Last year, Zach surprised me (Steph) with a road trip up to the Out of Africa Wildlife Park for my birthday. Fact: I am obsessed with giraffes. Fact: He is officially the best husband ever.
Why do I love giraffes so much? Giraffes are beautiful, graceful, and have the silliest looking long, purple tongues. For years I have gushed about wanting to feed a giraffe because I adore them. We even went to a zoo in California and tried to feed them, but the giraffes weren’t hungry that time of day. So when Zach surprised me with a trip to the park to meet giraffes, I put on my hiking boots and brushed my teeth extra well. Today was the day I would kiss a giraffe!
Out of Africa park is located in Camp Verde, Arizona and was opened to the public in 2005.
They are known for saying “don’t call us a zoo”. Instead, their mission is to make you feel like you are in Africa on a safari: in our opinion, they succeeded. Many of the animals are free roaming (except the dangerous ones of course) so you are among the wild.
We started the day by taking the free train around the park to checkout everything there was to see.
First stop: lions, tigers and bears! Most of the animals were being lazy and lying around in the sun: except the hyenas. We got a kick out of the spotted hyenas. Chipa and Chitabe sounded so funny with their obnoxious laughs! We also enjoyed staring at the beauty of the white tiger named Chalet. Seeing the predators up close was amazing. Seeing the reptiles…not so much. Those snakes creeped us out!
By far, the absolute best experience we had there was the Unimog tour. It includes a guided tour around the park from extremely knowledgeable and friendly staff. The guide also feeds the animals so they come up close to the fences for you to see them up close!
During the Unimog tour they took us inside the gates of the African Bush Safari Serengeti. That was the moment…the moment we met the beautiful giraffe Kibo. Kibo (who I nicknamed Mr Wrinkles) was the cutest, most wrinkly giraffe I’ve ever seen. Ladies, he is a bachelor who enjoys long walks through the brush. His ancestors are from Ethiopia and Kenya and he was brought to the park in 2002. The Unimog driver gave us food to feed them either out of our palm or out of our mouth. Of course, I was the first brave one to place it in my mouth because gosh darn it, I was going to kiss a giraffe today. Smooch! I kissed the giraffe twice and it was so exhilarating! One of the highlights of my life.
I don’t want to forget to share the rest of the unimog tour (I get so wrapped up in talking about giraffes). We saw an old rhino that was splashing around an old car wash! We were zippin’ around zebras who came right up to the unimog and hogged our attention. Then we drove through the area with the longhorn bulls and oh my, their horns were so big. It’s surprising they’re able to hold their heads up! Then we had to be careful passing by the ostriches because they were ornery little guys! Next up was hump-hump-Humphrey the camel! Absolutely love all the names given to the animals here.
The park also has a Zippin’ Safari zipline you can do for $52.95, but we skipped that because we had just done a long zipline tour in Hawaii recently. If you decide to, you’ll get to soar 1,000 feet over the park!
If you’re ever in the Phoenix area, make a day trip out of visiting the Out of Africa Wildlife park. During your birthday month your visit is free. Otherwise adults are typically $33.95 and children are $18.95. With the Unimog guided tour, it’s an extra $20 per person but an absolute must.
Be sure to watch the Tiger Splash show which is at 1:15pm everyday. It’s incredible! The trainer’s get inside the caged pool area with tigers as they run around and splash in the pool. They use toys and floaties to guide the tigers where they want them to go. Never once did the staff get hurt; in fact they hugged the tigers! Don’t miss it! Checkout their show schedule here.
Out of Africa Park Information
- Address: 3505 W. SR-260, Camp Verde, AZ 86322
- Parking is free
- Check the weather before you go because it’s all outdoors
- Mon-Fri: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm and Sat-Sun: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
- Closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
- Need a rental car? Get the best days here!