One of the best things about visiting Tempe is the number of attractions in the area. At this time, some of the museums and attractions are open to the public and some have remained closed. But, many of our favorite places are still offering super fun online experiences that are great for the whole family. If you want to visit in person, check the websites for each place ahead of time or call them for details about their new safety protocols for guests.
And if you want to “visit” from home, you can use technology to explore attractions virtually and maybe even get an inside scoop. You can view videos from the Phoenix Zoo and Hall of Flame Fire Museum, complete history-related activities from the Arizona Heritage Center and take a virtual tour of the ASU Tempe Campus. The City of Tempe has also created a Tempe at Home YouTube playlist with videos about everything from sing-a-longs for kids, gardening tips, art projects and fitness classes.
Here are a few ways to take a virtual tour in and around Tempe.
ASU Art Museum
ASU Art Museum is taking this time to post daily #museumfromhome experiences on Facebook and Instagram. Recent posts have included a behind the scenes look at the process of borrowing art pieces from other museums and explanations of current exhibitions. Also check out the ASU Art Museum YouTube channel to see a performance at the museum, an interview with a curator, Saturday Storytimes, Masterpieces at Midday and more videos. And kids and families can have some fun with educational, art-making activities that can be done at home.
Each week, look for new Saturday Storytimes on Instagram and YouTube, featuring a book read by a museum ambassador.
Arizona Heritage Center and Arizona Historical Society
The Arizona Heritage Center in Tempe is currently closed to the public, but as part of the Arizona Historical Society, you can experience some of the museum’s artifacts and Arizona history on their new digital hub. You can find Arizona state facts, coloring pages, activity sheets, lessons about Native American tribes in the state and even get a recipe for tortillas. There are also digital puzzles based on historic images, Zoom backgrounds and fun projects such as growing crystals or making pottery.
- Hi Ho Silhouette Tangram Problem Game provides you 14 puzzle pieces that you can use to create 5 difference silhouettes. AZHS says that Hi Ho is a collection used and played by an Arizona family in the 1930s.
- You can learn how to conduct an oral history interview of an elder through tips provided. With all this time at home away from family members of all ages, it’s a wonderful time to learn about the history in their lifetime.
- Ready to try your hand at origami? You can fold an origami masterpiece “The Colorado River Toad,” scientifically known as incilius alvarius.
- Digital Jigsaw Puzzles are all the rage! You have to check out these puzzles of historical Arizona, so far there’s 12 jigsaws!
Tempe History Museum
Take a walk through time virtually by checking on the museum’s online collections. You can look at historic photographs sorted into categories and photos of artifacts from furniture to clothing items, like Charles Hayden’s hat. You can also learn about past exhibits, with descriptions, photos and videos, on the Tempe History Museum website.
Because learning about history really is fun, the museum team added a few entertaining games and activities on the museum’s Tempe at Home page. There are Tempe history puzzles, a memory match game with historic photos, coloring pages, a Tempe-themed Spotify playlist and eMuseum Bingo. Every Wednesday in June and July, there are new Tempe Time Machine digital games. Think Pong, Duck Hunt, Oregon Trail and Flight Simulator. There are also offline activities that match up to the theme of the games.
Tempe Public Library
While the Tempe Public Library has reopened, they have added a ton of links on their Tempe at Home page to keep kids and adults entertained. Here you’ll find arts and crafts projects, coloring pages, book recommendations, a digital library for library card holders, and links to museums and cultural venues from around the world that are offering online tours, such as the Louvre and the Guggenheim.
Tempe Walking Tours
One of Tempe’s greatest attributes is its authentic, historic buildings and structures. In Downtown Tempe, dozens of structures dating back as far as the 1800s are within walking distance. Enjoy a Walk Through History, a series of self-guided tours highlighting Downtown Tempe, Tempe Town Lake and the historic portions of ASU campus.
Tempe Plays at Home
The Tempe Parks and Recreation team wants to help people stay active while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Visit their Tempe Plays at Home webpage for links to workout and adaptive fitness videos. They also have a different activity theme for each day of the week. Also, look for themed #TempePlaysAtHome activities and facility updates on Facebook at Tempe Parks & Rec and Instagram at Tempe Parks & Rec.
