Create a Wildlife Park for WildLIVE!

At its core, WildLIVE! is an animal theme where kids encounter creatures from all over the planet while they’re involved in a nature show. Through the lessons, students will focus on Jesus’ captivating character and discover how to follow Him in their own “habitats.” This theme gives you decorating options! There’s the “on location” option, where students trek across the planet to find and “film” animals. But students don’t have to go all over the planet to visit animals; they can visit them in your own wildlife park.

On Location with WildLIVE!” offers ideas for decorating your church with different wildlife habitats that your crew (VBS students) will visit. But every church is different, and if multiple habitats aren’t the answer for your VBS, no “fur”-ies—er, worries! A wildlife park* is a simpler way to go. You can unify your setting in one location. Your church’s wildlife park will vary from other churches’ parks, and that’s fine! Your park will depend on factors that are unique to your VBS.

Wildlife Park Options for Decorating

Here are a few ideas—some of which came from creative customers like you.

  1. Animals/wildlife (focusing on animals)
  2. Wilderness (e.g., forest, lakes, rivers)
  3. A mix—including elements of several habitats, without focusing on any one habitat
  4. Filming the nature show (emphasizes the “show” aspect)
  5. Animal fur patterns and paw prints
  6. Safari
  7. Jungle
  8. Zoo
Illustration of decorating for the wildlife park option for WildLIVE! VBS 2024.

The “wildlife park” option features one setting with elements of several animal habitats, such as this one with a mix of habitat elements. From left: Andes Mountains, the Arctic with an ocean behind, woodland, and African savanna.

Setting Up a Wildlife Park

Here is how a few of the options (above) could work.

Idea 1: For an animals/wildlife theme, students begin and end the day in the WildLIVE! Studio (assembly time), but the rest of the VBS venue is decorated with animals, a good unifier since animals are central to the theme. If you have scenic decorations and want to sprinkle them in—such as foliage, fake trees, craft-paper rocks, or places for your animals to live—that’s fine, but it’s also optional. The main focus is on animals.

Idea 2: Decorate the entire VBS venue as a wilderness. This is a good unifier because a wilderness concept covers the majority of the habitats. And here’s where those leftover decorations from past years really come in handy—trees, forest, meadows, mountains, and basically any kind of foliage! Even camping gear is appropriate.

Idea 3: Students still begin and end the day in the assembly time area, the WildLIVE! Studio. In other areas of VBS, animals and habitat decorations are included in the same areas instead of in separate rooms. For example, a mountain display could be in the corner with llamas and sheep. Tables with white cloths could be used for polar friends like penguins. Christmas trees make great forest decor. This is a great option if your VBS is in a smaller space or if most of your decorations will be in one large room. You might already have many of the decorations and materials that you need, so it saves on cost. Be sure to check out the decorating CD of the Director Resources Download or CD Set to find ideas, templates, clip art, directions, and more that you can use in your wildlife park.

Final Thoughts on Your Wildlife Park

Some final thoughts: a great way to save money is using leftover decorations from previous VBS programs. Make use of outdoor decorations you already have on hand, such as foliage, tarps, and cellophane. And check out to find lots of easy decorations. For example, our cutouts make it easy to add animals and video items, since they include both. And connect on and for additional decorating ideas.

six middler- or junior-age kids (half girls, half boys) dressed in yellow or green casual clothes sit in a church auditorium looking happyKids will have fun at WildLIVE! The setting you choose will be unique to your church. And most important, it will be the place where students are eternally impacted by Christ’s character. That is ultimately what makes WildLIVE! Showcasing Christ’s Character beautiful!

*This is the second article on decorating for WildLIVE! Check out “On Location with WildLIVE!” for a different option. The concepts in this article are presented for illustration and idea starters. Brainstorm with your VBS team, to come up with exactly what is right for your church.

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About Joshua Mason

Joshua Mason is RBP’s creative manager for VBS. He holds an MDiv and has served as a children’s pastor and in other ministry roles. As a VBS director in local churches, he saw the impact VBS could have on not only children but also the entire church and its outreach to the community. Now he’s thrilled to be part of making sure churches have the tools they need as they reach children for Christ.
On a normal day you might catch Joshua flying a drone with his daughter in his free time. He also likes to read good books or articles, ride bikes with his family, and play basketball.
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