Opening in 1962, the Phoenix Zoo quickly became the premier place in the Valley to view and interact with wildlife. Since the gates opened, they’ve seen more than 43 million visitors pass through.

Today the Phoenix Zoo boasts more than 1,400 animals, including 30 threatened or endangered species. Whether you want to see elephants, bears, jaguars, parrots, or something as obscure as the Arabian Oryx — brought back from extinction due to the zoo’s conservation efforts  — you will find them. The adorable Fenic Foxes are our favorite, but you can’t miss them because they are up front.

Want to get to know the animals better? Get up close with squirrel monkeys in the Monkey Village, or pet and brush goats in the Red Barn. Ride camels, pet sting rays, feed giraffes or do all of the above. When you get to the giraffe area, check out the one that talks! (Actually, a park employee hidden behind a bamboo screen provides the giraffe’s voice to interact with visitors, but you’ll still love it).

In addition to animals, the Phoenix Zoo offers programs for all ages from arts and crafts to math and science. Plus, you can attend regular beloved events like the Howl-O-Ween, Farm Days, ZooLights, Feast for the Beasts, Winter in July, 4th of Zooly and more throughout the year.

Other experiences include the Safari Train tour, pedal boats, story times and puppet shows for little ones, and — during the summer — water playgrounds. You will find more than enough to fill an entire day.

Location: 455 North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, Arizona 85008
Hours: 
June 1 to August 31: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily
September 1 to October 31: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
November 1 to January 8: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
January 9 to May 31: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Cost: $24.95 for adults, $14.95 for children 3 to 13, free for children 2 and under. Discounts available for students, seniors, military and more.
Website: http://phoenixzoo.org/

Need more to do? The Phoenix Zoo sits next to the wonderful Desert Botanical Garden.

– Justin Ferris, Phoenix.org