The Phoenix area is home to several zoos, wildlife parks, and aquariums, making this a great destination for animal-lovers looking for up-close encounters with exotic species. In honor of the upcoming National Zoo Keeper Week celebration (July 17-23), we spotlight the best zoos, wildlife parks, and aquariums in the Phoenix area.
Phoenix Zoo. One of America’s most successful private zoos, the Phoenix Zoo opened its doors in 1962 and quickly established itself as a top Valley destination for families and visitors. The Phoenix Zoo has also been voted one of the nation’s top five zoos for children. Kids will love riding the safari train, mingling with farm animals in the petting zoo, and taking an unforgettable ride atop a camel. The Phoenix Zoo is located at 455 North Galvin Parkway in scenic Papago Park.
Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium. This popular Westside destination opened its doors in 1984 and features the first public aquarium located between Albuquerque and San Diego. Popular outdoor exhibits include the African Safari Train, Log Flume Ride, and Giraffe Station, where children and their families can feed giraffes by hand. The zoo also boasts over 75 indoor exhibits featuring fish, birds, invertebrates, mammals, and reptiles. The Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium is located at 16501 West Northern Avenue in Litchfield Park.
Out of Africa Wildlife Park. Lions, tigers, leopards, hyenas, and wildebeests are the order of the day at this fun outdoor wildlife park. Not technically in Phoenix, the Out of Africa Wildlife Park is located about 90 minutes north of the city in the town of Camp Verde. Catch the popular Giant Snake Show, take a ride on the Wildlife Preserve Tram Tour, or call ahead and register for the fascinating, three-hour Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour. To get here from Phoenix, take I-17 north to exit 287 and follow the signs to the park entrance.
Sealife Arizona. Located inside the Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe, Sealife Arizona is the state’s only aquarium designed specifically for kids. Watch sharks, rays, tropical fish, and other amazing ocean specimens swim behind the glass, and interact with real sea creatures at one of the aquarium’s touch pools. The aquarium features more than 5,000 sea creatures and 30 displays in all. Sealife Arizona is located at the northeast corner of Arizona Mills at 5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle in Tempe.