All across America, parents are suddenly being thrust into homeschooling. Some are trying to emulate school at home while others are like Extended Spring Break!!! If you are trying to find a middle ground, you'll love these ideas for Virtual Animal Studies! We've rounded up a bunch of live zoo cams and paired them with some fun books to keep your kiddos learning!
30 Live Animal Cams
Watching animals is a great way to spark what I call sneaky learning. You can ask questions about what you are seeing, read a book, or watch a documentary. You can print off worksheets and unit studies to keep them learning as long as they are interested. Check out my homeschooling Pinterest board for tons of ideas!
We love to cast from a phone or computer to the TV so a live cam is on the tv while we read or do school at the table. All of a sudden someone will get all excited and we'll be distracted for a little bit while an animal does something interesting. Then we can have a conversation before returning to our normal work.
I've put together a few books for each animal we've seen a live cam for, to help give you some ideas on where to start. Some of the books are available through Kindle Unlimited, so you can download and start reading right away!
Explore has a lot of animal and nature live stream cams. This one focuses on alligators but catches other wildlife too!
- Alligators & Crocodiles (From Nat Geo Kids)
- Can You Tell an Alligator from a Crocodile? (Lightning Bolt Books ® ― Animal Look-Alikes)
- Baby Alligator (Penguin Young Readers, Level 3)
- Alligators and Crocodiles!: Strange and Wonderful
- Reptiles and Amphibians (Smithsonian Handbooks)
The San Diego Zoo has several live zoo cams you can check out. Their ape cam is one of my personal favourites!
- 100 Facts Monkeys & Apes
- Monkeys and Apes (Rookie Read-About Science: What's the Difference?)
- Curious About Orangutans
- All About Asian Orangutans
- Orangutans! An Animal Encyclopedia for Kids
What virtual zoo tour would be complete without the crazy baboons? We also have to spend time watching them at our local zoo!
- Baboon (A Day in the Life: Grassland Animals)
- Exploring Nature: Monkeys: Baboons, Macaques, Mandrills, Lemurs And Other Primates
I'm not a fan of bats, at all. One got in through a tiny hole in my window screen once and way traumatic experience, but the kids find them interesting to watch. If you like these misunderstood creatures, you'll love this bat cam!
- Bats (Nat Geo Kids)
- All About Bats: Explore the World of Bats!
- Bats: An Illustrated Book for Kids 4-8
- It's a Good Thing There Are Bats
Did you know there are no buffalo in North America? They are actually bison & you can track a small herd on this bison cam from Illinois!
- Amazing Animals: Bison
- The Ultimate Bison Photo Book
- All About North American Bison
- Great Plains Bison
- Facts About the Bison
The San Diego Zoo's Safari Park has a pair of burrowing owls. You can watch both their aviary and the burrow on live cam! To the right of the live streams, check out the link to become an owl spotter! Even if you aren't interested in helping out there is a lot of information about burrowing owls.
- Facts About the Burrowing Owl
- Owls! Fun Facts for Kids
- Burrowing Owls
- Birds of Prey: Owls!
- Owling: Enter the World of the Mysterious Birds of the Night
The Pittsburgh Zoo also has a wonderful cheetah cam! Not only can you watch the cheetah you can control the camera for a full minute! There are 8 camera angles to choose from.
The Houston Zoo has a Chimpanzee live cam available from 7am to 7pm CST every day. You can also control this one! There was a bit of a wait so I wasn't able to see how many different camera angles you get to choose from.
- Facts About the Chimpanzee
- Chimpanzees: The Smartest Primates on the Planet
- Chimpanzees (Amazing Animals)
- The New Chimpanzee
San Diego Zoo's Safari Park has a socialization habitat for Condors. You can watch as fldglings learn how to behave from the adult birds.
- Condor: A Bird Book for Kids
- California Condors
- Birds of Prey: Hawks, Eagles, Falcons, and Vultures of North America
Check out this elephant cam from the Smithsonian's National Zoo too. Volunteers update the cams during normal business hours normally, but they will be fixed while the zoo is closed.
- Elephants (Nat Geo Kids)
- Elephants: A Book for Children
- Safari Readers: Elephants
- Great Migrations Elephants
The Smithsonian's National Zoo has two Panda cams for you to check out. Just click back and forth on the tabs to switch cameras. Scroll down below the cams for more information about Giant Pandas.
- Pandas (Nat Geo Kids)
- The Smithsonian Book of Giant Pandas
- A Book For Kids About Pandas: The Giant Panda Bear
- Pandas (Elementary Explorers)
- Panda Rescue: All About Pandas and How to Save Them
There's also a giraffe cam from San Diego's Safari Park! I can't believe how still giraffes can stand while eating. I was showing Nick because I thought it was frozen & a jeep drove past. Then he realized one was chewing but otherwise wasn't moving. I wanna know the momma's secret for keeping her little one so still!
This one isn't from a zoo – it's a live gorilla cam from the Grace Center in the Eastern DRC.
- Face to Face With Gorillas
- Safari Readers: Gorillas
- Gorillas! An Animal Encyclopedia for Kids
- Gorillas: Gentle Giants of the Forest
Woodland Park Zoo's bear cam focuses on a pair of Grizzly Bear brothers.
