'There's a lion in our living room': parents are creating virtual zoos to get through lockdown

Photos: Supplied using Google 3D Animals
Photos: Supplied using Google 3D Animals 

I'm not sure about you, but even at this early stage of lockdown I am desperately searching for ways to keep my kids entertained - whether there is a screen involved or not.

And so I thought I'd do a PSA about a very clever and unique feature Google has implemented that is sure to keep your little (and big) ones busy for at last half an hour. 

A friend of mine living in London first heard about it on a school mums WhatsApp group last week - and since then i've seen it popping up on various friends' Facebook and Instagram pages around the world. 

Photo: Supplied via Google 3D Images
Photo: Supplied via Google 3D Images 

Google 3D Animals: What is it?

Last year, Google announced they would be adding augmented reality (AR) objects to Search. Since then they have added a number of 3D animals that you view in Google search using AR.

It also provides some key facts about the animal - so you could definitely classify it as educational! Pure genius. 

And isolation is the perfect time to try them all out! 

Google 3D Animals

Photo: Google

How to do it

If you type an animals name into Google - on an iPhone or Android -  you'll see an overview, a few images, then a section which says and then press "Meet a life-sized tiger up close" and a "View in 3D" button.

That button launches the AR experience - it brings up your camera and then 30 seconds later you have a tiger in your house!


You can take a photo of the kids with them and they can walk around it.

We've tried lion, bear, shark, penguin, horse, pony, and cheetah too, but there are others. 

Be warned - there is no monkey or unicorn, which eventuated in my four-year-old having a major meltdown.

Photos: Supplied using Google 3D Animals
Photos: Supplied using Google 3D Animals 

Here's a full list. 
Emperor penguin
Angler fish
Brown bear
Shetland pony
Golden Retriever

Photos: Supplied using Google 3D Animals

It will blow your toddler's mind and honestly, I think I enjoyed it more than the kids.

Also, this technology is certainly not just useful for parents - there is a world of fun to be experienced by trying it out with your pets, partner or housemates! 

You're welcome. 

Want to connect with other mums for a chat and a laugh during lockdown? Join Deputy Editor Heidi Krause for our Virtual Parent's Group - every Tuesday at 12pm on our Facebook page. See you there!