One of the newer activities at Animal Kingdom is the Wilderness Explorers scavenger hunt. It’s based on the Disney movie Up, and there are several places to sign up around the park. Just keep an eye out for wilderness guides dressed in khaki and an orange neckerchief to get a Wilderness Explorer Handbook and pass initiation into the explorers by learning the special call named the Caw Caw Roar, pledging to be “a friend to all.” The badge guides are standing by at each stop to help the explorers learn about the ways of the wilderness and many of the skills that are required to navigate the woods. There are 31 badges to achieve so it could take as much or as little of the day (or several days) as you’d like.
On a sidenote, we were not entirely new to the Wilderness Explorers, because there is a section of Disney California Adventure that is a ‘camp’ just for earning badges. It’s different from Animal Kingdom’s version because it’s more like an obstacle course – called the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail – with real adventures that must be completed to earn badges. At California Adventure, the Wilderness Explorers are in just one section of the park with 5 or 6 badges to earn, but when we were there we spent nearly 2 hours playing in this section of the park! It included rock climbing and zip lining challenges among the badge opportunities – very fun!
Back to Animal Kingdom, the layout is different, being spread throughout the park and the badges are based more on learning than on completing obstacles. Both versions are definitely worth doing!
The badges at Animal Kingdom include a huge variety of tasks that will keep kids and grown ups entertained throughout the park. Some of the badges include what you would expect, like animal finding, insect and hiking badges, but there are also some that you wouldn’t expect like ham radio, world currency, African culture and hand washing. The badge guides are standing by at each station to teach the kids and pass out badges once they complete the task.
I didn’t realize it was so comprehensive and regretted waiting until mid-day to sign up. We didn’t have enough time to complete many badges but what I liked best was that it was easy to fit the exploration into whatever we were doing in each area of the park so we were able to stop along our way without missing anything we wanted to do. Definitely a great addition to Animal Kingdom! This might make the ‘half day park’ into a bona fide full day park after all!
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