When studying land creatures, we made sure that our lessons included Animal Kingdom African Animals. The next time you’re at Walt Disney World, take a bit of time away from the rides and add some science activities for middle school into your day.
Join us as we meet face to face with amazing African animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
A wide variety of animals call the jungles and savannas of Africa home. If you are like our family, and can’t plan a once in a life time trip to Africa, a great alternative is to make a trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK). DAK provides many opportunities to take your family’s learning on the road as you get “up close and personal” with these amazing creatures.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
When you arrive at Disney’s Animal Kingdom be sure to pick up a Park Map as well as an Animal Guide to help you plan your day. To document your learning you can take along a small notebook/journal and pencil for each child. Begin by using the Animal Guide to select 5-10 animals to focus on for the day. Then, make a page in your notebook for each animal. Throughout the day make notes about each animal (habitat, diet, interesting facts, etc.) and either draw the animal or take a photo. If you take a photo be sure to print the photos when you get home and place them the appropriate page in your notebook.
There are two main areas for viewing the African Animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail includes areas with lush vegetation and waterfalls which are home to animals such as:
- Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys
- Okapi (imagine giraffe that has a zebra body)
- Beautiful birds and ducks (too many to mention but there is a wonderful guide available inside the attraction to help identify the various types)
- An indoor “research station” has displays with Naked Mole Rats (not as cute as in the Kim Possible show), an African Pancake Tortoise, African Bullfrog, snakes and more
- As your journey continues you will see Hippopotamus enjoying a swim and Meerkats on the savanna (one day we were visiting the guide claims they were keeping a look out for a pesky hawk that was in the area)
- As the trail winds toward the end there are several groups of Western Lowland Gorilla
Throughout the Trail you will find information boards and exhibits to help you learn more about the animals. There will also be Guides (Cast Members) stationed throughout the Trail – be sure to stop and ask them questions about the animals you see, they are an incredible source of information!
The Kilimanjaro Safari offers a guided ride in an open-air vehicle through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.
*NOTE – Because the animals are constantly moving, every ride will be a unique experience. If you have time, try to visit this attraction at different times throughout the day in order to see different animals moving through the Reserve.*
On your Safari you will find:
- African Elephants
- Black Rhinoceros and White Rhinoceros
- Greater Flamingos (their private little island is in the shape of a hidden Mickey)
- African Lions
- Ankole Cattle
- Nile Crocodile
The Safari is designed to be more of an entertaining attraction than a science lesson, but the guides do a nice job of including a few interesting facts along the way. There is also a large sign posted inside of each Safari vehicle that includes a picture and the name of each animal on the safari to help everyone identify their favorites.
Which African animal would you most like to learn more about at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park?