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Disney's Animal Kingdom Park

Built in April 1998, Disney's Animal Kingdom Park, one of the four theme parks of Walt Disney World Resort, continues to entertain visitors of all ages while advocating a cause for animal care and conservation.

It is the biggest animal-themed park in the world with its more than 1,700 animals.

It has seven major areas, namely: Oasis, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki's Planet Watch, Asia and Dinoland USA.

Get close to spectacular animals at par with the great zoos, thrill your hearts with exciting rides, or revel in Broadway-style musicals shows and parades. Animal Kingdom has several attractions that will guide you through a seemingly impossible expedition of the animal land during the Cretaceous Era to a present African Safari.

Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is the centerpiece and icon in Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park.

It is 145-foot tall and 50-foot wide tree, with hundreds of animals carved into its bark. Inside is a theater that houses "It's Tough to be a Bug!" show.

Discovery Island Trails

Discovery Island Trails, which surround The Tree of Life, are walking paths that lets visitors observe and photograph a rich variety of exotic animals such as Galapagos tortoises, lemurs, kangaroos, capybaras, cockatoos and cotton-top tamarin monkeys.

Little kids might be overwhelmed to the giant bugs but "It's Tough to be a Bug!" - an eight-minute 3D show - is a fun movie theater embedded in the huge root structure of The Tree of Life.

Hosted by Flik and Hopper from the Disney-Pixar film A Bug's Life, explore the amazing lives of spiders, termites, beetles, weevils, butterflies and other crawlers through 3D "Bug-Eye" glasses.

Meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck and Goofy in jeeps and Rafiki in a bright Adventure Rover as they parade for their animal friends at Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade.

It is a 15-minute procession through Africa, Discovery Island, Asia, and back to Africa.

Also present are eight-foot tall Party Animals that encourage the visitors to sing and dance along.

Parade schedules vary by season.

Oasis

The Oasis Exhibits at the entrance are lush, tropical garden pathways filled with wildlife such as wallabies, deer and exotic birds.

These paths lead to Safari Village, the center of the Theme Park.

Asia

At Asia, Expedition Everest is a roller coaster ride to a mountain's peak where the Yeti, the beast, inhabits.

Follow the treacherous terrain with exciting twists and turns along the slopes.

You're sure to get wet or even soaked at the Kali River Rapids, a short but terrific river raft ride for big kids and adults through the rainforest on the Chakranadi River.

It has a circular, 12-passenger raft and travels into geysers and under waterfalls.

More than a usual scenic tour, the path teaches lessons about the ugly consequence of illegal logging and rainforest destruction.

Presenting 20 species of exotic birds like a yellow naped parrot that can sing, buckle up and ride the Flights of Wonder, a scheduled 25-minute live show.

Have a seat at the Caravan Stage, where birds "hunt, sing, soar and sometimes swoop just above your head for some high-flying surprises."

Please refer to the Times Guide as the show may include birds from different species.

Maharajah Jungle Trek is a self-guided trek into the wilds of the Anandapur Royal Forest of Southeast Asia.

Excite your senses with a sight and even smell of tropical plants naturally grown in Asia.

Get a glimpse of Asian tigers, a Komodo dragon and Malayan flying fox bats.

Africa

Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition is a 100-acre savanna that starts with the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, across the river from Discovery Island.

Get aboard a bumpy but exhilarating safari truck and see Africa.

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail enchants visitors to take a leisurely walk into another African forest that boasts of rare African animals such as gorillas, hippos, okapi, naked mole rats, meerkats and exotic birds.

Don't miss the lowland gorillas at the end of the trail!

Judged by visitors as at par with Broadway musicals, Festival of the Lion King is a 30-minute live show that brings Simba, Timon, Pumbaa with many other Lion King characters and viewers into an interactive performance.

Expect familiar music from the animated classic, high-energy dances and even fire juggling with "African tribal performers."

DinoLand USA

DINOSAUR takes visitors back the age of the huge creatures that used to rover the earth.

Climb aboard the CTX Time Rover and enjoy a time travel adventure like no other.

Another roller coaster ride is the one at DinoLand USA aptly called Primeval Whirl, a spinning "time-machine" trapped in the dinosaur era. Meanwhile, TriceraTop Spin is a four-person dinosaur ride for all ages.

For preschoolers and grade schoolers, The Boneyard, a playground for would-be paleontologists is the best place to be.

Kids will love the archeological dig site where they can excavate fossils from Triceratops, T-Rex and the Mammoth.

Located near The Boneyard is the Cretaceous Trail.

It is a short trek through a lush, prehistoric garden where one sees a Pachycephalosaurus dinosaur and discover the last phase of dinosaurs, around 65 million years ago.

Fossil Fun Games, on the other hand, is for all ages.

It is dinosaur-themed arcade where visitors can win prizes and enjoy their hearts' content.

Another must-"sea" live theater interpretation is Finding Nemo - The Musical.

Also lasting 30-minute, the Broadway-style musical show, be amazed with the lighting, sound, special effects and stunning theatrical puppets focused on Nemo's search for the big fish story.

He is joined by his father Marlin and friend Dory, complete with new musical numbers that take their cue from lines from the movie, including 'Just Keep Swimming' and 'Go with the Flow'.

Rafiki's Planet Watch

The Wildlife Express Train, the only way to get to Rafiki's Planet Watch, transports visitors between the Harambe, Africa and Rafiki's.

The latter is an area where fun, educational activities that help create awareness of animal issues are held.

Round-trip journey is a total of 1.2 miles.

Affection Section is the place for domesticated animals.

Here, visitors can get up-close with goats and sheep, as well as feed chickens, llamas and other animals.

Conservation Station presents behind-the-scenes with the animals at the Animal Kingdom.

Learn about veterinary care, research and food preparation, and other educational activities.

Also at Rafiki's Planet Watch is Habitat Habit! - another fun and educational wildlife trail, which features the cotton-top tamarins with their long, flowing white hair which fans from their head.

By Marie Ospina

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