Virtual zoo tours bring the animals to your home


“Jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium “ screenshot from livestream captured by Alyssa Johnson

Alyssa Johnson, Writer

Within the Survival Kit that was graciously put together by our guidance counselors, there is a website that directs you to multiple links offering virtual zoo tours. The San Diego Zoo, the Monterey Aquarium, the Atlanta Zoo, the Georgia Aquarium, and the Houston Zoo are all offering a unique educational experience. The institutions may be closed, but the animals are active and fun to watch.


Each zoo offers a different array of animals from all parts of the world. The San Diego Zoo offers live viewings of apes, baboons, condors, elephants, giraffes, koalas, owls, pandas, penguins, polar bears, and tigers. The live videos show the animal enclosures from multiple perspectives, giving the best opportunity to see animals in action. Highlights of my time watching these streams was watching the penguins be fed and the elephants eating. As for the pandas, the contract for them is no longer active, thus they are not at the zoo. However, an archive of video is available.


At the Georgia Aquarium, they have all kinds of animals from beluga whales to underwater puffins to piranhas. This site also has multiple perspectives for viewing. This site is not 24/7 and is offline completely at night. The sea lions and sea otters are very cute and entertaining to watch.


The Atlanta Zoo only has a panda cam. The site didn’t provide much info about the pandas and the angles weren’t great. When I viewed the site, they weren’t particularly active, so be aware, you may have to wait for activity. Regardless, being able to see a panda can be a unique experience as no zoos in the area have pandas. If you like to see these unique bears and have some patience, you’ll enjoy it.


The Houston Zoo had some unique experiences available. Leaf cutter ants are up close and in action on one camera and a large flock of bright flamingos are available on another. There are also giraffes, gorillas, rhinos, elephants, and chimps. All are available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., however, the elephants may not be visible around 10:30 a.m. and around 4 p.m. due to feeding times.  This site was another easy to navigate one. This site had some unique animals added within their line up, making for more possibility to see species up close like never before.


The last one I toured was the Monterey Aquarium. This one had by far the most variety, practically making it so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Along with the many animals available, the times in which the individuals live streams are active are different by area. The coral reef is live from 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m., jellyfish 9 a.m.-8 p.m., penguins 9 a.m.-7 p.m., moon jellies, the aviary area, kelp forest, sharks, open sea, and sea otters 9 a.m.-9 p.m., and the Monterey bay is live 24 hours. The jellyfish and Monterey bay are both very calming. The variety is specifically the Kelp Forest and Open Ocean is fun to watch as you never know which animal may swim past. I recommend checking out this one most of all.

If you’re interested, check out and view the many awesome animals. It’s a great form of distraction or moment of calm. It’s also interesting to see animals when no one is around and how they spend their day.