While zoos and aquariums across the country have closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic, that doesn't mean you can't continue to support them. June is National Aquarium and Zoo Month, but you can catch up anytiime on what these facilities have been doing during lockdown.
You might not realize it, but animal caretakers and veterinary staff have continued working on-site at many zoos and aquariums across the country. After all, someone must be there to make sure all the animals, birds, sea life, and other critters are fed and cared for.
Even though you may not be able to visit in person, you can still take virtual tours of many of the nation's amazing zoos and aquariums. From penguins, sharks, and pandas to lions, birds, and cheetahs, you can watch live webcams and pre-recorded videos to see what some of your favorite creatures are up to while you're away. We've rounded up a handful of facilities offering virtual visits:
- Aquarium of the Pacific
- Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Oregon Zoo
- Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
- San Diego Zoo
- Shedd Aquarium
- Smithsonian's National Zoo
In addition to live webcams, don't miss the incredible videos of animals exploring empty aquariums, including penguins meeting beluga whales and shelter puppies and kittens (pictured) visiting the Georgia Aquarium.
While zoos and aquariums focus on wildlife and environmental education and conservation, their efforts often involve in-person, onsite field trips, tours, and presentations. However, in light of social distancing protections, many now offer virtual learning opportunities instead—including educational resources for parents, teachers, and caregivers to engage and entertain students of all ages:
- The Lincoln Park Zoo wrote some timely blogs that highlight how you can teach about nature at home, such as studying animal behavior and enrichment ideas for your pets.
- Stay Home with Shedd offers a series of educational videos and resources perfected for homeschooling families.
- Check out the Smithsonian's National Zoo's free educational resources to use along with their live webcams.
- Listen to Pittsburgh Zoo's behind-the-scenes One Wild Place podcast, check out their Animal Tracks education program, and watch their veterinary care videos.
- Looking for Virtual Discoveries in STEM? The Florida Aquarium offers videos of educational talks, author readings of nature-themed books, marine science curriculum for high school students, STEM education resources for middle and high school students, and educational activities for PreK through middle school students.
For a more comprehensive list of live videos, online events, expert chats, and more, visit the activities calendar of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
With so much revenue lost due to facilities being closed to the public, zoos and aquariums need our support now more than ever. If you're considering purchasing an annual membership for yourself or your family, remember that many of the AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums participate in a Reciprocal Admissions Program. When you become a member of your local AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium, you might also be eligible for free or discounted admission into more than 150 participating AZA-accredited facilities throughout the country, including a handful in Canada and Mexico.