22 August 2009

The right of railway travelers

We have talked before about the Eastern Star Railway, and the Wildlife Express to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Aside from the rich details of the Harambe station and the trains themselves, and the unique exhibits and message of Conservation Station, there is an added bonus of riding the Eastern Star rails that is often overlooked; guests’ ability to view backstage areas without paying for a special tour.As the train begins its journey, guests are taken behind the ridgelines and rockwork of Kilimanjaro Safaris before venturing beyond the often-viewed vistas to the behind the scenes homes of the animals. When originally designed, the animal housing units were built to the specific needs of the animals and the Animal Care Staff. This means the walls have no sharp edges, the animals are provided with fresh air rather than filtered air conditioning, and the only light available is natural sunlight.

Among the many units that can be seen from the railway are cheetah, giraffe, white rhinoceros, African elephants, and hoofed animals such as gazelles. Here are just a few of the offstage dwellings visible along the route from Harambe to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

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