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Holidays are Fun for Everyone at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Scott Terrell

by , DVM, DACVP, Director of Animal & Science Operations, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts

Boy, do I love the holidays! While it’s always nice to receive gifts, I take special enjoyment in giving gifts, and that goes beyond just sharing with my friends and family. This week, Disney’s animal care team cast members are sharing in the spirit of the season with unique and festive activities for the animals who call Disney’s Animal Kingdom home.

Enrichment is the gift that keeps on giving – each day we encourage animals in our care to exhibit their natural behaviors by introducing new things to their environments they can choose to taste, smell, or touch. 

For some of our animals, like the red kangaroos and the kunekune pigs, it’s all about the yummy treats they can pick off vines and plants or root around for inside boxes. 

Kunekune pig at Disney's Animal Kingdom

For others, such as the Sumatran tigers and western lowland gorillas, much of the excitement comes from the suspense of figuring out how to open boxes and containers to find a surprise inside. There’s so much to explore and investigate, especially for baby Grace, who has a lot to take in during her first holiday with the family troop. 

Western lowland gorillas at Disney's Animal Kingdom

For the animal keepers – enrichment is all about getting creative to make a fun and stimulating experience for the animals. Many of them enjoy building decorations and wrapping some of the animals’ favorite items in recycled paper and plants. Others are getting crafty in the kitchen by cutting fruits and vegetables into holiday cookie shapes and turning popcorn into “snow.”

Disney’s animal care team cast members create enrichment for animals for the holidays

Are you visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom this week? If so, keep your eyes peeled for some surprise-and-delight holiday enrichment fun in many of the animal environments throughout the park. To learn more about enrichment for the animals in our care, visit DisneyAnimals.com.