I-10 Road Trip Planner -- Fun at Phoenix area zoos
If you'll be traveling along Interstate 10 on your family road trip to the Los Angeles theme parks, you'll pass through the large metropolis of Phoenix, Arizona. Whether you wish to simply stretch your legs for a half hour, or stay to explore and enjoy the area for a day or two, you'll be able to find some fun family activities in the greater Phoenix area to enjoy.
Although Phoenix, itself, has no major theme parks (the residents here head to Southern California for their theme park fun), there are plenty of other activities here to explore---zoos, family fun centers, museums, and shopping, for example. On this page, we'll talk about two fun zoos that your family may enjoy exploring while you're visiting or traveling through Phoenix.
Let's start our exploration of Phoenix family attractions at the Wildlife World Zoo, a place my grandchildren both enjoyed---and maybe your kids will like it, too.
Phoenix has 2 major zoos. The Wildlife World Zoo is the smaller of these two zoos, featuring about 2400 animals (representing 350+ species.)
After paying for our admission to Wildlife World Zoo, I received my change in quarters rather than dollar bills. I soon found out the reason for having been given quarter coins---there are animal food pellet vending machines throughout Wildlife World Zoo! My first reaction to this was, "Hmmm...they'll do anything to get more money out of their guests!" But, I soon came to feel quite happy that this zoo allows guests to feed the animals. My grandchildren had such a good time interacting with the animals. (The larger zoo in this area---the Phoenix Zoo---is quite strict about visitors NOT feeding the animals...and the zoo experience there lacks the child-animal interaction that such feeding allows.)
In the photo to your left, you can see a mob of deer and goats around Natali and Gabriel in the "Petting Zoo" area of Wildlife World Zoo. In another of this zoo's highlights, the Giraffe Feeding Station, (see the picture at the top of this page), visitors climb up to an elevated platform---so that they may feed the giraffes at eye level! Now THAT activity seemed to captivate every single zoo guest that I saw participating!
Another highlight of the Wildlife World Zoo is its collection of white animals. There are white tigers, a white (albino) kangaroo, a white crocodile (only on loan to the zoo, unfortunately), a white rhino, and---as you can see---a beautiful white peacock. (A zoo staff member informed me that peacocks do come in the color white; that this one is not an albino.)
Like the white tiger display at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, the zoo actually maintains 2 white tiger areas---a large one so that the animals can exercise, and a smaller short-stay area so that visitors can get a good view of the animals. As for the white kangaroo, he sits in a special area called the Kangaroo Walk-About, a unique area where visitors can stroll up close to the Roos.
Still other highlights include: animal feedings, an animal show, a playground, and elevated walkways in parts of the zoo (so that you can see the animals well from over their fences. You actually get to see the animals closer-up at Wildlife World than at many other zoos.)
For extra fees, you may enjoy a train ride, sky ride, boat ride, carousel, snack bars and a gift shop featuring a wide selection of attractive animal-themed merchandise.
Wildlife World Zoo address: 16501 W. Northern Ave. Litchfield Park, AZ 85340
This address is easy to reach from Interstate 10. Heading toward Los Angeles, you'll pass all the way through Phoenix on I-10 until you reach the farmlands and new housing developments on the western fringe of greater Phoenix. Simply take the Cotton Road/Route 303 exit off of Interstate 10. Head north several miles until you reach Northern Ave. You'll find the zoo sitting on the SE corner of that intersection, in plain sight.
Wildlife World Zoo phone number---(623) 935-9453
Wildlife World Zoo admission prices (which include the zoo's new aquarium) are--- Adults: $27.50 + tax Kids 3--12: $14.25 Children age 2 and under: Free
Wildlife World Zoo Discounts--- There is a buy-one-ticket, get-one-free coupon printed on Hickman's Family Farms egg cartons at regular intervals (inside the lid...but only the lid of their styrofoam cartons, and not the cardboard cartons.) We get our Hickman Farm eggs at the IGA Grocery (The Butcher and the Farmer) in downtown Buckeye, AZ. However, that's not the only location where you can find them. The Sprouts Market located at 1813 North Dysart Road, Avondale, AZ 85392 also has cartons of Hickman eggs which have the BOGO Wildlife World Zoo coupon in them. Other selected markets carry the styrofoam cartons of Hickman eggs with the coupons; you may wish to check locations closer to your home.
However, you may not be able to find one of these coupons at the time of your visit...so here are a few other Wildlife World Zoo discounts that you may consider. If you're a member of the AAA, you may show your card at the zoo's ticket window to receive a $2 per person discount for your entire family. Seniors also get a $2-off discount on Senior Days (which are every Tuesday.) A $2-off group discount is given if you visit with a group of 10 or more in your party.
Wildlife World Zoo days and hours of operation--- Wildlife World Zoo is open 365 days a year from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm (but the last time you may enter is 5 pm.) If you're looking for a fun evening activity, however, the zoo's new aquarium buildings stay open until 9 pm. Evening aquarium-only admission prices are $16.99 + tax for adults and $8.99 + tax for kids age 3 thru 12. You can add even more enjoyment to an evening aquarium visit by dining at the aquarium's new restaurant, Tiburon (which is Spanish for "shark.") You may linger over your meal until 10:30 pm, the restaurant's closing time. A special children's menu is available, as well as a full range of selections on the adult menu.
The Phoenix Zoo is the large, "full-service" zoo in greater Phoenix, Arizona. You'll find all the "typical" zoo animals here---lions, tigers, elephants, bears, hippos, rhinos, etc, etc.
This is a very BIG zoo. The animal enclosures are very large; the various animal exhibits are separated by quite a bit of space; and there are also lawns, lakes, and trees used to make the zoo attractive and beautiful. What this all means for YOU is that you'll walk a whole lot!
As for myself, I was exhausted after several hours at the zoo, and we still hadn't seen a number of major exhibits. Even though I'm a cheapskate, I found myself willingly forking over my cash for Disneyland-priced cold beverages to refresh us, and I also paid for a narrated bus tour so that we could see the rest of the zoo. (Happily, the narrated bus tour turned out to be interesting, informative, and well worth the money.)
In the photo to your left, you see Natali viewing a bear through a glass window. In the photo to your right, you see one of the Phoenix Zoo's "star" attractions---Monkey Village. At Monkey Village, you can actually walk through an enclosure amongst the monkeys---and take close-up shots, like this one.
Children can also enjoy the zoo's large and busy play area, (which is free) and a cute carousel (extra fee.) The kid's petting zoo is fun, but not extremely lively. Feeding the animals is not allowed in the petting zoo.
Practical Information for the Phoenix Zoo---
Phoenix Zoo Address--- 455 N. Galvin Pkwy. Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix Zoo phone number---(602) 237-1341
Phoenix Zoo days and hours of operation---The zoo is open 364 days a year (closing only on Christmas). Fall, winter and spring, the Phoenix Zoo's hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Summer hours are from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm weekdays/4 pm weekends. (Most summer days reach temperatures over 105 degrees, which is why the zoo chooses to open and close early during the summer months.)