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Fun field trips to the zoo are awesome, but sometimes it just isn’t possible to go. That is okay though! As long as you have access to the internet, you can take your kids on a virtual zoo field trip at any time.
Maybe the zoo you want to visit is too far away. Or maybe one of your kids is sick. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate. Perhaps zoo admission tickets are just not in your budget right now.
Whatever the reason, a virtual zoo tour for kids can be a great alternative to a traditional field trip.
A virtual field trip has lots of advantages:
- It is free – some zoos offer a virtual field trip rate, but every zoo listed here offers free online options
- You can visit multiple zoos in one day, regardless of location
- No traffic
- See just the animals you are interested in
- No need to pack a bag full of snacks, bottled water, and sunscreen
- You can ‘visit’ every day
- You are not limited to zoos just in your area
- It is quicker – there is no traveling, walking around, or time spent dealing with crowds
- See wild animals from the comfort of your own home
Taking a virtual zoo field trip can be a great motivator for kids. I admit that sometimes I offer this ‘reward’ for finishing schoolwork. They finish their lesson and then go on a virtual zoo field trip to visit their favorite animals.
Virtual zoo field trips can include webcams, live cameras, and live streams on their Facebook page.
Take a Virtual Zoo Field Trip
I listed the animals that are featured on webcams at each zoo because, if your kids are anything like mine, they want to see a specific animal. It is also handy for times when kids love different zoo animals.
(Planning an in-person visit to the National Zoo? We went all the time when we lived in Northern VA! Check out my post full of tips to make the most of the National Zoo.)
Check out these animals on the National Zoo webcam:
- Naked Mole Rats
- Cheetah cub
- Giant Pandas
The zoo offers printable zoo webcam bingo cards to encourage kids to watch the wild animals for a while.
- Humbolt Penguins
- Spotted Genet
5. Houston Zoo
- Giraffe (This is my favorite live zoom cam for giraffes!)
- Elephant (most visible between 10:30am and 3:00pm CDT)
- Leafcutter Ant
- Koala Bear
- Panda (the pandas have recently returned to China, however, there is a prerecorded video available)
- African Penguins
- Polar Bear
- Burrowing Owl
7. Oakland Zoo
- Sun Bear
- Black Bear
- Grizzly Bear
The Oakland Zoo offers a variety of free lesson plans for multiple grade levels.
- Cold Weather Penguins
- Bornean Orangutan (currently on the critically endangered species list)
- Polar Bear
(We visited the Woodland Park Zoo when we lived in Washington. Don’t let the small number of webcams fool you. It is a huge zoo! Check out my tips for a successful visit to the Woodland Park Zoo if you live in the Seattle area.)
- Grizzly Bears
Woodland Park Zoo offers downloadable educator resources to help students of all ages learn about these amazing animals.
11. Alaska Zoo
- Polar Bear
An educational polar bear activity packet is available to download.
12. Detroit Zoo
- River Otter
- Sea Otter
- Snow Monkeys
13. Zoo Atlanta
- Panda Bear
14. Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo offers a few great digital resources. My favorite are the Quests. Kids click an interactive map to learn about a region of the world and the animals who live there.
15. Edinburgh Zoo
Many zoos also offer virtual programs for small groups hosted by zoo educators, but they can come with a steep price. I suggest taking advantage of all the free educational resources first. Find all of the activity ideas by visiting the education department section of the web page.
If you decide to book an official program, get together with a few other families to make the expense more reasonable.
Do you know of any other zoos with webcams? Leave it in the comments and I will add it to the list so more families can enjoy the animals.
Visit a zoo today!
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