Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Arizona

Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Arizona

lioness at Out of Africa Wildlife ParkI have mentioned my fun trip to Arizona to visit my Mom with my son Chad (my middle child who was in his 20’s during our visit).  One of our most memorable trips was to visit Out of Africa that was located in Fountain Hills, before its move to Camp Verde.  At the time they were much closer to my Mom’s house in Mesa, AZ.

We’re animal lovers

My son Chad and I (and his wife Jeanette) are true animal lovers.  My Mom had mentioned Out of Africa Wildlife Park so without knowing what it was all about, Chad and I decided to make a day trip.  It was 110 degrees that day and although the sweat was dripping down my back, I turned to Chad and casually mentioned, “It’s a little hot today.”  This coming from a Chicago native.  By the way, we were there in June or July, so it was summertime in Arizona – and we loved it.

It looked like a dump

When we pulled up my heart sank and I almost turned around and left.  We sat in the car a minute and asked each other if we wanted to go in.  As animal lovers we decided to give it a try.  We’re both so glad we did.

We have a couple of great zoos in the Chicago area, Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo.  But nothing prepared us for the closeness to the animals at Out of Africa.  I swear, we were separated from wolves with a heavy duty chicken wire looking fence.  You could feel the breeze as they walked past and I swear you could feel their breath!  It was amazing!

Cougars and bears and college students – all in the same cage!

As soon as we arrived we were told a show was beginning so we hustled over to a large caged-in area with a pool in the middle.  There we witnessed a show combining bears, cougars and some college kids playing with them.  The kids would run around with a toy dangling from a stick and a bear or cougar would be behind them.  They would make it around the pool and throw the toy in the pool and the animal would dive in after the toy.  We sat there with our mouths open, and I was wondering what kind of rider these kids had to sign to work there.  I also wondered how many mishaps occurred over the years.  These were full grown animals.

During the show we were told a story explaining that the bears and cougars actually shared an enclosure.  They used to share it with wolves but it was discovered that the wolves would scare the bears and the cougars into the trees.  So they removed the wolves and the other two species got along OK.

A very interactive place

feeding a big snake at out of africa at Fountain Hills, ArizonaWe were able to feed the giraffes and there was a tiger feeding time slot – but unfortunately we spent so much time there and knew my Mom was making dinner for us and had to leave before the next tiger feeding time.  Darn!

Another “show” was watching a humongous snake put out in a fenced area get fed.  They had a dead rabbit and the snake wasn’t hungry.  As we watched this not hungry snake just kind of lay around, it started to feel like watching water boil so we left and viewed the rest of the animals.

We didn’t want to leave

We were having such a good time we did not want to leave.  Time flew by and we knew Mom would be upset if we didn’t make it home for dinner.  We could see we were going to be late and I guess we didn’t bring our cell phones with as the staff let us use their phone to call home.  We reluctantly left to make it home before the food got too cold.  I figured Mom would be upset but she wasn’t.

As hot as it was that day, Chad and I decided to take a dip in the pool after dinner.  We got into our suits but when we went outside and dipped our toes in, we both thought the water was too cold.  We didn’t go in.  Mom couldn’t believe it.  Remember, it had hit 110 degrees that day.  We do not represent Chicago very well, do we?

They had to move

Unfortunately, we caught them at their last year at that location.  My Mom told me it was on Indian land and Out of Africa had to move.  They moved around an hour and a half away to Camp Verde.  But they were closed for some time before the move, so we never saw them at their original spot again.

My photos of this trip must be on our external hard drive so I’ll have to hook it up one of these days to get them on here.  This photo is of the original Out of Africa location in Fountain Hills, AZ and is courtesy of j klo.

Posted in Fun Things To Do, Out of Africa by judyo   

2 Responses

  1. October 15th, 2012 | 7:16 AM

    I just came across your “blog” and would love to invite you to visit us at our new location in Camp Verde. We are now on 104 acres and 6 times larger than we were in Fountain Hills.

  2. judyo
    October 15th, 2012 | 8:40 PM

    Ashton, if you read the last paragraph you’ll see that I mentioned your new location in Camp Verde, which I’ve been to. I need to write an updated post with some of the great photos I’ve taken – I’ll have to create a slideshow. I might stop by as I have family coming out in November 2012 to celebrate Thanksgiving in AZ.

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