2 tigers at Out of Africa Park in Arizona

I’ve already written a post about my son and my first visit to Out of Africa Wildlife Park before it moved to its new location in Camp Verde, Arizona. On our first visit to the new digs, they had just moved and were still building. I loved it when it was a little dumpy-looking attraction (from the exterior, before we went in) in Fountain Hills and it’s even better now in the new Camp Verde location. It is so much bigger and what a difference for the animals!

Every time we have newcomers to Arizona we ask them if they'd like to visit Out of Africa Wildlife Park. This time my family was in for Thanksgiving from California. I was happy to introduce them all to Out of Africa.

Feeding the giraffe

We always try to get on this tour as soon as we get to the park, but you need to see when the other activities are so you don't miss something. One time we missed my favorite thing, the Tiger Splash show.

For the tour where you can feed the giraffes, you wait until the big old bus comes. Then you sit wherever you want (or can, depending on how busy it is). The buses are definitely showing their age. The bus will drive through a gate that is opened and closed by a worker at the park.

You'll end up near some giraffes, and they know you'll have a treat. They used to use carrots, but I was told they switched to greens because the carrots were too sweet. One time, we were handed out flimsy green plants and there was no way I was going to put those in my mouth. So I just handed it to the giraffe. This video was from 2012 and they still used carrots.

Below is a video of the family and me feeding the giraffe slices of carrots. A few of us were brave enough to hold the carrot slices in our mouths. It was a wet experience!

We convinced our 88-year-old Mother to visit us in Arizona as she had moved to California to be closer to my brothers. She and my late father introduced me to Arizona as they retired in Mesa. We had to twist her arm to make the trip to Arizona because she didn't get around very well. I don't remember if my brothers brought her wheelchair or if one of her Arizona friends provided one. So when we told her we were going to Out of Africa, a place she introduced us to, she didn't want to go. We talked her into it since it was almost the whole family including children, grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.

It was a very sunny day so even in November, it was a warm one. She wasn't very comfortable, but she was a trooper and we were able to see all of the animals and watch the Tiger Splash show.

My mother in her wheelchair at Out of Africa zoo

Tiger Splash

One of my favorite things at Out of Africa Wildlife Park is the Tiger Splash show. I was so upset that we missed it one time we went because I went on the bus ride to feed the giraffes first. My son took a very long video that I clipped so you can get an idea of what it is. Those are young people in an enclosed area with full-grown tigers and a pool! They say they don't train the animals but these animals are studied and the workers that interact with them are the ones that are "trained".

This is a large preserve. You can choose a couple of different ways of seeing it all. You can hop a bus that will drop you off or pick you up at different sections - you will have to wait for a bus to show up but they have a regular route. Or you can walk it. It can get hot and dusty so you can combine both the bus and walking.

Other things to do at the park

You can be there during feeding time. There is one show to watch the feeding of the huge boa constrictor. The one I'm most interested in is feeding the big cats, hyenas, and bears. The workers get up close! It's so interesting to see them feeding pieces of meat to the hyenas through the fencing. Then others throw big hunks of meat (the horse legs were kind of disheartening) over the fence. The roars of the lions and tigers are loud!

But my favorite animals are the hyenas. Sometimes they're nowhere to be found. It reminds me of the first Jurassic Park movie where the cars were driving through the park but they couldn't see any of the dinosaurs. I guess we've been there at better times more recently because we've gotten to see (and hear) them the last few visits. Unfortunately, the one time I was taking a video of them being fed it was such a sunny day I couldn't tell that I was taking a selfie video by mistake. Delete! Sometimes their laughs sound human.

One of our friends was brave enough to do the zip line. You can see it behind the lion below, and it goes over the animal enclosures, including the big cats. No thanks!

lion with a zip line in back

There are also smaller animals - some monkeys, birds, wart hogs (my son's favorite), lemurs, etc. If you take another bus ride you'll go through an open area where hooved animals are, including zebras.

2 zebras at Out of Africa zoo

And I can't forget about the white tiger Gabriel and the black leopard Enoch

white tiger Gabriel at Out of Africa Zoo

black leopard Enoch at Out of Africa in Camp Verde

The story about Boom Boom the rhinoceros

My favorite story is where the owners of Out of Africa, Dean & Prayeri Harrison, stepped up to take in Boom Boom the southern white rhinoceros after he was on his way to a canned hunting farm from a preserve that was being shut down. A kind man stepped in and paid the hunting farm to send Boom Boom and another rhino to separate homes where they could live their lives out.

Boom Boom the rhinoceros at Out of Africa Wildlife Preserve

Boom Boom was born in 1971 and had different homes until he ended up in his first preserve. His new enclosure was so much larger than anywhere he had lived prior and he remained at Out of Africa for 5 1/2 years, until his death in 2012. He was 41. I was so lucky to get to see him.

If you’re near Camp Verde (it’s 1 1/2 hours from North Scottsdale) you need to visit Out of Africa. It is one of the most natural environments I’ve ever seen where you can still get close to the animals. One time we saw the husband and wife owners sitting in the wolf cage petting the wolves. A worker was feeding a grizzly bear through the fence. Another was petting hyenas.

3505 W. Camp Verde Bridgeport Highway | Camp Verde, AZ  86322

For GPS or driving directions only use:
3505 W. SR-260 | Camp Verde, AZ  86322

I always order our tickets online. Their website is here.

Posted by Judy Orr on
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