The Phoenix zoo is a privately owned, non-profit sanctuary that offers the animals wide open spaces to run free in large enclosures.
The grounds are split into different themes like the Africa Trail, Harmony Farm and the Arizona Trail, directing you to the different animals that live in those climates and habitats. My favorite animals are the Galapagos Tortoises. These huge guys are so interesting to watch and SO cute.
Below I will try to break the zoo down into must-sees and give tips on making your day easier, especially if you have small children.
For those of you that don’t want walk thru the entire 125 acres, there is a zoo train that will take you around the whole park and give a wonderful narration about the animals. This way, you can get an idea of what you do and don’t want to see later. The tour lasts about half an hour and costs $3.00 per person, 3 years and older. It leaves every 20 minutes at the train station near the main lake.
The zoo rents pedal boats and 3-wheel bikes but are on the expensive side. They also rent strollers and will let you ride your own bike or rollerblades, inside the grounds.
Restrooms and water fountains are around almost every corner. Snack bar food ranges from sandwiches and hot dogs to gelato, pizza, kettle corn and Mexican favorites. Snack bars can be expensive and are dispersed thru the grounds. As always, I advocate bringing your own water bottles and a few snacks to curb the urge to splurge on expensive menu items. (I DO love my kettle corn.) Make sure you get a map at the entrance to help you navigate.
The zoo offers different events throughout the year that anyone can attend. Zoo Lights is a huge one. See my attached review about that.
Another big event is the Zoofari benefit dinner and concert where all the proceeds go to the zoo itself. It’s a wonderful evening filled with fabulous food, wine and entertainment, all in the name of the zoological Society of Arizona.
A couple of things to remember. The summer here is way too hot to be spending it outside at the zoo. Anywhere from late October thru early May are ideal times to go. Always have a hat and sunscreen and wear comfortable shoes. No coolers are allowed inside and always bring your wallet. Especially if you have children--there are a few gift shops throughout that will tempt them with knick knacks.
Other than that, have a GREAT time.