Phoenix Zoo is one of my favorite zoos. Located fairly conveniently in central Phoenix, this zoo is really fun. That said, it's not free. Again: NOT FREE. There are free zoos. This is not one. If you want a cheap day at the zoo, go to a free zoo, pack your own lunch, don't expect anything but seeing animals, and then sometimes the animals may not be on exhibit. Fill out a triple t form (Tough tenderloin, Terence) and wait for a reply. But if you want a fun time at a zoo and have a little money, go to Phoenix Zoo.
We had a blast! My tween daughter and I made it four and a half hours and didn't even get to half of the zoo. There's a lot to see and a lot to do. Phoenix is hot, so come prepared. Taking your baby out in 90 plus degree heat is not a good idea, zoo or no. Stay home on those days. Drink plenty of fluids while at the zoo. There are machines and stands selling cold drinks all over. Or drinking fountains. There is also plenty of shade along the way.
The zoo has a lot of animals, and the African space was nicely laid out. All of the animals seemed to have plenty of water available, most with some kind of water feature or stream. Some of the animals were rare and we hadn't seen them at other zoos (mane wolf and big anteater for instance). The petting zoo is always cool, with big fat goats laying around and running around.
Besides the animals, there were several value added, pay activities to do. All were quite fun. The zip line may not be the longest in the world, but it was quite fun. Camel rides made us feel like sultans. Pedal boats were cool, out on the lake with turtles and the world's largest species of pelican. The carousel was fun for a few minutes. The train tour around the park was interesting and a nice way to spend a half hour. The lady giving the tour was smart and witty, made the whole thing even better. And petting and feeding the sting rays was a lot of fun (but a little smelly). We did not feed the giraffes, but you can do that, too. These cost money. Five here, ten there.
Value added's. These activities interspliced with seeing the animals really made it fun.
Honestly, our visit was all kicks, no pricks. We saw what we wanted to, did what we wanted to. Waited in lines no longer than two people deep (even for the train, which we entered at the last minute and sat in handicapped spot as there were no handicapped on at the time and had a lot of leg room and a front row seat). Spent $125. Park left us wanting more but too tired from all the fun to go on. Maybe we hit it at just the right time, but this was an awesome zoo!