There’s more wildlife in the desert than just coyotes and jackrabbits. About a thirty-minute drive from downtown Phoenix is Wildlife World Zoo, a privately owned nature park and animal habitat that houses more than 2,400 critters. The zoo is located in Litchfield Park, a former farming community in west Phoenix, and is open daily year round, making it a good day trip or outing for kids and adults alike.
Arrive early to get a head start on your visit. The park opens at 9 a.m. year round. Pay an entrance fee of $16.99 for adults; there are reduced rates for children and groups. The zoo doesn’t allow outside food and drinks. There is a snack bar on the premises.
Escape from the heat and visit the indoor small mammal exhibit, which features monkeys, bats, rodents and other furry creatures. While you’re there, check out the zoo’s newest additions, such as baby spider monkeys and ocelots. Arrive in time to see the parrot feeding (daily at 11:30) and then climb aboard a platform to feed the giraffe from a nearby pellet station.
Take the kids to the petting zoo, which features baby deer, goats and chickens, then check out the nearby reptile exhibit to see lots of slithering things. Head to the Wildlife Encounter show, where zookeepers interact with the animals and public. These daily shows begin at 10:30 a.m. on weekdays and noon on weekends and are included with zoo admission.
Ride the train around the park. The zoo’s mini-train provides a narrated tour through African animal exhibits including gazelles, ostriches and antelope. The cost is $3. Hop on the open-air paddleboat for a mini-cruise to see kangaroos, wallabies, and kookaburras. The cost for the scenic lake tour is $2 per person.