Welcome to the City of Ventura’s Parks & Recreation Virtual Recreation and Resource Center!
This is your place for fun, educational, and useful resources through these uncertain and challenging times. We are committed to ensuring that our resilient community members have resources to maintain healthy lives, grow meaningful relationships, and continue to have extraordinary experiences.
Visit this page often and follow us on Facebook for new updates and ideas to keep you and your loved ones healthy, entertained, and informed. Please note that we do not endorse or receive funds to advertise any of the third-party sites or services listed or referenced on this page. Some resources may require the creation of an account.
Have a great idea or resource you’d like to share?
As our daily lives are filled with more indoor time, there are many ways to stay healthy and active. Here are a few ideas for staying active at your home or neighborhood.
- Take a Virtual Fitness Class – Here are a few FREE options
Exercise your Brain
- Visit the Ventura County Virtual Library – The library has created free reading activities for teens and children.
- Participate in an online story and song time – Facilitated by local librarians from the Ventura County Library, Monday through Friday in English and Spanish or check out an Ebook to read from home.
- Explore Audible’s list of free audiobooks – Including stories for all ages and in multiple languages.
- Learn a new language – The Spanish Experiment provides free Spanish lessons with audio for beginners.
Fun for the Kids (or kids at heart)
- Take a virtual car trip through the USA.
- Hold a virtual play date through video chat.
- Teach a young person how to write and send a letter.
- Take a Virtual Vacation – Explore a National Park using Google Earth. Use Street View to see places like you’re physically there.
- Take a virtual ride on a Disneyland ride.
- Watch the San Diego Zoo Livecam.
- Head to the Scripps Aquarium website to view the Kelp Cam.
- Visit one of many museums around the world through their virtual tours.
- Take a mobile tour with The San Diego Museum of Man.
- Check out some recycled arts and crafts ideas.
- Check out some “rainy day fun” on Pinterest.
- Try your hand at the Daily Doodle lessons by Mo Willems.
- Spark your creativity with art lessons at the Art for Kids Hub.
- Find free coloring pages from Crayola.
- The San Diego Padres are offering free kids activities on their Compadres Kids site, as well as a list of additional resources offered by their partners.
- The San Diego Air and Space Museum offers a growing collection of content including rare archival footage and exciting stories on their SDASM TV site. Additionally, they are hosting weekly STEM Challenges to push your creativity and problem-solving skills.
Virtual Tours & Experiences
- U.S. Space and Rocket Museum: Hop on over to Huntsville, Alabama, to see the Saturn 5 Rocket.
- Mars: You don’t need a rocket ship to get to the surface of Mars! Check out digital views of the Red Planet courtesy of the Curiosity rover.
- The Louvre: Give your young ones an appreciation of art with a digital trip to Paris, France, where you’ll see the museum’s exhibition rooms and galleries up close and personal.
- Journey Around the World: Check out images of places from around the world taken from above by Pan Air.
- San Diego Zoo: Kids (and adults!) can peep in on live camera feeds and videos of their favorite animals.
- Animal Cameras: Tune into a web cam of animals at the Monterey Bay Aquarium; check out Georgia Aquarium’s beluga web cam, jellyfish webcam, Indo-Pacific Barrier Reef cam, African penguin cam, and much more; explore six different feeds at the Houston Zoo; and wave a digital hello to the panda cam at Zoo Atlanta.
- Cincinnati Zoo: Join the zoo on Facebook Live each weekday at noon PST. Videos will highlight a different animal each day and include a related activity, children can do from home.
- National Parks: Get a dose of nature with virtual tours of national parks - including Arches, Channel Islands, Glacier, Yellowstone, and Yosemite - from your couch.
- FarmFood360: Go behind the scenes of a dairy farm, apple orchard, feed mill, and more with Canadian farm and food tours.
- Back Bay Science Center: Online educational resources for kids ages 13-18, including online classes, a virtual aquarium, live webinars, and more.
- California State Parks PORTS: California State Parks is broadcasting its PORTS (Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students) home-learning program catered to grades K-12 from park locations all over the state.
- Environmental Nature Center: The Environmental Nature Center is bringing the Earth’s wonders right to you through your computer screen! Take virtual field trips; subscribe to their YouTube channel for fun and informative videos; and enjoy live streams of their butterfly house, reptiles, birds, and more. Learn more at encenter.org.
- FindNature.org: Help kids stay connected to nature while at home through online tools, webinars, and blogs by the Children & Nature Network.
Older Adults & Seniors
Arts & Opera
- LACMA: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is offering exhibition walkthroughs, short films, documentaries, and online courses for free.
