Beautiful distractions during the pandemic: Lift your spirits with good news, funny moments and online adventures

April 21, 2020
Viewing tulips online as a beautiful distraction during the pandemic
Virtual garden tours provide a beautiful distraction during the pandemic. Photo: Getty Images.

By Kristina Paul and Katie Kerwin McCrimmon

While we cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, performers, artists and kind souls of all sorts are sharing good news, uplifting songs and funny moments.

Need a good laugh or a good cry? Are you searching for some beautiful distractions during the pandemic? Then, you’ve come to the right place.

Begin your virtual feel-good tour now:

Flower power – View tulips online

Spring has sprung around the world.

The Denver Botanic Gardens can’t open yet, but you can still enjoy some Zen moments by viewing the spring flowers there. Click here to view videos of gardens that are blooming now.

And, who says you can’t see the famous tulips in the Netherlands. Brighten your day and take an online tour.

You’re beautiful! Enjoy “You’ve Got a Friend” from the Broadway cast of “Beautiful,” the Carole King musical

Even if you’re perpetually wearing yoga pants and even if all that baking is causing you to gain the “quarantine 15,” you’re beautiful. Enjoy this radiant rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend” and remember, that even as you distance yourself from the folks in your neighborhood, you have friends around the world.

99-year-old British veteran raises millions for Britain’s National Health Service by walking laps in his garden

Need a little inspiration to go for a walk (safely, of course)? Tom Moore, who served as an Army captain in World War II, originally aimed to raise $1,250 before his 100th birthday on April 30. He has raised millions and has brought smiles to many around the world.

Watch Tom Moore complete his 100th lap.

Some Good News from John Krasinski

Joy is echoing around the world and even in outer space in the newest episode of Some Good News, the YouTube show from John Krasinski, famous for his roles on “The Office” and “Jack Ryan.” in the newest episode, Krasinski gets assists from NASA astronauts on the International Space Station and a weather report from Brad Pitt. Krasinski also invites you to enjoy an #SGNProm with special guests Billie Eilish, Jonas Brothers, Chance the Rapper, and Krasinski’s old nemesis from The Office, Rainn Wilson.

There’s nobody else in Krasinski’s office right now and he’s certainly not a globe trotting spy, but “Some Good News” will make you feel like the world is a smaller place full of many good souls.

Click below to watch Episode 4 and don’t miss the first three.

Watch a volcano erupt in Hawaii

Truth be told, Hawaii, and other tourist destinations can’t handle visitors now. But, you can still see some amazing sites online. Click here to watch a recent eruption of Kīlauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

#PlayOn: Colorado Symphony Horns – “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and
“All By Myself”

Colorado Symphony musicians, Michael Thornton, Carolyn Kunicki, Kolio Plachkov, and Matthew Eckenhoff #PlayOn by practicing EXCELLENT physical distancing  

Although the Colorado Symphony must take a hiatus from performing in the concert hall during the COVID-19 pandemic, the musicians won’t stop playing. Enjoy some humor and beautiful music with them.

“Don’t Stand So Close to Me”

“All by Myself”

Disney Broadway stars perform ‘Go the Distance’ on Good Morning America

Nine current and former cast members of Disney on Broadway virtually perform Alan Menken’s “Go the Distance” to honor food bank workers, volunteers and struggling families on ABC’s “Day of Hope.” 

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s ‘Abnormally Normal’ video series 

Although the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs is temporarily closed, zookeepers continue to care for the animals. Follow their Abnormally Normal Video Series on Facebook and YouTube.

Boost your culture chops – Check out online museum collections from around the world

Google Arts & Culture’s collection includes the British Museum in London, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Guggenheim in New York City, and literally hundreds of more places where you can gain knowledge about art, history, and science. Click here to begin a global, artsy adventure.

Kick Cabin Fever to the Curb with the American Heart Association 

Join the 10-Day Challenge has been created to help parents keep kids occupied, entertained, and healthy during school closures. You’ll receive daily challenge emails loaded with quality content for you to engage with your kids. The content within the daily challenge email messages will help prioritize mental and physical health with focus on physical activity, community skills, personal growth, and family togetherness. 

Take a virtual trip to Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is closed, but if you want to feel like you’re out in the wild, check out Yellowstone’s Virtual Tours or enjoy a symphony of natural sounds from the park.

Virtual “Love Sweet Love” from Quarantined Berklee College of Music Students

Shelbie Rassler, a student at Berklee College of Music, was eager to bring her community together amid and show that quarantines don’t have to mean isolation. She organized a massive performance of the classic “What the World Needs Now is Love” and put it on YouTube.

Get ready to be dazzled. Watch below.

Cozy up for stories with Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is one of the most beloved musicians in the world. She’s also a lover of books. She has long given away free books to children through her Imagination Library program. Cozy up with a child you love (in person or virtually) and nestle in for some sweet stories. You can start by listening to her read a favorite classic. Click below to hear Dolly read The Little Engine that Could.

And, here’s a bonus for adults who love Dolly Parton. Check out a wonderful podcast that explores the musician’s ability to bring people together: Dolly Parton’s America.

Cure your miseries by listening to a lovely rendition of “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables

Sung by Alfie Boe, John-Owen Jones, Barricade Boys and more.

Click below and sing along.

Have a dance party

Let some older adults inspire you. Blow some bubbles. Dance and sing. That’s what the residents of Springbrooke Senior Living did on a recent spring day. Check out a video of them in action from Denverite.

Go on a ‘Denver Zoo To You Virtual Safari’

The Denver Zoo may be closed during the coronavirus outbreak, but staffers there are still hard at work, caring for nearly 3,000 animals.

Click here to tune in for daily Virtual Safaris.


About the author

Katie Kerwin McCrimmon is a proud Colorado native. She attended Colorado College, thanks to a merit scholarship from the Boettcher Foundation, and worked as a park ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park during summer breaks from college. She is also a storyteller. She loves getting to know UCHealth patients and providers and sharing their inspiring stories.

Katie spent years working as a journalist at the Rocky Mountain News and was a finalist with a team of reporters for the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of a deadly wildfire in Glenwood Springs in 1994. Katie was the first reporter in the U.S. to track down and interview survivors of the tragic blaze, which left 14 firefighters dead.

She covered an array of beats over the years, including the environment, politics, education and criminal justice. She also loved covering stories in Congress and at the U.S. Supreme Court during a stint as the Rocky’s reporter in Washington, D.C.

Katie then worked as a reporter for an online health news site before joining the UCHealth team in 2017.

Katie and her husband Cyrus, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, have three children. The family loves traveling together anywhere from Glacier National Park to Cuba.