Virtual Vivarium

A Virtual experience using Google Earth - that you can try at home too!

About the Virtual Vivarium

Developed using Google Earth, the Virtual Vivarium can be used by any visitor wanting to know more about Manchester Museum Vivarium.

  • Locate where in the world all the amphibian and reptile species in the Vivarium are from using distribution data from the IUCN and using expert knowledge from the team at Manchester Museum Vivarium
  • Find detailed species descriptions including photographs, links to the Frog Blog and video clips
  • Understand habitat change for tropical frogs by providing a time series of satellite images and mapping data to understand how the rainforests of Madagascar and Costa Rica have changed

This work is a result of a collaborative project with Mimas and Manchester Museum. The project team consists of:

Gail Millin-Chalabi
Geodata Development Officer/Project Manager (Mimas)
Adam Bland
Vivarium Assistant (Manchester Museum)
Andrew Gray
Curator of Herpetology (Manchester Museum)
Tom Hart
UX Developer (Mimas)
Stephen Devine
New Media Officer (Manchester Museum)

The Virtual Vivarium can be used at home and in the classroom with the aim to help you to discover species that are behind the scenes at the Vivarium and are part of a long-term conservation programme.

Download at home

To use the Virtual Vivarium at home, first you need to download Google Earth. Visit the Google Earth website and click Download Google Earth, and follow the instructions for your machine.

Once you have downloaded and installed Google Earth, download our KMZ file. A KMZ file contains all of the interesting Geospatial data you need in order to look at the endangered species using Google Earth.

How to use the KMZ file

Ensure you have the KMZ file downloaded and Google Earth installed.

  1. Within Google Earth, Click on File, and then Open.
  2. Locate the KMZ file you downloaded, and click Open
  3. A list will appear on the left side of the screen in Google Earth, called The Vivarium @ Manchester Museum. You can now either:
    1. Click on a checkbox for the data to appear within Google Earth
    2. Double click on a checkbox, to view the area and the information of that species or point of interest.
  4. Once you are finished, you can click off the checkbox and find another interesting point to discover!


Try out the Reptiles Finder Quiz (402 KB). Tell us how we could improve it, what you liked, and visit our blog for more useful information!