Though all of us are working overtime keeping our distance from one another, it doesn’t mean we’re completely confined to our own 4 walls. Why not go bananas with the monkeys at Brookfield Zoo? Swim along with the Shedd’s incredible jellyfish? Or set off on a safari led by the keepers of the Lincoln Park Zoo? Zoos across the country are setting up their cams and bringing their beloved critters right into our very homes! Start close to home with Chicago-area zoos, and then move on to offerings from zoos around the country with our round-up of virtual zoo visits! 

Brookfield Zoo brings over 2,000 animals direct to your home! And don’t worry, they won’t bite! Join in on the zoo’s fascinating Facebook broadcasts to make time home with kids entertaining and educational. See African painted dog puppies get their first physical exam, gorillas using tools to get food, and many more animal antics from the comfort of your sofa. Consider supporting the zoo by pre-purchasing tickets for the summertime! 

The Lincoln Park Zoo is helping supporters to ‘keep in touch’ with their favorite animals and spaces at the zoo during the Covid-19 crisis. Tune in to Facebook and Instagram for keeper chats, virtual habitat tours, Q&As, relaxing videos, and Facebook Lives with Zoo Director Megan Ross, Ph.D. Check out the zoo’s blog for an inside look at how Lincoln Park Zoo provides world-class care to nearly 200 species, as well as ways to connect young ones with nature and much more. Now is also a great time to adopt an animal, as you’ll be supporting the zoo, too!

Swim along with the fishes at Shedd Aquarium, home to 32,600 species of sea life. With the Shedd Aquarium’s Underwater Beauty live cam, you can dive right into the deep blue ocean, where jellies pulse, eels ribbon and a rainbow comes alive with reef fishes in the aquarium’s most diverse special exhibit ever. Underwater Beauty shows how every aquatic animal is beautifully adapted to thrive in its environment — and how this beauty is worth saving. Inspired? When you symbolically adopt a beluga, sea turtle, sea otter or penguin at Shedd, you support the aquarium’s mission and top-quality animal care. 

Set off on a home safari and meet the elephants, porcupines, sloths and other fascinating creatures that call the The Cincinnati Zoo home. The zoo hosts a live video every weekday of one of their animals and an activity on Home Safari at 3pm EDT. You can also watch previous day videos on their website.  

Expect to find yourself mesmerized by the penguins, sea otters, jellyfish and other creatures that live at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. Ten live cams bring free live streaming direct into your home. We can’t get enough of the moon jelly cam!

The San Diego Zoo has live and archived videos of animals of all kinds, from apes to tigers! (We love checking in on the polar bears!). The zoo’s family-friendly website is jam-packed with videos and information about animals, fun stories, hands-on activities, and games, perfect for at-home fun. 

— Amy Bizzarri

Featured photo: courtesy of Brookfield Zoo


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