A little while ago, I wrote a blog entry about learning opportunities at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. While there are various chances to learn at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot is the real hotspot for edutainment at its best.
Think of this as a fully immersive Social Studies learning experience. Park guests can explore 11 “mini countries” which include authentic architecture, food, entertainment, and culture from the country. Your kids can take a ride on a Viking ship through Norway to see elements central to Norway’s culture. Not only will you encounter mythological trolls but also a seafaring town, wildlife including polar bears, and an ocean oil rig. You can walk through Japanese gardens in Japan, shop in an open air market atmosphere at Mexico, and even spy some gondolas in the water at Italy. Multiple countries have “circle-vision” movies about the land, culture, and people in that area. The employees in each country are quite significant as well. Every employee who works at a country in Epcot is actually a native of that country. This means you can take some time to talk with someone who knows about the country firsthand.
This is an imaginative pavilion where kids and adults can explore, inquire and learn at different interactive exhibits. There are actually two pavilions. In Innoventions East, kids can learn about green living in the VISION House and they can be shown ways to preserve and protect the environment at Enviromentality Corner. They can also see and experience a storm and find out how to best protect from extreme weather at StormStruck. In Innovations West, The Great Piggybank Adventure will challenge kids to make good financial decisions as they learn about future planning and handling money. You can also visit Smarter Planet, where you can see how the latest technology is being used to reduce energy consumption and solve other important problems. Everything in Innovations is done in an engaging way, utilizing stunning technology and a staff that is always friendly, helpful, and informed.
The Land Pavilion:
As a 4th grade teacher, I had a student take a Disney vacation during the school year. I took this opportunity to actually give her homework to do in Epcot. Her assignment was to visit The Land and come back with information on alternative ways to grow plants, without using soil. Later, her parents told me how much she enjoyed investigating this. Inside this pavilion you can take a boat ride which leads you through a rainforest, desert, and prairie. After visiting these locations, you float through the “living laboratory” greenhouses where guests see how the horticulturists at Epcot are showcasing and experimenting with agriculture.
Other areas of Epcot will also engage, educate, and entertain your little learners. Spaceship Earth is a ride that takes you through the progression of communication and technology starting from the beginning of man all the way up to today. Guests learn about sea life and underwater exploration at The Living Seas pavilion. They can also learn about fossil fuels and energy in The Universe of Energy attraction. These are all powerful learning opportunities. When a child can step out of a classroom and into an immersive environment expertly made to entertain as well as educate, the result is an enriching experience that a child will not soon forget.
Creative commons-licensed photo provided by Curtis Palmer.
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