After I had seen about half of the park, I sat down on a bench. Two hours had passed since I arrived, and I wasn’t particularly tired. Still, something possessed me to take a break, which I haven’t done in a long time while visiting a zoo or aquarium. Though, I’m grateful I did. Once I sat down, the white noise of excited children and their parents seemed to be carried away by the wind. While taking in the atmosphere of the exhibit before me, along came a thought I hadn’t considered before. “You know, this zoo is pretty peaceful.”
But how could I think this? I was at the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium, a 215-acre
behemoth of a park. It was a Sunday too, so the zoo was filled to the brim with visitors and staff. Zoos are noisy by nature, right? How could I even hear myself think, let
alone think such a silly thought? My questions were posed and then answered in
quick succession. The answer was before me, in the exhibit in front of my bench.
Strip away the theatrics and the hordes of people, and what is a zoo or aquarium?
In essence, they’re a lens. A lens into worlds unknown to us, like a museum or a photo album. Most of us could never dream of seeing the bizarre wildlife that inhabit most zoos, whether they be lions, giraffes, sting rays, or sharks. Yet there I was, parked on a bench watching an ostrich drink from the nearby stream.
As I turned my gaze from the ostrich, it seemed that the other animals were at peace, just going about their business. I had never noticed before, but if I blocked out the noise, it almost felt like I was in the enclosure. I suppose that’s the point, though; if a zoo wasn’t immersive, I imagine that it would be pretty off-putting. Still, I was taken aback by the tranquillity that I felt sitting there. It made me feel at peace for the rest of the day; I never would’ve expected that going into the park.
I’ve a newfound appreciation for zoos and the like now, and I owe that to the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium. Regardless of my posturings, it was a fine establishment with a good layout, a wide variety of attractions, and plenty of beautiful animals. In fact, this zoo has the largest collection of exotic animals in Arizona. Considering it’s just 20 miles outside of Phoenix, the location couldn’t be any more ideal.
For $44, I got 5 hours of entertainment and reflection; I believe that to have been a good investment. If you find yourself on a trip down south, I’d say that it’s worth your time.