20 Zoo and Aquarium Live Streams for a Virtual Visit With Cute Animals

Philadelphia Zoo Penguin

Katie Goettle/istockphoto

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Philadelphia Zoo Penguin
Katie Goettle/istockphoto

Armchair Animal Encounters

With millions of Americans sheltering at home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, getting out and experiencing nature and wildlife almost seems like a distant dream, particularly for those living in urban centers. Zoos and aquariums around the country haven't missed a beat in addressing this challenge with many facilities around the country providing live streaming videos of everything from pandas to baboons and koalas, allowing for peacefully watching animals from afar until it's possible to observe them in person (in the wild) once again. It's also worth noting that many of these facilities are experiencing a substantial cut in revenue while their facilities are closed and now, more than ever, are seeking donations to help maintain care for the animals.

Note: All of the facilities featured in this story have been certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for working to preserve species globally and treating animals at the highest standards of care.

Related: 18 National Park Webcams Where You Can Watch Wildlife from Home

Mkhaya - San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Mkhaya - San Diego Zoo Safari Park by Photos By Clark (CC BY-NC)

San Diego Zoo

One of the most well-known zoos in the country, there are at least 11 live cams available for the public's enjoyment at the San Diego Zoo. The live stream options include apes, baboons, condors, elephants, koalas, pandas, penguins, polar bears, and tigers.

Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium offers a long list of webcams that allow for viewing its many marine animals and wildlife from afar. There's an underwater puffin webcam, an African penguin webcam, and even a piranha webcam. And don't miss the beluga whale webcam and the incredibly peaceful jellyfish webcam.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Who doesn't love watching hippos, aardvarks and other creatures? It's hard not to smile when observing charming animals. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is helping us all enjoy their inhabitants by hosting Home Safari Facebook Live streams each weekday at 3 p.m. ET.

Nichols at Houston Zoo.
Nichols at Houston Zoo. by Caleb Feese (CC BY)

Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo offers seven different webcams including a unique leafcutter-ant cam. There are also cams providing a look at the zoo's rhino yard where you can watch the majestic animals rolling in the mud; a chimp window cam that allows for watching the chimps snoozing in their hammock; and a giraffe cam among the options. Each of the live cams operate for a specific time frame each day, so check the zoo's website to find out when your favorite animals can be viewed.

Tree Roo
Tree Roo by Karen (CC BY-NC-ND)

San Antonio Zoo

Be mesmerized by the hypnotic live stream of moon jellyfish that live at the San Antonio Zoo. The zoo also offers a live stream of its tree kangaroos, which is worth watching just to find out what a tree kangaroo is. Two of these cute, cuddly animals, 16-year-old Omeo and 14-year-old Libby, can be observed climbing around an indoor tree habitat.

Action (August 1/8)
Action (August 1/8) by emma.kate (CC BY-ND)

Indianapolis Zoo

Aku, a 2-year-old Pacific walrus, and Ginger, his 2-year-old female companion, spend most of their days at the Indianapolis Zoo swimming, though their routine also includes daily interactions with trainers. You can watch these two immensely lovable creatures from afar via the zoo's webcam. The walruses are just one of the zoo's many live-stream options. There's also a macaw cam, a penguin cam, and a tiger cam, among others.

Lion Cubs at Reid Park Zoo
Lion Cubs at Reid Park Zoo by Jeffrey Hite (CC BY-NC-ND)

Reid Park Zoo

Watch elephants, giraffes, grizzly bears, lemurs, and lions in action at Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona, via its zoo cams. The live streaming of animals at the zoo, which just welcomed a new elephant calf, will continue indefinitely, though some have limited hours. The cams in Expedition Tanzania, for instance, allow for watching the elephants from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. MT.

Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Mark Kilgallon/istockphoto

Smithsonian National Zoological Park

The live cams at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., provide a look at lions, naked mole rats, giant pandas, and elephants. For some of the animals, such as the naked mole rats, there's more than one camera stream available. Volunteers are not onsite operating the webcams during the facility's COVID-19 related closure, so the animals may not be visible at all times.

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Nicole Scimonelli/istockphoto

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The legendary Monterey Bay Aquarium in California offers a number of fascinating and engaging live cams of its creature inhabitants including a moon jelly cam, a coral reef cam, a kelp forest cam, and a penguin cam. There's even a live cam of the Monterey Bay that allows for spotting otters, birds and the occasional passing sailboat. And don't miss watching sea otters frolic on their own dedicated otter cam. Some of the cams have limited hours of operation.

