Looking for a safe, yet exciting way to visit the countless creatures that call the Arizona desert home? The Phoenix Zoo is 125 acres of natural habitat for over 200 species of animals. Not limited to the slithering rattlesnake or Mexican grey wolf, many of the Zoo’s creatures hail from such exotic areas as the tropical rain forest of Colombia and the Serengeti of Africa. Whether looking to spend a few hours or an entire afternoon, the Zoo’s central location, in the heart of Papago Park, make the Phoenix Zoo one of the City’s most convenient destinations.
Known as the largest non-profit zoo in the United States, the Phoenix Zoo opened in 1962 after business magnate Robert Maytag sought to preserve endangered species and provide educational opportunities for students seeking to learn about the inhabitants of far and distant lands. Today the zoo houses over 1,200 animals in four distinct zones, or “trails” and serves as a conservation center dedicated to facilitating dialogue about the ongoing relationship between plants, animals and the environment.
The Arizona Trail.
Home to native plants found rampant across the Sonoran Desert, the Arizona Trail also highlights such Arizona favorites as the mountain lion, bald eagle, the coyote and the Arizona blond tarantula, a favorite among saguaro cacti forests. From the safety of the zoo trail, see first hand these natural wonders that once roamed freely across the land you now call home.
The Africa Trail.
Some of the most exciting animals in the world are found on the continent of Africa, including the baboon, the rhinoceros, the lion and the Sumatran tiger. The Africa Trail exhibits each of these spectacular species and more, taking visitors from the comfort of the familiar into the deepest reaches of the African savanna.
The Tropics Trail.
One of the most popular exhibits at the Phoenix Zoo, the Tropics Trail leads visitors through the dense rain forests of South America and onto the continent of Asia, where you can see elephants, black jaguars, several species of tortoise and countless tropical birds. Children particularly enjoy the Tropics Trail because they can see orangutans up close and make their way through a forested maze designed especially for them.
The Discovery/Children’s Trail.
Don’t let the name fool you. The Discovery/Children’s Trail is as much fun for adults as it is for kids. Here you can observe ocelots, porcupines and raccoons in their natural settings and when you finish, can relieve your own childhood memories by visiting Harmony Farms, a collection of traditional farm animals, petting zoo and displays highlighting the agricultural history of the United States.
Ruby the Elephant.
Many will remember the Phoenix Zoo’s most famous inhabitant, Ruby the elephant. An Asian elephant born in Thailand in 1973, Ruby joined the Zoo’s family later that year. She quickly gained famed after being discovered as an “artist” when a zookeeper gave her paper and a brush to replace the sticks Ruby was seen playing with in the sand. Original prints of Ruby’s painting sold for hundreds of dollars up until her death in 1998, raising funds for needed research at the zoo. Today, dozens of Asian elephants are contributing to their upkeep and providing necessary income to their facilities because of Ruby’s example.
The Phoenix Zoo prides itself on being family friendly. Visitors can bring their own coolers and ice chests, filled with home made lunches or can purchase delicious, healthy meals at affordable prices. Roller blades and bicycles are allowed inside the Zoo and guests opting for these methods of transportation are simply asked to be courteous and safety conscious at all times. Scooters and skateboards are prohibited, however. The Zoo is open 364 days a year, rain or shine, with hours ranging from 7:00 a.m. in the summer to as late as 10:00 p.m. in the winter.
Getting to the Phoenix Zoo.
The Zoo is located at 455 North Galvin Parkway in Papago Park near the Phoenix Botanical Garden. From the west, take I-10 East (downtown) to 202 East (Red Mountain Freeway). Exit at Priest Drive. Go north (left) on Priest, which becomes Galvin Parkway. Turn right at the first light north of Van Buren into the Phoenix Zoo parking lot. Bus #3 on the Valley Metro Transit Service also comes directly the Zoo. Check valleymetro.org for updated schedules and rates.
Map To The Phoenix Zoo.
About The Photographer.
The Phoenix Zoo photos are compliments of Robert Body. Decor prints and stock photos are available. Visit Robert Body. Com for more information. For even more viewing pleasure, see even more of Robert's Phoenix Zoo Collection of Photos. Also see his other photo galleries.