Pocket Penguins

Common Sense Media says

Free live penguin webcam is simple but fascinating.






What parents need to know

Ease of play

Switching between webcams is simple, and pretty much the only options on the app. If you want to see the biologist presentation live, you have to log on at 10:30 a.m. or 3 p.m. PST. There's also a pre-recorded presentation, but the option to watch that at any time is not readily apparent on the app; it seemingly only shows up when connection to the webcam is lost or buffering takes too long.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

One user review observed that penguin mating is sometimes seen on the live webcam.

Not applicable

There's a "Purchase Tickets" icon on the main screen, and users are encouraged to donate $5 to the California Academy of Sciences via text.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Pocket Penguins is a delightful webcam app that shows a group of African penguins in captivity swimming, interacting, and feeding at the California Academy of Sciences' penguin observation area. This app is perfect for penguin lovers to watch and observe the little waddlers from three webcams, as well as see a biologist give twice-daily presentations. There's a mild push for app users to purchase tickets or make a donation.

What kids can learn



  • animals
  • biology

Engagement, Approach, Support


Penguins are especially cute at feeding times. Some kids might want to revisit, but the charm could wear off quickly for others as the penguins aren't always active.

Learning Approach

Simple live cam with no bells or whistles is limited for deep learning. However, used in conjunction with adult-created or kid-initiated research, lessons, or materials, it could boost learning potential.


Limited support within the app, but kids can visit the Cal Academy of Sciences website to learn more about life in a penguin colony, penguin behaviors, and penguins in the wild.

What kids can learn



  • animals
  • biology

Kids can learn about penguin behavior (within the confines of an aquarium environment) by watching them via the live webcams on Pocket Penguins. Kids can practice their observation skills by viewing the penguins both above and below water. They can also learn some penguin facts if they tune in to watch a California Academy of Sciences biologist make a presentation at the exhibit twice daily (10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. PST). Pocket Penguins is an interesting way to view a live penguin exhibit, but the app doesn't include much information or interactivity.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

Parents say

Kids say

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What's it about?

Kids can observe African penguins in a human-made habitat above and below the water via three webcams. Kids can also listen to a marine biologist give a presentation about the penguins by opening the app at 10:30 a.m. or 3 p.m. PST. To choose the webcam they want to view, kids simply tap on the camera icon in the top right hand corner and then tap on "Main," "Underwater," or "Biologist." If the connection is lost, kids will see the option to watch a recording of the biologist presentation.

Is it any good?


There's something calming yet engrossing about watching these African creatures go about their day on these three webcams. The pre-recorded biologist presentation is good -- if the option to watch it pops up. Otherwise, if you want to hear the Q&A session with the biologist feeding the penguins twice daily, you have to open the app at 10:30 a.m. or 3 p.m. PST. It would be nice to have more information about what viewers are watching available to read on the app all the time, in order to understand the behavior better. A discount on tickets to the actual exhibit is available on the app.

Families can talk about...

  • Find supplemental learning materials about penguins from the library or penguin websites so your kids can understand some of the penguin behavior they see.

  • Encourage your kids to think about what interests them in what they're observing and write down questions or ideas that result.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook HD
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:July 5, 2011
Size:31.80 MB
Publisher:California Academy of Sciences
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.0 or later, Android 2.2 and up

This review of Pocket Penguins was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byAngie Blount July 20, 2013


My little boy who is almost 6 loves everything penguins! He has a blue penguin with a red santa hat (TY boo beanie) that he calls Pa-Pa Penguin which is what got him into penguins! He tells me almost everyday that he wishes he was a penguin and this app is perfect for him! He loves it! There is not much going on with the penguins when I have watched it but they are moving and my son seems to love it. We have only had it for a day so I can't wait til tomorrow at 10:30 and at 3:00 so that I an show him the presentations by the keepers. The only thing I have seen is that it buffers a lot..otherwise perfect! THANK YOU!!!!
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