Phoenix, AZ Rainy Day Adventure: Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium

When planning the trip we took to the Phoenix area last month, we had a few things in mind.  Sun, heat, shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, and good times with family were all on the list.  On the other hand, while dreaming away of our visit, COLD and RAIN were very far from our minds.  The rain of course did have it’s benefits, but it also meant shifts in plans.

With precipitation in the forecast, we needed to be careful in our activity choices, and we certainly weren’t about to take the day off from exploring the area to hunker down at home.  Bergen wouldn’t allow that anyway.

The day before this adventure, while Bergen was tucked away for the night and Slaed and his Mom tried their luck at bingo, I scoured handouts, magazines and newspaper clippings (all bundled together by my mother-in-law) for a proper outing given the circumstances.  The Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium seemed to be our best bet.

With it’s location in Litchfield Park, AZ (Northwest of Phoenix), the attraction is not too far from where we were staying in Sun City.  Given that the facility now has the addition of an aquarium, I knew that along with a few other indoor exhibits, we’d have enough coverage in the event of a downpour.  Also, zoos are fun for all ages and not just adult or kid focused.

Sun City, Arizona:

Not such a sunny city on this day…

As we arrived, we were faced with a few negatives.  The first: A hoard of middle school students.  I don’t know about you, but middle school students by the dozen terrify me, even with a background as a school teacher.  The noise level alone sends me running for the hills.   One on one, and in small groups, however, the 12-14 year old set can be quite lovely.  The second negative: The price. At $30 dollars per adult, I thought the cost was quite steep for the zoo’s size and offerings.

Cautiously optimistic, we charged ahead (in the opposite direction of the middle schoolers), and began to explore some exhibits starting with birds and monkeys near the entrance.  While the creatures were beautiful, I couldn’t help but notice the tight quarters of their living space.  It was also hard to overlook the employees smoking right outside the animal’s home.  My hope is that their time in these enclosures is temporary for purposes of people to view them, but I’m afraid this is probably not the case.

We moved on to the petting zoo area where there are a variety of animals for kids and adults to interact with.  Tortoises, goat, chickens, and even small deer were waiting for us to spend time with them.  You could of course buy a handful of pellets for 50 cents to feed some of the animals.  Unfortunately, we learned that Bergen is absolutely terrified of petting zoos, or possibly goats? He was not comfortable walking around the fenced area, and screamed and cried, so needless to say, we made a quick exit.  This was fine by me as it was difficult to find a clear spot to step in the mess of goat droppings.

Tortoise Wildlife Zoo and Aquarium:

As we traveled up past the porcupine and meerkats, things started to look up.  Bergen enjoyed seeing many of the African animals at a distance, and we were surprised at how many creatures we saw that we have actually never seen before.  We marveled at large groups of hoofed animals like gazelles, antelopes, and addax.  We also had the chance to see many animals that we see from afar (or hiding) at our zoo, quite close.  One particular favorite of our group was a trio of lovely warthogs who certainly lived up to their name!

Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium:

Our funniest encounter had to be the New Guinea Singing Dog.  If we hadn’t read the sign, we honestly would have thought they plucked a little mutt from the Humane Society, and put him in the zoo.  I now know that the singing K-9’s are a true species of dog.  Their howl really does sound like singing, but they seem to run around just like any other dog would in their backyard.  We couldn’t help but think of Norman, our pup back home.

New Guinea Singing Dog Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium:

With the rains headed our way and lunchtime approaching, we squeezed in our inside visit with the baby white tiger, hurried past the flamingos, and took some time to explore the aquarium areas.  Just outside the indoor portion, by the log flume ride,  of the aquarium is a family of river otters.  These guys are adorable, and always my favorite at all the zoos and aquariums we visit.  They just know how to have a good time swimming, sliding, and standing up on their hind legs to check something out.

River Otters Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium:

We got to see some beautiful fish, and there is one station where kids can touch (and sternly enforced not pick up) starfish, urchins, and even feed stingrays.

Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium:

Would I go back? Absolutely not.

Do I feel like it was a complete waste of time? Of course not.  Together we laughed, got to see animals we’ve never seen before, and learned a few things along the way.

