“Life is full of moments and this is just one.  Every child will be behind in something next school year, even without an IEP…. Things are continually changing and can be hard to keep up with, but special needs parents are some of the best equipped to do this.

~MAIER Family Partnership Parent~
May 2020

Father reading book to sons

Butterfly resting on daisy

Many recreational, cultural, and educational organizations have jumped into the opportunity to bring you virtual “visits” and online resources to stay connected. We have gathered a sampling of what is available, and welcome your suggestions to add to our growing list of family-friendly virtual places and spaces.

Places to "visit"

Cincinnati Zoo 
Hosting FaceBook live stream videos of zoo animals in various activities weekdays at 3pm EST. View previous sessions from their library of recordings.

Free to join, and once you have signed up you will have access to their vast library of livecams of natural settings, events, and animals from around the world, ocean life and sanctuaries. Also included are short documentary films exploring global culture, music, and events. Explore.org is the world’s leading philanthropic live nature cam network and documentary film channel. “Explore films appeal to viewers of all ages, from children learning about other cultures for the first time to adults looking for a fresh perspective on the world around them.”

Virtual Zoology: The Animal Kingdom Branch of Biology
If you want to see animals and check out what they are doing at various zoos and aquariums, check out this page and see zoology happening now. Zoology is the study of animal life and biology, including the structure, behavior, evolution, classification, and distribution of all animals, both past and present. Understanding the relationships between animals and their habitats is crucial for developing strategies to conserve biodiversity and ensure the survival of species in the future. One way to learn about animal biology is by watching animals in their habitats. Check out this page for some paths to zoology right from your phone or computer!

Environmental Education Virtual Field Trips for Nature Lovers – Check out this clearinghouse of virtual visits if you want to explore nature. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes it’s vital for every child to learn about the environment. The government agency says that quality environmental education allows students to understand issues facing the environment, participate in finding solutions to these issues, and begin to take action to do their part to make the environment better. Luckily, there are many resources available to aid educators in providing high-quality environmental education. 

Virtual Tours of Naples Botanical Gardens, Beaches in Florida, and More ~  Do you have a student who wants to virtually explore Florida? Check out these resources. 


National Parks

Find your virtual National Park
The National Park Service helps you connect with our national parks from a distance through digital opportunities and activities to do in your own home. Hub for links to activities and suggestions to engage with parks remotely.

Examples include:

National Park Foundation is also offering virtual park experiences, family friendly activities, and photo archives of the many wonders of our National Parks so you can enjoy the parks from the safety of your home.

The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks: National Park Service teamed up with Google Art and Culture for intimate tour of 5 national parks

New England Aquarium: Virtual visits
Join the NE Aquarium for live presentations, new videos, and activities to try from home. Daily presentations are posted on Facebook every day at 11 am. Archived visits are available to view anytime. Behind the scenes feedings, labs visits, and tours along with with suggested home activities. See the Live Webcam of their giant ocean tank and penguin colony!

San Diego Zoo KIDS videos
Developed by the San Diego Zoo, this kid-friendly website offers an amazing array of animal videos, games, stories and other activities, as well as educational tools for educators and other grown-ups.

Smithsonian Institute is offering virtual tours of many of their musuems. Visit the Museum of Natural History here.

25+ Amazing Virtual Field trips from WeAreTeachers.org : Thanks to technology, it’s now possible for kids to visit all kinds of places from the comfort of your home! They have compiled a list of the best virtual educational field trips for you, so find your favorite museum, wonder of the world, natural habitat, nature lab, or science demonstration!

Learning Spaces

Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine: Online Educational programming
“At home together” online series is designed to support parents with easy prompts for hands-on experiential learning, imagination, and discovery through play. Includes Music, Wildlife at home, Makerspace, and Theater offerings. Daily programming at 10:30 am. On CMTM Facebook livestream

Maine Public: The Learning Space  Broadcast Mondays through Fridays at 12:30 pm
Maine Public, the Maine Department of Education, and Educate Maine have joined forces to create original, educational programming for students in grades 3 through 5. Dedicated teachers from across Maine have developed original video lessons, pulling content from their own lesson plans and sources to provide exceptional learning opportunities for Maine students. Watch daily or check out the Archived sessions online!

The Maine State Library offers a listing and links to join Virtual Library events around the state for all ages. Join others online for storytime, yoga, a virtual pet show, and concerts for kids, and author talks, travel presentations, and a variety of presentations and discussions for community members. Check out the Maine State Library’s FB page for weekly online Science videos.

Music & Performances

Bangor Symphony Orchestra Plays On: Musical Resources for COVID-19
The BSO has developed new ways to engage with audiences, including the launch of a new video series from our musicians titled “Artists in Residence.” This resource also includes Educational resources, calming music and live weekly radio broadcasts to listen online.   BSO Calming music series– a playlist of calming classical music custom made for you via Spotify.

Metropolitan Opera House
The Metropolitan Opera House in New York is hosting nightly encore performances of some of its most iconic shows throughout its season. Shows go live at 7:30 p.m. each day and are available for 20 hours after the performance. “We’d like to provide some grand opera solace to opera lovers in these extraordinarily difficult times,” Met General Manager Peter Gelb said in a statement.

Free Student Streams Each week, the Met will be offering one opera specially selected for younger audience members around the globe, along with opportunities to learn more about the production and hear from some of the amazing artists who helped make it happen! Designed to support teachers, students, and families working and learning remotely during the Covid-19 crisis, this program offers daily live events between Monday and Wednesday that are aimed at deepening your understanding of the opera. Between Wednesday and Friday, you can tune in to view the opera—and apply everything you’ve learned!

Family Fun

Autism Society of Maine “Summer Staycation Ideas”
The ASM has created a webpage with suggestions of ways to create new experiences at home during this time when typical vacation plans may be unavailable.

Hiking is for everyone!
Interested in hiking but don’t know where to start? This resource, developed by Peter Doehring, Ph.D. , clinical Child Psychologist, offers solutions based on his professional knowledge and personal experiences with his daughter, Margot. Dedicated to helping individuals on the autism spectrum and related conditions learn to love the outdoors, Peter writes, “Young people with ASD and related conditions often lead unhealthy and isolated lives. One solution? Help people like Margot learn to love hiking!  Beginning with short, easy walks on paved paths, …. Our new system for rating trails helps to slowly build a hiker’s capacity…”