Guests who visit Walt Disney World love to spend time exploring the four theme parks and enjoying all of the attractions, entertainment, dining, and shopping that they have to offer. Of the four theme parks, the newest is Disney’s Animal Kingdom which opened on April 22, 1998. The park celebrates the beauty of nature and the environment while aiming to teach guests about the importance of conservation and preservation through entertaining but educational experiences. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is full of unique attractions and experiences which bring guests directly into nature in many different types of environments. One attraction which is sometimes overlooked by guests in the park brings guests on a self-guided walking tour through beautiful scenery and wildlife. The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail (formerly called the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail) can be found near the exit of Kilimanjaro Safaris which is located in the Africa section of the park in the village of Harambe. The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail offers a serene place for guests to get in touch with nature and enjoy all the beauty that it has to offer.
The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail opened with Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998 and has changed little over the years. As guests enter into the trail, they are greeted by a welcome sign, which explains that the trail is a product of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, which is also home to Kilimanjaro Safaris. The sign also features a beautiful quote which reads: “We do not inherit the Earth from our parents – we only borrow it from our children.” Once inside the entrance of the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, guests first encounter termite mounds accompanied by informational signs which explain how termites can build such structures and how they impact the environment around them.
Guests then enter into the Endangered Animal Rehabilitation Centre, where beautiful Black and White Colobus Monkeys can be found frolicking above. Throughout the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, there are Cast Members stationed in many places who are there to offer knowledge and information about the animals and plant life found nearby. Guests who enjoy the view of the Black and White Colobus Monkeys can talk to a Cast Member stationed there to learn more about the animals and their lives.
The next exhibit along the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail that guests can enjoy is an overlook that offers beautiful views of Yellow-Backed Duikers and Stanley Cranes. Found nearby is also a helpful sign which provides tips on how to easily and accurately observe animals in their natural habitats. Before moving on to the next portion of the trail, guests should pause for a few moments and enjoy a nearby station which features the skeleton heads of an Okapi and a Giraffe along with a board full of information to show guests how the two species are both similar and different.
After moving past the Okapi display, guests approach the Research Centre, which is full of insects and reptiles that guests can learn more about. Just on the other side of the Research Centre is a beautiful area filled with flowing water and brightly colored bluefish. Guests can enjoy both underwater and aerial views of the fish, showing them what it is like from both sides of the surface. A highlight of the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail comes in the next viewing platform, which offers an additional underwater view of more brightly colored fish as well as a larger than life hippopotamus! Guests can take their time and enjoy the wonderful and up-close view of this animal before moving along the trail.
The next stop on the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is a sweeping observational view of an area that seems to be comprised of dry ground and many small holes. This exhibit is home to the Meerkats, who can be found continually popping in and out of their homes in the ground. A Cast Member stationed nearby is always willing to share information and interesting facts about the Meerkats, making the experience even more enjoyable for guests.
Most guests who visit the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail are there to enjoy the beautiful views of the gentle gorillas who can be found in the final portion of the trail. After enjoying the Meerkats, guests come upon a large glassed-in viewing area that often features gorillas quietly napping nearby. Guests can enjoy up-close views of the beautiful creatures before moving over a wooden bridge into the main part of the habitat. The gorillas live in a massive area which features flowing green hills, softly gurgling waterfalls, and plenty of comfortable places to nap. Guests can spend plenty of time wandering through the gorilla habitat, simply observing their behavior and learning more about them.
Guests who spend time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom simply must enjoy the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. With beautiful scenery, intriguing wildlife, and plenty to learn along the way, this self-guided walking trail is a must do on any Walt Disney World vacation!
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