Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park
With thousands of species on display, there’s always something exciting to see.
Learn, explore, and play at Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park. For the last three decades, the Litchfield Park attraction has thrilled visitors of all ages with their diversity of exotic and endangered animals.
The menagerie has also grown in size and recently added new areas and rides with a $4 million expansion project that was completed last year. The 215-acre park offers air-conditioned buildings and shady spots as well as entertainment options and delicious ways to cool off. So don’t worry about the hot Arizona sun! This is a great place to see animals outside and inside.
Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park has Arizona’s largest collection of animals––8,000!––with over 600 separate species. It’s also home to animals found in Arizona. Founded in 1984 by Micky Ollson, who originally purchased the land to breed animals for other zoos, the former junior high teacher wanted to bring his love for education and conservation as well as an appreciation for wildlife and wild places to visitors.
The USDA licensed, private institution is home to cheetahs, spotted and black jaguars, leopards, tigers, servals, ocelots, endangered white rhinoceros, and many more animals and is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums and the Zoological Association of America. View smaller mammals such as monkeys, rodents, and bats in the World Building. Do you love slithery snakes, creepy crawly insects, and rare iguanas and lizards? Check out these creatures via large acrylic panels with underwater viewing at DragonWorld. The area also houses a giant saltwater crocodile and the world’s rarest reptiles: two all-white albino alligators.
Children also have the opportunity to make new acquaintances with some furry friends, from axis deer and baby goats to chickens, by feeding them tasty morsels at the Kids’ Petting Zoo. And make sure to stop by the Giraffe Feeding Station. There’s even a kangaroo walkabout where you can stop and say hello to the well-known Australian marsupials. And young animals are on display at the Baby Animal Nursery.
Always wished you could go on an African Safari? You can be transported to the African Savannah within the 15-acre Safari Park featuring a new African lion habitat, macaws, East African crowned cranes, sable antelope, ostrich, Red River hogs, spur-winged goose, and brindled wildebeest––just to name a handful. You can also check out prairie dogs, crowed cranes, gazelles and more on the African Safari Train Ride.
A new 15-acre exhibit of North, Central, and South American animals includes buffalo, bears, cougars, bobcats, monkeys, and many other animals that can be see at Adventureland.
Visitors can explore the sights via the zoo’s Australian Boat Ride or on the Wildlife Sky Ride presented by Verizon SuperPages, where you can ride high above Arabian oryx, camels, alpacas, wallaby, ant eaters, and the Kangaroo Walkabout. Zoom past three primate islands, aquatic animals, and through the Aquarium’s tunnel tank on the Log Flume Ride. The zoo also has four new rides: an exhilarating roller coaster, the Vertigo Swing Ride, and the breathtaking 35-mph Soaring Eagle Zip Line, as well as the Flying Scooter. The swing and zip line, both topping out at 100 feet, offer spectacular views of the West Valley. Price for the rides are separate and vary from $3.50 to $6 per person. There’s also a Kid’s Carousal located by the small mammal exhibit.
After all that excitement you’ll probably want a bite to eat. Enjoy yummy food at Dillon’s KC BBQ where you can dine with the sharks. Eat indoors beside a 60,000-gallon shark tank, or enjoy a vibrant flamingo exhibit on the outside patio. Both are located at the park’s aquarium, featuring a South Pacific Reef tunnel, the longest acrylic tunnel in Arizona. There’s also a Stingray Feeding station where you can get your hands wet touching these fascinating cousins of sharks.
Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park also has other dining spots including Safari Grill, which offers burgers, fries, and ice cream, as well as a New Mexican restaurant called Zooberto’s with burritos, nachos, taco salads and quesadillas, which is located in Adventureland. For a quick bite, try the SkyRide Cafe or the Congo Cooker.
The park also features a variety of events and special programs. Every year, 25 spots are offered to children ages 7 to 12 to experience Safari Camp, where youngsters have the opportunity to receive exotic animal training and learn basic animal handling, interact with animals through a Sea Lion encounter, paint ostrich eggs and make crafts, discover careers in the zoological field, receive behind-the-scenes tours, and more. This year’s Safari Camp is held from June 26 to 30 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Price per child is $500 with lunch provided, including free kid passes and other goodies.
Field trips, membership, and volunteers opportunities are also available at Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium, including holiday events. Throughout the years, the zoo has awarded monetary donations and support to local, national, and international organizations working on habitat restoration and wildlife conservation.
“With so many animals to visit you can spend a whole day here,” says Kristy Morcom, director of media relations. “Wildlife World Zoo offers free animal shows, feeding stations, and the opportunity to get up close and personal with some amazing animals.”
Admission is $39.99 plus tax for adults (13+), $19.99 plus tax for children (3-12), and children 2 & under are free. The zoo is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the aquarium is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 365 days a year, including holidays.
Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park
16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park.
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