There’s no boredom buster like a trip to a science museum. After a tour of the exhibits and a large-format film on a massive Imax screen, discontentment can be held at bay for yet another day.

Which makes coronavirus-related shutdowns even more agonizing. Museums of all stripes, and the large-format films that can come along with the educational package, are closed — and boredom is setting in.

But your laptop or television is probably very open for business — and at least two of the studios specializing in large-format films shown in museums offer them for smaller screens, too.

MacGillivray Freeman, a film studio that got its start making surf documentaries, has since shifted its focus to educational Imax films. It has acollection of films for rent on screening services such as Amazon and Vimeo, including “National Parks Adventure,” a Robert Redford-narrated film that serves up mouthwatering views of America’s protected national wonders, and “Dream Big,” which celebrates engineering and innovation and is narrated by Jeff Bridges.

Giant Screen Films now has three of its educational films online for free. They include “Wild Ocean,” a film about sardine migration off the coast of South Africa; “Dinosaurs Alive,” narrated by Michael Douglas, which follows American Museum of Natural History paleontologists on the hunt for fossils and features computer-animated dinos; and “Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs,” which follows researchers and explorers as they unravel the secrets of Egyptian mummies.

Sure, the films lose a bit of their punch when you’re not viewing them on a stories-high screen. But they still look spectacular — and hold attention — on tablets, TVs and phone screens. And if you need to hold your kids’ attention for even longer, try using the free educators’ guides, filled with activities and information, that each company offers along with the films.

View MacGillivray’s films

Giant Screen Film’s online offerings


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