Florida is known for its outdoor activities and year-round recreation in the sunshine. There’s always golf, fishing, hiking, surfing, sunning, boating, and swimming—not to mention the numerous gardens, campsites, and forests to explore.
However, many of those traditional activities have become nearly impossible due to COVID-19 and its subsequent social distancing orders. Florida is under a stay-at-home order, which means active adults and their family members may be itching for something fun to do. You can’t get to your favorite golf course and you won’t be able to relax on any public beaches, but you can enjoy some art.
For active adults seeking a bit of indoor fun, take a look at these Florida museums that you can tour virtually. Maybe you’ll find some galleries or exhibits you’d like to explore in person once such activities become possible again. Until then, feel free to view masterpieces and broaden your horizons from the comfort of your own home.
The Dali Museum - St. Petersburg, FL
There’s no need to wait in line at The Dali Museum. It’s almost as if Salvador Dali’s work is made for a digital experience. At this immensely popular cultural attraction on the Gulf Coast in St. Petersburg, there are several exhibits and collections to enjoy.
The permanent collection includes many of Dali’s masterpieces such as "Archaeological Reminiscence of Millet’s Angelus" and "The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory." Dreams of Dali is a special exhibit exploring the woven intentions and platforms of art and technology. The virtual reality experience is surreal, and while best enjoyed in-person, the video tour is also outstanding. There are also online-only exhibits that are specially curated by the museum’s librarian for these unique times. Visitors can explore music, illustrations, and a short film. In addition to all this, there are videos, activities, and collaborative exercises that can get your own creative juices flowing.
The Arts Garage - Delray Beach, FL
Art comes in all forms, and at The Arts Garage in Delray Beach, visitors can enjoy live music, theatrical performances, poetry readings, stand-up comedy, interviews and discussions, and art classes. The program is called "From Our HeARTS to Your Homes," and there’s an entire menu of events and activities to choose from.
If you’re not familiar with The Arts Garage, it’s part of the Pineapple Grove Arts District in Delray Beach, which is a treasure trove of murals, sculptures, and large, colorful displays by local artists. It’s a good place to drop in once the outside world is available again, especially if you love sidewalk cafes and unique boutiques.
The Ringling Museum of Art - Sarasota, FL
One of Florida’s largest and most unique museums, The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota has online exhibits and virtual tours that will appeal to fans of both modern and classical art. The website is set up almost exactly like the museum, with a section of Antiquities, Asian Art, European Art, American Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, and Circus Art. Outdoor sculptures are captured on screen, and visitors can view textiles, jewelry, and a collection of recent acquisitions.
If you’re not an experienced art critic, don’t worry. The Ringling provides an online thesaurus and a lot of detail about the images, artists, and collections. One of the things that makes this museum so interesting is that it rivals the big ones found in New York, Washington, D.C. and even many European capitals. There’s an entire room of larger-than-life pieces from the Flemish artist Rubens, for example. The museum has been around since 1927 when it was established by John and Mable Ringling for the people of Florida.
Henry Morrison Flagler Museum - Palm Beach, FL
If you’re looking for a museum to explore from a safe social distance in Palm Beach County, consider the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum. Visitors can enjoy an online tour of Whitehall, which was Henry Flagler’s ostentatious estate with 75 rooms and over 100,000 square feet. It was constructed in 1902 for the nation’s first oil tycoon, and it's a mansion that draws a lot of attention.
The online tour features the library, the grand pavilion, and all the bedrooms, music rooms, billiards spaces, and lounges on the first and second floor. The ballroom, breakfast room, and dining room can also be examined, and visitors will also enjoy online previews of ongoing exhibits that cover everything from fashion footwear to bluegrass music. While you won’t be able to tour the majestic grounds and gardens of Whitehall, the virtual exhibit will give you an idea of what it was like to live grandly in the Gilded Age.
Another great online resource through this museum is a lecture by the architect of The Breakers, an iconic Palm Beach hotel that Henry Flagler built in 1896.
Orlando Museum of Art - Orlando, FL
The Orlando Museum of Art is hoping to open its doors in May. Until it’s safe to visit Orlando in person, you can tour a majority of the collection and even see shots of the museum by doing a virtual tour. The most impressive thing you’ll find on the website is an exhibit called Living Color: The Art of the Highwaymen. It explores the paintings of Florida’s unique natural environment done by a group of 26 African American artists from the 1950s through the 1980s. There are also some beautiful French landscape paintings to behold.
Try to get to the museum in person when you can, especially on Thursdays. That’s the evening dedicated to local artists, and visitors can enjoy discovering new talent, listening to live music, and meeting new people who also appreciate the arts. Established in 1924, The Orlando Museum of Art aims to educate and inspire the appreciation of art and creativity in people of all ages.