first_imgPhysical travel may be off limits during the coronavirus stay-at-home orders, but that doesn’t mean a trip to a United States National Park is out of the question.The Merriam Visitors Bureau over the last few weeks has been compiling virtual tours for residents to view from the comfort of their own homes. Executive Director Karen Crane said although there are many negative impacts stemming from the global pandemic, there are also “glimmers of hope” while communities come together to exchange and create online experiences.“I hope it just gives people an alternative way to think about travel and to think about fun times with their families, places they can go when the travel ban and when COVID-19 moves on out of town” Crane said.Crane is pushing one to two virtual tours a week on MVB’s social media, both local to Merriam and the Kansas City metropolitan area, as well as national options. With everything from baking and the Kansas City Zoo, to Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride, below are the virtual tours Crane has gathered:MerriamWatch Strawberry Hill Povitica Company make handmade European baked goodsLearn how to restring violins from K.C. Strings Violin ShopTour local bath and body manufacturer, MixtureTake the Merriam History Tour on Otocast, a free app available on Google Play and the App Store (search for the Merriam History Tour after downloading the app onto your smart phone)Find out Merriam’s connection to St. Louis, Mo.Kansas City MetropolitanWatch the penguins at the Kansas City ZooLearn about farmstead life at the Mahaffie Stage Coach and Farm StopSee virtual collections at the Nelson Atkins Museum of ArtSee the photo collection at Powell GardensGrab dinner to-go with Curbside KCNationalTake a tour of a U.S. National ParkRide Disney’s Pirates of the CaribbeanEnjoy live, virtual concerts via NPRIn addition to compiling the above virtual tours, Crane is sharing daily “dine-at-a-distance” posts of local restaurants on the MVB Facebook page. There is also a 12-day local love challenge: Merriam residents are encouraged to engage with their community while keeping their distance by participating in fun activities such as leaving an inspiring sidewalk chalk message.“I think we are starting to see the community come together across the metro and it’s nice — even though we’re in the midst of this unprecedented time,” Crane said.To keep up with MVB’s tours and dine-at-a-distance posts, visit the MVB Facebook page here.last_img

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