The Phoenix Zoo
Arizona Coyote © Robert Body
The largest non-profit zoo in the nation, the Phoenix Zoo is situated in Arizona's capital city on 125 acres that are devoted to animal exhibits and trails. Voted one of the country's top five zoos for children, the Phoenix Zoo is a terrific family attraction during your vacation to the Valley of the Sun. Yet, the zoo is frequented by people of all ages looking to spend a delightful day amidst a plethora of interesting wildlife. The Zoo is located in Phoenix, Arizona in Papago Park which is also home to the Desert Botanical Garden.
The zoo's grounds are comprised of thematic trails that lead visitors to view the animals of Africa, animals of the tropics, animals of Arizona, and others. The popular Children's Trail leads kids through exciting exhibits filled with animals like golden lion tamarins, porcupines, raccoons, and more. There is also a petting zoo in this section of the zoo which is a special highlight as it features a large quantity of farm animals that children can touch.
Animal Encounters are unique opportunities for visitors to see a short program about a variety of animals and their keepers. Watch the baboons enjoy their morning snack or check out the odd eating habits of otters. Schedules of these encounters are available daily at the zoo and offer guests a closer look at some of their favorite creatures.
Another popular attraction of the zoo is quite new and is known as Stingray Bay. Roughly thirty stingrays are housed in a fifteen thousand gallon tank giving people the opportunity to watch these sea creatures in live action. But this tank has recently gotten some new arrivals to spice up the scene. Nurse sharks and bamboo sharks now coexist with the rays and provide lots of viewing excitement for visitors.
Children also love the fantastic carousel situated at the zoo's entrance. Unlike traditional carousels that display horses, this one features endangered animals. The exquisite animals are hand-crafted; the zoo charges $2 for a ride.
The Safari Train is great way to enjoy a guided tour of the zoo's many features. Guides are knowledgeable about the animals and their habits and they love to share zoo news with their passengers. Rides generally last about a half hour, but provide extensive information about some of the zoo's most popular attractions.
If visiting the zoo calls for a more rustic form of travel, consider taking a camel ride, a new attraction at the Phoenix Zoo. For $5 guests of the zoo can take a ride amidst the shady scenery. There is even the opportunity for a photograph.
More Zoo Features
As if the animals weren't already enough fun, the Phoenix Zoo offers visitors the chance to enjoy a pedal boat ride on the lagoon or a bike ride. Bikes are a great way to traverse the zoo's grounds. The zoo also offers various venues to eat so there's little reason to leave the zoo grounds for a great lunch. Each venue offers different cuisine so there's something to please every taste. Anytime is a great time to visit the zoo, but the Zoo Lights during the holiday season is a very popular time.
Directions To The Zoo
There are many ways to get to the Phoenix Zoo depending upon your origination point. The Zoo is located in Papago Park which is between Van Buren and McDowell Road. Papago Park sits on the borders of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, and is also the home of the Desert Botanical Garden. The Zoo can generally be reached by taking Interstate 10 through Phoenix to Loop 202 East. Exit 202 at Priest Drive and travel North. Priest will turn into Galvin Parkway. Make a right turn at the first stoplight north of Van Buren which leads to the Zoo parking lot. Visit the Phoenix Zoo website for seasonal hours of operation and special events.
Map Directions To The Zoo
Courtesy of the Phoenix Zoo