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Disney’s Animal Kingdom is full of animals, but it is so much more than just a glorified zoo. The park is designed for you to slow down and really explore your surroundings. Because of this, many of the animal exhibits are tucked away down little pathways. This means that a lot of people miss the animals completely. To make sure you find them all, here are the best places to look for animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
The Oasis is one of the best places to look for animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This is the first area you encounter when you enter the park. As you pass through the turnstiles, you must go to either the right or the left. Both paths lead you through the Oasis and to Discovery Island.
If you look closely as you walk along these walkways, you will see small, almost hidden, paths shooting off of them, leading to little nooks and crannies. These nooks and crannies house all sorts of animals just waiting to greet you.
The Oasis houses a variety of birds, a giant anteater, a swamp wallaby, a babirusa, and more.
If you stay on the main paths, you will completely miss all of these animals. You have to go searching for them on the hidden paths.
Pro Tip: Don’t stop to see these animals first thing in the morning. Use this time to ride the popular rides that will get long lines later in the day. Take time to see these animals on your way out of the park.
The Oasis pathways will lead you to the Discovery Island. The centerpiece of Discovery Island (and the entire park) is the Tree of Life. It sits in the middle of Discovery Island. All around the tree, there are more hidden paths.
These paths around the Tree of Life will allow you to get up close to the tree itself so you can admire all of the animals carved into its trunk, roots, and branches. Additionally, along these paths, you will find more animals on exhibit.
So, keep your eyes open and take some time to explore!
Among the animals that call Discovery Island home are a red kangaroo, macaws, flamingos, cotton-top tamarins, Asian small-clawed otters, and collared lemurs.
One of the largest lands within Animal Kingdom is Asia. The animals that live within this land are located in two areas. First, you will find white-cheeked gibbons on display in an exhibit that is pretty much in the center of a high traffic area of Asia.
Unlike many of the animals that call Animal Kingdom home, the gibbons are not tucked away from the hordes of people. They are right there in the midst of all the action. Usually, you can hear them before you see them.
The gibbons have a couple large towers with ropes strung between them. You will almost always find them on the ropes or hanging out on the towers, so look up when you get to their exhibit!
The other place within Asia to see animals is on the Maharajah Jungle Trek. This is one of two walking trails within Animal Kingdom where you can really spend some time viewing the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
As you stroll along the Maharajah Jungle Trek, you will see lots of animals, but there are three featured areas: the fruit bat enclosure, the Asian tiger exhibit, and the aviary.
There are quite a few different species of birds in the free flight aviary.
The largest concentration of animals is found in the Africa section of the park. Most of them are in one of three locations: the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, Kilimanjaro Safari, or Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is the second walking trail at Animal Kingdom. The entrance is located near the Kilimanjaro Safari exit. On this trail, you can see gorillas, hippos, meerkats, okapi, numerous varieties of birds, and more.
Pro Tip: Check out this trail after you enjoy the safari.
Kilimanjaro Safari is the biggest ride Disney has ever created. All of Magic Kingdom can fit inside this one ride! On this ride, you board a safari truck and take an entertaining 20 minute journey through 110 acres looking for animals along the way.
This is definitely the easiest way to see a lot of animals within a very short period of time. And many favorite animals can be found on the safari. For example, Kilimanjaro Safari is home to elephants, rhinos, giraffes, Thomson’s gazelles, ostrich, crocodiles, warthogs, bongos, and many more.
Be sure to check out our post on the most amazing animals on Kilimanjaro Safari to see exactly what to look forward to during your safari. And discover the best times to take a safari ride.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Rafiki’s Planet Watch is not technically located within Africa. It is an independent land, but you can only reach it by from Africa.
Catch the Wildlife Express Train at the train station near Kilimanjaro Safaris and take the short trip to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
Once you reach Rafiki’s Planet Watch, walk down the trail to the Conservation Station. Along the way, you will spot a few animal exhibits.
Once you reach the station, you will find a petting zoo with more animals on display inside the building. If you’re lucky you may be able to catch a zoo keeper chat about one of the animals.
You can find goats, sloth, a cow, sheep, owls, snakes, opossum, golden lion tamarins, a donkey, reptiles, and insects all living at Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch is one of my favorite areas of Animal Kingdom because it is so much less crowded than the rest of the park. It’s one of the hidden gems at Disney World.
Pro Tip: Take a safari, then explore the Gorilla Falls trail, and then hop on the train to Rafiki’s afterwards.
Animal Kingdom is one of the most underrated parks in Disney World. It is a great park because it is designed to help you slow down and explore. And the reward for doing so is a view of some amazing animals. I hope this list of where to find the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom helps you take a new approach to discovering all this park has to offer!
For more on Animal Kingdom, see our list of must-do’s, our post on Pandora, and the best photo ops throughout the park.
For help planning your Disney trip, check out:
- Our step by step planning guide
- Best resources for Disney trip planning
- Quick tips for planning Disney trips
- Best times to visit
- How to do Disney on a dime
- The secret to a great Disney World trip.
To book your trip, visit Disney’s website.
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