Exploring Papago Park

Hole in the Rock Hole in the Rock, a Phoenix landmark located in Papago Park, is a natural geological formation. Begin one of the most popular attractions in the park, arriving early in morning will surely avoid the crowds and the heat. The "hole" is easily accessible via an ascending path that passes behind the hill. The "hole", or chamber, provides a great view of the city of Phoenix, and is a great place to stop while passing through Papago Park.

The Phoenix Zoo The Phoenix Zoo opened in 1962 and is the largest privately owned, non-profit zoo in the United States. It operates on 125 acres of land in Papago Park. The Zoo is large, and takes a good three hours to walk through, and has many shaded areas to find relief from the sweltering, Arizona sun. The Phoenix Zoo is home to more than 3,000 animals, including 30 species that are endangered or threatened. Being a snake lover, I love visiting Zoos as they typically have a decent collection of my favorite reptiles. Arizona has no shortage of snakes, and the Phoenix Zoo was no exception. They had over three dozen snakes displayed in numerous areas in the Zoo. They also had an open-air monkey exhibit, where I entered through a gate, and got to watch the monkeys swing through the trees right behind me. No glass and no cramped cages. The Zoo also exhibits the worlds largest lizard, the Komodo Dragon. It was my first time seeing one in real life, and they are incredible. They can reach 10 feet in length and weigh up to 200 pounds. Other awesome animal that can be seen at The Phoenix Zoo include: African Lions, Asian Elephants, Bornean Orangutan, Chilean Flamingos, Masai Giraffes and Sumatran Tigers. For information on tickets visit: www.phoenixzoo.org

The Desert Botanical Garden

A Traveler Bee vacation would not be complete without a trip to a botanical garden. Established in 1939, the garden has more than 50,000 plants, including 379 species, which are rare, threatened or endangered. My friend and I made the spontaneous decision to visit the gardens after the sun went down, which was quite a different experience than normal. The crowds from the afternoon were gone, the plants and flowers were all light up with lights, and had a beauty you could only find in darkness. We were able to witness a light show, which they displayed on a mountain near the back of the gardens. We relaxed on the patio, enjoyed the cool desert evening and watched the lights danced over the mountain, which accompanied soothing, smooth playing music. For information on tickets visit: www.dbg.org

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