Written by 9:00 am Family Fun

Virtual Tours and Real Gifts to Make Father’s Day 2020 Special

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Transport the beloved dads in your life from the confines imposed by social distancing measures into fascinating realms of discovery. Immersive online museum tours and virtual traipses through national parks are among the ways to expand horizons this Father’s Day 2020. Don’t forget to sweeten the day — that’s 21 June, by the way — with the perfect gift.

For Culture Vultures

Rijksmuseum Masterpieces Up Close virtual tour

Rijksmuseum Masterpieces Up Close virtual tour

You probably won’t get a more comprehensive tour of the Dutch national museum’s central gallery than this panoramic guided tour — sans jostling with over-zealous tourist hordes. Pan around the cavernous room to appreciate the full scale and grandeur of its vaulted ceilings and other architectural details.

Then get in-depth insights on iconic paintings such as Rembrandt’s Operation Nightwatch and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid through detailed audio commentary. Cover everything from historical nuggets to hidden interpretations — it’s the next best thing to being led by a curator.

Find it: www.rijksmuseum.nl

(See also: Exotic Family Travel Destinations for That Once-in-a-Lifetime Vacation)

The British Museum’s The Museum of the World tour

The British Museum’s The Museum of the World tour

The British Museum really has a knack for presenting ancient history in a way that’s decidedly futuristic. Its virtual tour of the Great Court — presented in collaboration with Google Arts and Culture — is mapped out with what resembles a guitar fret board, complete with cool sound effects and graphics. Click and scroll through millennia, from 2,000,000 BC to AD 2000, to be precise.

You’ll discover world history through ancient artefacts such as Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta Stone. And admire artwork from India’s Mughal empire as well as China’s Tang dynasty (AD 618 – 906). These are neatly presented with both audio narratives and text that you can pore through at your own pace. Google virtually features over 2,500 museums and galleries, from the Guggenheim in New York to Musee d’ Orsay in Paris.

Find it: britishmuseum.withgoogle.com

Father’s Day 2020 - Polaroid

Gift him: Where’s the joy in automatic filters when you can tinker with this analogue beauty? Let Dad document your family’s #stayhome hi-jinks with the retro Polaroid OneStep 2 i-Type VF Red Camera Bundle ($154.95). It comes with a rechargeable battery, USB charging cable, and two colour film packs.

(See also: How to Take the Best Family and Kids Photos)

For Local History Buffs

Singapore Heritage Festival 2020

Singapore Heritage Festival 2020

From 19 June to 5 July, the National Heritage Board presents the first digital iteration of the Singapore Heritage Festival. Themed around lesser-known places and stories in Singapore, it spotlights neighbourhoods such as Tanjong Pagar, Pasir Ris, and Kallang.

Uncover their past through tales of heroism by Police Coast Guard retirees once based in the Kallang Basin. Then learn of grand resort vacations in Pasir Ris. Look forward also to digitally commissioned works, online tours, and cultural workshops, including pastry-making and belacan-pounding demonstrations.

Find it: www.heritagefestival.sg

(See also: FREE Arts and Culture activities for Families and Kids in Singapore)

National Museum of Singapore’s Museum from Home

National Museum of Singapore’s Museum from Home

Take time to bond with the family, away from the solitary embrace of Netflix. Stay close to home with National Museum of Singapore’s #MuseumFromHome activities. Along with an interactive storytelling session and other online educational resources, hours of activities will entertain the whole brood.

Just download their specially curated kits to enjoy lighthearted history lessons. There are conversation cards to facilitate meaningful exchanges between young and old through the sharing of oral histories, colouring templates based on murals by local artist Yip Yew Chong, and online tutorials for creating toys from the past.

Find it: www.nhb.gov.sg

Father’s Day 2020 - Son of Singapore

Gift him: Peer into Singapore’s past in Son of Singapore ($17.90), an intriguing narrative about a Teochew boy coming of age during the Japanese Occupation, and who later becomes a coolie in Orchard Road. By local scribe Tan Kok Seng, the page turner is definitely one for Dad’s collection of Singapore literature.

(See also: 20 Places You Can Donate Books and More in Singapore)

For Intrepid Adventurers

Google’s The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks virtual tour

Google’s The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks virtual tour

Just because planes have been grounded doesn’t mean you can’t slake your thirst for adventure. Google now lets you virtually explore five US national parks, including Kenai Fjords in Alaska and New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns. These tours include crisp audio commentary featuring park rangers.

Apart from National Geographic-worthy video footage, you can also explore them through 360-degree views, enhanced with ambient sounds. We love how truly immersive the experience is. See the world through the eyes of a bat, or let the Milky Way and calls of nature over Bryce Canyon mesmerise. Definitely recommended for outdoorsy dads who may be suffering from a case of cabin fever.

Find it: artsandculture.withgoogle.com

(See also: 5 Lessons About Nature That You Can Impart to Your Child)

Google Earth/National Geographic VR experiences

Google Earth/National Geographic VR experiences

For those willing to splash out on an Oculus VR headset, armchair travelling can be taken to the next level. Trot — or fly — around the globe with Google Earth VR, and explore top tourist destinations such as Switzerland’s Matterhorn and Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya district at leisure. Viewed with the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, the landscapes really come alive and give new meaning to the phrase ‘adventuring without moving’.

