Finding balance between school time and playtime can be tough for most Northern Virginia families right now. And, in those rare moments when we find a kid-friendly resource that provides both entertainment and education at the same time, it feels like a big win.
Lucky for you, several institutions throughout the DMV are making it easy for kids to get their science fix through livestream footage of jellyfish, Blacktip Reef sharks, bald eagles and more. Plus, a few include virtual games that keep kiddos occupied searching for their favorite animals for hours on end. Find details about them all below.
Visiting the Blacktip Reef virtually gives shark lovers an up-close-and-personal look at how they spend their days underneath the water. In addition to the sharks, which get their name from the characteristic black tips on their dorsal and caudal fins, you’ll see colorful creatures of the reef like a whiptail ray slide past the camera too.
The Baltimore-based National Aquarium has one of the largest and most exquisite collections of jellyfish in the country. Through its live camera, the aquarium showcases the blue blubber jelly, typically found in the coastal waters of eastern and northern Australia, the Pacific sea nettle and so much more. Plus, there’s a witty, jellies-focused word search available online for young learners who want to discover more.
Pacific Coral Reef
The Pacific Coral Reef livestream is the perfect resource for youngsters studying the ecosystem, as it features a variety of reef fishes and colorful coral to explore. From the percula clownfish to the banggai cardinalfish, there’s a lot to see.
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What gives us #EarthOptimism AND the exact feeling in this emoji 🥰? Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute & @ColumbusZoo transferred 🐆 cheetah embryos produced by IVF to a surrogate cheetah mom for the first time. Result? #Conservation breakthrough +🐾 🐾 2 fuzzy cheetah cubs. #EarthDay @EarthOptimism
Smithsonian National Zoo
Cheetah Cub Cam
On April 8, the National Zoo’s cheetah, Echo, gave birth to four cubs. Now, the babies are being raised in Front Royal at the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, and you have the chance to witness them grow each day.
Naked Mole-Rat Cam
While small, naked mole-rats are complex creatures who spend most of their lives in large colonies with a single breeding female. Now in their new home at the National Zoo, you can witness them climb through 16 underground chambers and 25 feet of winding tunnels.
At the National Zoo, two lions roam their enclosure on a daily basis. While they sometimes retreat inside for food and proper care, you can witness them lounging atop the grass on a sunny day.
Giant Panda Cam
While you may not be able to see world-famous Tian Tiann and Mei Xiang in person right now, the National Zoo’s two live cams are the next best thing. Whether they’re eating bamboo or resting, the two giant pandas look incredibly cute no matter what.
The National Zoo is home to six Asian elephants: Spike, Shanthi, Bozie, Kamala, Swarna and Maharani. On any given day, you can witness them playing with their toys outside, spraying each other with water or laying down to catch some rays.
U.S. National Arboretum
At the DC-based National Arboretum, you’ll find Mr. President and The First Lady—the two bald eagles who live on the grounds. Through two livestreams, you can watch the birds rest in their nest or sit atop nearby trees, observing the vast land below.
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