Happy holidays, everyone! This is a great time of the year for zoos, aquariums and museums online. There’s an opportunity to engage with timely, intimate content that already has a personal connection with audiences. It’s also a time to be with loved ones- and zoos, aquariums, and museums are places that people can go with the folks that they care about. There are wins all around.
We are seeing a lot of the expected annoucements online being pushed through social media: reminders that the gift shop has something for everyone on your holiday list, friendly reminders that memberships make great gifts, promotions for holiday programs, and some of those end-of-the-year requests for donations. But there has also been a lot of more creative online engagement this holiday season as well! In fact, I found that often, the museums that had taken on more creative initiatives this holiday season really went for it and took on more than one fun project (hence some repeats in this list). It’s clear that the organizations that took the time to think about engaging audiences this season really capitalized on the potential during this time of year! Here are 31 ways that zoos, aquariums, and museums are engaging audiences online this holiday season.
Interestingly, I keep tabs on an even mix of zoos, aquariums, and museums.. but aquariums really had a lot going on this season! Getting this post via email? I suggest clicking here to see all of the great videos posted.
2) This year, museums have produced some downright silly, touching, and artistic holiday videos. Haven’t laughed yet today? Check out the holiday video below (complete with puppets AND the aquarium’s CEO) by the National Aquarium. My other favorites include this classy video by Museo Guggenheim Bilbao and this nice video by the South Australian Museum. I love that it has an intimate feeling about it with staff members presenting artifacts throughout the museum. Oh, and this holiday video makes me laugh from the Saint Louis Zoo, too!
3) The Smithsonian wants to know: which Santa is the scariest? My vote was for the Wild-Eyed Santa… but A Santa Hold-Up is a tad alarming.
5) Can a person die of cute-overload? Presenting: San Diego Zoo’s Special Moments of 2011:
6) Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is rocking the holidays on social media– especially in regard to making santa accessible. They conducted a live chat from the museum with him the week before Christmas.
7) The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis also has spunky YouTube interviews with Santa. Spoiler: his favorite cookie? Chocolate chip. And his favorite reindeer? Olive, obviously.
8) An important aspect of being part of a community is sharing the love and promoting other things that bring out the holiday spirit. So I need to include the Exploratorium’s cool blog post and informal interview video about Weaver’s Winter Wonderland.
10) Speaking of Hanukkah and the Contemporary Jewish Museum… they want to know:
12) Okay. This one is random. The Museum of Science, Boston has created cup holders (perfect for this cold, holiday season) to promote their Pompeii exhibit. The cup holders change color when they get hot, which is cool… but there’s something about the seriousness, attempted silence, and scrappiness of this Facebook video that makes it kind of funny and rather charming.
13) How fun is this? The Shelburne Museum shows us how to print holiday cards on their 1954 Heidelberg Press:
15) There were LOTS of create-and-send your own holiday e-card options from zoos, aquariums, and museums this year. Some examples: Monterey Bay Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo, and the Chicago Zoological Society.
16) On a related note, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art lets you tap into high-resolution pictures available without restriction so that you can make your own holiday card. Three cheers for image accessibility and sharing!
17) Georgia Aquarium staff conducted a surprise attack holiday dance party on site:
18) They also have a Singing Holiday Grouper:
19) The Smithsonian shared mistletoe facts from one of their botanists.
20) Museums represent! The Museum of Science, Boston asked Facebook fans to vote for them as their favorite gingerbread house. You can vote for the New England Aquarium’s gingerbread house, too. Eek. Stiff competition.
21) The Tennessee Aquarium took members on an expedition to Antarctica this holiday season. That’s cool, right? It’s cooler that they are reporting back with videos from the adventure.
Do you have more examples to share? Post them in the comments section to contribute to the list!
*A little reminder in holiday good spirit: If you use or reprint this post, please give proper attribution to Know Your Own Bone. Similarly, if you use this post as a significant lead for an article that you are writing yourself, please be kind and show some love. Happy holidays!
About the author
MPA. Chief Market Engagement Officer at IMPACTS Research & Development. Nonprofit marketer, Generation Y museum, zoo & aquarium writer/speaker, web engagement geek, data nerd, marathoner, nomad, herbivore