- Paul J. Getty Museum: Explore exhibitions online and browse free reading materials on art and cultural heritage.
- LA Opera at Home: Access the opera at home, dive deeper into the opera with podcasts and audio lectures and find fun at-home activities to do yourself or with grandkids.
Fitness & Outdoors
- AARP Get Moving Where You Are: Watch online exercise videos where fitness experts share workouts you can do in your living room.
- Virtual YMCA: Try out chair yoga, barre, cardio fitness, and more workout videos catered to older adults.
Travel & Literature
- Virtual Travel: Take virtual tours of destinations around the world, including national parks, the Taj Mahal, and the Palace of Versailles.
- The Ventura County Library has created free reading activities for Adults.
- Call a Friend or Relative: Mental health is important during times like this, especially when spending more time at home than usual. Call friends and relatives regularly to hear another person’s voice and stay socially engaged.
- Have a Virtual Hangout: Have a party on your computer! Use FaceTime, Skype, or other platforms to get together with family and friends digitally.
Creative Art Lessons & Virtual Exhibits
- Albinger Archaeological Museum – Free virtual tour
- Museum of Ventura County – Free virtual art exhibits and more
- Santa Paula Art Museum – Free art lessons updated with new projects every week for adults and children
- LACMA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art - Free exhibition walkthroughs, short films, documentaries, and online courses
- The Getty Museum – Virtual exhibits and online learning
- Ojai Music Festival – Free weekly archived concerts
Although we’re all social distancing physically, as humans we need to stay connected emotionally. Try one or two of these out every day.
- Call, video chat, or write a letter to a friend or relative you haven’t spoken to in a while to check in – These are healthy ways to maintain relationships even while practicing social distancing.
- Support a local restaurant – Many restaurants are now open, and most are still providing take-out and delivery options.
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media – Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Make sure you take time throughout the day to unplug from your electronic devices – this can help lower your stress levels.
- Take care of your body – Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and make time to unwind.
- Connect with others – Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Work on Mindfulness – Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.
- Talk to your family – The CDC offers tips on how to talk to your children about the COVID-19.
Additional Educational Resources
- Wide Open School
- NASA STEM at Home
- KPBS Online Educational Games For Kids
- USA Today - list of free educational resources
- Elementary Institute of Science - Fun and easy science activities for home
Kids & Teens - Educational Resources
- PBS SoCal | KCET: PBS SoCal and KCET are offering free programming and educational resources that adhere to California’s state curriculum for grades Pre-K through 12th.
- Pretend City: While at home, use Pretend City’s Way to Play activity guide to track your child’s developmental milestones.
- KPBS learning media: Offers an assortment of classes, educational shows, and projects to choose from.
- LEGO Building Challenges: Build LEGO models with Master Builders.
Arts & Design Projects
Try out these fun, at-home art projects designed by Irvine Fine Arts Center staff. Click the links below for easy-to-follow PDF instructions.
- At-Home Art Projects: Try these fun projects designed by Irvine Fine Arts Center staff.
- Kids Think Design: Fun art projects for your kids to do from home in graphic design, interior design, architecture, animation, and more.
- LACMA: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will be sharing artwork, activities, and stories from the museum every Monday morning.
- Metropolitan Museum for Art: Explore the world of art with #MetKids. Explore art history, discover fun trivia facts, and try out creative projects all from home.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)
- NASA Library: Explore the stars, moon, and the universe beyond thanks to NASA, which has made its entire media library available online. Learn more at nasa.gov.
- PBS SoCal Science Documentaries: Browse through 161 free science documentaries on animals, engineering, biology, chemistry, computers, and more.
- Code.org: Learn computer science with fun projects and online courses.
- Edgerton Center: The Edgerton Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology provides ideas for hands-on engineering and science projects for students of all ages. Build a balloon-powered toy car, make an LED flashlight, build and create a 3D snake, and much more.
- Stuck at Home Science: Use easy-to-find items you already have lying around your household for fun science projects and activities from the California Science Center.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium: Enroll in free online classes where kids can learn about tidepool science, kelp forests, ocean pollution, and more.
This is a stressful time for many of us. Self-care and finding ways to safely connect with friends, family, and neighbors is an important part of staying well every day.
- Here are five mental health and wellness tips provided by the County of Ventura that you may find helpful in reducing stress and staying connected during this time.
- Additional resources are available on the Wellness Everyday website.
- Watch a video from Teacher and coach Erik Conklin discussing mindfulness for stress management, sharing the neuroscience behind the practice of mindfulness and leading viewers through four exercises that can be done from home to manage stress and anxiety.