Credit: @gerri.gjones on Instagram

Learn a new skill or hone your talents with help from New York State! Online classes and workshops from experts at New York attractions can have you improving your cooking, making colorful flower arrangements, taking acting or improv comedy lessons, getting to the next yoga level, and more. You’ll also find options to expand children’s knowledge of STEM subjects as well as family-friendly educational opportunities for all. Check out these online classes and up your knowledge while supporting favorite New York institutions. 

Buffalo Botanical Gardens (Greater Niagara)​

Let the Buffalo Botanical Gardens bring out your inner horticulturist with an online virtual horticulture class this winter and spring. These approachable, fun, and interactive courses, covering a variety of topics including rain gardens, edible plants and composting, garden design, and more, are held weekly on Saturdays and are taught by one of the country's most noted garden speakers, horticulturist David Clark, CNLP. The Gardens also have online classes and workshops on painting, art, and other subjects. All classes are offered via Zoom, and all are recorded and available for one week after the class. Buffalo; various prices

Lake Placid Center for the Arts (Adirondacks)

Lake Placid Center for the Arts

A dynamic cultural institution known for world-class entertainment and arts education, Lake Placid Center for the Arts now offers enriching online programming and classes. The center’s experts in writing, photography, painting, drawing, and acting can help improve talents or find new ones. Courses are very reasonably priced: a four-week beginner’s photography course costs just $80, for instance. Lake Placid; various prices

Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Capital-Saratoga)

Two children doing an online class

Stay creative at home through online video lessons and activities offered through Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s Learning Library. Created to bring free original arts educational content to students, families, and educators at a time when in-school classes are often not feasible due to the pandemic, the Learning Library has collaborated with more than 25 professional regional musicians and dancers to develop a wealth of educational programming in music and arts, with video tutorials and activities aimed at kids that can be watched any time. Saratoga Springs; free

Sivananda Yoga Ranch (Catskills)

Recharge your energy, rejuvenate your body and mind, and become inspired, refreshed, centered, and peaceful with an online Sivananda Yoga Ranch yoga class. You can choose from 15 weekly livestreamed classes, with daily or weekly passes available. The Yoga Ranch, founded in 1974 by Swami Vishnudevananda, also offers additional online workshops and online yoga teacher training. Woodbourne; Single class, $12; weekly pass, $25; 5-class pass, $30; monthly pass, $55

Roberson Museum and Science Center (Central New York)

Roberson Museum exterior

A great way for children to learn is through play, and the Roberson Museum’s Home for Kids makes learning fun and easy with step-by-step videos and written tutorials filled with hands-on activities that can be done with household materials. Kids will also enjoy the museum’s Planetarium from Home. In addition to children's programming, the museum is offering virtual tours and art classes over Zoom (see individual items in schedule). Binghamton; various prices as well as free tutorials

Chautauqua Institution (Chautauqua-Allegheny)

Chautauqua Institution - Photo by NYS ESD

The Chautauqua Institution’s CHQ Assembly invites you to explore critical issues of the day through a range of experiences, including lectures, artistic experiences, master and enrichment courses, and conversations, that combine to call you to your best self for a better world. This exciting multi-dimensional online experience features both master and enrichment classes. Chautauqua; $3.99/mo or $45 annually, with a one-month free trial

Keuka College (Finger Lakes)

purple grapes on vines in the Finger Lakes

New York's Finger Lakes region is a popular tourist destination for those looking to experience one of the world’s most exciting up-and-coming areas for wine tasting. The Wines of the Finger Lakes online course certificate from Keuka College is your all-access pass to unlocking the art, science, history, and tradition of wine and winemaking in the Finger Lakes. From the comfort of your own home, you’ll explore this wine region guided by some of its most experienced winemakers and wine experts. $395 plus cost of wine; 10 lessons to get a certificate

A Natural Chef (Hudson Valley)

Yellow tomatoes and eggplants in small baskets at Rhinebeck Farmer's Market
Credit: @rhinebeckmkt on Instagram

For delicious recipes to make at home, and easy tips and trips for people of all levels of culinary expertise, head over to Cathy Vogt’s site, A Natural Chef. The Hudson Valley chef also hosts a biweekly free “Kitchen Table Circle” discussion which focuses on community, sharing, and healthy eating. Check the website for upcoming classes and online offerings, including cooking classes. Virtual live cooking class, $35

Long Island Explorium (Long Island)

A girl taking an online STEM class from the Explorium

Children grades K-6 can explore the wonders of science and the world of physics in their own at-home STEM Wonder Lab! The Explorium has taken the best features of their LIVE hands-on, interactive STEM workshops and enhanced them with the practical convenience of at-home learning using innovative STEM activities, with all materials to be mailed to your child in advance. As a bonus, children will have access to a Google Classroom where they can ask questions, chat with educators, make new friends, and showcase their inventions and experiments. Port Jefferson; STEM Wonder Box—First Month Kit & Live Instruction, February, $35

PIT Comedy School (NYC)

a microphone set against a blurred backdrop of purple lights

If you’re looking to find laughter in this time of social distancing, look no further than the PIT Comedy School from the Peoples Improv Theater, an award-winning training center and comedy theater based in New York City. Check out their online classes for improv, stand-up, sketch writing, acting, producing, and much more, including free seminars and discounted classes, and start making the world a happier place through laughter. Who knows, maybe you'll earn a spot in the National Comedy Center someday! New York City; various prices

H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego (Thousand Islands-Seaway)

Exterior of the H. Lee White Maritime Museum on Oswego Harbor

Discover the fascinating world of maritime history, courtesy of the H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego. The museum features virtual exhibit experiences filled with information and images from some of their favorite parts of the museum. Whether your interest is in the pre-colonial period, or shipwrecks, or lighthouses, they have it all! The museum also has higher resolution images and supplemental information for teachers to use in the classroom. Oswego; free