Info to Know

  • Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium is located about 40 minutes Northwest of Phoenix. 
    • 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park, AZ 85340, (623)-935-WILD (9453)
    • Hours:
      • Zoo: 9am-6pm Daily
      • Aquarium: 9am-9pm Daily
    • Fees: Adults $29 + tax, Kids (3-12 years) $14.25, Children (3 and under) FREE
  • Check local newspapers and websites for a possible $4-off coupon.
  • For lunch, we dined at Dillon’s Barbeque, which is located on the zoo and aquarium premises.  We were more impressed with the location (visited last year) in Peoria food-wise, but here we got to sit right next the shark tank, which was quite an experience.

Dillon's Shark Tank Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium:

Dillons: Wildlife World Zoo and

Visited a great zoo or aquarium? Tell us about it in the comments! Visited a not-so-great one? We want to hear about that too!

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22 thoughts on “Phoenix, AZ Rainy Day Adventure: Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium

    • Thanks, Martie! Yes, never good things to see at a zoo, but after all, a zoo is still a zoo no matter the conditions, I guess. Maybe improvements are coming or maybe we just caught them on a bad day.

      Yes, Sun City is quite a place! We love getting to visit. The Sun Dome and Tom Sawyer’s island are some of our favorite places!

  1. That is quite disturbing to hear about the employees smoking. I have never seen that at any of the zoos I have been to, thank God. Sorry it was only soso. I’ve visited the Chandler area of Phoenix, but not Sun City before.
    I hope that you were able to have a few nice, sunny days on your visit.

    • Thank you! Yes, the smoking was really hard to believe. I’ve heard about the Chandler area…I’m thinking we’ll need to take a little road trip there for our next visit to the Phoenix area. Sun City is a retirement-type community where my mother-in-law lives–we love going to see her!

  2. I think I would have been quite unprepared for rainy day activities on a trip to Phoenix! Even if it wasn’t the best day at least you were out and about doing something. 🙂 You should come to Toronto and visit our zoo – I think it’s one of the best in the world! We also love the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and the Vancouver Aquarium. There’s a new aquarium opening up in Toronto soon – hopefully it will be a good one.

    • Thanks, Lisa. I know, the rainy forecast definitely threw us for a loop! Thank you for all those great recommendations. Going up to the see the Vancouver Aquarium is a great idea, and would be a relatively easy trip for us. I really want to get to Toronto–and you will be my first resource for info for sure! Chicago too! So much to see….

    • For the animal’s sake, it’s a great visit…they have quite a lot of exotic animals that you don’t usually see. But don’t say I didn’t warn you about a few things!

    • Yes, it is Sonja! Not sure where all the money is going…! And yes, even with our gripes, it still worked out really well as a rainy day adventure.

  3. Beautiful photos! The zoo looks wonderful, so glad you found something worthwhile to do on a rainy day. Not sure it would have worked out for us, with teens that may adult admission, that $30 a piece adds up really, really quickly. I’ve found that it’s often cheaper for us to buy an annual membership than individual admission prices.

  4. So glad you were able to take advantage of a rainy day. I never would have expected rain in Phoenix either. beautiful shots and I love those warthogs you captured. You know San Diego has a famous and huge zoo, Sea World and a wild animal park. It’s not too far of a flight from you guys 🙂

    • Thanks, Mary. Those warthogs were the best 🙂 When I see them at our zoo, they are always hanging back, not here though! I really got to see those warts up close.
      Would love to see the San Diego Zoo! I know we were just talking about how easy that flight would be and such a great escape!

  5. I would not have expected rain and cold in Phoenix either. That story about the singing dog is funny because yes, it does look like a regular dog, doesn’t it? What is the animal to the right of the zebra? My kids have only recently become interested in zoos. For a long time, the overall smell was offputting for them.

    • Thanks for your comment, Michelle! Happy to hear you got a kick out of the singing dog too—I was beginning to think people thought I was a little nuts 😉 He totally looked like a regular dog–especially when he stopped singing and just started running around!
      The animal next to the zebra is a tapir…sort of similar to a pig. There are some that come from SE Asia, so maybe you’ll encounter one!

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