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30 Best Zoo and Safari Virtual Field Trips


The coronavirus has thrown teachers across the country for a loop. Teaching from home is like nothing educators ever imagined, and being at home makes hands-on educational activities like field trips nearly impossible. Fortunately, many zoos and animal parks around the world offer virtual field trips. Though not as entertaining as the real thing, virtual visits to zoos can enrich your curriculum and give students a break from the virtual classroom.

Here are 30 of the best zoo and safari field trips out there. No permission slip required!

1. San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA

Students can watch live cams of all their favorite animals, including koalas, hippos, elephants, tigers, and more. The Kid’s Corner also offers a wide variety of educational videos hosted by zookeepers. Each video gives facts about different types of animals, so if your students are interested in ocean invertebrates, baby animals, or animal helpers, the San Diego virtual experience is the place for them.

2. Denver Zoo, Denver, CO

Denver Zoo Tour
Source: Denver Zoo

Not only is the Denver Zoo the first zoo to use natural enclosures for their animals instead of metal cages, but it also offers a virtual classroom so students can learn about animals in an up close, educational way. In addition to watching animals and zookeepers, students can also participate in the Animal Academy. As part of the Animal Academy, students can earn a virtual Spots and Stripes badge with correct trivia answers!

3. Monterey Bay Aquarium

If you have some future marine biologists in your classroom, the Monterey Bay Aquarium offers a wide variety of live cams. Your students can watch otters, penguins, and jellyfish in action, or they can take a trip through a kelp forest, the open sea, or a shark habitat. For any bird lovers, the aviary cam offers and up close and personal look at many kinds of beautiful birds. You might also consider one of the 45-minute guided virtual tours the aquarium offers specifically to educators.

4. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL

The Sea Curious online program at the Shedd Aquarium is designed to answer kids’ questions about underwater animals in a fun and engaging way. Each episode answers a question through an adventure around the aquarium. Students might learn what powers different animals have, what animals do at night, why some animals are slimy, or why animals lose their teeth.

5. Houston Zoo, Houston, TX

Houston Zoo Web Cam
Source: Houston Zoo

Students can see a huge variety of animals interacting with their habitats via a web cam field trip through the Houston Zoo. The live web cams offer an up-close glimpse of many types of animals including playful elephants, busy insects, curious monkeys, and majestic pink flamingoes. Your students will enjoy seeing the animals play, sleep, take baths, and eat their meals.

6. National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

At the National Zoo, students can view many web cams to see animals in action. Students can learn about big cats, elephants and naked mole rats. The National Zoo also has one of four panda enclosures in the United States and students will be able to see several giant pandas, including the baby panda that was born in August 2020! Students also have access to webinars and self-guided learning experiences to enhance their virtual trip to the National Zoo.

7. Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia, PA

The Philadelphia Zoo offers a Philly Zoo at Two live presentation. The program showcases different animals and lets students ask questions about what they are learning. The zookeepers provide interesting facts about each animal to pique your students’ curiosity about different species. If you can’t login in at 2:00, the website keeps an archive, so your students have access to these virtual experiences at any time. If you have some penguin-lovers in your group, the Philadelphia Zoo also offers a Penguin Point cam so students can see these playful creatures in action.

8. The London Zoo, London, England

From watching animal antics to seeing zookeeper videos to tuning in to web cams, students can learn a lot about animals with virtual programs offered through the London Zoo. Students can watch the lemurs eat a snack, hear squirrel monkeys talk, see a baby penguin, or watch the giraffes’ afternoon tea being prepared. The London Zoo also offers Zoo School, which provides a large variety of age-appropriate and printable resources to further enhance your virtual trip to the zoo.

9. Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Los Angeles, CA

Get to know the animals at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens through their virtual field trip videos. Watch something exciting like a baby gorilla riding on his mom’s head or a colony of busy bees! Calm yourself down as you view as a koala munching on leaves or hippos lazily floating in the water. For a more formal field trip experience, students can take a choose-your-own adventure virtual tour of the entire zoo.

