So obviously with a name like “Disney’s Animal Kingdom” – you expect there to be a LOT of animals – and Disney does NOT disappoint. For those of you who have never been, here’s a rundown of the best animal experiences at Animal Kingdom:
Discovery Island Trails: Use your Animal Kingdom Guide map to find the trails that lead around the Tree of Life, and you’ll find some great creatures scattered along the route. Birds like cranes, white storks, ducks, flamingos giant tortoises, otters, lemurs, kangaroos, are just some of the amazing animals you’ll find waiting for you along the trails. The best time to check these animals out is in the morning as the park opens – most people are rushing off to rides and other attractions, so the trails are nice and quiet, and a great place to experience and learn about some new animals
Kilimanjaro Safaris: Board a “jeep” and head out on “safari” into the animal reserve, where your driver/tour guide will point out the various animals along the way. There are a LOT of them to see on this ride – so have your eyes open and your cameras ready! The Black Rhinos can be found sipping from the watering hole, and you might spot some Okapi too (think of them as a cousin to the zebra and the giraffe – with stripes and long tongues). Hippos will be up next, splashing around in the waterfalls, and then once you pass through all the vegetation you’ll find yourselves staring out at the large, open savannah. Giraffes, Antelopes, and Ostriches are roaming around freely, and you can also spot a family of baboons, and elephants too. The flamingoes will be handing out on their “hidden Mickey” shaped island, and be on the lookout for cheetahs and lions, too! I suggest riding this one multiple times if you can, as you never get quite the same experience twice – you will likely see different animals every time
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail: You will feel like you actually stepped into the heart of the African forest as you enter into the jungle like trails – where you will obviously be seeing gorillas, but there’s much more in store, too. Monkeys, antelopes, and more Okapis can be seen as you make your way to a “research building” – with a few exhibits, including the Naked Mole Rats – who are pretty interesting creatures! They are the only hairless rodents, and they live entirely underground in burrowed tunnels/trails similar to insect colonies. Next up is the aviary area – where birds are all around you – including many species of rare African birds. Meerkats and members of the antelope family greet you as you make your way to the Gorilla Research Camp – home of the gorilla family, and there are cast members there who can answer any questions you might have about them. This trail offers tons of viewing and educational opportunities, and is great for those of all ages
Flights Of Wonder: Performed multiple times each day, this live action show teaches and showcases the abilities of several species of birds – including macaws, cranes, hawks, and more! Humor plays a part in this – with a singing parrot and a tour guide full of jokes, but the message of conservation is present as well, which is an important one for even little ones to learn, too. When the “show” is over don’t rush away – as the handlers will bring out some birds (owls and hawks) for you to get up close and personal with (and take bird selfies with too, if you’re so inclined!)
While the most popular attractions at other Walt Disney Parks may be the rides or characters, for those that take the time to really explore Animal Kingdom, the animals themselves that are the stars of the show! Make sure you set aside at least a day to spend at Animal Kingdom when planning your Walt Disney World trip itinerary – as there is SO MUCH to see, and you want to have time to enjoying the rides but also the animals!
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