Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Phoenix Zoo – Oh, but a disappointment!

Off to the Phoenix Zoo we went the other day. After using our discounted tickets purchased via Groupon ($6 for a normally priced adult ticket of $18) we started exploring the attractions.  The Zoo is made up of four large areas; the Arizona Trail, Africa Trail, Tropics Trail and Children’s Trail. As you can image each area contained animals indigenous to those general regions. We skipped the Children’s Trail area for it was mostly petting zoo attractions.  The following are the animal exhibits that we really enjoyed~

The Tiger – There was one tiger in a nice large enclosure. It put on quite a show posing and hamming it up for the crowd. There were plenty of photos with this big cat. What a beautiful animal to watch.

The Giant tortoises – These tortoises are huge and get up to 600 pounds in fact. We happened to hit this exhibit at feeding time which was great. Their food was a large mound of salad greens, carrots and sweet potatoes dumped on the ground.
 Each tortoise sat at a mound just eating away swallowing everything whole. When they did move around the pen they moved one leg at a time and at an extremely slow pace. One has to wonder if it’s because of the sheer weight they are hauling around. We did learn that the Galapagos tortoises can live to be 150 year old.

 The Orangutans – There are four Orangutans living in nicest facility out of all in the park. It consisted of multiple indoor/outdoor enclosures to watch them feed and play through large glass walls. We learned that all the females are on birth control pills and that each Zoo in the US can’t just decide or allow any of their animals to breed. In fact, there is a governing organization that controls this for all the zoos. We got very close to the Orangutan in the photo when she came right to the glass in front of us. Her fingers were big and long but her thumb was much smaller in comparison. We think she was as interested in us and we were interested in her.

The Savanna – This is a large open grassy area straight ahead as you first come into the zoo. It contained free roaming Giraffes, Watusi Cattle (with eight foot long horns), Ostriches, Vultures and more. It it’s a nice exhibit to watch these large animals grazing and passing the day.

Unfortunately, these highlights did not prevent the overall zoo from being a disappointment for us. Why you ask…….
  • We often found trash around the zoo and didn’t notice anyone actively picking it up.
  • There were no “extras” (i.e. published feeding schedules, animal demonstrations, or talks) offered by this zoo. Extras like feeding the Giraffes and touching Stingrays were for an additional fee. It’s understandable that some special activities require an additional fees like behind the scene tours and camel rides, it’s too bad a few free programs aren’t offered.
  • Several exhibits were not open and the general layout of the entire Zoo was not well organized so the space seemed not well utilized. Because of this, additional walking is required with nothing to see or experience. It seems there is a funding campaign to improve the zoo. Hopefully, that will include redesigning the layout and overall space.
  • There was a definite lack of information on their exhibit placards. It would have nice to learn a little more about each animal.
Overall we would not recommend this zoo. It was disappointing and not as enjoyable as other even smaller zoos that we have visited. One tip – if you don’t want to share the park with buses and buses of school kids go on the weekends.

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