10. Zoos Victoria, Australia

Encompassing three different zoos, Zoos Victoria offers virtual tours of all their locations. A virtual trip through the Healesville Sanctuary will show students animals from the woodlands to the wetlands, including kangaroos, dingoes, koalas, and platypuses. At the Melbourne Zoo, students can see lions, elephants, gorillas, and underwater creatures. A virtual visit to the Werribee Open Range Zoo will get students up close with monkeys, hippos, and cheetahs. Zookeeper talks and virtual animal encounters will round out any online field trip.

11. Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

At-Home Learning with Zoo Atlanta
Source: Zoo Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta offers many at-home resources to keep children learning. After taking an exciting virtual tour of the zoo, students can also view Zoo2You videos to discover more about different animals. Online virtual Facebook events, storybook readings with the animals, and a free mobile game allow children to explore animals even more.

12. Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee, WI

The Milwaukee County Zoo offers a self-paced virtual experience through several live web cams. Students can watch polar bears, jaguars, lions, tigers, and other animals in a variety of habitats. Another camera shows students what’s happening in Lake Wisconsin. Students can drop in any time to see what their favorite animals are up to.

13. Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Edinburgh Zoo is the first zoo in the world to house penguins, and students can have a virtual experience with these magical creatures via live webcams. The zoo also features pandas, tigers, koalas, and lions. This zoo also offers guided virtual tours and online learning experiences.

14. Dublin Zoo, Dublin, Ireland

Dublin Zoo Webcams
Source: Dublin Zoo

A virtual field trip to the Dublin Zoo allows students to visit elephants, penguins, and animals from the African Savanna via webcams. Along with the webcams, students can also access the online animal encyclopedia, which provides kid-friendly information about the hundreds of species living at the zoo.

15. Indianapolis Zoo, Indianapolis, IN

The Indianapolis Zoo brings the zoo to you with a variety of webcams. Students can watch live streams of walruses, penguins, macaws, and tigers. Digital field trips are also available through the Indianapolis Zoo. Your students will get to see many of the most popular exhibits and gain a wealth of knowledge about the animal kingdom along the way.

16. The Alaska Zoo, Anchorage, AK

Alaska Animal Videos
Source: Alaska Zoo

In addition to a live polar bear webcam, students can also view a variety of YouTube videos showing animals in their homes and interacting with zookeepers. Visit the Learning Yurt to see videos and learn more about central Asian animals, including snow leopards, Bactrian camels, Tibetan yaks, and golden eagles. The Learning Yurt offers crafts and games to go along with a virtual visit.

17. Bronx Zoo, New York, NY

Bronx Zoo Virtual Interactions and Zoom Sessions
Source: Bronx Zoo

Live from the Bronx Zoo, students can virtually interact with lemurs, langurs, and penguins. Visit the sea lion pool to watch these playful creatures in action! Make a virtual stop by Ocean Wonders and see the sharks sliding gracefully through the water! Jungleworld and the Seabird Aviary are additional virtual exhibits students can enjoy. Students can also book private Zoom sessions to get the chance to come face to face with many of the animals who make the Bronx Zoo home.

18. National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD

Visit an underwater zoo with a virtual field trip to the National Aquarium. Enjoy the Pacific Coral Reef or head over to Shark Alley. Additionally, see a diverse variety of species in the Tropical Rain Forest and Amazon River exhibits. All virtual exhibits at the National Aquarium encourage students to watch animals in action and learn about their natural habitats.

19. Reid Park Zoo, Tucson, AZ

Tune in to live webcams of elephants, giraffes, grizzly bears, lemurs, and lions. As students watch these animals in action, they can also click on the links to learn more about each animal to complete their virtual field trip.

20. Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, GA

Take a virtual dive into the beautiful underwater world of the Georgia Aquarium. Live webcams allow students to watch graceful fish, playful sea otters, silly beluga whales, fierce little piranhas, and more. Convenient links to animal facts on their website create instant learning opportunities!

21. Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, CA

The Aquarium of the Pacific boasts the largest tropical reef habitat exhibit and is modeled after the natural reef in Palau. Students will get to see a wide variety of colorful tropical fish, jellyfish, sharks, sea otters, and sea lions.

22. WildEarth, Africa

WildEarth Safari Trip
Source: WildEarth

Give your students the ultimate safari experience with WildEarth. Through daily live safaris, students can see leopards, lions, cheetahs, and hyenas in their natural habitat. These experiences include guided walks with experts, drones, cameras, and balloons to help students escape to the wild African savanna. There is also a section dedicated to safaris geared toward children ages 4-18.

23. African Animals Watering Hole, Central Kenya

Located in the highlands of Kenya, the Mpala Research Centre watering hole reveals animals socializing while getting a drink or taking a bath. A virtual trip to the watering hole allows students to see elephants, crocodiles, hippos, giraffes, and other native animals playing in the water!

24. Balule Nature Reserve, South Africa

Enjoy the view from a hidden safari camera at the Bulule Nature Reserve in South Africa. The solar powered camera gives students a glimpse into the natural habitat of some of Africa’s most majestic animals, including lions, rhinos, giraffes, and elephants. Students might also catch a glimpse of more exotic African animals like the antelopes, genets, and warthogs.

25. Asilia, Capetown, Africa

Take a safari from the comfort of home or school with short video clips of African animals in their natural surroundings. Students can view popular and well-known African animals like lions, hyenas, and elephants. Additionally, they may join a walking safari, a boating safari, or see if they can catch a glimpse of any animals as they watch the sunset.

26. Olifants River, Emangusi, South Africa

Olifants River Camera
Source: Chris Hawes

A camera set on the banks of the Olifants River in Emangusi, South Africa, enables students to watch crocodiles and hippos in action. Students might also see elephants and giraffes grazing along the river. Baboons, impalas, waterbuck, and owls have also been known to make an appearance here.

27. Tembe Elephant Park, South Africa

Home to some of the world’s largest elephants, this virtual field trip allows students to watch the elephants and enjoy the sounds of the wild. Students may also see lions, rhinos, buffalos, and leopards. A night visit will reveal what these animals do when the sun goes down.

28. GRACE Forest Corridor, Democratic Republic of Congo

For students interested in gorillas, this is the safari for them. Students will get to watch gorillas in their natural habitat. A virtual trip here will give students the chance to see gorillas interacting with each other, finding food, playing, and relaxing with long afternoon naps. An evening visit might even give students the opportunity to see the gorillas building themselves night nests.  

29. Winged Creatures in 360 Degrees, Detroit, MI

Winged Animals Field Trip
Source: Jen Eden

This field trip takes visitors to three different locations to learn about animals with wings. Students will get to see penguins, raptors, and bats. Throughout the trip, students can view animal habitats and learn how human behaviors impact animals, their homes, and the climate where they live.

30. Channel Islands Kelp Forest, Ventura, CA

Take a peaceful virtual field trip through the kelp forest off the Channel Islands in California. Hundreds of marine species live in the kelp forest, so students are sure to see many exciting and interesting creatures swim by. Watching the kelp sway gently through the water can also be quite soothing.

Children can learn so much from visiting zoos and animal parks. Fortunately, there are many virtual ways to experience these educational locations without leaving the comfort of the classroom or desk chair at home!

Also Check Out:

30 Best Zoo and Safari Virtual Field Trips

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Sara Ipatenco

Member

Sara is a 1st-grade teacher at a private school in the Rocky Mountains. She loves to read, sew, and travel. She spends most of her time away from the classroom with her husband and two children. They love taking long walks, watching movies, and playing board games together.

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