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Celebrate World Elephant Day With a Family Movie and a Craft

Leah Courtney
I have multiple children who love animals- all kinds of animals. My younger girls enjoy watching animal documentaries, and my oldest daughter is majoring in Conservation Biology and has a desire to work as an animal conservationist. Because of their interests, I've taken more of an interest in the conservation of animals as well and have enjoyed listening to my oldest daughter talk about animals that are in need of protection and how conservationists are helping.

Because we are a family of animal lovers, I was very excited to find out about a new family film that is coming out for World Elephant Day, April 16 (2018). You can find out all about it and enter a giveaway to win movie passes in this post.

World Elephant Day Family Movie

I received free access to this film and financial compensation for my time. All opinions are my own. 

We received access to Phoenix Wilder: And The Great Elephant Adventure.  The film will come to select theaters through Fathom Events on April 16 only. I gathered up my girls to watch, and we created an elephant craft to go along with it. It's a great family-friendly film and provides some good opportunities for discussion and extension activities, such as our craft.

Phoenix Wilder: And the Great Elephant Adventure

The film is an adventure story. Phoenix Wilder is a 13-year-old boy who loses his parents suddenly. He's sent to live with his Aunt Sarah in South Africa. Though missing his parents immensely, Phoenix is interested in this new life, and the day after his arrival he heads off on a safari with his Uncle Jack.

On the safari, Phoenix becomes separated from the group and isn't noticed right away. By the time they realize it and come back to find him, Phoenix is hopelessly lost and is growing desperate. He meets an elephant and is glad to have company, someone to talk to. He forms an immediate bond with this elephant.

Phoenix and his new friend also stumble upon elephant poachers who are killing elephants for their tusks. The group is in search of a large elephant herd in the area. Phoenix and the elephant take every opportunity to thwart them while alluding capture.

As film-goers watch Phoenix and his friend do what they can to prevent the poachers, they also learn more about poaching and the need for elephant conservation.

The film is starring Elizabeth Hurley and is directed by Richard Boddington, the director of the Against The Wild films. The film has a pre-show presentation about elephants and two additional interviews at the end, first with Elizabeth Hurley and second with world famous conservationist Dr. Richard Leakey.

World Elephant Day Family Movie

Watching and Discussing the Movie

The movie is intended to be a family-friendly movie. There are a few elements that might bother really young children- Phoenix's reaction when he learns about the death of his family, guns that the poachers carry, a scene with a dead elephant that the poachers shot (although it isn't graphic at all). But most of the movie would be find for kids of any age. It will make for a great family night at the movies.

World Elephant Day Family Movie

The movie does a good job of presenting the idea of poaching and its effect on elephants without being too frightening for the younger set. It can prompt good discussion about why poachers destroy elephants, why it's wrong, and what people are doing to stop it. 

I think that having a story line that captures the attention of kids, instead of just a documentary with people talking, can make more of an impact because it's presenting the problem in a real life way so that viewers can relate. Phoenix's growing relationship with his elephant friend really draws viewers in and helps them connect with the elephant as well. We found ourselves really cheering him on as he helped Phoenix disrupt the poachers.

Besides the information about elephants and poaching, the film has some beautiful scenery. It inspires me to want to learn more about South Africa. Elephants, conservation, Africa- I can see multiple unit studies coming up in my future!

World Elephant Day Family Movie

Where and How to Watch

How can you watch this film with the family? Visit this site to find out which theaters near you will be showing Phoenix Wilder: And the Great Elephant Adventure. You can see a trailer for the film below. And don't forget that you can enter the giveaway to win tickets!

Phoenix Wilder: And The Great Elephant Adventure Trailer from Richard DC Boddington on Vimeo.

Make an Elephant

To further the elephant fun, I designed a cute, simple elephant craft. My girls are almost too old for fun crafts, but the younger crew will definitely enjoy doing this one after watching the film.

Supplies needed...

  • Grey construction paper
  • Paint or crayons
  • Wiggle eyes
  • Paper plate
  • Scissors
  • Glue
Elephant craft for kids

I cut elephant ears out of the grey construction paper. To make things easier, I drew a semi-heart shape on folded paper and cut it out so that I had two ears of exactly the same size and shape.

Elephant craft for kids

Elephant craft for kids

The trunk is made by cutting a strip of grey construction paper and folding it in an accordion fold.

Elephant craft for kids

Paint or color the paper plate grey.

Elephant craft for kids

Glue the ears on to the back of the plate so that they stick out from underneath.

Elephant craft for kids

Glue on the wiggly eyes and trunk.

Elephant craft for kids

Name your new friend.

Elephant craft for kids

Family movie for World Elephant Day


Enter the giveaway to win five passes to see the film at the closest theater to you that is showing it.
The giveaway begins 03/11/2018 10:00 pm and the giveaway ends 03/28/2018 03:00 am.

Family movie for World Elephant Day

Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

Leah Courtney is a homeschooling mom of four. She’s graduated two teens- one who’s a legal adult now! And she’s still homeschooling two middle schoolers. She loves all things book related, and in her- very rare- free time you can find her listening to audiobooks and coloring.


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