Monday, October 28, 2013

Learning at Disney! (part 2)

Learning at Animal Kingdom:

There are so many wonderful learning opportunities at Animal Kingdom that it is hard to fit it all in one day! Below are some of the great learning opportunities available at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park:

1. The first thing we did was head right to the Kilimanjaro Safari rides. This was one of the things Chickadee was looking forward to most on our vacation! (She's an animal lover through and through!) We actually grabbed a fast pass before jumping in regular line and this enabled us to ride it 2 times! The first time through it was raining, which turned out to be cool because all the elephants were in the water spraying and playing! We learned that elephants don't like to be in wet unless they are actually IN the water, so anytime it rains, they all head to the watering hole. (Even mom and dad can learn at Disney!) Other animals we saw were Nile Crocodiles, Lions, Giraffes, Flamingos, Hippos, Rhinos, and many more! It's a great attraction that gets you pretty close to some great creatures in a more natural habitat.


2. Another great learning activity is the "Conservation Station" and Rafiki's Planet Watch. To reach this area, you have to take a short train ride to an area of the park only accessible by train. On they way back, you see a little bit of the "behind the scenes" parts of Animal Kingdom, including how they care for all their animals. Once you arrive, you walk down a path full of information on how to protect both local and native wildlife to animals in other countries. Inside the building there are many hands on activities and experiences that allow you and your children to learn about the importance of conversation and the effect humans have on nature. We got to see x-rays of a turtle that had pieces of plastic bags and balloons in his stomach, learn about how Africans are developing positive ways to keep elephants out of their farms (By using bee hives - it's pretty cool), and so much more! Behind the building, there is a petting zoo area where kids can brush goats and pigs that are free roaming. When you are done learning, you simply hop back on the train and take it back to the main area of the park!

3. We also headed to the dinosaur area where Chickadee was able to play on the awesome playground (The Boneyard) and look at different dinosaur fossils. This is a great area for kids to learn and play WITH their parents as the playground is built to accommodate grown-ups too! There is also a dinosaur ride (which we skipped due to Chickadee's age and easily being afraid) but for older kids is a fun ride. 

4. There are also many trails and walking paths all throughout the park that lead you to different animal habitats. One trail in the Asia area leads you to tigers and other native animals. The Pangani forest trail leads to Gorillas and other animals. There are a lot of different interactive areas along these trails that incorporate learning with fun!

5. Our FAVORITE learning activity at this park was the "Wilderness Explores"  challenge. Based off of Russell in the Disney movie "Up," kids (and adults) get a passport book with different activities to complete. When you complete an activity you earn a "badge" (sticker) that corresponds with that challenge  There are over 30 challenges and activities to complete all throughout the park! Chickadee (and myself) had a fun time seeing what each challenge was and completing them for the badge. We earned over 20 in one visit, but they told us at the beginning it is almost impossible to do them all at one time! Some of the activities included identifying dinosaur bones, animal find badge, conservation badges, music badges, etc. This is a great new (and free!) way to explore this park and take home something to remember all the things you encountered and completed! 

I know there are many other great learning opportunities at this park! These were some of our favorites and I hope that you are able to learn and explore them with your family someday too! 

Learning through play is the best way! 

Until our next adventure,