Watch these curious creatures wander their habitats and learn something new from the comfort of your home.

By Jennifer Aldrich
March 17, 2020
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As precautions due to the COVID-19 (which stands for coronavirus disease 2019) continue, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends both frequent hand washing and social distancing. Because of this, many places that hold large crowds are closing, including zoos and aquariums. But while trips to your local zoo are currently postponed, you can still get a close-up look at your favorite animals, all from the comfort of your own home.

Across the country, zoos and animal sanctuaries (some of which also include botanical centers) are featuring live-cams, interactive videos, and updates to anyone who wants to see what their exotic creatures are up to. The best part is that anyone with an internet connection can tune in. Even better: you don't have to have a zoo membership.

Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Located in Seminole, Florida, the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens is currently closed until further notice. Since the announcement of the closure, the organization launched The Zoo Comes to You, an educational Facebook Live series airing weekdays at 2 p.m. EST. The first episode, which aired yesterday on Facebook, featured Butterscotch, a rabbit, eating a snack.

Fiona the hippo is the star of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden's first Home Safari Facebook Live.
Courtesy of Lisa Hubbard/Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Since its March 14 closure, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden announced it would be showcasing a video series on Facebook Live called Home Safari. Each episode highlights some of the animals and also includes an activity you can do at home, such as an online quiz about the presented animal. Each installment airs at 3 p.m. EST and began on Monday on the site's Facebook page. The first airing featured Fiona, a Nile hippo, one of the most famous animals at the zoo.

Houston Zoo

From March 13 to April 3, the Houston Zoo will keep its doors shut. During that time, the zoo is posting video updates on different animals. The first one, a live video that played around 2:30 p.m. EST on Monday, showcased giraffes enjoying a leafy snack from two zookeepers. Viewers were able to ask the keepers questions via Facebook comments, and employees answered their questions in real-time.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Although the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, is closed from March 12-27, the animals are still showing off via different live feeds that you can watch every day of the year. Check out the penguins, sharks, jellyfish, birds, or one of the other cameras on the aquarium's website.

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is closed until April 1, but you can still watch the animals through 10 different live cams, plus archived videos of pandas from January through April 2019. (These cameras are available all year long, whether the park is open or closed.) On the website, the zoo is streaming videos of baboons, penguins, polar bears, apes, koalas, giraffes, owls, elephants, tigers, and condors 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, which is closed until March 29, has been making the rounds on social media with its videos of penguins roaming around the grounds. The latest post showcases a pair named Edward and Annie exploring the rotunda, and the aquarium notes it will continue to share other animals in their habitats.

Many zoos are still accepting donations while they remain closed due to COVID-19 concerns. If you'd like to chip in, head to one of the websites listed above, or check out your local zoo's website to see how you can help.

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