Virtual Vacation Highlights

Activities and exploration for those sheltering in place

 

As the long summer nights slowly grow shorter, signaling the arrival of fall, many may be wondering, “Where the heck did my summer vacation go?” Whether it was the pandemic or job insecurity, for many of us in the 405, it’s been the “Bummer Summer of 2020.”

Not to despair: There are still a few weeks to get in some badly needed relaxation and entertainment. Here are some ideas for virtual activities that are safe, enriching and fun.

Vive le macaron!
Macarons have been produced in the Venetian monasteries since the 8th century A.D. During the Renaissance, French queen Catherine de’ Medici’s Italian pastry chefs brought them to France with her when she married the French King Henry II. Now you can make them in your own home.

Cheryl Davenport, master chef and owner of OKC’s Belle Kitchen & Café, offers online lessons through Airbnb’s lineup of virtual experiences.

“I’ve gotten used to Zoom calls during all of this, so I’m ready to teach people how to make something that, hopefully, they can teach others and pass on once everything is normal again,” says Davenport, who has been featured on the Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, Buzzfeed and Crispy. “What’s interesting about what’s happening now is that people have a chance to learn something they wouldn’t otherwise have done or passed on. It gives them a chance to be curious.”

Davenport’s classes, “Macaron making with a Master Chef,” are limited to 10 people and are two hours in duration. Cost is $80. Visit airbnb.com/experiences/1342654 for class times and registration.

The Storyteller
Other Airbnb virtual experiences offer a number of customizable options, including a time of day, price and language preference. Take, for example, children’s author and publisher Jesse Byrd’s “Story Time with a Children’s Book Author.”

“It’s powerfully engaging. You’re getting a chance to share an experience with someone that could be anywhere, like Taiwan or somewhere in the United States,” Byrd says. His story times include reading books from his publishing company, including The Real Jungle Tales, and behind-the-scenes looks at book illustrations with unique social interactivity. “Being able to connect during such a difficult time, we can use stories as a way for us to find common ground and connect knowing we aren’t so different.”

His online experience can be found at Airbnb at airbnb.com/experiences/1693868. Group sizes are 10 people or less and are one hour in duration. Cost is $7.

Other nationally known organizations such as National Geographic have teamed with travel firm Lindblad Expeditions, to offer Virtual Expeditions with daily discovery programs that families might have on one of their trips they offer. The free, online experiences provide a full day of activities including wake up, wildlife observation, special performances, photo tips from NatGeo photographers, recap and more.

For information, visit expeditions.com/destinations/virtual.

Bird’s-Eye View
Google Earth Voyager also offers a large selection of free virtual vacations including “Searching for Sea Dragons in Sydney,” “Finding Frida Kahlo” and a guided tour with 360-degree views of 31 national parks in the United States.

Search Google Earth Voyager online for more information.

Dance Fever
Looking for something closer to home? Try attending the first online-exclusive Oklahoma International Dance Festival continuing through Aug. 9. Online participants are taught by dance professionals from across the globe in a variety of styles including ballet, modern and improvisational.

Visit okdancefest.org for more information.

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