Learning While on Vacation – Pollinator Day at the Animal Kingdom

We’re pollinators!
We’re pollinators! 

If you like vegetables, fresh fruits and flowers,
Give thanks to us bugs for our marvelous powers! – It’s Tough to Be a Bug

Learning at Disney : Pollinator Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom

When you are on vacation you rarely think about learning something but at Disney’s Animal Kingdom you will sometimes find a bit of education included with your park admission. You just have to keep your eyes open.

On June 10th we were lucky enough to have the chance to attend the Pollinator Day event at Rafiki’s Planet Watch.  This is just one of the many special events held at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney Animal Kingdom

Disney Animal Kingdom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We began our adventure by boarding the Wildlife Express to Conservation Station in Harambe (the mythical African village in Disney’s Animal Kingdom).  The 5 and a half minute train ride  to Conservation Station is a pleasant experience aboard the side facing English steam-powered locomotive.

Harambe Express Train to Rafiki's Planet Watch

Harambe Express (photo credit: Wyscan via photopin cc)

Once at Conservation Station we headed up the thriving jungle paths until we came to the main building. Once inside we found the normally open public area filled with different learning stations manned by Disney Cast Members.

Rafiki's Planet Watch at Conservation Stations Animal Kingdom

Conservation Station (photo credit: afagen via photopin cc)



They share how birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, small mammals, and most importantly, bees are pollinators.  Some of the exhibits included:

BeeSmart

The days of using gardening books to decide what to plant are over.  Cast Members shared this great new app call BeeSmart from Pollinator.org.

 This app (available for iPhone and Android) has a database of nearly 1,000 native plants specific to your zip code.

You can filter the plants by what pollinators you want to attract, light and soil requirements, bloom color, and plant type.  This is an excellent plant reference to attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, beetles, bats, and other pollinators to the garden, farm, school and every landscape.

BeeSmart App  BeeSmart App  BeeSmart App

Don’t Swat the Bees

 A Cast Member uses props to share with kids what bees are doing as they fly around. Teaching how bees visit flowers to drink nectar or feed off of pollen and transport pollen grains as they move from spot to spot.

They also share that Honey Bees are usually very gentle creatures who mind their own business as they collect pollen. They are too typically too busy to worry about people or other animals.

They only sting when they believe they are under attack and unfortunately they can only sting once.  Once they have stung someone they will soon die.

The other fact shared is that the worker bees we see are female bees.

Pollinator Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom Rafiki's Planet Watch   Pollinator Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom Rafiki's Planet Watch

 



Where Does Our Food Come From

A large display of fruits vegetables, and flowers highlight that between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants need pollinators to complete pollination. It is believed that 1 out of every three bites of food you eat is there because of pollinators.

Pollinator Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom Rafiki's Planet Watch   Pollinator Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom Rafiki's Planet Watch

Know Your Pollinators

A fun activity was the know you pollinator game.  As the kids roll the oversized dice and move through th egame board the Cast Members ask trivia questions about different pollinators.

You choose one of four paths: bee, hummingbird, butterfly or midge fly.  The Cast Member will ask question appropriate for the age of the player.  By the way did you know a rat is a pollinator?  I had no idea.

The prize for winning the game is a bug catcher.  This bug catcher works much like scissors and had air holes.  The message was clear. Look at the bugs but don’t hurt them.

Pollinator Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom Rafiki's Planet Watch   Pollinator Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom Rafiki's Planet Watch

And the bee finger puppet from a previous exhibit fits perfectly. (sorry for the poor photo)

Pollinator Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom Rafiki's Planet Watch

 



These events are a wonderful way to add a bit of learning to your Disney Vacation.

The remaining 2014 events for connecting families with nature (as always, dates subject to change) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are:

  • July 29: Big Cat Day
  • August 5: Primate Day
  • September 23: Elephant and Rhino Day

MarySignature1

 

And to add a bit of pollination to your day…