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By AnnaLiese Burich

If you’re not lucky enough to have immediate access to cute and/or majestic animals—whether it’s in the form of pets or scenic views outside your window—you could probably use a little dose of wildlife right now. Luckily, zoos and aquariums across the nation are now offering livestreams of their animals and tons of themed (and educational!) activities…and we’re paw-sitively loving it. Here are our fave zoos to check out online—no travel required!


1. Oakland Zoo

This one is what you might call a “state of the art” virtual zoo. Behind-the-Scenes Live is a brand-new subscription service that lets you into the inner sanctum of the Oakland Zoo five times a week. You’ll get “up close and personal” with the animals, meet their animal keepers and vets who keep them healthy. The fun doesn’t stop there—it’s interactive, meaning that you get to ask questions and get answers in real-time!

When: Monday-Friday, 5:30-6pm EST


2. Cincinnati Zoo

Every day, you can tune into a Cincinnati Zoo “Home Safari” Facebook Live, where zookeepers will feature one of its animals (we particularly love Fiona, their premature hippo—the smallest hippo to ever survive!). Then they’ll lead kids in an animal-themed activity you can do at home.

When: Daily at 3pm EST


3. Monterey Bay Aquarium 

This preeminent aquarium runs 10 live cams—count ’em, 10!—for your viewing pleasure. There’s a coral reef cam, an aviary cam, a jelly cam, a shark cam, a penguin cam, and more. Note: don’t miss out on the Sea Otter Cam—they’re the unofficial mascot of the Aquarium and oh-so-cute. Want a little more info to go with your sea life? The Aquarium also hosts periodic live chats with sea-life experts and veterinarians on Facebook Live.

When: Time varies by animal; check the website for more RELATED: 5 Ways to Host Your Child’s Virtual Playdate

4. Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute 

If it’s the Smithsonian, you know it has to be good. They, too, have a plethora of live cams on their animals—from naked mole rats to elephants to giant pandas. Bonus: they also offer a downloadable activity for kids (grades K-5) to do while watching the live cams! Who needs science class?

When: All the time


5. San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo, often heralded as “the best zoo in the world,” doesn’t disappoint when it comes to virtual offerings. In addition to livestreams of apes, koalas, giraffes, polar bears, butterflies and more, they offer a whole website just for kids that’s chock-full of activities, videos, games and information (we’re big fans of Tiger Trail, ourselves).

When: All the time


6. Houston Zoo

Houston Zoo isn’t letting the small matter of zoo closure stop us from having fun. They have tons of webcams (our favorites are the Leafcutter Ants and the Flamingo cams!) and, like many of their peers, also host daily Facebook Lives and at-home learning activities like creating-your-own-panda feet!

When: Daily live cams 8am-8pm EST; daily Facebook lives at noon EST


7. Zoo Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta centers its online fun all around pandas—because why not? They offer a live PandaCam and regularly create YouTube “Keeper Stories,” an in-depth look at what it takes to care for the 1000+ animals at the zoo. They, too, offer tons of activities (Backyard Bingo, anyone?)

When: All the time


8. Georgia Aquarium

Is there anything more calming than watching animals swimming through water? That’s why we love the Georgia Aquarium’s live webcams of its notable sea creatures. The jellyfish are mesmerizing, the underwater puffin is fascinating and the beluga whale is awe-inspiring. Instant zen.

When: All the time