Nintendo's 'Animal Crossing' Is Bringing Earth Day to Your Virtual Island a Day Late


Apr. 22 2020, Updated 9:17 a.m. ET

animal crossing nature day
Source: iStock

Though we may be celebrating Earth Day mostly indoors this year — especially those of us who live in big cities — there are still plenty of fun ways to commemorate the day, from starting an indoor garden to watching the inspiring speakers scheduled for this year's Earth Day live stream event. And if you're one of the millions who've become recently obsessed with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, there's an Earth Day-inspired event coming to the game as well. We've gathered all the available details on what to expect with the upcoming game update.

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How do I get the Animal Crossing Nature Day event?

While we originally thought a free update would come on Earth Day, it looks like the "Nature Day" event comes the following day, on April 23. That morning, players should receive a prompt to download a free update to their game, which will open up the Nature Day event and a host of other fun features being added to the game.

animal crossing earth day update
Source: Nintendo
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Details are still emerging on the event, but we can confirm a beloved character from earlier versions of the game will make his comeback for the special event and will be a recurring visitor from that day forward.

(Re)introducing Leif, the sloth who used to run the garden center in 'Animal Crossing: New Leaf'.

When the cute little sloth appeared in promotional material signaling the Earth Day event (now retitled "Nature Day," fans of the social simulation got pretty excited. Leif will not only bring special challenges for the 11-day Nature Day event, which runs until May, 4, but he will also sell seeds, saplings, and new flowering shrubs. While players can buy some gardening supplies at Nook's Cranny, the selection probably leaves much to be desired for players looking to grow a variety of plants on their islands.

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Even players who have unlocked an expanded Nook's Cranny only have six flower types each day to choose from. Typically, the selection will include two colors varieties of three species. There are eight flower species available on Animal Crossing, and the only way to cultivate new species is to visit friends' islands and purchase seeds in their Nook's Cranny or get lucky and land on one of the mystery islands that have different flower varieties.

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There's no news yet whether regular visits from Leif will eventually lead to the ability to build a standalone shop for gardening supplies. Either way, his arrival will definitely appeal to players who have been struggling to increase their islands' biodiversity

How past versions of the game have celebrated Earth Day (or Nature Day).

The Earth Day event wasn't really much to write home about in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Mainly it consisted of players visiting Isabelle on the day, who would give their character a special globe. But in a way, Nature Day on ACNH is almost better than the Earth Day we celebrate in real life because it goes on for over a week, similar to other in-game events so far like the "Bunny Day" celebration and Cherry Blossom Festival which ran for weeks.

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Whether you call it Earth Day or Nature Day, this exciting new event is a prime opportunity for Nintendo to encourage players to be good stewards of the planet.

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