The Phoenix Zoo is one of my favorite places to visit. Located just north of downtown Tempe in Papago Park, the Phoenix Zoo is easy to get to and has a good amount of parking, so there’s never a hassle to find a parking spot. It’s the perfect place for a morning or afternoon outing, and it’s a great spot to take the kids for some good old fashioned fun!
My favorite animals to see when I visit are the orangutans, giraffes, zebras, monkeys, stingrays and elephants. Monkey Village is a wonderful area where you can actually walk into the exhibit and see the monkeys jumping from tree to tree up close. I also love the orangutan exhibit. There are two great viewing areas where you can see them interact, play and climb. It’s really incredible how close you can get. Stingray Bay is always worth a visit as well, where you can actually touch the stingrays as they glide by underneath your hand. And, if you time it right you can feed the stingrays!
If you’re bringing the kids, there are lots of areas where they can run around a play. The Children’s Trail will take kids on an adventure through Wallaby Walkabout, Harmony Farm Petting Zoo and a lake area with pedal boats. The Zoo also offers the kiddos two water playgrounds to splash around in. Leapin’ Lagoon is a fun splash pad area and Yakulla Caverns features a cave with waterfall and a splash pad area.
Kids and Family Programs: There are several fun kid-oriented programs at the zoo for every age. Breakfast with the Animals and Gifts for the Animals are programs perfect for kids ages 2-5. Lunch with a Keeper is designed for ages 6-10, and the Wild Science Academy is for kids 5-13. These are just a few of the programs offered, so be sure to check their website for a full list of events and schedules.
The Phoenix Zoo also offers a variety of fun events throughout the year. Here are some events taking place every fall season:
Howl-O-Ween, late October: Geared for kids ages 8 and up, Howl-O-Ween will offer a variety of activities that cater to both the brave and the not so brave. All activities will be broken down into 1 of 3 Scare Levels, Scare Level 1 being the least scary and Scare Level 3 being the scariest. Each Scare Level has a large variety of Halloween themed activities to participate in, so check out all the acitivites to decide which Scare Level is right for you or your child.
Zoolights is a dazzling light show like no other in the Valley. Music in Motion combines a dozen 12-foot tall floating light tubes, a 24-foot in diameter shimmering sphere and 52 trees all dancing to the beat of the music.
The Phoenix Zoo is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Tickets for adults are $27, kids ages 3-12 are $17, and children under 2 years old are free. If you love the zoo as much as I do, you might want to look into getting a membership. I have the basic membership which costs just $55/year. That way I can go as often as I like!