The world at your fingertips

Chicago-area attractions give fans online connections to indulge their passions

With museums, theaters and concert venues all shuttered due to COVID-19, finding sources of live entertainment and enrichment has never been more difficult. But thanks to technology, people can stay connected to many of these world-class institutions while they await for the reopening. Although the majority of the resources are provided free of charge, a goodwill offering should be considered to help the beloved facilities continue serving their missions in these difficult times.

Staying curious at home

• The Adler Planetarium has a number of online resources, including virtual exhibitions with features like "13 Stories with Captain James Lovell," which looks back on and celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission, and "Stories from the YOUniverse" podcast through which listeners can get to know some of the people who have made the community so special over the last 90 years.


• Join Brookfield Zoo on Facebook every weekday at 11 a.m. for a "Bring The Zoo To You" Facebook Live session. Recent episodes showcased gray seals, Grevy's zebras and Hudson polar bear. Previous sessions are archived at

• Explore old favorites and find new surprises in the Art Institute of Chicago's collection online. Experience the exhibition "El Greco: Ambition and Defiance" from home with video, the audio tour, interactive features, blog posts and more. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes view of artworks and the museum with articles from curators, conservators and other museum staff. Get the stories behind the objects with image-rich features that delve deep into the lives of artworks - from their making to their use to their conservation. Check out our YouTube channel for videos that offer insights into art, profile artists and give a glimpse into the museum's history. Find it all at

• Keep up-to-date on the daily lives of the Shedd Aquarium's animals on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Create learning experiences for early learners through the Sea Curious YouTube series. Check out live views from the Underwater Beauty special exhibit and dive deep with 360-video views to Keep Sharks Swimming and more. Visit for more information.

The shows must go on

• Comedy Sportz is performing virtual shows to provide laughter in this time of national crisis. With the help of a new stage - ZOOM - the troupe is presenting the same competition, the same players, the same refs and the same games and songs. Shows are held at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. There is no fee, but reservations are required due the 100-person limit per show. Visit for more information.

• The Goodman Theatre is sharing virtually one of the final performance of "School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play," which was on stage when the theater closed. In this biting and buoyant comedy by Jocelyn Bioh, the reigning queen bee at Ghana's most exclusive boarding school sets her sights on the Miss Universe pageant when a new student unexpectedly changes the game. This show spotlights the universal similarities - and glaring differences - of teenage girls around the globe. The video stream expires at 11:59 p.m. April 26. Tickets to the stream start at $15, but patrons can choose the amount to contribute. Visit

• Connect with the power and magic of Shakespeare through the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's library of online readings, clips from past shows and backstage glimpses. Watch Chicago Shakespeare founder and artistic director Barbara Gaines read her favorite from the Bard, Sonnet 29. Get a front row seat to this past winter's Chicago Shakespeare SLAM Final Bout as 500 high school students, friends and families filled The Yard to cheer, dance, and geek out over Shakespeare. Hear lighting supervisor Mac Vaughey give an illuminating tutorial on applications of LED tape onstage at home. For these and more resources, visit

Sounds in the distancing

• The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's CSO Radio is offering streaming episodes from a new series called "From the CSO's Archives: Maestro's Choice ­­- For All Music Lovers in These Difficult Times." The series features live concert performances by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, recorded in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, alongside selections from the orchestra's expansive catalog of commercial recordings. Every program is designed to illustrate fascinating stories found inside the music as well as present insights from the performers themselves. The programs can be streamed at

• Ravinia's Steans Music Institute's "From the Vault" on YouTube is a collection of exclusive recordings of performances from RSMI, as well as other special performances from Ravinia's musical family, such as RSMI's three summer programs, including original charts from unique jazz combos, chamber music featuring piano and strings, and collections of songs from classical to musical theater. Visit

- compiled by Ken Knutson