National Geographic Animal Jam

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Animal Jam
National Geographic Animal Jam Smart Bomb Logo.png
Current logo
Developer(s) WildWorks
Publisher(s) National Geographic Society
Engine PC, Mac, Linux, Android, IOS
Platform(s) Online
Release date(s) September 14, 2010
Genre(s) MMO, Virtual World, Zoology, Science, Educational game Animals

National Geographic Animal Jam is a massively multiplayer online virtual world launched in 2010 by WildWorks in partnership with the National Geographic Society. The game, which has experienced 500% year-over-year growth, has more than 30 million registered players,[1] and it is one of the fastest-growing online kids properties worldwide.[2]

Animal Jam takes place in the world of Jamaa, which is composed of various ecological environments populated by player-created animal characters. Players choose an anonymous three-part name for each animal they create (e.g. "Lucky Loudotter" or "Captain Kookybird") and they can interact with one another by chatting, trading items, or by participating in multiplayer games and parties.


The game was developed in 2010 by WildWorks (also Smart Bomb Interactive) and it was launched in September 14, 2010.[3] It is one of the fastest-growing online kids properties worldwide; in May 2011, Animal Jam announced it had surpassed 1 million registered players.[4] By August 2012, the game surpassed 6 million players. In March 2013 the game had surpassed 10 million players.[5] In 2014, it was announced Animal Jam has reached 30 million players worldwide.[2]

Communication and safety[edit]

Animal Jam contains three versions of in-game chat, which offer varying levels of restriction. Restricted Chat, the default setting, only allows players to type pre-selected words or phrases. Bubble Chat does not allow players to type messages, but they can select expressive words and phrases from a pre-approved list. Safe Chat allows players to freely type words and phrases, which are still run through the game’s safety chat filter. Parents can control players’ chat settings from the site’s parent dashboard.[6]

The game is free from outside advertising and it adheres to a strict privacy policy.[7]

Educational elements[edit]

In addition to in-game nature facts and activities, Animal Jam provides educational video content featuring National Geographic herpetologist Brady Barr[4] and marine biologist Tierney Thys.[8]


Animal Jam shirts, books, notebooks, wristbands, tote bags and mousepads are sold on the Animal Jam Outfitters site.[9]

In 2013, WildWorks partnered with Sidekix to produce a set of eight stuffed animals modeled after Animal Jam avatars that can "flip" into a ball.[10]

In March 2015, WildWorks announced it had registered Commonwealth Toys and Novelty as master toy licensee.[11] Currently, Commonwealth is producing a new toy line called "Enchanted Earth".

Mobile apps[edit]

On July 18, 2013, a mobile app based upon the game titled "Tunnel Town" was released.[12] The game allows for players to create their own "bunny empires" by purchasing new rabbit species. Later in 2013, a second Animal Jam mobile game was made available for purchase, titled "AJ Jump."[13] This game centers on kangaroos (which, at the time, were recently introduced to the Animal Jam game) and is very similar in format to "Doodle Jump."[14] After two years without an Animal Jam-based mobile game release, WildWorks released "Play Wild," a 3D mobile version of the Animal Jam universe.[15] As of the moment, "Play Wild" is not connected to the PC version of Animal Jam.

Game economy and trading[edit]

The in-game economy is made up of gems that can be obtained by playing games, and diamonds that can be purchased from the AJ Outfitters' site. Members also get a weekly diamond as part of their membership.

Gem donations[edit]

The Gem donation box in the Conservation Museum is one way that Animal Jam helps support the mission of the National Geographic Society to inspire kids to care about the planet.[16] A significant portion of all revenue Animal Jam collects goes to support National Geographic's worldwide conservation efforts. By June 2012, players enabled the Animal Jam creators at Smart Bomb Interactive to contribute over $3 Million to the National Geographic Society's work. The Play Wild Fund was introduced in November 2011 to allow players to choose which animals and conservation efforts they wanted to donate to.[17]


Award Recipient Result
Mr. Dad[18] National Geographic Animal Jam Won
National Parenting Publications Awards[19] National Geographic Animal Jam Won
Mom's Choice Awards[20] National Geographic Animal Jam Won
Life Buzz Award[21] National Geographic Animal Jam Won Readers' Choice Awards[22] National Geographic Animal Jam Won
Webby Awards, Games Category[23] National Geographic Animal Jam Nominated


The game has received mixed to positive reviews. Common Sense Media reviewer Dana Villamagna gave Animal Jam a 3-star rating, saying that the site was most appropriate for ages ten and over due to dangerous "unmonitored chat."[24] Gamezebo reviewer Nick Tylwalk gave the site a 4-star review, stating that "there's something [here] for animal lovers over a wide range of ages."[25]


  1. ^ Crawley, Dan (March 2015). "Animal Jam teams with Free the Children to encourage global citizenship in kids". VentureBeat. 
  2. ^ a b "National Geographic Animal Jam surpasses 6 million young players". PRNewswire. August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Young Explorers Experience Ultimate Online Playground With National Geographic Animal Jam". National Geographic. August 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Takahashi, Dean (May 2011). "National Geographic virtual world Animal Jam hits a million kids". Venture Beat. 
  5. ^ Grubb, Jeffrey (March 2013). "National Geographic’s Animal Jam reaches 10 million players — iOS spin-off in the works". VentureBeat. Retrieved October 2014. 
  6. ^ "What types of chat can I set for my child's account?". Animal Jam Help Center. 
  7. ^ Schiff, Allison (December 2014). "Animal Jam: 'Monetizing An App For Kids Is Easy - Doing It Ethically Is What's Hard'". Adexchanger. 
  8. ^ Abraham, Kera (June 2014). "Marine biologist and science educator is on a mission to promote ocean stewardship.". Monterey County Weekly. 
  9. ^ "Animal Jam Outfitters". 
  10. ^ "Sidekix". 
  11. ^ "Animal Jam lands master toy licensee". March 10, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Tunnel Town". 
  13. ^ "AJ Jump". 
  14. ^ WildWorks. "AJ Jump: Animal Jam Kangaroos! - Android Apps on Google Play". 
  15. ^ "Play Wild". 
  16. ^ National Geographic. "Animal Jam". National Geographic Kids. National Geographic. Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  17. ^ "Smart Bomb And Animal Jam Help Conserve Big Cats With Today's Launch Of The 'Play Wild' Fund". Develop Online. 
  18. ^ "Seal of Approval Winners, Father’s Day 2011". Mr. Dad. June 2011. Retrieved October 2014. 
  19. ^ "National Parenting Publications Awards :: Virtual". National Parenting Publications Awards. Retrieved October 2014. 
  20. ^ "Mom's Choice Awards - Store". Mom's Choice Awards - Store. Retrieved October 2014. 
  21. ^ "Jodie Lynn's Life Buzz Award Program". Jodie Lynn's Life Buzz Award Program. Jodie Lynn. Retrieved October 2014. 
  22. ^ Matte, Christy (2011). "Best Website for Elementary School Kids - 2011 Readers' Choice Award Winner". About Parenting. Christy Matte. Retrieved 2014-12-28. 
  23. ^ "Smart Bomb's National Geographic Animal Jam Nominated in 17th Annual Webby Awards". National Geographic. April 12, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Common Sense Media - Animal Jam". 
  25. ^ "Gamezebo Animal Jam Review". Gamezebo. 

External links[edit]