Online Zoo

A Guide to Virtual Zoos

lions at zoo

Virtual zoos are a great way to "visit" world-class zoos, even if you aren't able to get there in person. Plus, animals are almost always involved in engaging activities like hunting or playing, as opposed to taking a nap, like you might find when you visit in person.

A virtual zoo could be made of articles, videos, pictures, or webcams. Here's a list of virtual zoos that are actively entertaining virtual visitors with high-quality content.

San Diego Zoo

This is one of the most extensive virtual zoos the internet has to offer. Visitors get the chance to explore a host of animals and plants, all with brief descriptions written at a level that’ll make it easy for even the youngest of visitors to understand. These animals are organized into categories such as species, habitats, and continents. In every category, there are more than three dozen stories and information about specific animals that live in the zoo.

The San Diego Zoo also has live webcams trained on some of the animals, coupled with a lot of videos which visitors can access at any time. Kids can play online games and send free e-postcards with images of some of the zoo’s animals. What’s more, the site offers valuable information about caring and helping animals in your local community.

Los Angeles Zoo

The LA virtual zoo features personal stories from the animal care staff, information on animal and plants, news on international travel and current conservation efforts. The stand out feature has to be the amount of detail in its extensive list of animal descriptions and graphics.

Lincoln Park Zoo

This virtual zoo, unlike the rest, aims to connect visitors with nature and offer the wildlife experience. It features innovative learning programs, animal care information, and information about global conservation projects. Lincoln Park Zoo offers a program that allows animal adoption, and just like many others, it features an extensive database of animals.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The Cincinnati Zoo creates an amazing adventure by conveying information about the animal habits in the wild. Questions like why even the smallest predators are important to a healthy ecosystem and why they should be conserved at all costs.

Brookfield Zoo

Created by the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, Illinois, this virtual zoo packs a lot of unique features. It is highly interactive, with activities involving adventures with Lions and Dolphins where visitors can access information on how these animals eat, breathe and socialize. There’s also a game in the form of a quiz to assess just how much visitors have learned. Just like other virtual zoos, the Brookfield Zoo features information on animals, coupled with information about nature and how to care for the environment.

World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA)

Renowned as one of the leading bodies in the conservation of biodiversity, WAZA aims to guide, encourage and support zoos, aquariums and like-minded organizations of the world in animal care and welfare, environmental education and global conservation.

Atlanta Zoo

This virtual zoo is filled with educational programs that are dedicated to schools and groups, along with tons of resources for teachers. It also features interactive maps, education programs, animal photos and descriptions, calendar events and more.

Kansas City Zoo

Kansas City Zoo aims to contribute significantly to the preservation of the diversity of species, and the conservation of earth resources while influencing others to do the same. The virtual zoo focuses on animal traits, giving visitors information about animals, such as which are smartest, laziest or noisiest and how these traits help them survive in the wild.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium features amazing content, in the form of brief animal fact sheets and interactive graphics of a variety of species. This virtual site also features information about less common animals and their way of life. It also doesn’t lack in terms of engaging activities, offering a host of quizzes, crossword puzzles, word finds and coloring pages.

Oakland Zoo

Featuring over 700 native and exotic animals most of which are rescues, living in an expansive and naturalistic habitat, Oakland Zoo provides an outstanding experience for its visitors, delivering a rich array of educational programs and a great family experience. It has an extensive collection of mammals, amphibians and reptiles, invertebrates, birds, fish, and plants.

Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Here, there is just so much to do, and it is easy to get lost in the sea of possible activities and information provided. It features a virtual tour of the zoo, fact sheets about its residents and a wealth of information about current conservation efforts. The site also features webcams, a photo gallery, and downloadable wallpapers.

Also worth visiting

These websites also publish plant and animal information, graphics, games and interactive online materials to keep visitors engaged and educated.

• Oregon Zoo
• North Carolina Zoo
• Alaska Zoo
• Denver Zoo