Digital Things to Do in Cincinnati While We're All Social Distancing

From cyber salsa dancing and yoga lessons to live tours at the zoo, online art galleries and more to keep you entertained inside

click to enlarge Fiona was the first zoo animal featured in the Home Safari Facebook Live series - Photo: Facebook.com/CincinnatiZoo
Photo: Facebook.com/CincinnatiZoo
Fiona was the first zoo animal featured in the Home Safari Facebook Live series

In a press briefing on Thursday, March 12, Gov. Mike DeWine announced an executive order prohibiting mass gatherings in Ohio with more than 100 people. And on Sunday, March 15, he announced that all restaurants and bars would be closed — except for carry-out and delivery. Gov. Andy Beshear announced a similar order on Monday, March 16.

This is all to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (For the latest Ohio updates, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov; for the latest in Kentucky, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.)

So, obviously, many Cincinnati events, concerts, parties and parades have been canceled or rescheduled. Generally, along with CityBeat's regular daily events-related coverage, we produce a weekly round-up of things to do. But since there isn’t a ton you can do outside of the house, here’s a list of some local organizations and establishments offering digital ways to connect. 

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

While the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will be closed to the public until further notice (don’t worry: zookeepers and personnel are there to make sure the animals well taken care of), they are offering special “Home Safari Facebook Live” sessions, which will feature online animal encounters and an activity you can do at home. The zoos first safari featured Fiona the hippo. Safaris will be offered 3 p.m. weekdays.

Cincinnati Art Museum

The Cincinnati Art Museum, Taft Museum of Art and Contemporary Arts Center announced in a joint statement that they’d be closing their doors until (at least) April 3. The museums said in the press release, “While our doors may be closed, we won’t let that keep us from our mission to inspire, challenge and delight you… Please check our website(s) and social media channels for daily updates and additional digital offerings to bring the arts, artists of today and the creative process to you at home or wherever you may be.”

Currently, you can view exhibits including Frida Kahlo: Photographic Portraits by Bernard Silberstein, The Art Academy of Cincinnati and World War I and Mementos of Affection, a collection of ornamental hairwork, on the CAM website

Contemporary Arts Center

The CAC updated its plans since releasing the joint statement with the Taft and CAM — it's website now says it will be closed through April 4. Until then, you can take an “Audio Tour” of the museum, voiced by local artist Britni Bicknaver. The tour — the same one that's been offered to visitors to use (IRL) — is available to stream via the CAC website.

From the site's description: “Under the guise of an audio guide museums typically employ to present references and objective information to visitors, Bicknaver presents a surreal hybrid that lyrically blends fact and fantasy. In concert with self-composed music, song, meandering meditations, obscure chronicles, mathematical formulae and wordplay, she weaves a surreal map of this center and its colorful history.”

Taft Museum of Art

The Taft has a hashtag — #TaftMuseumDiscovered — to spotlight works from the museum on social media from the comfort of your own home. You can also check out highlights from their permanent collection on the Taft website.

Unataza Coffee's Salsa Night 

Northern Kentucky's Honduran coffee shop began offering Monday night salsa dancing lessons this spring, but due to coronavirus-related restrictions, they have since had to cancel their in-person meetings. However, the dance instructor, Luis Loret de Mola has put together a video lesson plan so that guests can practice and learn at home. Find links to the lessons on this Facebook post.

Wave Pool

Camp Washington gallery and contemporary art fulfillment center Wave Pool has created a COVIDeo YouTube channel where they will be hosting and live streaming all major gallery events and exhibit openings. 

DANCEFIX by HBDC

This super popular local dance class/workout DANCEFIX is offering select classes for streaming online. You can access the workouts through the mindbodyonline.com digital platform and pay with a current class pass or via drop-in rates.

You will however have to stream the video on your computers (phones unfortunately do not work),” says the DANCEFIX Facebook page. “We know this will be a work in progress and there might be a few bumps along the way but we wanted to provide solutions to our current situation ASAP!”

Full instructions are available on the Facebook page, along with helpful hints on how to stream. 

Social Distance Gallery

Cincinnati painter and Art Academy adjunct professor Benjamin Cook has launched an online gallery called Social Distance Gallery. The project posts BFA and MFA thesis exhibitions that have been canceled or only allowed limited public access due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital exhibitions are available to view on Instagram @socialdistancegallery. And visit the SDG site for information on how to submit a show/artwork for inclusion.

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Although all 41 public library locations have closed as of Friday, March 13, the closures will be reassessed on a weekly basis. Until then, you can check out audiobooks, magazines, music, TV and more online at cincinnatilibrary.org/eBranch. That link also offers eLearning connections if you’re perhaps practicing some type of homeschooling at the moment. The library’s digital collection at digital.cincinnatilibrary.org also features links to historical Cincinnati lantern slides, photos from the Ohio River floods, a collection about local brewing history, 19th-century posters from the local Strobridge Lithographing Company and more.

Foreverland Farm

Though you can’t visit Amelia, Ohio’s Foreverland Farm until further notice, the nonprofit animal sanctuary will post live videos throughout the month of founders Brittney and Leann Kane sharing the story of how Foreverland started, as well their favorite rescue stories. There will also be virtual tours of the farm and its adorable inhabitants. Prizes from Kind Style Shop will be given away during the live streams. 

Sage Yoga Co.

The local yoga studios (with locations in OTR and Covington) are offering virtual classes via zoom.com's video conferencing platform. Members of the studio or class pack/monthly membership holders can access the class for free. Non-members can join for $10 per class. Those interested can sign up and pay through the Sage Yoga page on the MINDBODY app and site.

A post from the yoga studio reads: "By continuing to support small business and our local women owned studio, you are ensuring that we can remain open during and most importantly after COVID19 passes and our universe shifts back to a more normal flow. We want to continue to be able to offer programming, share space and community (virtually for now), and most importantly pay our teachers as we all support one another today, tomorrow, and for years to come."

Visit sageyogaco.com for more info.

Visit our live blog for the latest COVID-19-related news, announcements, cancelations and other updates.

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