Love a good zoo?
Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park – just west of Phoenix – was our first stop on our Arizona Spring Break itinerary. My family loves visiting zoos, and we had a great time together here.
Wildlife World Zoo began in 1975 as a breeding facility for rare wildlife. It opened to the public in 1984, and continues to partner with well-known zoos throughout the world in conservation and rescue efforts.
Are you planning a trip to Phoenix? Here are my tips for visiting Wildlife World Zoo.
More than a zoo
The full name of this zoo is Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park. If you add Amusement Park to the list, that pretty well sums up this fun destination. That said, the zoo is the main attraction. The aquarium, safari park and rides are smaller.
Wildlife World Zoo receives no public funding, so it relies on admissions and other revenue to maintain its facilities and carry on its mission of conservation and education. As a result, the facilities and habitats feel low-frills compared to the publicly funded zoos we are used to.
Tip: You can often find discounts for the Wildlife World Zoo on Groupon.
Are paved paths the reason you go to a zoo? Of course not! It's about the animals, and in that area, Wildlife World Zoo shines. It has the largest collection of exotic animals in Arizona and is among the top 30 zoos in the nation for animal diversity. You'll find animals from across the globe, with heavy focus on Africa, Australia and reptiles, plus the aquarium animals. I was surprised to see several albino animals, including a rare albino alligator, an albino peacock and a white tiger.
Feed the animals
Wildlife World Zoo offers a variety of fun animal encounters, and most are included with admission, or are inexpensive. Lorry parrot feedings, the sea lion show, sting ray pool and petting zoo are all included with admission. If you'd like to feed giraffes, koi or the animals in the petting zoo, coin operated pellet dispensers are located near the habitats. Bring quarters with you or change some at admission if you'd like.
This is the first zoo we've seen that offers giraffe feeding and my kids loved it! They climbed a platform to the giraffe's height and dropped pellets onto its long tongue. Here's the video:
I've never seen a zoo with as many rides as Wildlife World Zoo. In addition to the familiar carousel, the zoo has a log flume ride (which was just what we needed in the hot afternoon), a skyride, and a tram, train and boat ride through the habitats. Each ride costs between $2 and $6 per person. The Safari Tram, a narrated tour through the Safari Park, was my favorite. For kids, the carousel is irresistable, and the least expensive option.
Eat at Dillon's
Dillon's Restaurant is known for its Kansas City style barbecue. It is located in the aquarium, with the floor-to-ceiling shark tank inside the restaurant. We read so many good reviews about Dillon's before our trip that we decided we'd better not miss it. We arrived just before the lunch rush and were quickly seated.
My husband and I both enjoyed the barbeque and selection of sauces. Our kids won't eat exotic things like barbeque, but they were happy with the usual entrees on the kids' menu. Honestly though, one of my favorite things about Dillon's was the air conditioning. It was an unseasonably warm day and the hour we spent in the restaurant helped us recharge so we could enjoy the rest of the day a lot more.
Disclosure: We received complimentary admission and rides at Wildlife World Zoo for the purpose of review. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
Good to Know
Where: 16501 W. Northern Avenue, Litchfield Park, Arizona
When: Wildlife World Zoo is open every day of the year, including holidays, at 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The aquarium is open until 9:00 p.m.
How Much: Updated September 2017. Prices do not include tax.
- Adult: $40
- Child (3-12): $20
- Ages 2 and under: FREE
- Discounts are often available at Groupon
How Long: up to a full day
Amenities: restaurant, snack bar, gift shop, stroller and wheelchair rental, free parking
We took so many fun photos at Wildlife World Zoo, I hope you won't mind if I share a few more: