel / AP)
From staff reports

You have feet in your shoes… but nowhere to really go. You do still have brains in your head, though, and with that you can go anywhere, imaginary or in some cases, virtual. Need a place to start? Here are five places in, and out of this world, that you can visit from your own home.

Great Wall of China: In total this ancient wall made of earth, brick, stone and wood, is over 69 million feet long. Virtually walk through some of its most famous sections and see 360-degree views from its watchtowers at

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden: This is the fifth-oldest zoo in the United States. It houses over 500 animals and 3,000 plant species. Zookeepers will take you on a “Home Safari” to learn about a different animal every day, live at noon on Vist for past safaris.

Mars: Be a Martian for the day and visit the surface of the Red Planet. See the surface exactly as recorded by the Curiosity Rover, launched in 2011 at

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Usually this museum, established in 1910, is open 364 days a year. It contains over 145 million specimens and artifacts, including the Hall of Fossils. Visit this and other astounding exhibits at

Georgia Aquarium: Home to thousands of aquatic animals living in over 10 million gallons of water. Get live looks at exhibits including piranhas, beluga whales, African penguins, jellyfish, puffins and more at

Social circle

Brain train

What two colors combine to make purple?

  • Yellow and blue
  • Red and blue
  • Green and yellow

What is the name of the cowboy in “Toy Story”?

  • Buzz
  • Bull’s-eye
  • Woody

What do caterpillars turn into?

  • Butterflies
  • Stink bugs
  • Kangaroos

Tuesday’s answer: Pete Maravich

At-home experiments

Explore science using everyday items from the cupboard.

Tornado in a bottle

  • What you need: Two bottles, tape or a vortex tube to connect the bottles, and optional food dye or glitter.
  • How it’s done: Fill one bottle two-thirds full of water. Add food dye or glitter for added effect. Connect the necks of the bottles using tape or a tube. Flip the bottles over so the full bottle is on top. Shake in a circular motion to start the flow of water. Watch a vortex form as the bottle drains.
  • Why it works: Once the water starts to move in a circle, water begins draining down the edges of the bottle and air bubbles up through the center. This is called a vortex. The fluid on the outside is moving faster than the fluid on the inside. This is similar to a tornado, when strong winds are felt far away but the eye of the tornado is calm.

Rainbow in a glass

  • What you need: four colors of food coloring, water, sugar and a dropper if you have it.
  • How it’s done: Create three sugar-water solutions, all with a different color and three different amounts of sugar. Make a solution of a different color using only water. Slowly add the solutions to a glass using a dropper or spoon in order from most sugar to least. Watch as the colors stay stacked without mixing.
  • More sugar means a denser solution. When one solution is denser than another, it sinks below because it is heavier.

Invisible ink

  • What you need: Lemon juice, a brush or cotton swab, and a piece of paper.
  • How it’s done: Write a secret message on a piece of paper using lemon juice or vinegar. Hold the paper over a heat source until the message is revealed.
  • Why it works: The acid in the lemon juice weakens the paper after it dries. The acidic parts of the paper brown and burn before the rest of the paper does. Other acidic solutions you could use are milk or vinegar.

Worth a listen

Podcasts for Kids

    Story Pirates: The treasure here is imagination. Listen to stories written by real kids, performed by actors, comedians and musicians.

    Fierce Girls: Hear real-life, inspiring stories about some of Australia’s most adventurous girls.

    But Why: Learn what other kids are wondering and hear the answers to their questions – they just might have the same ones as you.

    Brains On: Join Molly Bloom and a guest kid co-host every week to find the answers to the world’s coolest science questions.

    Earth Rangers: Earth Ranger Emma is a wildlife biologist. Travel with her through jungles, wetlands, the Arctic and more to explore nature’s mysteries.

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