- Bears (Nat Geo Kids)
- Bears, From Gentle Pandas to Fearless Polar Bears (Animals of the World Series)
- Bears: Amazing Pictures & Fun Facts on Animals in Nature
- Black Bears (Bears of the World)
- The Secret Lives of Hummingbirds
- Stokes Beginner's Guide to Hummingbirds
- I'm a Mommy Hummingbird: Meet Emma
- Hummingbirds For Kids
ZooView.tv is provided by the Milwaukee Couty Zoo and Zoological Society. On the right side of the screen, click the camera you want to watch. They have an indoor and outdoor jaguar cam.
- Meet The Jaguar: Fun Facts & Cool Pictures
- Jaguar (Young Explorer: A Day in the Life: Rainforest Animals)
- Jaguars For Kids
- Jaguars (Animals That Live in the Rain Forest)
- Amazing Animals: Jaguars
- Weird Sea Creatures
- Amazing Animals: Jellyfish
- Jellyfish (Nature's Children)
- Jellyfish (A Day in the Life: Sea Animals)
- Jellyfish (Faceless, Spineless, and Brainless Ocean Animals)
The Edinburgh Zoo has a live Koala cam. I'm partial to these cute and cuddly looking creatures. And jealous of how much sleep they get!
- Amazing Animals: Koalas
- Jimmy the Joey: The True Story of an Amazing Koala Rescue
- Koalas (Elementary Explorers)
- Explore My World Koalas
- Koala (Nat Geo Kids)
Reid Park Zoo has a live lemur cam, so you can watch the crazy antics they get up to!
- Lemur: Discover Pictures and Facts About Lemurs For Kids!
- Ring-Tailed Lemurs
- Lemurs (Living in the Wild: Primates)
- Lemurs (Amazing Animals)
- Lemur (A Day in the Life: Rain Forest Animals)
The Smithsonian Zoo has a webcam set up for their outdoor lion exhibit too.
I think Meerkats are so much fun to watch! We used to watch the show Meerkat Manor but I tend to cry whenever something bad happens. Watching Zoo Miami's live cam of these cute little guys is much more my style!
- Facts About the Meerkat
- Amazing Animals: Meerkats
- Meerkats: Standing Sentries of the Mongoose Family
- Meerkats For Kids
- Meerkats (Nat Geo Kids)
Naked mole-rats are probably the only rat I can handle looking at without getting chills. They are so ugly they are cute! And apparently so popular the Smithsonian's Zoo has 2 camera angles for them!
- NAKED MOLE RATS Do Your Kids Know This?
- Rodent Rascals Note: Doesn't mention mole-rats but does cover other rodents
- Naked Mole-Rats (Unique Animal Adaptations)
- 21 Funny Looking Animals – Extraordinary Animal Photos & Facinating Fun Facts For Kids
- Penguins (Nat Geo Kids)
- The Lives of Penguins
- Safari Readers: Penguins
- Explore My World Penguins
- Penguins! (Step into Reading)
- Penguins: 101 Fun Facts & Amazing Pictures
- Face to Face with Polar Bears
- Polar Bears
- Polar Bears
- Polar Bears (Nat Geo Kids)
- Safari Readers: Polar Bears
The waterhole above is most active from about noon to 10pm CDT. If you can't catch a rhino there check out this live rhino cam from the Houston Zoo.
- Rhinos: Horned Beast of the African Grasslands
- Rhinos: Children Book of Fun Facts & Amazing Photos on Animals in Nature
- Rhinoceros: Learn About The Rhino
- Rhino Rescue: And More True Stories of Saving Animals
The Vancouver Aquarium also has a sea otter cam! I got to watch one just floating on his back and occasionally moving a paw to adjust his float. So cute!
- Sea Otters: Seafarers of the Weasel Family
- Sea Otters: See the Antics of Sea Otters!
- Sea Otters
- Explore My World Sea Otters
- Sea Otters (Nat Geo Kids)
- Super Sharks (LEGO Nonfiction)
- Shark Facts for Kids
- Pocket Genius: Sharks
- Safari Readers: Sharks
- 100 Facts Sharks
The Indianapolis Zoo has a live Pacific Walrus cam. It's at the bottom of the page, so you have scroll down to see it. There is a lot of cool information available to read too!
- Walruses (Elementary Explorers)
- Amazing Arctic Animals
- Walruses (Amazing Animals)
- Walruses – For Kids
- Facts About the Walrus
The cam above is from Transylvania and shows a variety of animals. I've seen a bear, boar, and a fox so far! If you just want a wolf, check out the Wolf Conservation Center. They have 8 different sets of wolves you can watch!
Which animal is your favorite? Leave a comment & let us know!
Fun Ways to Learn At Home
- Snakes & Frogs Sensory Bin
- Let's Go Geography (Online Geography Curriculum)
- LitWit Kits (Fun activities for classic books)
- Homeschool Math Activities & Games
- Homemade Playdough
- 7 Benefits to Letting Kids Garden with You
- 10 Spring Science Activities
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