Backstage Safari Tour - Animal Kingdom

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Backstage Safari Tour - Animal Kingdom

This is a great way to find out what happens behind-the-scenes at Animal Kingdom. You'll get an insider's look at the innovative ways at how they are dealing with conservation, animal nutrition, medicine and animal care. There are visits to: backstage animal housing areas to meet some of the keepers and learn how they care for their animals on a daily basis; as well as to the Animal Nutrition Centre, where all of the animal's diets are prepared and their state-of-the-art Veterinary Hospital.

Animal viewing is extremely limited, and no photography will be allowed backstage.

This 3-hour tour is on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Guests must be 16 years of age or older.

Admission is $65 per person, plus your Animal Kingdom Admission.

I took my niece here a couple of years ago. We gathered outside Animal Kingdom at 8:15 a.m. where we met our guide. We entered the park and went backstage by the Rainforest Café rear entrance. We could see the back of the café and Pocahontas & her Forest Friends theatre.

We got into vans and were driven around to the northern end of the park. We passed the Festival of the Lion King stage, parking and maintenance for the Safari jeeps; Cast dining, and several animal back-of-house buildings (giraffe, mandrills, black rhino,). We stopped at the Elephant and White Rhino buildings, which we had previously seen from the train.

We started with the Rhinos. A keeper met us at the door and told us how they cared and trained the rhinos. They have six currently, but can hold up to 10. We could see the inside of the building, but could not go in. One of the big males was outside and the keeper brought him alongside the fence rails and let us touch him. He was very muscular. They are currently managing to breed rhino.

Then we went to the Elephant building. We stood outside, a distance from the outdoor holding area. Two elephants were here – the others all onstage. Apparently the matriarch is jealous of the baby elephant and had to be separated from the group. They hope when the baby gets older she comes around and can rejoin the group. Our guide talked about enrichment and conservation – at AK, they take the old tubes from Kali River Rapids and give them to the elephants to play with. They also like old tyres but they have to be bound together – the male elephants can take large truck tires and toss them 30-40 feet! We then walked over to feed and nutrition and saw where all the food is delivered, stored and prepared for the animals.

We learned that they put live fish in the pools for the tigers – but the tigers didn't know what to do with them and had to be taught to catch the fish. Also, they had been feeding the hippos food with birth control in it – but after a year, the females were pregnant again. Apparently, the food had a shelf life of one year – but the birth control only six months!

We got a bathroom break and also a snack in a classroom. In the classroom, another keeper had a Hornbill bird that she talked about and showed around. Our guide passed out copies of the Animal Guide to everyone. We were then driven around to the back of Harambe. We got a special safari, our guide put on the headset and told us the secrets of the savannah. He pointed out where various gates are for the animals, hidden feeders, barriers, etc. The driver also slowed down so we could all get great pictures of Tufani, the baby elephant.

After the safari we were given Backstage Safari pins. A great tour, recommended for those with an interest in animals.

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