Ever think about what to do when you don’t have park tickets and staying onsite? Never been to Animal Kingdom Lodge because it’s too out the way? Well, the two hotels at the Animal Kingdom Lodge have lots of activities for you to take part in. Some of these are paid for and similar to other activities you will find at other DVC resorts with their community rooms or poolside recreation teams; however, there are many different and unique opportunities that don’t cost any extra to take part in. This blog will talk you through most (not all) of the free activities you can participate in.
These are perhaps the more obvious ones with the name of the hotel. There are different places to observe the animals that are homed in the resort savannahs. One of the best activities to take part in, is at dusk when you can use night vision binoculars to view the animals. This takes place at both hotels most nights at the overlook rocks off the lobby of the hotels.
At both Kidani and Jambo house there are also other places to view animals from but these are more secluded and not always as easy to find but head out around the perimeter of the pools and you might just stumble upon some red river hogs or other animals.
There is also an animal tracking activity where you learn how people out on the real savannahs of Africa track different animals by looking for clues such as paw prints, hair and poo. You have to see if you can find the animal clues around an area of the outlook.
Across both hotels there are many of the activities allow you to collect special beads on a string for completing them. They vary in length and the type of activity from animal enrichment to animal habits to cultural learning.
At different points during the day there are several different animal enrichment activities that you can take part in. These include adding different foods to the feeding tubes with the rangers that they will take out and hang on the savannahs for the animals to eat. Another animal activity is the flamingo habits research (although this is due to change in the next few months), in this activity you go to the outlook over the pool and learn about the behaviour of flamingos. You then spend a bit of time observing them counting how many of the behaviours you see.
There are a few fun games to play with the cultural representatives; amongst these include an animal version of bingo and Jenga. The first, you listen to different descriptions of animals and you try to work out which one it is before crossing it off your board, the first to get a row wins. The second game is called Bio Blocks- this game you build a Jenga style tower using colour coded blocks linked to different aspects of the environment, as you build up the ecosystem your guide will give you information about how the system can be balanced. Another game is a matching game where you mix and match different aspects of African life and cultures with guides from different parts of Africa.
Music is also another popular activity to take part in, especially for the younger guests, you learn about different African instruments, get a chance to play them while learning about their origins and where/how they are made.
There are a few different food based experiences to take part in at the resort, our favourite was the free culinary tour at Jambo House. This takes place a few times during the week (check in advance for current days of the week) and a guide takes you through Jiko and Boma. On the tour you will learn about the themes and inspirations for both restaurants, while sampling a few dishes from each kitchen. At Jiko we had a selection of breads and dipping sauces, whilst over at Boma we sampled a small portion of one of their house-made soups and a zebra dome. It is an interesting 45 minute tour and gives a real flavour of what to expect in each restaurant.
Another popular food based activity is the cookie decorating, it is exactly as it sounds! You get a sugar cookie in the shape of an African animal and a selection of icings, sweets and mickey sprinkle toppings. You decorate your cookie and then take it away to eat later……it’s always worth putting an extra few of the sweet toppings on the side to nibble on too.
- Drum Cafe: Learn how to play the bongo and take part in a drumming circle at the drum cafe, a guide will show you how to play the bongo correctly and teach you some traditional rhythms before you get the chance to go freestyle!
- Art tour: Find out about the unique African art you can find in and around the lobby area of Jambo house, this tour is lead by a guide who will give you information about where and who has made the pieces and why they are significant.
- Face painting:Children can get a range of traditional face painting patterns and talk about why these are painted for celebrations and different cultures in Africa.
- Medallion rubbing: In the entrance to Jambo House, use paper and wax crayons to create your own wax rubbing pictures by selecting different parts of the large medallion. Children can be really creative to make their own savannah scene with a mix of animals and colours.
These are just some of the activities to take part in at Animal Kingdom Lodge, there are many others including the regular poolside games and trivia you find at most resorts but these are some of the specific activities that make Jambo House and Kidani more than just a hotel. There is that much to do, that you may have to spend more than one day on the activities to complete them all but they are all great fun and well worth a visit.