The highly respected San Diego Zoo provides some "aww"-inspiring views of its exhibits with a set of four Webcams recording the antics of some of zoo's most celebrated denizens: apes (orangutans and siamangs, to be precise), African elephants, pandas, and polar bears.
12. Under the Sea
Check out the medley of live underwater and above-water Webcams showing aquatic life at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. Attractions include cameras trained on the aquarium's kelp forest tank, outer bay tank, aviary, penguin exhibit, sea otter environment, and freshwater otter exhibit. All of those extremities adapted for underwater travel really put the web in Webcam.
13. Inside 'Ellen'
View behind-the-scenes activity at the studios of comedian Ellen Degeneres's talk show, in the form of still shots updated every 10 seconds from each of three Webcam, including one trained on the audience. This site also shows a cool record of the last 24 hours of video from each of the cameras.
14. Beach Bums
You can vicariously experience the good life down under through this Webcam as residents of Tauranga City, New Zealand, take to the waves. This interactive Webcam lets you scan the length of beautiful Mount Maunganui beach; a companion cam provides a panoramic view of Tauranga Harbour. And if your concerns are more pedestrian, the BayfairCam invites you to watch the foot traffic outside the entrance of a Kmart in the Bayfair Shopping Centre in Mount Maunganui.
15. Niagara Falls
This Webcam, perched atop the Embassy Suites Hotel on the Ontario side of the Niagara River, provides a spectacular live view of the rip-roaring vertical rapids of Niagara Falls, where visitors have traveled to ogle the thundering whitewater (and to honeymoon) since around 1820.
16. Cubicle Cam
Escape the drudgery and sterile solitude of your cubicle by visiting Mandy, a Jersey girl who gives the world a 9:30-to-6:30 (Eastern Time) window into her desk-bound work life. Thanks to her Webcam's fishbowl lens, her workplace resemble the brightly lit interior of a jumbo jet. How does her ergonomic setup compare to yours?
17. Whiskey Watching
The Bruichladdich Distillery on Scotland's Isle of Islay has set up a moving camera that enables you to watch a fine single-malt whiskey mature. (But please, don't fall for the "Smell Whisky online" feature.) Warning: This riveting experience is not for the faint of heart; if you can handle it, however, you may be ready to graduate to the Official Watching Paint Dry Webcam, for an eyeful of a process that doesn't take 10 years to complete.
Walk down the aisle with starry-eyed couples at a Las Vegas wedding chapel. The Chapel Cams aren't always available, but click Other Cameras and then Multiple Camera Views for a reliable stream. (Note: We suspect that late-night viewing is the most productive.) Extra points for a Britney sighting.
19. Poolside Party
Once the weather warms up, this poolside Webcam will let you watch the crowds chilling in and around the pools at the Avista Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. (Note: In winter, the chilling may be a bit close to the bone to encourage much activity.) A quick pan up, and you can scan the shore, too.
20. Tee Time
You may not have time to tee off during the day, but that doesn't mean you can't stop by the oldest golf course in the world. St. Andrew's Old Course in Scotland gives you a multicamera, user-controlled panel to take an armchair stroll around the grounds and see how the day's players are doing. Morning is the best time to visit from the States because of the time difference.
All right, you have your online sightseeing roadmap--now get started on your adventures. Just don't get too excited and do something silly like set up a Webcam of you watching Webcams. That might be getting a little too wild.
Looking for more great timewasters? Try these:
- Gear of the Year
- The Best and Worst Movies About the Internet
- The 11 Stupidest Moments in Tech for 2008
This story, "The 20 Wildest Webcams" was originally published by PCWorld.