The family went on a short vacation to Phoenix in August 2012. Why Phoenix in August you may be wondering? Yes it was 115 degrees the whole time but it was the only time that worked for us to go and still catch a baseball game at Chase Field since seeing the Diamondbacks was the main purpose of our trip (my husband and I are on a quest to see all the stadiums).
Even though the zoo was not the main purpose of our trip it turned out to be the highlight of the trip for the kids. This is why we loved the Phoenix Zoo:
Friendly Staff. Because of the heat in the Summer the zoo opens early at 7am and closes at 2pm. We arrived super early (like one of the first groups) to avoid the afternoon heat and hopefully catch some of the animals being active before the heat was too much for them. The staff at the gate was really friendly and we were able to rent double stroller for the girls and were on our way. The staff along the whole walk of the zoo was really friendly taking extra time to explain stuff about the animals and were really good with the kids. Whenever they asked questions like what was the name of the camel they rode on they always offered additional information like ages and background stories. A month later Emmy still remember the camel’s name was Dale.
Water Parks. The Phoenix Zoo has it figured out that it’s HOT. We loved that they had two splash park areas for the kids to cool off in. We were lucky that a family friend that lives in the area told us about it, the girls wore their swimming stuff under their clothes and Hunter just wore his swimming trunks shorts and we packed towels. There were plenty of kids (and adults) in the water with their clothes on though. The kids had so much fun playing in the splash parks that they could have stayed there all day with just that. This gave the adults a nice break of being able to sit down and watch them.
Animals. The animals at the zoo were pretty good although honestly it wasn’t the kids favorite part to see the animals in the cages except for the lions and tigers. The kids enjoyed roaring at them. The zoo has 1,300 animals including 200 endangered species. The kids were most excited about monkeys before they got there and they were mostly in hiding but they didn’t complain about not seeing many monkeys.
Experiences. The best part by far were the experiences. The Phoenix Zoo had so many cool experiences that the kids could participate it which made the zoo most memorable for them. Unfortunately most of the experiences cost an extra $5 per person but since we were on vacation we did them anyway.
- Camel Ride. The camel’s name was Dale as Emmy has been repeating still a month later. I went with the kids on the camel and it was pretty cool for the little ones. We walked in a circle on the camel for just a few minutes for $20 but to hear the kids still talk about it made it worth it.
- Giraffe Feeding. Feeding the Giraffes was my favorite part of the zoo but also a kid favorite too. Since it was not very busy at the zoo the staff took extra time with us during the feedings and told us several facts about the Giraffes that I can barely remember because I was so facinated by how close we were. One of the guys even took my camera for me and took a ton of photos of us feeding the giraffes. Hunter was a little scared to actually let the giraffe take the food out of his fingers and he was trying to let it go before the tongue would grab it but they let him try again probably 10 times. The staff did comment how it was nice to be able to take more time when there wasn’t a line. I love the expression on Riley’s face as Gerry feeds the giraffe, it is just of absolute confusion about this animal. I would have loved to know what she was thinking.
- Monkey Village. Emmy loved the monkey village the most because she likes monkeys. At the Phoenix Zoo they have an area that you can walk though a rain forest habitat where squirrel monkeys are climbing around without a cage between, it’s just you and the monkeys. Of course there are plenty of staff around making sure you don’t get into actual contact with the monkeys but they were also good at pointing them out in the trees.
- Petting Zoo. The kids had been to a ton of petting zoos before so they weren’t extra excited about it. The part they liked was that they had a bucket of brushes that you could use to brush the goats but other than that it was not much different that any other petting zoo.
- Little People Farm. By the petting zoo they have a setup that looks like a Fisher Price little people farm and all the characters. The kids thought it was pretty cool since we have the farm at home and played around in it for a while. We were near the end of the zoo journey by then and it was starting to get extra hot and all the adults were definitely ready to go by then so we didn’t spend too much time there.
- Sting Rays. unfortunately Hunter was a little hesitant of the sting ray encounter where you can actually feed them so we didn’t pay the extra $5 to do it. There was no line and no one else feeding them so I am guessing it would have been really cool, maybe another time.
By the end of the day the adults were definitely bothered by the heat while I think the kids could have kept going all day at that zoo. I am glad we went in the summer, even though we had to get there early because I loved how queit and calm it was!
The zoo is a must see if you are in Phoenix with the kiddos. You can view more information on their website at: www.phoenixzoo.org.
Don’t forget your swimming stuff if you go in the Summer!!!