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  • Deborah Kade

Phoenix Zoo with Oscar



I love visiting the Phoenix Zoo and it was a joy sharing it with Oscar, Anne and Patrick Weiss.

The Phoenix Zoo opened in 1962 and it is the largest privately owned, non profit zoo in the United States.

The zoo was founded by Robert Maytag, a member of the Maytag family. The Phoenix Zoo began as a personal project of Robert Maytag, who formed the Arizona Zoological Society (now the Arizona Center for Nature Conservation) with the intention of opening a zoo in Phoenix. Before this time, there were a few modest proposals to establish a zoo in the fast-growing city, but none moved past the discussion stage. Although Maytag died unexpectedly a few months before its opening, the zoo opened on schedule in November 1962. It was originally named the "Maytag Zoo", but was renamed the following year to "Phoenix Zoo" to identify it more closely with the community. The zoo was established on the site of a fish hatchery operation built as a Works Progress Administration project in the 1930s, and operated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department until 1959. The zoo has always been a privately owned, non-profit venture.

The size of the zoo is 125 acres (51 hectares) in the Papago Park area of Phoenix. The zoo has over 1,400 animals on display, including 30 species that are endangered or threatened. The zoo contains 2.5 miles (4.0 km) of walking trails. It is divided into four main themed areas or trails: The Arizona Trail (American Southwest flora and fauna), the Africa Trail (animals from Africa), the Tropics Trail (residents of the rain forests), and the Children's Trail, which includes a petting zoo.

When you wander around the zoo, you may spot an:

African Lion - African Wild Dog - Aldabra Tortoise - Andean Bear - Arabian Oryx - Asian Elephant - Bald Eagle - Black Howler Monkey

Bighorn Sheep - Bornean Orangutan - Buff-cheeked Gibbon - Chilean Flamingo - Coyote - Desert Tortoise - Galapagos Tortoise

or:

Gerenuk - Golden Conure - Golden Lion Tamarin - Greater Flamingo - Grevy’s Zebra - Hamadryas Baboon - Jaguar - Komodo Dragon Mandrill - Masai Giraffe - Mexican Gray Wolf - Mountain Lion - Ocelot - Ostrich - Prairie Dog

maybe a :

Pronghorn - Radiated Tortoise - Reticulated Giraffe - Rhinoceros Hornbill - Ring-tailed Lemur - Siamang - Spotted Necked Otter - Squirrel Monkey - Sumatran Tiger - Thick-billed Parrot - Vultures - Warthog - White Faced Saki Monkey

The zoo expanded in 1998 with the opening of Harmony Farms, home to a petting zoo and many domestic farm animals. In 2000, the zoo opened Desert Lives, and in 2004 it added a new primate walk-through exhibit called Monkey Village. In November 2006, aquatic species were added to the zoo with the opening of Stingray Bay. In November 2009, two Komodo dragons were brought to the zoo as a part of the zoo's capital campaign. In April 2011, as a part of the zoo's capital campaign, Orang-Hutan: People of the Forest, the new orangutan exhibit opened to the public.

From October 6, 2017 thru April 30, 2018, the Phoenix Zoo will host "Dinosaurs in the Desert: A Prehistoric Journey Like No Other". During that time, 23 prehistoric creatures will descend onto the zoo's Desert Lives Trail. It will be a self guided expedition into the land of the lost. A citipati measuring nearly six-feet tall looms in the shade next to the greater flamingo exhibit. This dino has been custom painted to resemble the Chiricahua leopard frog – a true conservation success story at the Phoenix Zoo.

The volunteers at the Phoenix Zoo like to boast that their zoo is larger than the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, San Diego, California. The San Diego Zoo houses over 3,700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies on 100 acres (40 hectares).

The Phoenix zoo has been conservation minded from its inception. Soon after it opened it hosted what was thought to be the last few

Arabian oryx, which formed the basis of the world herd created for Operation Oryx and eventually allowed the reintroduction of the species into the wild. It now includes a sanctuary to care for animals that are endangered or unwanted.

Even though the day was very hot, we all enjoyed ourselves. Oscar even stayed awake for the whole walk around the zoo!!!


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