Smithsonian Earth

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Smithsonian Earth App Poster Image
Stunning videos spotlight Earth's animals, natural wonders.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about animals, ecosystems, geography, and global awareness, but it's a passive experience.

Ease of Play

Easy to navigate.


Some videos include animal hunts and kills.


Email address and subscription required after 30-day free trial.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Smithsonian Earth is a subscription-based, nature-video streaming service. Subscribers can watch videos -- series, programs, documentaries, and more -- about the natural world. The 4K Ultra HD videos features stories about animals, ecosystems, and humans' interactions with both. Wide-ranging topics include the story of how the waters of the Florida Keys came to be protected to narratives like that of an 80-year-old Bajau sea diver. Some videos are narrated, some are not. Smithsonian Earth indicates that new videos are added weekly. Captions are available in English. After a 30-day free trial, a subscription to Smithsonian Earth is $3.99/month. One percent of subscription costs go to the Smithsonian Institutions research and conservation initiatives. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared. 

User Reviews

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What's it about?

To use SMITHSONIAN EARTH, view all video categories, programs, and featured videos. Tap on one to view. Tap "subscribe" and enter your email address and iTunes ID to begin the 30-day trial. To complete registration, add a password, and then watch and listen to the narrated videos. Tap the bubble icon to show captions or tap on the menu bar to view more options. Search for videos by keyword.

Is it any good?

The gorgeous nature scenes, informative narration, and breadth of topics included in this streaming service are impressive. There's so much to see and learn about on Smithsonian Earth, from sea turtles in Mexico and wildlife in Israel to the Rocky Mountains and nomadic tribes. Whether Smithsonian Earth is worth the $3.99/month subscription price will depend on how many videos individual users watch and how much new content is added. Unfortunately, the app doesn't include any interactive elements or extension ideas that could make this video-streaming service more appealing to kids and families and an even more useful learning tool.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what videos on Smithsonian Earth are particularly interesting. What animals are your kid's favorites to watch and learn about? Why? 

  • If you and your kid watch a video that touches on a troubling topic such as an endangered species, ecosystem degradation, or the impacts of global warming, talk about what people (and perhaps your family) can do to make a positive difference. 

  • Help kids continue exploring what they've discovered on these videos in more interactive ways. For ideas, check out Common Sense Media's Global Awareness Apps, Games, and Websites list.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Science: animals, ecosystems and the environment
    Social Studies: geography, global awareness
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try ($3.99/mo.)
  • Release date: December 20, 2017
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Size: 82.30 MB
  • Publisher: SN Digital
  • Version: 1.2.3
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.3 or later; Android 4.2 and up.
  • Last updated: October 21, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science and animals

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