Discovering Wildlife and Wonders From Home

It’s the time of year when the natural world in Virginia is full of new life, with baby animals being born in our zoos and aquariums and public gardens showing off their beauty in full bloom. Even though we can’t experience these things in person right now, it doesn’t mean we can’t experience them at all. We’ve got plenty of ways to satisfy your curiosity about wildlife, nature and the wonder of the world around us from home.

Bring a smile to your face by watching daily videos of “animal ambassadors,” from parrots to ferrets (warning: cuteness overload), take live virtual tours of zoos and aquariums, explore the wonder of Luray Caverns through VR, and nurture your curiosity about space by chatting with experts from the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Center, for starters.    

Wildlife, Natural Wonders and Gardens 

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers virtual visits and audio tours, online learning and activities for kids, recipes from the Garden Cafe and resources for families to learn about gardening at home. 
  • The Virginia Zoo’s Augmented Reality Tour gives curious animal lovers the inside scoop with a virtual tour featuring 12 stops around the Zoo. The tour educates virtual visitors about the Zoo’s animal residents, conservation efforts for the species, provides behind-the-scenes videos and more! There are also downloadable, animal-related activity sheets. 
  • The Virginia Living Museum offers Natural Education Virtual Learning, with a full lineup of new content daily on their blogs and social media channels from morning until night. Topics range from live Q&A chats with staff zookeepers and aquarists to strange animal facts and lessons on Virginia Skies – the possibilities are endless! 
  • The Wildlife Center of Virginia offers a variety of online experiences that both educate and entertain. They have “Critter Cams” with moderated discussions, “Backyard Bingo” sheets and coloring pages, Facebook Live videos with trivia games, virtual tours and more. 
  • The Mill Mountain Zoo posts weekly videos featuring their Education Ambassador Animals – you’ll get lost in dozens of adorable animal videos. 
  • Virginia Aquarium provides virtual tours of the aquarium and a comprehensive list of age-specific lesson plans, projects, videos and more for grades Pk-12.

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center hosts over 800,000 gallons of aquariums and live animal habitats focusing on Virginia’s diverse and unique marine environment.

  • Discover a subterranean world of wonder and experience Luray Caverns in 360 video. Use your headphones for the guided audio tour and if you have a virtual reality headset, take the tour via VR on YouTube

Virtual Science 

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
  • Air and Space Anywhere provides videos and interactive activities for distance engagement with the Museum for virtual visitors of all ages, including the AirSpace podcast, virtual tours of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, activities and games, 3D exploration of artifacts, pioneer stories and more. They also offer Facebook Live chats with a variety of experts from the Museum, each with a different theme and an online learning page that features videos and activities for K-12 learning.
  • Science Museum of Virginia offers videos that teach about science words, the recipe for planetary habitability and more. Their “Experimental Musings” blog covers multiple STEM topics from the Keto diet to seasonal allergies for pets.