Have you ever wanted to know more about the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Fans will love these six Tree of Life fun facts!
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Tree of Life takes center stage as the icon for the park. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous to look at and makes for the perfect photo backdrop, but dig a little deeper into its details, and it’s downright fascinating. Previously we’ve shared fun facts for other park icons like Spaceship Earth in EPCOT, and Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom, and now we’re sharing our favorite Tree of Life fun facts!
Tree of Life Fun Facts
1. Mythological Inspiration for the Tree of Life
Since I was little, I’ve always been fascinated with mythology, and learning about why The Tree of Life was given the title to tie in with religion and culture makes it even better. Closely related to the concept of the sacred tree, its beginnings probably began in Asia. In Christianity, the Tree of Life depicts the source of eternal life, while in Norse Mythology, the icon is considered a world tree. In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Tree of Life is a baobab tree, which you may recognize from being mentioned on Kilimanjaro Safaris. The baobab tree is fascinating for its ability to adapt to its environment. It’s a succulent, which means that during the rainy season, it can absorb and store water, thus making it able to produce fruit even in the dry season. It’s this unique feature that has earned it the nickname “The Tree of Life.”
2. How Many Carvings on the Tree of Life?
It depends on who you ask, actually. Some folks in the know like to place the number over 325. As for Disney, it likes a good, round number and goes with over 300. My guess is that it’s probably somewhere in between, honestly. But no matter how many there truly are, check out all sides of the tree, including the roots, trunk, and branches, as they can be found just about everywhere on it. The animals include both living and extinct species and even a hidden Mickey: spy the hippo on the tree and look above its eye for an upside-down mouse!
And if you really want to see some up close, make a point to mosey around the Discovery Island Trails to check out the lower trunk — it’s a gorgeous respite from the crowds.
3. There’s Oil In That There Tree!
I’m channeling my inner Frontierland talk for the above heading, but it’s true. The Tree of Life is a reimagined oil rig surrounded by concrete and then detailed. The massive baobab tree was sculpted around a reused, upside-down oil rig, which perfectly encapsulates the park’s mission of conservation.
4. The Tree of Life is Scaled to Perfection
One thing the Disney Parks do to perfection is scale. For example, when you enter Magic Kingdom and begin your walk down Main Street, U.S.A., for most, it looks like a long path to Cinderella Castle. But at the end of a busy day, spy the same path from The Hub, and it looks much shorter thanks to a little thing called forced perspective.
As for the Tree of Life, there’s nothing small about it in any form. It stands at a massive 145 feet in height and is 50 feet wide — so wide that you’re able to walk inside to check out “It’s Tough to Be a Bug!” show in a 428-seat theater. As for the branches, there are over 8,000 individual pieces with a total of 102,000, foot-long leaves in five different colors – all made by hand.
5. No Monkeying Around for Jane Goodall
I’ve had the ultimate pleasure of meeting Jane Goodall at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and she exudes knowledge and peace. Far before that visit, Ms. Goodall visited the park and was curious to know if there was a chimpanzee carved into the tree. In honor of that visit, David Greybeard (the chimp studied by Goodall for her world-famous research on animal emotions) was added as an additional carving in the roots’ area near the theater entrance for “It’s Tough to Be a Bug!”
6. You Can’t See the Tree of Life Outside Disney’s Animal Kingdom
If you’re a Walt Disney World park lover and have been to each (or at least seen photos of them), it may not have occurred to you until now that Tree of Life is the only park icon that can’t be seen from the park’s entrance like the other three. Additionally, it’s the only icon that’s not a building.
If you loved these Tree of Life fun facts, and ant to learn more about the Disney World park icons, make sure to check out our fun facts on each of the Disney World icons below!