My picture threads consist of images I have taken that focus on the architecture, landscape architecture, planning, design, and theming of the facilities highlighted. They may also contain short descriptions and commentary, but will not focus on construction progress or special events or memorabilia or food selections or my traveling companions. Hopefully these threads are a good introduction for those who have not seen these places yet. All killer, no filler!
Rafiki's Planet Watch photographed in January 2010:
This land disposes of any effort to recreate natural or geographic or cultural atmosphere, opting instead for a simple modern style conceived as the park’s behind-the-scenes educational and animal contact experience.
The land can only be reached by riding this steam train whose boarding station is in the Africa land. Once on board, the ride travels past the off-exhibit holding areas and barns for some of the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction’s live animal exhibits. In order, they are the warthog barn, lion barn, hoofstock barn (one of several), cheetah barn, white rhino barn, elephant barn, and giraffe barn. Then the train reaches the station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch where visitors disembark to see the three small sections of the land. After visiting, they reboard at the same station to return to Africa. The downfall is the lack of a pedestrian access to the land…not everyone wants to ride a rather mundane ride twice to get in and out.
The land is named after a wise baboon character from the film ‘The Lion King’. His statue is seen on the path after disembarking.
The path goes through a series of small open-air shed structures with educational graphics; one is for viewing four adjacent average small wire cages for tamarins. Two have cottontop tamarin and one has golden lion tamarin, with the fourth one currently empty.
The Affection Section:
This is an average petting yard with domestic goats with bright abstract corral fencing and barns, and an adjacent small animal presentation stage.
This modern indoor education center has a large two-dimensional animal mural outside and a skylit atrium inside. There are two medium wall terrariums outside, one for Asian water monitor and one for gopher tortoise. Inside, one side of the atrium leads to an area called Song of the Rainforest with two-dimensional murals of forest and three small wall terrariums for cockroach, green tree python, and red-tailed boa constrictor. The other side of the atrium has window views into a series of adjacent small behind-the-scenes rooms. These include the Wildlife Tracking Center and Nursing Center, Veterinary Treatment Room, and Nutrition Center where staff can be seen working and demonstrating. There are also 3 rooms of small standard moveable terrariums in lab-like settings; one is dedicated to reptiles, one for amphibians, and one for invertebrates. There are also 6 medium wall terrariums between the three terrarium rooms. An especially good feature nearby is a wall of interactive kiosks where visitors can direct remote observation cameras in many of the large exhibits and off-exhibit areas elsewhere in the park to search for the inhabitants.