Virtual Field Trip:
San Diego Zoo

Grade: 2nd-6th; K-1 with family assistance

The San Diego Zoo has live camera feeds for 11 of its exhibits. This activity asks students to move their thinking from tourist to scientist to zoo architect! It is also good practice for digital skills such as navigating a website and using online forms.


Click to go to the zoo!


  1. Send a postcard

        1. Explore the different animal live cams by clicking on pictures of the animals. You will have to click the back button on your browser to return to the list of animal cams.

        2. When you see a good view of one of the animals, click the camera icon in the top right of the video feed.

        3. (REQUIRES FAMILY PERMISSION/HELP) Enter the email address of a family member. If you like, you can send different postcards to different family members.

              1. You can also email me at

              2. Note: you can enter the same email address in the from: and to: fields if you want to send one to yourself!

        4. Enter a note on your postcard. You can write something like:

“Hi Aunt Lu! It’s Nathan. I’m taking a virtual tour of the San Diego Zoo. Doesn’t this rhino look so lazy? Hope you like the photo I took!”

        1. Answer the question and press “Send”

  1. Record your observations

        1. Pick an animal cam

        2. How many animals can you see on the screen?

        3. Choose one animal to watch for 3 minutes

        4. What do you see it doing? Write down or draw your observations.

        5. Repeat with 2 more animal cams.

  2. Design a zoo enclosure

        1. Watch one of the videos below.

        2. Choose an animal you like - it doesn’t have to be one from the San Diego animal cams.

        3. Use a website like Nat Geo Kids, World Wildlife Fund, or Simple English Wikipedia to learn about your animal (and fill out the worksheet if you printed one.)

        4. Draw a zoo home for your animal.

            1. You can send a picture of your final enclosure to if you want us to share it on the BASEC @ Home website!

Videos about Designing a Zoo Enclosure

Questions to Ask:

  1. Sometimes, we can’t see any animals on the live cams. Which animals weren’t you able to see? Why do you think that is? (Take a guess!)

  2. Which animal was the most active?

  3. What were the animals doing most often?

Expanding the Activity:

  1. Return to the live cams throughout the day: try to view the animals in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Were there any differences in what the animals were doing based on time of day?