Woman sitting on couch with a small panda eating popcorn and a sloth outside in nature.
Illustration by Destiny Hall-Harper, The University of the Arts

5 Shows for Animal and Nature Lovers To Stream

To celebrate Earth Month, spend time exploring the planet with these delightful documentaries from the comfort of your home.

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Woman sitting on couch with a small panda eating popcorn and a sloth outside in nature.
Illustration by Destiny Hall-Harper, The University of the Arts

To celebrate Earth Month, spend time exploring the planet with these delightful documentaries from the comfort of your home.

As April is Earth Month, what better time to binge a nature show or documentary and break from the busy drama and day-to-day stress? Streaming services offer various programs that any animal person or nature lover will surely enjoy. Often a meditative experience, these shows provide incredible cinematography, gratifying stories and bountiful knowledge about our planet and its many mysteries. The following list names some of the best programs available to watch.

1. “Animal

“Animal” is an excellent show for the whole family. A nature documentary series made for Netflix, the show is composed of four specialized episodes in each of its two seasons. It’s narrated by famous actors such as Bryan Cranston, Rebel Wilson, Pedro Pascal and Rashida Jones. Each episode features a different celebrity narrator and a different animal as the focal point, with the latter being reflected in episode names such as “Big Cats,” “Octopus” and “Dogs.”

The episodes follow the respective animal families in nature and reveal the nuances of each creature and species. The show has breathtaking and exclusive footage that entertains and inspires viewers. Along with impressive photography and centralized stories that include many moving family-based narratives, this show expertly breaks up various worlds of the animal kingdom. It is an excellent option for a nature show to stream and a chance to learn all about animals.

2. “The Way of the Cheetah

National Geographic explorers-at-large, conservationists and filmmakers of the Great Plains, Dereck and Beverly Joubert created a film that uncovers the life and philosophy of the cheetah world. It was released in celebration of Big Cat Week 2022. “Way of the Cheetah” was filmed at the Great Plains’ Mara Nyika and Mara Plains camps and told the story of Immani and her new cubs as they move through the plains and navigate life as a family.

Immani remains dedicated to the survival of her cubs as she faces myriad threats from other cheetahs and other dangers.

In a quote explaining why they titled the film “The Way of the Cheetah,” Dereck Joubert said, “It’s this zen way that drove us to call the film ‘The Way of the Cheetah’, based on the ancient Chinese military treatise ‘The Art of War’ and ‘The Book of Five Rings,’ a study on the dedication required by Japanese martial arts. There are lessons to be learned from this total dedication to one thing. And that’s what cheetahs are: completely and utterly dedicated.”

The movie displays this remarkable determination with footage spanning several years. The Jouberts employ high-tech camera work and touching storytelling. With reverent narration by actor Jeremy Irons, this film promises to become a favorite and can be streamed on Disney+.

3. “Chimpanzee

“Chimpanzee,” a documentary by Disneynature and narrated by Tim Allen, follows the story of a young chimp named Oscar as he learns about the community around him and grows up in a loving bubble of care provided by his mother. As the unpredictable and dangerous life in the jungle dictates, a rival chimpanzee gang attacks their territory, and Oscar’s mother is injured and nowhere to be found.

After this tragedy, Oscar faces a multitude of challenges. He soon forgets many of the lessons she had taught him and struggles without any nurturer, as the other mothers refuse to take care of them and instead prioritize their offspring. Desperate, vulnerable and hopeless, a beautiful and unlikely pairing is formed when Oscar finds a caregiver in the alpha male of the group named Freddy.

Available to stream on Disney+, “Chimpanzee” is a touching movie about family and love. This documentary tugs at everyone’s heartstrings and highlights the relationships that can blossom between animals just as frequently as humans.

4. “America’s National Parks

Nature lovers will be familiar with the United States’ incredible national parks and protected lands filled with astonishing wildlife and landscapes. “America’s National Parks,” available on Disney+, displays the parks in a docuseries that explores a park per episode.

The show exhibits a close-up look at the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Everglades, Olympic, the Great Smoky Mountains, the Gates of the Arctic, Saguaro, and Yosemite. With state-of-the-art equipment and an in-depth look at the majestic flora and fauna found in the wildlands of the United States, this show is a solid option for viewers who are looking for a peaceful nature show.

Perhaps serving as a replacement for a trip to the parks in real life during pandemic uncertainty or simply as a relaxing background show, this program will satisfy any craving for nature. Another great option is “Our Great National Parks,” which is available on Netflix and hosted by former President Barack Obama.

5. “The Blue Planet

“The Blue Planet,” a classic for nature and marine life fans alike, remains a masterpiece. After nearly five years of filming, this British docuseries provides remarkable insight into the mysteries and marvels of the ocean. Each of the eight episodes uncovers a facet of sea life.

Some examples include incredible footage and facts on sharks and stories of the peaceful blue whales and their secret defensive maneuvers. Narrated by the legendary David Attenborough and a favorite documentary of many, this show places the viewer in the magical world of oceans, which is still considered one of Earth’s greatest mysteries.

The crew captured various creatures and behaviors that had never been filmed before and offered a step toward uncovering a sliver of those mysteries. “The Blue Planet” can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video or Discovery+ and is worth exploring for anyone who wants a glimpse into the world of ocean life.

Writer Profile

Julie Morse

Pomona College
English, French minor

Originally from New York City but came to California for college. Loves reading and writing in their free time and maybe wants to become an author or go into publishing.

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