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Become A Wilderness Explorer!
An Explorer is a friend to all, be it plants, or fish, or tiny mole!
That is the motto of the Wilderness Explorer. It’s also the pledge you must uphold if you want to join the illustrious ranks of Explorers like Russell from Pixar’s UP. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. To be a true Wilderness Explorer, you have to have a keen sense of curiosity about the world around you. If that sounds like you, then you’re in luck! You can become a Wilderness Explorer at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.
1. How to Get Started
Guests start their Wilderness Explorer experience by picking up a field guide at the Wilderness Explorer headquarters, which is located on the bridge between the Oasis and Discovery Island. If you miss the headquarters, you should be able to pick up a copy of the guide at any of the Wilderness Explorer stops found throughout the park. A cast member dressed in the distinctive Wilderness Explorer uniform (yellow shirt, and orange bandana tied around the neck) will give you a breakdown on how the program works. It’s free to participate, and on the off chance you don’t finish (there are over 30 badges to earn) you can always pick up where you left off on your next visit (note that if you have a Wilderness Explorer book from before the opening of Pandora, you will have to get a new one, as additional badges have been added).
2. The Wilderness Explorer Handbook
Your field guide is the Wilderness Explorer Handbook, which resembles an old scouting handbook. It lists the various “badges” (stickers) that you can earn throughout the park. It also contains a map of the Animal Kingdom, showing where to go to earn each badge. The back of the book includes a page for any additional field notes or observations you make throughout the park.
3. The Badges
The badges cover a wide variety of subjects, from plant and animal study to learning about the various cultures represented inside Animal Kingdom. Some of the subjects you can earn badges for include: botany, tracking, Asian culture, recycling, fossils, habitats, conservation, music, and African culture. Each badge will require you to learn a little about the subject and then demonstrate your knowledge by completing a few tasks outlined in your Wilderness Explorer Handbook. Some may require you to listen to a presentation by a Cast Member. Once completed, you’ll receive your sticker. There is a place for each badge in your Wilderness Explorer Handbook.
4. Become a Senior Explorer
There are various rankings of Explorer. If you earn five badges, you are a Tadpole. Earn ten and you advance to the rank of Minnow. At 20, you are dubbed a fish, and if you manage to earn every badge in the book you become a Senior Wilderness Explorer.
The Wilderness Explorer experience provides an entertaining and engaging way for parents and kids to learn more about the wonders they are seeing at the park. It’s more than worth the few minutes it takes to earn each badge. After all, the wilderness must be explored!