While currently closed to the public, the Phoenix Zoo has an online Digital Safari where you’ll find videos, photos, fact sheets, games and animal pages where you can learn about your favorite zoo residents. Don’t miss the video of the sloth eating a rose or the anteater taking a bubble bath! The zoo is also offering a Cruise the Zoo drive-thru experience August 6-10. Visit their website for more details.
Tempe Center for the Arts
The TCA’s weekly, virtual Thursday evening series will showcase Tempe and Arizona artists and range in genre from jazz to funk, and dance to acoustic performances. Series artists will reflect the diversity of our community including black, indigenous, and other artists of color and culture. Discover and connect with local Arizona musicians, artists, and poets as they perform live and online.
Visit the Tempe Center for the Arts’ Facebook page for a host of incredible and varied cultural and music experiences.
Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts (TCA)
Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you (and your kids) can’t discover more about art. On the Gallery at TCA website, find links to educational resources and activities related to past exhibits such as Biomimcry, a look at the natural world, and STEAM, the intersection of art and science.
Tempe Town Lake
Tempe Beach Park and Tempe Town Lake are still open to the public, obviously using these rules for social distancing, but you can also visit virtually. Download the Tempe Town Lake Safari Guide for quizzes, pictures to color and fun facts about the wildlife that call the lake home.
OdySea Aquarium is open to the public, but they limited their capacity and have new safety protocols for guests. Visit the OdySea website for more details about visiting in person. They are still offering opportunities for kids and adults to learn at home. Their website’s Oceanic Adventure from Home section features a virtual classroom (check out all of their info about sharks) and videos. Click on the “Explore” tab to view live webcams of sharks, sea lions and more creatures.
Desert Botanical Garden
As of July 6, the Desert Botanical Garden is open to the public. Visit the Desert Botanical Garden website for information about new protocols, including a link to purchase tickets in advance (now required). Their website homepage has links to lots of insider information, from recipes using desert ingredients to a behind the scenes look at how their horticulture staff care for their plants. They have also added some activities including Desert Bingo, to help identify what types of animals you can spot along desert trails, and videos and more information about the amazing butterflies that inhabited the spring butterfly exhibit. Take some time to learn more about the plants at the Garden by reading the Your Garden at Home blogs. Also, check out Facebook and Instagram for videos and photos of this beautiful place.
Hall of Flame Fire Museum
The Hall of Flame is the world’s largest historical firefighting museum. This hidden gem houses more than 90 classic pieces of firefighting apparatus on display, dating from 1725 to 1960. Their team has started a new YouTube series that provides an in depth look at their collection. As of June 2, Hall of Flame reopened to the public with new hours: Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium
SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium is home to thousands of sea creatures in a variety of habitats. Learn all about the amazing underwater creatures at SEA LIFE on their website. SEA LIFE is currently open to the public with new safety measures in place. Due to limited capacity, book tickets in advance online to ensure admission on your preferred day.
Virtual Workshops with Changing Hands Bookstores
Changing Hands wants to help grow your writing skills and practice mindfulness with their expert instructors, all from the comfort of your home. For the list of workshops, and more information about how to participate, visit their website or call the store. Changing Hands is now open to the public, with limited hours: Tues.-Sun. from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
ASU For You
We are always proud to be home to Arizona State University, but right now, we’re especially grateful for their community outreach. In order to assist public schools, parents who are now home with school age children and anyone who wants to continue their education, ASU has launched ASU For You.
ASU For You is sharing regularly updated learning tools at no cost that learners here and from around the world can use. Tools include virtual field trips, library resources, video lessons, labs and simulations in K-12 subject areas and courses for college credit.
You can also take a virtual tour of the ASU Tempe Campus. Locations on the virtual tour range from the legendary Palm Walk, the Memorial Union and ASU Gammage.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
America’s Friendliest Airport wants to share their aviation themed activities for you to do at home. You can check out coloring pages, puzzles, word games and SO MUCH more on their website. Although we miss traveling as much as the next, we love these little pieces of comfort to help bring some travel-themed fun to our homes.