Find it: arvr.google.com

Or check out National Geographic’s The Okavango Experience. The panoramic video series captures the diverse wildlife and ecosystems of the vast freshwater wetland of northern Botswana. While accessible on YouTube, the videos are best viewed with an Oculus headset, which allows you to come face-to-face with zebras, rhinos and cheetahs — just like being on safari. On a tight budget? Then download Expeditions on Google Play, a teaching tool that allows you to explore over 200 places around the world. It works with the Google Cardboard viewer.

Find it: www.nationalgeographic.com

Father’s Day 2020 - Wacaco Minipresso GR

Gift him: Wacaco’s nifty Minipresso GR ($71.90) allows caffeine-starved dads to brew shots of espresso from ground coffee on the go with just a few pushes of a pump. Pack it in its handy case for your next off-grid family camping trip.

(See also: Kelongs around Singapore for a Low-tech No-screen Device-free Family Getaway)

For the Young at Heart

Porsche Museum virtual tour

Porsche Museum virtual tour

Petrolheads young and old can prepare to get revved up over this exclusive digital tour of the Porsche Museum. Located in Stuttgart, Germany, the 5,600 sq m exhibition space is usually closed to the public. Now you can get a comprehensive look at various iconic racing cars and behind-the-scenes action.

Dad can chat with his favourite Le Mans racing drivers including Kurt Ahrens and Mark Webber during an Instagram Q&A. The young ones can even get in on the obsession with free activities at a special kids website.

Find it: www.porsche.com

Gift him: Is Dad tough as bricks? LEGO bricks, that is. This June, get him building his dream ride in conjunction with the #BuildItLoveItDriveIt campaign. There are 46 unique automotive sets, from the sleek LEGO Technic Lamborghini Sián to a rough-and-tumble LEGO Monster Truck.

(See also: Buying a Car Seat for your Child? Read this first)

Ghibli Museum virtual tour

Ghibli Museum virtual tour

Studio Ghibli fans will tell you how difficult it can be to score tickets to this museum. Set in a lesser-known suburb of Tokyo, its wait list can span months! Add this to the fact that the museum does not allow photography, and you’re looking at a pretty elusive attraction. The good news is that Ghibli Museum recently released videos on YouTube lending a sneak peak into the whimsical worlds of Hayao Miyazaki.

Gaze at hand-painted stained glass windows depicting the Japanese animator’s films such as My Neighbour Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. And browse permanent exhibition Where a Film is Born. Curated with ephemera, books and art, the space is an ode to creative inspiration. Think of it as a primer to the Ghibli Theme Park, set to be completed in 2022.

Find it: www.youtube.com

Father’s Day 2020 - Nintendo NES Classic Edition

Gift him: Let the gamer in your life relive his pixellated childhood with the Nintendo NES Classic Edition ($85.06). Now Dad can introduce early versions of classic arcade games to the kids. Simply plug the mini system into your TV and play Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and more!

(See also: The Best Board Games for Kids, from Age 3 to Teens)

For Extroverts

Withlocals online lifestyle experiences

Withlocals online lifestyle experiences

Miss jetting off and getting acquainted with the people, culture, and cuisines of various countries? Join live tours of cities including Colombia, Amsterdam, and Paris, led by locals in-the-know. Learn how to make traditional Turkish coffee and hear from a pastry chef in Istanbul. Then discover the roots of tango in Argentina, or explore the cobblestone streets of Amsterdam on a bike. All in real time.

Hosted through video call, Withlocals experiences are peppered with anecdotes by your local hosts. It’s a cool way to meet people in a time almost devoid of social interaction, don’t you think?

Find it: www.withlocals.com

(See also: A Day In a Life of a Mum in Lockdown (in England, and in Australia))

1887 Virtual Bar-hopping

Mingling in a crowded bar over tipples right now may seem like a cocktail for disaster. Luckily, Dad can still go bar-hopping — well, sort of — with the 1887 Virtual Bar. Started by family-owned distillery William Grant & Sons, the weekly initiative sees guest bartenders from a roster of local bars teaching participants how to stir, shake, and serve various innovative cocktails such as peach and butterfly pea martini via Zoom.

Featured bars include Nutmeg & Clove, Shin Gi Tai, and Jigger & Pony. You can even purchase digital drink vouchers, redeemable when Dad’s bar of choice resumes operations. Cheers!

Find it: zoom.us

Father’s Day 2020 - Mixology & Craft set

Gift him: We can’t say what the new normal will look like in the wake of the pandemic. But surely some dinner parties and socialising with pals are in order when social distancing measures eventually relax? This 14-piece mixology kit ($131.59) — complete with cocktail recipe cards — will allow the born entertainer in your life to be the host with the most, creating libations from the comfort of your own home.

(See also: A Father’s Day Tribute: Dads about Dads)

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