North Carolina Zoo

North Carolina Zoo

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 a.m. ET, North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro is offering "Zoo Edventures Online" via its Facebook page. During the live stream event, zookeepers are featured working with and caring for various animals at the facility. In addition, viewers are able to ask questions in real time.

Philadelphia Zoo

Philadelphia Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo recently launched a new live streaming program called Philly Zoo at 2. The event takes place on the zoo's Facebook page every weekday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET, and will include lions, tigers, giraffes, hedgehogs, rhinos, red pandas and red-tailed hawks. The zoo also plans to share information about new animal babies, introducing them to viewers, as part of the virtual stream program.

Brevard Zoo at Viera FL
Brevard Zoo at Viera FL by Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos (CC BY)

Brevard Zoo

Every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. ET the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne on Florida's Space Coast is livestreaming from its Sea Turtle Healing Center. Each live stream program, which will be available on the zoo's Facebook page, will feature an injured sea turtle that's being nursed back to health. The zoo plans to add more animals to its live feed in the coming weeks.

Maryland Zoo

Maryland Zoo

Lions, penguins, flamingos, and giraffes are just some of the animals that can be observed via the many live streaming cams at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Several of the cams feature feeding time for the animals. The giraffe cam, for instance, is set up at the giraffe feeding station, which is active from 11 a.m. until about 2 p.m. each day. In addition, some of the animal enclosures have multiple cameras. The zoo's penguins have three cameras in their habitat, one of which is underwater.

Oklahoma City Zoo

Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden

Pay a virtual visit to the Oklahoma City Zoo's red panda habitat from your smartphone or computer via the facility's "Red Panda's Live" feed. The enclosure is home to Thomas, 6, and Leela, 5, as well as their offspring Khyana and Ravi, 9-months. Viewers can watch the animals play, eat, and engage with their caretakers.

Zoo Atlanta Panda
Zoo Atlanta Panda by Stephen Rahn (CC BY)

Zoo Atlanta

Officials at Zoo Atlanta realize how hard it is to be cooped up indoors amid the coronavirus outbreak and are offering a live stream of one of the facility's most popular inhabitants, the pandas. "During a time when the COVID-19 epidemic is touching all of our lives, we're proud and glad that people around the world find joy in PandaCam," according to the zoo's website.

Mystic Aquarium
Mystic Aquarium by Garrett Ziegler (CC BY-NC-ND)

Mystic Aquarium, Connecticut

It doesn't get much cuter than African penguins. The Mystic Aquarium's live stream of its African penguin habitat offers two views of its popular penguin pavilion, which is home to 32 of the charismatic animals. Officials at the Connecticut aquarium say the live feed will remain available throughout the duration of the facility's COVID-19 related closure. "Our hope in offering this live stream will not only to provide much-need enjoyment to children and families during these trying times but also to bring to light the plight of the endangered African penguin," says Dale Wolbrink, the aquarium's senior director of public relations. "It's our stated mission at Mystic Aquarium to inspire action for the conservation of our ocean planet. Helping to create connections with animals goes a long way towards ocean stewardship."

river otter
river otter by Jo Naylor (CC BY)

Kansas City Zoo

Tune in and tune out for a while, watching the many animal cams offered by the Kansas City Zoo. Options include king penguins, gentoo penguins (which are observed from an underwater camera), polar bears, Asian small-clawed otters, and even Bornean orangutans.

Tatu by Greenville Daily Photo (CC BY)

Greenville Zoo

Watch Autumn the giraffe and her friends Miles and Kellan on the webcams at Greenville Zoo in South Carolina. The live streaming feed shows both the giraffe's outdoor paddock and their indoor barn and feeding space. The giraffe live stream is available all day and year-round.

Calgary Zoo
Calgary Zoo by Michelle Callahan (CC BY)

Calgary Zoo

Yet another opportunity to observe (spy) on giant pandas. The Calgary Zoo in Alberta, Canada, provides a live stream of its two panda residents, Er Shun and Da Mao, every day on its PandaCam. There are actually three cameras attached to the live stream allowing the pandas to be seen wandering around outside in their yard, as well as relaxing inside their house. The feed allows viewers to select which area of the enclosure to view. Launched in 2018, the PandaCam is a permanent feature of the zoo.

Assiniboine Park Zoo, Winnipeg (492710)
Assiniboine Park Zoo, Winnipeg (492710) by Robert Linsdell (CC BY)

Assiniboine Park and Zoo

While closed during the pandemic, Assiniboine Park and Zoo in Winnipeg, Canada, is bringing its wildlife inhabitants to the public via a new live stream program called Creature Feature, which will stream on the facility's Facebook page every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1 p.m. CT. The streaming event will introduce viewers to a variety of animals and will allow the public to ask questions.