The Kids’ Discovery Club (KDC) program is located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando, FL. It consists of 6 themed, free-choice learning stations geared towards children between the ages of 5-8 and their families. Each KDC is staffed by a team of education interns that are trained to engage children in educational activities and deliver age-appropriate conservation messages. The program inspires children to learn more about wildlife and the actions they can take to help wildlife and wild places. The goal of the evaluation was to determine if the program affected children’s knowledge and interest in adopting conservation behaviors by answering the following questions:
- What knowledge and messages do children take away from a KDC experience?
- How interested are children in initiating a conservation activity after participating in a KDC activity?
- What barriers do parents encounter in assisting children with conservation activities?
Children were interviewed immediately following their participation in a KDC (a control group was assessed prior to entering the park). They were asked multiple-choice and open-ended questions and chose answers from labeled images placed on a display board. Each question and image was tested for reliability. Participants were selected as they entered the KDC area, and parental consent was obtained. The results were used for program improvement. Improvements included adjusting the amount of information at the Africa KDC to improve comprehension, highlighting the most appealing and realistic conservation actions for educators to focus on, and enhancing staff training. The study was also intended to contribute to the informal conservation education field.