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Life has certainly changed over the last 50 years, and among the greatest changes is the ability to travel to far away places with a click of a mouse.

I really love traveling, but don’t have nearly enough time or money to visit all of the world’s greatest places.

Virtual world tours are an awesome way to explore the greatest nooks and crannies of the earth.  Virtual tours are also an excellent way to teach children about the world or to help folks who can’t travel to see the sites.  The best collection of tours is located here.


But in case you don’t have time to view all 100 of those tours, I have picked the 3 virtual world tours that I think are worth a virtual passport.  I chose one from earth, one from space, and one from water.  Enjoy!

Goin’ To The Chapel….

Cathedrals 3D Tour

This tour takes you all over the world to see the greatest cathedrals.  The modeling is excellent, but you must be patient and allow the models to render.

Cathedrals 3D works within Google Earth, but everything is there for you to use with ease.

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Each virtual world tour takes you to a different cathedral and offers a 3D realistic model of the structure.  Because it is an overlay, you can see what is around it in real time. The key is to make sure you click on the box next to “3D Buildings” in the layer toolbar of Google Earth.

virtual world tours

Once you have the tour loaded properly, it works like a charm.  It pauses between stops automatically, and you can click on balloons to get more information about each located.

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The detail of the 3D models are awesome!  You can click on the model and turn it around and explore it from different angles.

Because it is within Google Earth/Google Maps, you get a lot of information about the location, and that is really helpful if you are interested in the culture or history of a location.

Out Of This World

Arounder Moon

This is an awesome tour.  While it is not as complete as applications like Celestia Explore Space Right From Your Computer With Celestia Explore Space Right From Your Computer With Celestia Read More , it offers very close imaging of the Earth’s moon.  NASA has provided panoramic tours of different locations, and, although the images are black and white, they are still incredible.

The detail of the moon rock is truly incredible.  When presented to my star gazing son, he wanted to know if the moon was black and white and without color or if the film was black and white.  While I don’t know the answer, I thought the question was pretty profound for an 8 year old.  This sort of imagery and virtual tourism helped him frame an intelligent question.  Awesome.

This is a close up shot from Apollo 17.  Again, the detail is fantastic.  If you spin around, you can see this shot…

A Whale Of A Tour

Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society Virtual Whale.

This seems like a silly sort of tour, but my kids love it.  Essentially, you are touring the whale’s exterior.  You simple move that little red box to zoom in.

The details are amazing.  You – literally – see every nook of this whale.  You get close enough to see the mouth and scars.  There is something incredible about looking directly into its eye.

The point of the tour is clear.  This may, indeed, be one of the last whales we will be able to see if commercial whale fishing isn’t stopped.

Which virtual world tours do you enjoy viewing?  Let us know all about them in the comments.

Image Credit: Caveman

  1. Dev
    March 31, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Hey!! This Moon Arounder is awesome.

    • Beth Ritter-Guth
      March 31, 2010 at 9:19 am

      I totally love it, too! It gives great detail of the Moon's surface :-)

  2. mobile apps
    March 30, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    thankz for this information ..

    i usually use google earth to make tour from home :D

    • Beth Ritter-Guth
      March 30, 2010 at 3:25 pm

      Google Earth is SO awesome, I agree! I like other tours likes these and ones provided through World Wide Telescope and Celestia :-)

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