'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!

Advertisement

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. 
Lion
Tiger
Cheetah
Shark
Hedgehog
Duck
Emperor penguin
Wolf
Angler fish
Goat
Rottweiler
Snakes
Eagle
Brown bear
Alligator
Horse
Shetland pony
Macaw
Pug
Turtle
Cat
Octopus
Dog
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!