Simon and Garfunkle sang about how it was "All happening at the Zoo". If you live or are visiting in the Mesa-Phoenix area you might well be humming this old tune as you see all that our Phoenix Zoo is offering in the next few weeks.
If you've never been, the Phoenix Zoo is the largest non-profit zoo in the United States with 125 acres of exhibits, 2.5 miles of walking trail and over 1300 animals from all over the world displayed along them. Each area is divided by the region it represents - Africa, South Asia, South America, ect, - with specialty exhibits such as those of the SW deserts and the aquatic Stingray Bay. The zoo's newest feature, Land of the Dragons, offers a close up view of the rarely exhibited Komono Dragon - a lizard 10' long and known to swallow Water Buffalo whole in their native habitats.
From White Rhinos to Warthogs, the Phoenix Zoo is one of the areas most pleasant family outings. Yet January and February offer some special events making it especially enjoyable.
From Jan. 16 - Feb. 28th, the Zoo and Geiko Insurance are showcasing the Geiko Gecko Special Exhibit. You won't be offered buttered muffins by a talking lizard with an Australian accent but you will be introduced to his cousin - the Madagascan Giant Day Gecko - and of Geiko's world wide efforts for wildlife conservation.
From Jan. 23 - Jan. 31 the Primate Palooza will feature 14 species of primates running from the tiny 1 lb. Tamarin to 200 lb Orangatans and the introduction of the zoo's newest primate, the Buff Cheek Gibbon.
Yet if Jungle Love sounds appealing for a Valentine date, that's the theme of the zoos annual after hours Valentine's Eve dance and dinner. The evening includes (2) complimentary drinks at the cash bar, a Spanish buffet, Flamenco dancers plus music and dancing with close up visits from your jungle hosts. The cost is $80.00 per couple with reservations limited to 50 couples (Sorry - no guests under 21). The evening begins at 6:00pm on Feb. 13th with dinner at 6:30 and Flamenco Show at 7:00 with the dance floor open until 9:00. For reservations call 602-914-4333 or visit the zoo website at www.phoenixzoo.com and click "Special Events".
The Phoenix Zoo is located in Papago Park between McDowell and Van Buren, its exact address 455 N. Galvin Parkway. Check the zoo website (www.phoenixzoo.com) for directions from throughout the Valley or call 602-273-1341 for information. Admission to the zoo is $16.00 for adults with a $5.00 discount for seniors over 60; children 3-12 are $7.00 with 2 and under free.
Standard visiting hours are 9am - 5pm with 8.00am pre-view opening for those with annual or caretaker memberships. There are food vendors on site or several picnic areas with Ramada's and benches. Allow 2-3 hours to enjoy the zoo to its fullest.