It’s probably not a big surprise that the best animal encounters at Disney World happen at Animal Kingdom. However, the experiences you can have at this park go far beyond watching creatures from behind the glass. Animal Kingdom’s unbelievable exhibits allow you to get a closer look at some of the world’s most incredible wild animals!
One of the coolest animal encounters at Disney World is the Kilimanjaro Safari, located in the park’s Africa neighborhood. You can hop aboard an open-air all-terrain vehicle for a guided adventure through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.
The 18-minute journey travels across 110 acres of open plains, shaded forest areas, and wetlands. Riders get an up-close look at the various creatures that call the wildlife reserve home. On the safari, you’ll see how hippos, lions, giraffes, elephants, cheetahs, baboons, rhinos, zebras, and more!
Every time you ride Kilimanjaro Safari, you’re in for a totally unique experience because the animals are unpredictable. Now, you can also get a whole new look at the savanna when the sun goes down.
Special lighting placed around the wildlife reserve mimics the setting sun and rising moon. The evening experience allows riders to view some of the animals’ nocturnal behaviors.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
Also in the park’s Africa area, the animal encounters continue on the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. On a self-guided tour of the Pagani Forest, you’ll get incredible views of creatures in their natural habitat. As you walk through the gorgeous Africa-inspired landscape, you’ll encounter critters like meerkats, zebras, gorillas, and more.
Maharajah Jungle Trek
Over in the Asia area, you can step into the Anadapur Royal Forest at the Maharajah Jungle Trek. The lush tropical scene includes rushing waterfalls and footbridges. As you wander, keep your eye out for a variety of beautiful creatures. Animals you may come into contact with include tigers, a komodo dragon, a flying fox, over 50 species of birds, and more.
The Oasis Exhibits
The Oasis exhibits highlight the world’s natural beauty with shaded trails, rushing waterfalls, gentle streams, and gorgeous plants. Amongst the tropical scenery, you can see animal residents hanging around the exhibits. Some critters you may encounter include a giant anteater, barking deer, boar, wallabies, and spoonbills
The closest encounter you can have with Animal Kingdom’s adorable inhabitants is at the Affection Section in Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Walt Disney World’s only petting zoo features goats, sheep, donkeys, cows, and pigs living at the outdoor animal enclosure. At the Affection Section, you can pet and brush the animals!
NOTE: The Affection Section is temporarily closed
Also located at Rafiki’s Planet Watch is the Conservation Station. This is where you can learn how the animals are cared for at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Areas to explore in the Conservation Station include:
- Veterinary Treatment Room: See where the animals are cared for when they need a little extra attention. You might even witness a procedure in progress!
- Nutrition Center: Watch the experts prepare daily meals for the park’s animal residents
- Science Center: Find out what Disney’s team of scientists is working at the moment
- Amphibian, Reptile, and Invertebrate Windows: Take a look at critters like tarantulas, scorpions, millipedes, and snakes
For more up-close animal encounters, check out what you can see when you go behind the scenes at SeaWorld Orlando!