Zoos and aquariums all across the country will be closed for the foreseeable future in a bid to limit the spread of Coronavirus and #flattenthecurve. But that doesn’t mean that kids and families won’t be able to catch a glimpse of penguins, pandas, sharks, hippos, and otters. A number of zoos and aquariums across the United States already offer — or are now offering — live streams of their various inhabitants. Want to see the oh-so-popular Panda or Jellyfish cams? They got ‘em. But there are also more obscure (and still awesome) cameras, including everything from leafcutter ants to, yes, naked mole rats. So, yeah, there’s something for everyone. Here, then are the best zoo live streams and aquarium live streams from institutions all over the U.S.
The Best Aquarium Live Streams for Kids
Monterey Bay Aquarium
California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium offers a stunning array of aquatic life. The nonprofit, seated at the edge of the Pacific ocean, features a three-story tall kelp forest, a one-million gallon Open Sea exhibit, otter habitats, and a lot of touch pools. They offer ten different live streams, including an aviary cam positioned on the aquarium’s ocean-view deck to see ocean birds; a Coral Reef cam, which offers glimpses of tropical fish gliding through the multi-colored habitat; a Kelp Forest Cam, which features, among other things, looks at leopard sharks and sardines; an Otter Cam, which looks out on Abbi and the other famous sea otters at the museum; and a Shark Cam, which, well, shows off their finned family. Best of all might be the Jellyfish Cam provides a rare look at pods of the invertebrates bouncing around in their tanks. All however bring the aquatic awesome.
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is the largest aquarium in the country and has a series of live streams that feature all different types of fish and animals. The aquarium’s Ocean Voyager webcam, which shows off the inhabitants of the aquarium’s 6.3 million gallon tank, features four whale sharks, four manta rays and a green sea turtle (Pssst there’s a new manta ray expected to be born this month). The aquarium also features a tropical diver indo-pacific reef live stream that has 10:30 a.m. dive shows and 3 p.m. feedings as well as a sea otter exhibit that features 11 a.m. training sessions. The African penguins alone are worth tuning in.
Aquarium of the Pacific Live Stream
The world-renowned Aquarium of the Pacific, based in Long Beach, California, offers seven different live streams to enjoy. The best of the bunch are the two separate penguin live cams. They both show footage of the same exhibit; one shows what’s going on above the water; the other shows what’s going on below. There’s also a shark lagoon webcam with several different types of sharks including sand tiger sharks and a blacktip reef shark, a jellyfish exhibit, and a tropical reef live cam at the Blue Corner Reef off the corner of Palau. It’s considered one of the most beautiful Coral Reefs in the world.
The Seattle Aquarium has two live streams: one of their Harbor Seals, and another of their Sea Otters. In addition, the aquarium’s YouTube channel offers an abundance of footage of everything from the various aquarium Octopi as well as sea otter training, and some adorable videos of their rescued sea otter pup named Rialto.
The Best Zoo Livestreams
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is one of the best, and most famous, zoos in the world — and the live streams they feature show it. A baboon cam, a penguin cam, and pre-recorded panda cam are all strong entertainment contenders. (The pandas, Bai Yun and Xiao Liwu, were recently repatriated to their homeland of China, but archival footage exists on the site.) There’s also a polar bear cam, an ape cam (with a new ape baby), a koala cam, a giraffe cam, an owl cam, an elephant cam, a tiger cam, and a condor cam where viewers can see the animals pal around in their habitats and enjoy archival footage of the pandas crawling around on their jungle gym of branches. It’s seriously cute stuff.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary near Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, has launched 15 different live stream cameras that are on 24/7 of their resident koalas. Viewers can watch the Young Koala Tracker, the Koala Forest, where most of the female koalas live, the Koala Train, where the koalas cuddle up and snuggle together, and one camera that is devoted to where they sleep, which is where they are most of the time. (Koalas sleep 18 to 20 hours a day.) But the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary doesn’t just feature everyone’s favorite marsupial: they also have live streams of bearded dragons, birds, dingoes, and the perentie, the fourth largest monitor lizard in the world.
Panda Cam at Zoo Atlanta
Zoo Atlanta (based in Atlanta, Georgia) only features one live cam — the Panda Cam — but it’s an absolute delight. The giant pandas, who don’t hibernate, are able to be seen year-long at any time of day, but in the warmer months, viewers can expect them to be in their climate-controlled, room-like habitats, because they prefer cooler weather. Both the indoor and outdoor rooms are featured on the panda cam.
Houston Zoo Webcams
The Houston Zoo has over 6,000 animals from 900 different species, and while they remain closed due to the pandemic, they host a bunch of cool animals on their live cams — the Rhino Yard, Chimp Window cams, Elephant yard cams, as well as the Gorilla Habitat and Giraffe cam. All basic, very cool zoo stuff. But perhaps the coolest cam at the Houston Zoo is the Leafcutter Ant cam, for all of the bug-lovers out there, which shoes the powerful ant species at work, cutting leaves and building away.
Smithsonian National Zoo
The Smithsonian National Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the United States. In a normal year, entrance to the zoo is completely free, and luckily, the live cams are the same. Kids can watch lions, elephants, a recently impregnated panda, and, oddly enough, a naked mole rat cam all day long. While the Smithsonian Zoo is closed for the time being, zookeepers are still working on-site but the animals won’t always be visible on the webcam.
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Ohio’s Cincinnati Zoo is doing the live stream thing a little bit differently. Every single day, the Zoo will go on Facebook live at 3 p.m. EST to feature a different animal. The first livestream featured everyone’s favorite hippo, Fiona, but you can tune in daily to check out a different animal.