One of the best destinations in the United States for families is home to some of its most interesting animals.
Phoenix Zoo is home to approximately 1,200 animals of all shapes and sizes. Since opening in 1962, this attraction has grown in reputation and popularity to become one of the top family-friendly zoos in the country, and it’s easy to see why. The zoo is educational and fun, and puts an emphasis on conservation, so you’ll see some really rare and unusual animals during your visit.
The zoo covers 50 hectares, but is easy to navigate along the four themed trails. Start locally on the Arizona and discover the wildlife of the surrounding area. The local Sonoran desert provides the setting, and many indigenous cacti and trees can be found providing shade for local big cats, such as mountain lions and bobcats, desert coyotes and even birds like majestic bald eagles, scavenging vultures and brightly coloured thick-billed parrots.
From Arizona, it’s a short walk over to Africa. You’ll feel like you’re on a safari as you travel the savannah – there’s everything from enormous elephants, down to tiny, curious meerkats here. Take a ride on a camel, or feed the giraffes from the observation deck for an even closer experience.
The final geographical trail takes you to the Tropics. Monkey Village has a rainforest theme and is home to primates of all shapes and sizes, and remains a firm favourite with visitors. The fourth trail is specially designed for small children, and the Little People Discovery Farm is the perfect place for them to meet the animals. If all that walking sounds like too much, hop aboard the safari train to get an overview of the zoo, complete with commentary.
Phoenix Zoo is a 20-minute drive east of the city centre. Opening times vary, and the zoo is closed in the afternoon in summer because of the heat—check the website for more information. Parking is available and the zoo is accessible by public transport.