Explore Antarctica: A Virtual and Accessible Tour
This week we are heading to Antarctica to explore the southernmost continent. It wasn't until relatively recently in human history that we reached Antarctica. This fascinating region draws the interest of scientists, explorers, and tourists alike. We are trying to make sure the content we suggest is accessible in different ways. Although it can be difficult to find websites that are fully accessible, we review many to offer you the ones that are the most accessible. As always, if you find barriers or have suggestions please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know so that we can improve!
Explore Antarctica Through Official Resources and Museums
Antarctica isn’t a country and it any country's territory. The Antarctic Treaty established the continent as a scientific preserve and banned military activity. Several countries have research programs established in Antarctica and have research stations across the continent. These programs have resources on their sites for people to learn more about Antarctica and about their ongoing research. You can check out the Australian Antarctic Program’s page here, the US Antarctic Program’s page here, the British Antarctic Survey’s page here, and the New Zealand Antarctic Program’s page here. The US Antarctic Program has links to webcams, videos, images, and maps available at this link and the Australian Antarctic Program has galleries including sound clips from the continent, photos, and TED-type talks. The British Antarctic Survey is also one of the main contributors to Discovering Antarctica, an educational site about the continent.
The Canterbury Museum in New Zealand has an online exhibit on Antarctica called Breaking the Ice. This exhibit was curated in partnership with the Antarctic Heritage Trust and focuses on Carsten Borchgrevink and his team, the first to spend the winter on the Antarctic mainland. Royal Museums Greenwich also has several online exhibits related to Antarctica and Antarctic explorers. The videos in these online exhibits have captions.
For resources aimed at kids check out National Geographic’s Summer Learning Series. This includes several videos, with guides on the the appropriate grade range, and activities like the Krill Smackdown game and a guide on how to draw a realistic penguin.
Listen to Podcasts About Antarctica
There are many podcasts about Antarctica, including several on the research program sites listed above. For podcasts not from the research sites you can check out the PBS series The Last Continent. You can also tune in to an episode of Excess Baggage from BBC about Antarctica. The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust has a podcast, A Voyage to Antarctica, that was created in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the first sighting of the continent.
Tune in to Shows and Documentaries About Antarctica
There are many shows and movies about Antarctica. Our Planet focuses on the polar regions in episode 2, "Frozen Worlds." This is available on Netflix with captions and audio description. It is also available on YouTube with captions. Amazon Prime has a couple of documentaries available, including Antarctica: A Year on the Ice, which is a 2013 film focused on the Ross Island region (captions available). Shackleton’s Captain, a documentary about Shackleton’s expedition and his captain, Frank Worsley, is also available on Amazon (captions available).
Disney Plus features a series from National Geographic, Continent 7: Antarctica. This series is about six teams of researchers based out of Scott Base (captions available). PBS also has a series focused on Antarctica, called Antarctic Extremes. The PBS episodes are all available for free and have captions available.
For programs aimed at kids, you can tune into an episode of Destination World from NatGeo Kids on YouTube (captions available). For a fictional movie based in Antarctica you can rent Happy Feet on Amazon Prime (captions and audio description available). Happy Feet is also available on both Sling and Hulu with premium subscriptions and on HBO Max. Although fictional, the movie captures the differing personalities of several Antarctic species and is a fun watch for all ages.
Get Lost in Books About Antarctica
If you’d prefer to read about Antarctica Polar Latitudes has an extensive list of suggested books, including books on history, travel guides, and wildlife guides. Of these 15 are available on Kindle, 6 are available on Audible, and 5 are available on other audio options (cassette or CD). Claire highly recommends the audiobook of Endurance read by Simon Prebble!
Where to Next?
Thanks for wandering Antarctica with us virtually! Join us next time as we explore Rome.