Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a zoological theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida. It is the largest theme park in the world, covering 580 acres. The park opened on Earth Day, April 22, 1998, and was the fourth theme park built at the resort. The park is dedicated and themed entirely around the natural environment and animal conservation, a philosophy once pioneered by Walt Disney himself. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which indicates they have met or exceeded the standards in education, conservation, and research. The park’s icon is the Tree of Life, a 145-foot-tall, 50-foot-wide artificial baob tree. In 2015, it had 10.9 million visitors, ranking it the fourth-most visited amusement park in the United States, behind the other three Walt Disney World parks, and seventh-most visited in the world.
One of the most popular attractions is Kilimanjaro Safaris. The current story is a short photo safari aboard a safari vehicle through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve in Harambe, East Africa. It is 800 square miles of natural terrain, including Ituri forest, wetlands of the Safi River valley, and the open bush country of the Serengeti Savanna. African animals on view include real live elephants, giraffes, antelopes, gazelles, crocodiles, monkeys, hippopotamuses, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, african wild dogs, warthogs, ostriches, rhinoceroses, ducks, storks, pelicans, flamingos, wildebeests, okapis and zebras. The game driver points out animals and provides entertainment. The zebras were removed four months after their arrival due to “acclimation” issues. Some reports claim that the zebras were fighting each other, biting at vehicles or each other, standing in the road, or just causing trouble. They were quickly replaced with addax. Recently, the zebras have been reinstated, and can be viewed during the course of the safari.