On our second day in Florida, we visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It was a much different experience than the Magic Kingdom, which we’d visited the day before. We arrived at the park at 9 am, caught the trolley to the gates, and entered the park. The boys were all excited because we had parked in the “Unicorn” parking lot. They knew exactly where to go to find the car.
The first place we went to was DinoLand. We entered that particular section of the park under a 52-foot Brachiosaurus. It was like stepping back in time to a prehistoric land.
On the left was the “Boneyard,” a prehistoric playground. Be sure to take in the fossil-filled maze and fly down the seven prehistoric slides if you visit the park. Play a tune on a prehistoric xylophone that is made entirely of bones. This is great fun for both the young and the young at heart.
There were a few rides in this area, but not as much information on dinosaurs as I would have liked to have seen. The boys had fun on the Triceratops Spin. They sat in a Triceratops, which flew above the crowd.
The last thing we did in DinoLand was to walk the Cretaceous Trail. Here we saw a variety of lush vegetation and animal species. The trail also features, “dino dig” sites.
Next, we wandered into Africa. The first thing we saw was the “Tree of Life.” It was magnificent.
The tree is carved with over 325 images of animals. It is 14 stories high and 50 feet wide at the base. While walking the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, we were able to get close enough to the tree to touch the carving. We then entered the research center where lush African foliage grows in abundance. We got close to East African mammals, birds, fish and visited the bird aviary. Brandon was especially interested in the flamingos and explained to us that they keep their pink color by eating shrimp.
The entire trail is an awesome experience. We passed through forests and besides numerous waterfalls and streams. Jordan was especially enthralled with the Silverback Gorillas, as was I. We stood within 20 feet of these magnificent creatures. An experience I never dreamed of having in my entire life.
Our next expedition was on the African Savannah. We stepped into open-air vehicles for a safari adventure. We saw giraffes, gazelles, lions, hippos, elephants and numerous other animals roaming free. A baby elephant had been born a few weeks earlier at the park and he was enjoying the company of his mother in their natural habitat.
We drove through rivers, streams, mud and over rocky hills and plains. We even chased down a group of poachers. Though the ride was a bit bumpy and one bridge was a bit rickety, we had a terrific time.
The Oasis was equally as interesting. We left the world behind and entered a lush tropical garden. Exotic birds and animals were everywhere. We saw tree kangaroos, wallabies, Chinese deer, Perma Wallaby, a giant anteater, and other amazing creatures.
Next, we planned on seeing the 3D “It’s Tough to Be a Bug,” show. However, the entrance was under the “Tree of Life.” When we got there, both boys said it was too noisy. Crickets were chirping and since Brandon has a fear of bugs, I thought it best to pass. Dwight and Mom enjoyed it, but said that the boys wouldn’t have. So, I made the right call. This show is not for small children if they have even the least disliking for bugs.
Discovery Island Trails
Discovery Island Trails wind around the Tree of Life. The boys were awestruck by the sight of Galapagos tortoises, lemurs, and tamarins. Trees, streams and grass filled with a variety of wildlife added to the wonder.
Remember Rafiki from Disney’s movie, “The Lion King?” Well, Rafiki’s Planet Watch was a source of delight for everyone. At the Conservation Station, we learned about conservation, veterinary medicine, animal surgery, and animal nutrition. Interactive experiences included, “Mermaid Tales Theater,” “Song of the Rainforest,” and “Eco Heroes.” The boys were given passports to get stamped throughout the park. They were excited to collect the stamps, which showed pictures of wildlife. When they left the park, they were given a special large stamp at Guest Services.
The park closed at 5pm, which was a disappointment. We weren’t able to get to “Asia,” at all. You need a full day to see all there is to see at Animal Kingdom. However, even though we didn’t see everything, it was a great day filled with the wonder of nature. The boys are still talking about it and will for weeks to come. …..