VENICE — You can’t go to a play or a movie. You can’t talk a walk on the beach. You can’t even go to church.

How are you going to pass all the time you have on your hands now that so many of the places you used to spend it are closed?

Well, in the age of technology some things are never really closed.

Although COVID-19 has taken away many options for entertainment and recreation, it hasn’t yet claimed all of them. Here are a few local things to do to distract yourself or get some fresh air — and maybe even learn something.

This is not an exhaustive list and, as with everything these days, it’s subject to change.

County-operated beaches, along with the South Jetty, the fishing pier and Venice’s beachfront parks, are closed but city-operated parks remain open, at least for now. And there are a lot of them.

Look under “Things to Do” at and you’ll find a list of parks with their amenities. The city announced late Tuesday that playgrounds will be closed as of 6 a.m. on Wednesday and that the county has ordered Wellfield Park, Chuck Reiter Park and Hecksher Park closed, but other parks and amenities are still available.

Find “Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources” in the A-Z directory at and you’ll get a list of boat, canoe and kayak launches. Those are still open, too. Note, though, that public launches in Manatee County will be closing Thursday. The county’s decision to close its beaches triggered the same action by Sarasota County.

Both websites can also connect you to the area’s bike and pedestrian trails, including the Venetian Waterway Park and the Legacy Trail.

Just remember that all the current precautions apply if you want to venture out: Stay home if you’re sick; your group should be no larger than 10 people; and you should observe social distancing.

If you’re isolating at home, you can use your internet access to travel back in time or to other countries in a variety of ways.

You can learn about Venice history at the city museum’s website, There are articles, videos of a speaker series on city planner John Nolen’s legacy and materials dating back more than 100 years.

If you’re a native or longtime resident, you may recognize friends and family in some of the collection’s photos. Plan a visit for when the museum reopens.

Similarly, you can go to to see the county’s collection of historic materials.

If you’re in the mood for some culture, visit and enjoy the dozens of items in dozens of categories in the Ringling Museum collection — more than 45.000 pieces, according to the website.

For a break from looking at classic art, explore the site to learn about the Ringling Mansion, the Ca’ d’Zan; the Historic Asolo Theater; and the Circus Museum.

To truly broaden your horizons, you can access the county library system’s digital library, which is available 24/7. Your library card will connect you to books and magazines; reference materials; homework help for when online classes start and more.

Call 941-861-1110; email; or visit

Closed churches doesn’t mean no services. Many churches either stream their services or put them online, whether on their own websites on YouTube.

Several churches have reduced the number of services they conduct or changed the time, so be sure to check with yours before logging in to watch.

If it’s not something your church does, look around for another one in the same denomination and chances are you’ll find a service.


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