Exploring the Elephant Orphanage in Kenya's Kids
Kenya’s Kids, open until January 4, 2020 at the Discovery Center, is a collaborative effort designed to recreate some of the lived experiences of children living in Kenya today by emphasizing both the longtime cultural traditions of the country and its modern technological advances. The exhibit is divided into five different environments that replicate some of the common places children see and experience in Kenya. Each space provides activities and hands-on learning that encourage visitors to use their imagination and to ask questions in order to gain a better understanding of life and culture in Kenya today.
What is an elephant orphanage?
If a baby elephant is found alone and separated from its family in Kenya, it will be taken to an elephant orphanage until it can live on its own. Because baby elephants need a lot of care, people in Kenya dedicate up to two years of their lives to live with and care for the babies until they are old enough to be released back into the wild. These orphanages offer hope for the future of Africa's elephants, which are threatened with poaching and loss of habitat.
One of Africa’s oldest wildlife charities, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, runs the Orphans’ Project, which has achieved world-wide acclaim through its successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. Their work is the basis for the elephant orphanage in Kenya's Kids. You can adopt an orphan Kenyan elephant, rhino or giraffe for yourself or as a gift, or learn more about their work on their website.
What can kids do at the elephant orphanage in Kenya's Kids?
- Dress up like an elephant keeper and feed the baby elephants.
- Adopt a baby elephant by filling out the adoption form to take home.
- Interact with life-size sculptures of baby elephants, created by local artisans in Nairobi.
What do kids learn at the elephant orphanage in Kenya's Kids?
- Elephant orphanages demonstrate the individual’s commitment to help care for and protect Kenya’s wildlife.
- Caring for elephants is a round-the-clock, day in and day out commitment. Keepers even sleep with the baby elephants at night.
- An elephant calf depends on its mother's milk for the first two years of life. Without its mother, a keeper must feed a baby elephant special milk from very large bottles.
- Keepers also play with the baby elephants and take them on walks.
Kenya’s Kids is part of a cultural exhibit series created by The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum with a goal of introducing children to cultures from around the world. This immersive exhibit is designed for children 3 to 12 years and was created in partnership with the St. Louis Kenyan community. Kenya’s Kids is generously made possible by the Crawford Taylor Foundation and The Dana Brown Charitable Trust, U.S. Bank Trustee. Locally sponsored by the Redbud Foundation, Kenya’s Kids will be on display at The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center from September 13, 2019 to January 4, 2020 and is included in regular admission.