Disney’s Animal Kingdom has the distinction of being the largest Disney theme park in the world, boasting an incredible five hundred acres to its name. It’s also the only theme park in the world to be dedicated entirely to animal conservation – many people look at the scope of the park and assume it’s simply a very fancy zoo, but that’s not the case. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums have accredited the Animal Kingdom, which means that they have managed to meet and exceed international standards in education, conservation, and research.
The park was the fourth of Walt Disney World’s collection to open, welcoming visitors in on April 22, 1998. According to recent statistics, it is the fifth most visited amusement park in the United States and the eighth most visited park in the entire world.
In addition to hosting an incredible plethora of animal life from around the world, the iconic symbol and and centerpiece for the Animal Kingdom is the Tree of Life, which is a 14-storey tree sculpture that boasts 325 different kinds of animals carved onto the bark – each one representing a life form that inhabits the park.
The park itself contains seven different areas for visitors to explore. They include Oasis, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia, and DinoLand U.S.A. Each part offers its own unique set of animals to learn about and see, contributing to Walt Disney’s personal commitment and visions of animal conservation combined with entertainment.