In times of quarantine and uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus, animals can bring calm, laughter and fun to our daily lives. Most zoos and aquariums across the nation are temporarily closing doors (with zookeepers and veterinarians continuing to care for all animals) to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean you can’t watch the animals. Take a digital safari from the comfort of your home with these zoo web cams, and check out these things to do at home with kids, too!
1. Cincinnati Zoo – Cincinnati, OH
The Cincinnati Zoo, which is temporarily closed to visitors, is offering a virtual safari on Facebook Live at 3 p.m. ET every weekday. Each day kids and families can explore the zoo through the screen. The zoo will highlight a different animal each day and include an activity families can do at home as well. The virtual safari kicked off with Fiona the Hippo on March 16. Fiona is a bit of a zoo sensation after being born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2017, six-weeks premature; she’s the smallest hippo to survive the premature birth. The zoo has been documenting Fiona’s life since, so it’s only fitting that she would virtually welcome everyone to the new at-home zoo safari.
2. Monterey Bay Aquarium – Monterey, CA
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is temporarily closed but its live underwater cams will surely be mesmerizing on your screen. The aquarium offers 10 live cams for families to view and experience the wonders of the ocean. There are jellyfish and coral reef cams (some pre-recorded and set to music!) to really get into a zen mood. The live shark cam is perfect for playing I-spy. Kids can call out when they spot a leopard shark, sevengill shark or a sting ray float by the screen.
But our favorite may be the Sea Otter Cam at the Monterey Bay Aquarium! Their little paws and how they hold hands, it doesn’t get more adorable and entertaining to watch! Families can watch the Southern Sea Otters play with toys, and swim and lounge together in the water. The otters are also fed four times daily which is the best time to see the trainers work with the otters to stimulate their natural behaviors. Most of the live cams run between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. PT.
3. Smithsonian’s National Zoo – Washington, D.C.
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and all Smithsonian museums are temporarily closed to the public. But the animal webcams remain active! The zoo offers several different animal cams for your viewing variety. There are the Naked Mole-Rats (these hairless rodents are more adorable than you may first think!), lions, elephants and the giant panda. Zoo volunteers are not currently operating the cameras so animals may not always be in full view. But we can confirm that watching a fluffy black and white panda nap soothes the soul!
4. San Diego Zoo – San Diego, CA
The San Diego Zoo, temporarily closed, offers virtual viewing of many of its animals. With 11 live web cams, families can switch between baboons, koalas, polar bears, giraffe, burrowing owl, tigers and condors, among others. Families could easily spend a day or two with each animal watching and learning its habits, before moving on to the next.
5. National Aquarium – Baltimore, MD
The National Aquarium, which is temporarily closed, offers families plenty to see from their at-home screens. The aquarium is livestreaming the Blacktip Reef, Jellies Invasion, and Pacific Coral Reef exhibits on its website. Viewers can zoom in, zoom out, and toggle the cameras around to experience a variety of wildlife in true-to-life recreations of their natural habitats. The aquarium has also provided at-home activities like downloadable word searches and coloring sheets.
6. Philadelphia Zoo – Philadelphia, PA
America’s first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo is closed temporarily. But for the families who have penguin pride, check out the Penguin Point Cam at the Philadelphia Zoo. This always-live stream of the Humboldt penguin colony is viewable at any time, from any tablet, laptop or computer. The penguins may not always be swimming and playing in full view of the camera but kids will surely enjoy checking back in to see if the penguins are out to play!
7. Tennessee Aquarium – Chattanooga, TN
The penguins are rocking at the Tennessee Aquarium, which is temporarily closed. The Penguins Rock Cam at the aquarium features busy Gentoo and Macaroni penguins. These little guys waddle all over their large rock exhibit, courting each other, nesting and hanging out. No one knows what they may do next!
8. Beekman Farm – Sharon Springs, NY
The Beekman 1802 beauty company (featured in the show Schitt’s Creek) creates goat milk soaps, hand and body washes, lotions and more. But what we love even more than the fabulous products are that the goats that help to create them. Beekman Farm has a baby goat cam and these goats are waiting for you to watch them play, jump, eat and snuggle. Watch the goats live 24/7 here.
9. Lincoln Children’s Zoo – Lincoln, NE
The Lincoln Children’s Zoo, which is temporarily closed, is operating its “Keeper Corner” virtually instead. Children can enjoy the same up-close animal experience but now, from home! The daily program allows viewers to virtually meet a zookeeper and zoo animals like sloths and tigers, while being educated on interesting facts about the animals. Keeper Corner launches daily at 3 p.m. CST via the Lincoln Children’s Zoo’s Facebook page.
10. Shedd Aquarium – Chicago, IL
The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is taking a different approach to their normal aquarium visitor. While the aquarium is temporarily closed to human visitors, the resident penguins are getting some VIP access. According to CNN.com, a group of Rockhopper Penguins were allowed to leave their normal habitat and explore the rest of the aquarium. Wellington the Penguin was seen on Twitter checking out the fish at the Amazon Rising exhibit. Follow his adventures on social media to see what he finds next!