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Bring Wild Animals Right Into Your House With These Zoo And Aquarium Webcams

Can't get to the zoo or aquarium in person? Peep your favorite primates, penguins, polar bears and more, straight from your couch!

Josey Miller · about 2 months ago

  • travel

Even when your menagerie can’t visit your local zoo in person, you and your family can still watch what the animals are monkey-see-monkey-doing at zoos and aquariums across the country. These seven beloved zoos and aquariums—from Memphis, Tennessee to Mystic, Connecticut—are now broadcasting animal antics live via webcam. They’re all free, but collecting donations to help support their conservation efforts. Here’s where you can get up close and personal with your favorite animals, right from home!

1. Dallas World Aquarium: Manatee Cam

Dallas World Aquarium: Manatee Cam

Krystal Tran / Dallas World Aquarium

Known as sea cows, manatees can’t turn their heads like most mammals, so they have to shift their entire bodies to change direction. They also surface to breathe every five minutes. And did you know that manatees store and release farts to float and sink? (Note: Please do not try this technique at home in your bathtub.) 

The Dallas World Aquarium’s Manatee Cam shows all the action happening in their freshwater river habitat, where manatees share the waters with a variety of swiftly-darting freshwater fish. Sometimes you have to be patient to see the sweet underwater giants showing off their moves, but it’s worth the wait (and that blue water is so soothing to gaze into...).

2. Memphis Zoo: Hippo Cam

Memphis Zoo: Hippo Cam

Memphis Zoo

Hippos may look cute, but they’re among the most dangerous beasts in the animal kingdom (they’re super territorial, and prone to chomping—or crushing—invaders). The Memphis Zoo’s Zambezi River Hippo Camp is named after a real river in Africa that spans around 1,600 miles and winds through six countries! Because so many hippos have lived at this zoo since they first arrived here over a hundred years ago, Memphis was once known as the “Hippo Capital of the World.” 

Tune in daily to the Memphis Zoo’s Hippo Cam at 10:30 am Central Time, when zoo staff hosts a “Hippo Chat.” You can learn more about hippos, including how they eat, sleep, and play, and meet current hippo residents Binti and Uzazi, who used to live at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

3. Mystic Aquarium: Penguin Cam

Mystic Aquarium: Penguin Cam

Mystic Aquarium

The renowned Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut has not just one but two penguin cams live streaming all the penguin action you can shake a herring at. Watch for the newest member to join the aquarium’s waddling crowd, an African penguin chick named Purple/Pink who was born in the spring of 2020 and took her first dive in the Penguin Pavilion.

In addition to the Penguin Cams, the aquarium’s conservation team hosts frequent live-streamed events all about the birds. Was “study penguin poop” part of the Mystic Aquarium biologist job description? It should’ve been! That’s one of many ways they make sure the animals are healthy. (It’s okay if you want to go back to being a firefighter now.)

4. San Diego Zoo: Baboon Cam

San Diego Zoo: Baboon Cam

Deric Wagner / San Diego Zoo

Did you know that baboons are the world’s largest monkeys? (There are larger primates, not in the monkey family.) Baboons have very stylish hair around their faces — like they know their way around a crimper — but no hair at all on their behinds. 

The San Diego Zoo is currently closed to the public, but its live Baboon Cam puts you right in the monkeys’ habitat every day during daylight hours on the West Coast (and after dark, the zoo re-streams that day’s action). And with this animal cam, you get a three-for-one: In addition to Hamadryas baboons, you might also see Gelada monkeys and Nubian Ibex.

5. Smithsonian’s National Zoo: Cheetah Cub Cam

Smithsonian’s National Zoo: Cheetah Cub Cam

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The four Smithsonian’s National Zoo cheetah cubs, who live at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia, curiously cruise around outside a lot. But they curl up indoors when it’s chilly—and that’s when you’ll see them live on-camera, snug in their cozy den in view of the Cheetah Cub Cam. You may even hear them purr like kittens! 

When you don’t see the cheetah cubs curled up napping with their mother, Echo, in their den, you can catch up on their big debut year with the zoo’s gallery of photos and videos documenting the cheetah family’s adventures. 

6. Kansas City Zoo: Polar Bear Cam

Kansas City Zoo: Polar Bear Cam

Kansas City Zoo

Look out, Michael Phelps — Berlin, star of the Kansas City Zoo polar bear pool, loves swimming laps. Her buddy Nuniq prefers tearing up his toys (balls and barrels mostly). Because these big white beasties prefer the cold, the water in their habitat is kept at a brisk 65 degrees, and their behind-the-scenes private bedrooms actually have AC!

On the Kansas City Zoo Polar Bear Cam, you can watch the polar bears nap, swim, and enjoy feeding time like the total foodies they are, chowing down on anything from fruits and veggies to trout, capelin, and other fish.

7. Maryland Zoo: Elephant Cam

Maryland Zoo: Elephant Cam

Maryland Zoo

The Maryland Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the whole country (it dates way back to 1876—just try saying “1876” without giving it a Hamilton beat). It’s also home to a herd of African elephants you can watch every day on the zoo’s Elephant Cam, with a view of the animals’ huge, grassy habitat.

Did you know that elephants, like the ones you’ll see here, use their trunks as a water straw when they’re thirsty, and as a snorkel when they swim? They also weigh over 200 pounds—when! they’re! born!—and thousands upon thousands when full-grown. They’re Earth’s largest land mammal, after all. And you thought that there was nothing good to watch on TV!