The Oasis

The Oasis is the first themed area that you encounter when you step into Animal Kingdom park. Many guests breeze through this area on their way to the attractions that lay beyond. But if you’re an animal lover, take some time to explore the Oasis Exhibits.

The Exhibits showcase some interesting and rare species of both animals and plants. Look up and around you to see beautiful orchids and tropical plants. And many of the animal habitats provide a closer look than the other walking trails in the park. Some of the species you may encounter include the rhinoceros iguana, wallaby, babirusa, and many different kinds of birds.

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Plaques provide information about each animal, such as where it lives in the wild, what it eats, and special features or characteristics. The plaques also include quotes from famous naturalists and peace figures. Be on the lookout for a very special plaque near the entrance to the Oasis that marks the dedication of Animal Kingdom park. It emphasizes the wonder, beauty, and chance to learn from our natural world.

Babirusa Info Plaque

 

FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.L.14.3, SC.1.L.14.1, SC.2.L.17.2, SC.5.L.17.1
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Flame Tree Barbecue

This quick service restaurant is not only a great spot for a barbecue fix (they’re famous for their Flame Tree BBQ rub), it’s also a hidden learning opportunity.

Flame TreeAfter ordering and picking up from the main building, make your way to one of seven colorful pavilions for a table. Each pavilion is themed around a different predator/prey pair. This place is about eating after all! Look up and around you to find out who is chasing whom. This can be especially fun for younger children who may be drawn to the whimsical animals and the concept of matching.

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As you check out each pavilion, keep your eyes open for birds, anteaters, rabbits, spiders, fish, and more.

 

FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.1.L.17.1, SC.3.L.15.1, SC.4.L.17.2, SC.7.L.17.1, SC.7.L.17.2, SC.912.L.17.6

Cretaceous Trail

There’s a spot in DinoLand U.S.A. that’s a bit off the beaten path and is home to some hidden treasures. It’s even more elusive to many guests because it’s not actually on the guide maps. But between Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama and the DINOSAUR attraction is a little area called the Cretaceous Trail. There are two entrances, but a plaque explaining the trail is posted on the Dino-Rama side.

Cretaceous4It’s a short walking trail, but as you wind your way through you’ll see Cretaceous era plant life and may even spot (and hear) a few dinosaurs. Unfortunately, the trail doesn’t include any other signage, but you can certainly get a feeling for what the Cretaceous era might have looked, sounded, and felt like.

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The trail is also now home to a character greeting location with Donald Duck. That section is usually bustling with activity, but there is some fun dino info posted and a duck-billed dinosaur to pose with alongside Donald.

You might find the Cretaceous Trail to be a good family or class spot to sit, close your eyes, and use your imaginations a bit.

 

FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.L.14.3, SC.K.N.1.2, SC.K.N.1.5, SC.1.L.14.1, SC.1.L.14.2, SC.3.N.1.6

Flights of Wonder

Most guests are sure to make a stop in Asia during their visit to Animal Kingdom. Many of them head straight to Expedition Everest, definitely a worthwhile attraction, but some folks may not know there is a stellar live animal show to take in as well.

Toward the entrance to Asia you’ll find the Caravan Stage. This venue is home to the Flights of Wonder bird show. The story goes that this location was once where the maharajas kept their exotic birds. Now these ruins are a conservatory and research center. The hosts of the show are trainers who will introduce you to several species, giving facts about what endangers the birds in the wild and what conservation efforts are being made today. A tour guide character, who happens to be afraid of birds, provides some comic relief, too.

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FOW3This show is interactive, and lucky audience members may be chosen to participate on stage as the hosts help to show off some of the birds’ fascinating natural behaviors. They pack in a lot of neat facts and there are countless photo opportunities from any seat in the audience.

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Flights of Wonder is a great show for all ages. The antics of the tour guide are funny for kids, but the birds themselves are amazing for everyone. The Caravan Stage is open air and well shaded so it makes for a nice break during the day. Of course that means the show is also subject to weather, so be prepared. Some of the birds take flight in the amphitheater and they come quite close, so if you have a fear of birds, this may not be the show for you. The hosts will stay after the show with some of the birds for more pictures or to answer questions. It’s a cool experience for any animal lover.

 

FL Next Gen Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.L.14.3, SC.1.L.17.1, SC.2.L.17.1, SC.4.L.16.3, SC.4.L.17.4, SC.7.L.17.3

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a great place to explore no matter what your preferred pace.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has some terrific walking trails that let you see animals up close and personal. If you don’t want to wait for the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction, and are up for the walk, head next door to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. You’ll get to see a few of the same animals you’d see on the Safari, plus a bunch more. IMG_3161

The Pangani Exploration Trail is presented as a research facility and conservation school. Throughout the trail, you’ll see notes, bulletins, and photos left by the researchers and students. (This is just another of Disney’s famous themed touches meant to immerse you in a different place.) School kids might be interested to see how the kinds of notes and observations they make in science class could translate to a real-world scenario.

IMG_3171The Trail leads you through forest habitats where okapi and monkeys dwell. A Research Center is home to naked mole rats, tortoises, bullfrogs, and some real creepy crawlies! Don’t be afraid to open the drawers, too – they house specimens ranging from bird wings to shells to insects.
Be sure to grab a bird-spotting guide when you enter the aviary. There are over 20 species of birds that could be flying or waddling around!
The big draw at the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail is the gorilla habitat. Cast members are frequently at these viewing spots to impart facts and answer questions about the gorillas. You never know what they’ll be up to so keep an eye out. We’ve seen them grooming, sleeping, climbing trees, and even arguing.

IMG_3169 IMG_3196There’s so much to learn on this trail. You can certainly get a lot out of just observing the animals and talking to the cast members. If you want even more info, stop and read the research notes along the way. This is a self-guided trek so take as much time as you like.

 

FL Next Gen Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.L.14.3, SC.K.N.1.2, SC.1.L.14.1, SC.1.L.17.1, SC.2.L.17.2, SC.3.L.15.1, SC.3.N.1.3, SC.4.L.17.4, SC.7.L.17.2, SC.7.L.17.3