BEMIDJI -- Distance-learning students looking to supplement their studies or adults looking to get more out of their free time can look no further. We’ve compiled a list of free online educational opportunities, ranging from local -- virtual galleries at the Watermark Art Center -- to international -- a virtual tour of the Great Wall of China.

All activities are free and accessible online, no permission slips needed.


  • The Watermark Art Center in Bemidji is offering virtual galleries of two of their exhibits currently and plans to offer free online art tutorials in the near future.

  • Khan Academy, a free online learning platform, offers a course in art history with videos explaining works of art in renowned museums around the world.

  • Google Arts and Culture offers digital tours of many of the world’s most revered art museums, including the Guggenheim in New York and The Lourve in Paris.

  • The Public Broadcasting Service is offering viewers a ‘Night Out at the Symphony’ from the comfort of their couches.

  • The Metropolitan Opera is offering free nightly streaming videos of encore opera performances.

  • Children can partake in a daily lunchtime doodle lesson with Mo Willems, author of children’s book, "Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus."

Math and Science

  • Miss the days of typing notes and doodles on your Texas Instruments graphing calculator? Worry no more, access to a free online graphing calculator can be found here.

  • Better than going to the zoo and fighting crowds: many zoos are offering online looks at their animals via live cameras. View the elephants in San Diego, the pandas in Atlanta, or the aquatic life at Monterey Bay.

  • NASA offers a free look at the surface of Mars through the eyes of the Curiosity Rover, which landed on the surface of the red planet in 2011. Click around to see if you can spot any signs of life and imagine the ultimate setting for social distancing.

  • While some National Parks are remaining open, many have closed due to COVID-19. The National Parks Service has made virtual tours of some of its most famous parks available, so you can explore them from the comfort of your home. Think of it as a trip planner for your next big adventure. Yellowstone and more have tours available on Google Arts and Culture.

  • If the surface of Mars wasn’t enough, click around the whole galaxy with Star Atlas.


  • Save money on a plane ticket and tour the impressive Great Wall of China via a 360-degree camera -- your legs won’t even get tired.

  • Try Ancient Egyptian pyramid tour, no time machine or pickax required.

  • The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History offers free virtual tours of current and past exhibits.

  • More live cameras: get a glimpse of the action at Colonial Williamsburg via their live feeds -- with no visitors to get in the way.

  • Supplement your learning with Crash Course videos: free, informative and fun videos on Youtube with courses on American History, World History and more.

Health and Fitness

  • Runners of all ages and abilities are welcome to register for Bemidji’s Virtual 5K. Runners are asked to submit a photo of themselves running on their own, medals will be mailed to them. Participants are asked to complete their runs on April 3, 4, or 5.

  • Yoga and fitness classes are fairly ubiquitous online, but Core Power Yoga has an extensive catalog of online instructor-led videos for any ability level.

English and Language

  • Hop into a free virtual book club, reading at your own pace and leaving feedback. Here’s an online group currently reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

  • Use your free time to brush up on a foreign language -- sites like Duolingo, Mango and Babbel are easy to use in short increments of time.

  • Scholastic is currently offering daily ‘learn at home’ supplemental activities for students by organized grade level meant to keep students academically active.

  • For older students who may be choosing colleges soon or for younger students just getting ideas, many colleges offer virtual tours, including Bemidji State University.

As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status.