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Phoenix Zoo

Happy New Year! The holidays and the end of the semester put me in a time crunch, so I didn't have the chance to blog. Even though we stayed home for the holidays, I do have plans for between-trip posts in the new year. One thing I will be doing is covering some local sights. I will start with the Phoenix Zoo, which we visited over Veteran's Day weekend.

The Phoenix Zoo is located in southeast Phoenix, near the border with Tempe. Its website proclaims that it was voted one of the nation's top 5 zoos for kids. I don't know who voted, and I haven't been to many zoos, but I do agree that this one has some nice kid-friendly features. There is a zigzagging children's trail, which ends in a farm area with a petting zoo.


Trails are stroller-friendly, even if they aren't always paved with asphalt. Restrooms, snack bars, and vending machines are spaced throughout the park, so you usually aren't very far from whatever facilities you need. There are play areas and a splash pad that runs seasonally. There also are several other attractions at extra cost that kids will enjoy, like a carousel, giant slide, safari train, and a giraffe-feeding experience.

As for the animals, there are lots of them! One of the reasons for our visit was to see the orangutan exhibit that opened last spring. There are several orangutans in a large space where you can see them swinging around, chomping on lettuce, or just chilling out (look at the center of the pic below to spot one of them!).


Besides the orangutans, we really wanted to see the giraffes because they are my daughter's favorites. We did the "Giraffe Encounter" where we fed the giraffes lettuce leaves and little biscuits. It was so cool to be close to a giraffe and have it eat out of your hand!


The zoo has a lot of giraffes and a large section with African animals like zebras, lions, tigers, and rhinos. In addition to their Africa and Children's trails, they have an Arizona Trail and a Tropics Trail with animals from those locations. We also crossed paths with a peacock!


The downside to the Phoenix Zoo is that you feel a bit like you're being robbed. After you pay admission and enter the park, you're greeted by an onslaught of photographers who want to snap your photo so you can buy pictures later. Then there's a booth selling tickets to some of the things that aren't included with your ticket. There are many things that aren't included, and those experiences can add up. The giraffe feeding was a prime example: it was really fun, but it was $5 a person for nonmembers, and zoo members only got a $1 discount. Kids under 2 were free for the giraffe experience, but my daughter's ride on the carousel cost $3 (member price $2). Along the same lines, the food is mediocre and expensive: try $7 for a bag of kettle corn. Fortunately, outside food and drink are allowed, so organized parents (not me the day of our visit) can pack lunches. The extra fees and pricey food wouldn't bother me so much if the entry fee were lower, but at $18, admission is high enough to make you feel a bit resentful of the extra costs.

In all, the Phoenix Zoo is a nice facility that most kids will enjoy. If their parents come expecting to pay some additional fees, they can have a pleasant time as well.

Admission: $18 adults, $9 ages 3-12, kids 2 and under free
Best for: kids of all ages
Website: http://www.phoenixzoo.org/

Posted by amikulski 17:16 Archived in USA Tagged children animals arizona

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