Tree of Life Awakenings

The Tree of Life is a 145-foot (44 m) sculpture of a baobab tree at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort. With over 8,000 branches of very different sizes and about 102,000 artificial leaves, the sculpture debuted when the theme park opened on April 22, 1998. Inspired by the mythological concept of the same name, the Tree of Life features 337 carvings of existing and extinct animal species on its trunk and surrounding roots; after Jane Goodall's visit, her famous subject David Graybeard was carved into the tree. The sculpture took 18 months to create. Designed and fabricated at Greens Bayou Fabrication Yard in Houston and based on the natural forms of baobab trees, the Tree of Life is located on Discovery Island, roughly in the center of the park. The tree features over 100,000 thermoplastic kynar leaves. At the structure's interior base is a 428-seat theater that hosts It's Tough to Be a Bug!, a 3-D film attraction based on the 1998 Disney/Pixar film A Bug's Life. The tree also has a walking path, the Tree of Life Garden, that provides a closer look at the sculpture.