Monday, March 16, 2015

Website Review: Smithsonian National Zoological Park

The SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL PARK website is a fun way to learn about animals and science.
Start your website exploration with the “Zoo News”. These press releases contain text, images, and sometimes video associated with a news item such as the birth of an animal or a new scientific discovery. They’re great for informational reading or for current events activities.
The “Meet Our Animals” section of the website is likely to be the most popular area with children. The Animal Index provides images and in some cases information about hundreds of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish in the collection. If you can’t visit the zoo in person, you can still enjoy the animals live on the zoo cams. In addition, users can explore groups of animals and exhibits. Many of these pages contains information and activities. The “National Zoo E-Cards” page provides access to animal images and the opportunity to write a message and send it through email.
The “Science” section of the website explores the conservation activities of the zoo. These research initiatives, laboratories, and centers are a great way for youth to learn about the scientists who work behind-the-scenes at the zoo and in the field. These projects would be a effective way to jump-start student science projects.
The “Conservation Central” online habitat education program is a fun way for youth to learn about the animals of temperate forest habitats. This section includes curriculum materials along with online interactives.
The “Smithsonian Biodiversity Science in the Classroom” materials provide videos and lessons plans for upper elementary students.
The website is available at To extend the experience, be sure to check out their social media presence including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Instagram sites to keep up on the latest news and information about the zoo and its animals.
In addition to the website, an app is available from both the App Store and Google Play at While the app includes features such as an interactive map and schedules for zoo visitors, it also provides lots of useful information such as an animal index and live animal cams for those not able to visit in person.