Virtual Tours in Biology

Want to explore the world of biology, but don't have time to take a field trip? Check out our biology virtual reality tours. Whether you want to travel through time between seasons, learn about a few venomous creatures in the desert, or shrink down to take a tour inside a bee hive, our virtual field trips are a good place to start. 

Biomes 2.0

For those who have been exploring our biomes, we are announcing the release of our newest version of tours, or version 2.0. These tours now include our tour guide, Bella, who can read the text in our collection of new galleries and videos. We also released the first of our marine biomes complete with sharks, coral reefs, and a shipwreck. We also welcome your feedback and suggestions.

While we complete our changes, and add a few more biomes, you can try out the new tours by entering the new portal, where you can teleport to entirely different biomes in just a few seconds! 

Portal Jump image

More about Biomes 2.0

These new tours have been made possible by the work of the following people. Without them we could not have brought you the new interface and new tours.

  • Tony Redhead - VR interface designer extraordinaire
  • Andrew James Ferris - Freediver, VR photographer, and your guide to the Pacific ocean tour stops
  • Captain Seawolf - Our trusty captain for the Bahama marine tour stops
  • - Animal dimensions and illustrations used with permission.
  • Additional funding by ASU Learning Enterprise

How To Explore the Virtual Tours

How To? text


On a computer, smart phone, or tablet you can click or touch the Location icon to move to the new area. When using goggles, you place the pointer on top of the Location Icon to move to a new area. Below are the other icons you will find in the different tours. Review the list below before you jump into these virtual worlds.

Bottom Menu Icons

  • Circle around a plus sign.
    Zoom into the VR image.
  • Circle around a minus sign.
    Zoom out from the VR image.
  • Rotate arrow in a circle.
    Auto rotate the VR image.
  • Three squares inside a circle.
    Open and close the tour thumbnail images.
  • Box with checkmark inside.
    When thumbnail images are open, checkmarks are visited locations.
  • Rectangle inside a circle.
    Move between sterographic image options.
  • Gryroscope inside a circle.
    Gyroscope On/Off. Visible only with mobile phones and tablets for magic window experience.
  • VR goggle icon  inside a circle.
    Goggles. This icon is visible only when using mobile phones.
  • Rectangle at the bottom left of a larger dotted rectangle.
    Enter full screen.
  • Rectangle with smaller dotted rectangle in the lower left.
    Exit full screen.

Tour Icons

  • Lower case letter "i" in a circle.
    Information Icon - information about a point of interest.
  • Pin-drop image showing a map location. 
    Location Icon - takes you to a different location.
  • Graphhic image of mountains with magnifying glass. 
    Image Icon – opens close-up image.
  • Clock graphic with an arrow pointing in a clockwise direction.
    Time Travel Icon – Move forward in time in the same location.
  • Clock graphic with an arrow pointing in a counter clockwise direction.
    Time Travel Icon – Move backward in time in the same location.
  • Graphic image of rectangle with play button triangle.
    Video Icon – opens and plays videos.
  • Closed Caption -CC- icon
    CC Icon – opens text box of any audio file that has a voice track. Usually located at the bottom right of the activation zone for the audio file.
  • Globe graphic with arrow pointing
    Leave Virtual Tour – Leave the tour and go to additional information.

Take a Virtual Field Trip

Desert virtual tourDesert summers may seem too hot and dry to support much life, but plenty of plants and creatures can be found in the desert, if you just look and listen closely. Visit the Sonoran desert of Arizona (without breaking a sweat) to see what animals you find, then visit Delving into Deserts for more information.

Grassland view of rolling hills covered in grasses.

Grasslands may sound like they don't have much more than grass to explore, but all grasslands are very diverse places. Visit the United States prairie grasslands to get a peek at some of the plant and animal life found there. Then, visit Grasping Grasslands for more information.

Biologists working at a site in the savanna of Keyna.

Savannas seem dry, but they are filled with many plants and animals that live in this biome. Join biologist Beth Pringle and her research team as they travel in the savanna of Kenya Africa. Be sure to find Beth and click on her to listen to her talk about her research and animals they see on this virtual tour. Looking for more? Try our Searching the Savanna story.

Image of green rainforest and link to virtual tour.Tropical rainforests are packed with life, whether it is up above you in the canopy, hiding behind a leaf, or marching alongside your feet. Though you won't be able to feel the humid air surrounding you, this virtual tour takes you deep into the rainforests of Panama. After you've explored all this biome has to offer, visit Revealing the Rainforest  for more information.

Forest virtual tourTemperate forests are known for their warm summers, chilly autumns, and freezing winters. Explore this forest across time and seasons to see the colors of the leaves change. If you don't get lost in all that this tour has to offer, make sure to visit Taking in the Temperate Forest for more information.

Tundra image linkTundras are cold, wind-swept areas where low-growing bushes, grasses, and mosses seem to rule the land. Travel around the country of Iceland to check out many faces of the tundra, but without the biting cold. This tour has some extra stops, so make sure to check the thumbnail menu so you don't miss any locations. Want to learn about life in the tundra? Visit Trekking Through Tundra for more information.


Take a Virtual Laboratory Tour

Image showing a lab reasearchers working at a bench with various lab tools in view.Universities do more than teach students. They have ongoing research programs that help us better understand how things work. They are also the incubators for many future discoveries that are used in products such as medicine for treating sick patients. University laboratories also provide opportunities for students to get hands-on experience doing research. This virtual 360 tour takes you inside the Varsani laboratory in the ASU Biodesign Institute. Here you get to learn a little about this team of scientists who are hunting for viruses. 
Scientist uses a special instrument to count bacteria cells.Taking a discovery and developing it into a usable product is often the work of new startup companies. This virtual 360 tour takes you inside a startup company called OncoMyx. Here the scientists are working with a virus that is being transformed into a tool for treating some cancers. Along with the scientists, there are non-science focused people who make sure all the things needed to run a company are in place. Jump into this tour and you will be able to meet a wide variety of people who help this company run.

Watch Animal Behavior Virtually

Image outside of a beehive with hundreds of bees.Virtual tour in a bee hiveWhat's all the buzz about in this bee colony? This tour takes you to a spot you'd never be able to visit physically... inside of an active bee hive. Learn about bees in this virtual tour and make sure to visit our paired bee story, Bee Bonanza. Educators note that video links in this tour are hosted on Vimeo.
Virtual tour hummingbird feederLearn about the hummingbirds that had to fight for their spot on this feeder. The hummingbird feeder tour gets you up-close and personal with a bird that's usually too fast to offer you a good look. Learn more about hummingbirds in our paired story, Hummingbirds

Additional images via Wikimedia Commons. Frozen wetland by Famartin.

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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Virtual Reality Tours of Biology
  • Author(s): Dr. Biology
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: January 19, 2018
  • Date accessed: July 19, 2024
  • Link:

APA Style

Dr. Biology. (2018, January 19). Virtual Reality Tours of Biology. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved July 19, 2024 from

American Psychological Association. For more info, see

Chicago Manual of Style

Dr. Biology. "Virtual Reality Tours of Biology". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 19 January, 2018.

MLA 2017 Style

Dr. Biology. "Virtual Reality Tours of Biology". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 19 Jan 2018. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 19 Jul 2024.

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see

Already explored all of our virtual tours? Make sure to check back soon, when we will be adding more virtual biology tours, including a tour of the freshwater biome.

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