An Up-close Elephant Edventure at Disney's Animal Kingdom!
The Caring for Giants Elephants Tour at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park is a 60-minute experience where you are given the opportunity to go backstage, and meet some of the keepers who look after the elephant herd that roams the Kilimanjaro Savannah. You also get to view the elephants from a special viewing area and speak with African cultural representatives who share stories and discuss the conservation efforts currently in place to protect the wild population of elephants located in their homelands.
This tour is available several times a day for guests aged 4 and up. The current cost of the tour is $30 person and you must have theme park admission. My 8 year old daughter and I took this tour couple of years ago, as part of a special limited time Earth Day tour. My daughter was studying ecosystems in her Grade 3 class and we requested an "excused absence" from her school so that she could participate. You can find a template for a letter requesting an excused absence for educational reasons HERE.
This tour is the perfect educational Edventure for you to take after studying keystones species, and ecosystems. You can find free lesson plans and resources for this topics HERE. This tour highlights two keystone species, elephants and bees. Each tour will be different as the keepers rotate, guest questions will change and the elephants are free roaming. We were lucky to see a baby elephant nursing, and two teenage elephants playing at a fairly close distance.
Baby Stella nursing and the herd surrounding her for protection.
The tour group is divided into two groups when you arrive at the elephant viewing area. One group spends time with the keepers and the other group with the African cultural representative. This video was from our time with the keepers and is a little taste of what you might see!
When we moved to the second area we were greeted by Amanda, a cast member from Namibia. Amanda had a table full of hands on educational displays that helped illustrate the information we were given about elephants in Africa, and their role in the African ecosystem. We also got to try on an elephant tracking device and get up close with the poop.
The role of both Tagua seeds and bees in the conservation of elephants was explained. This section of the tour really complements the lessons on keystone species. They had examples of the fence bee hives and Tagua seed art for us to examine.
Bee Hive fence example.
A photo of the bee hive fences in Africa.
Overall this is an unique educational tour that I would highly recommend for all students from kindergarten to adults. It will add an experiential learning component to your ecosystem and keystone species learning, and the access to the unique and diverse knowledge of the keepers and the African Cultural representatives will satisfy the curiosity of all students.
If you are interested in booking this tour here is the link to the official web site for further information and contact details. Caring For Giants Tour
Related Resources and Previous Blog Posts:
DisneyNature 's Elephant Educator Guide Blog Post