If you want to get a lot of up close shots of wildlife without fences in the way, Bearizona is the place to go. When I was a little kid, we went to a drive-through zoo in Washington and I have amazing memories of it, including a buffalo ramming my sister’s car. Bearizona reminded me of that great childhood memory.
Bearizona is located just west of Flagstaff and is a fun stop for anyone visiting Flagstaff, Sedona or the Grand Canyon. Bearizona is open every day from 9 am to 4 pm. Unfortunately for a family like us, you don’t get to pay per car. Entrance to Bearizona is $30 per adult ($35 weekend), $20 per kid ($25 weekend), and $27 per senior ($32 weekend). That gets you access to the drive-through park (as many times as you want, but once is all you will want to sit in the line) and the walking zoo.
Below is a tour through Bearizona and what you can expect to see.
The first animals you will see are the Rocky Mountain Goats.
Both times we saw them, they were just lounging around about ten or twenty feet from the road.
After the sheep, you will drive through some more open areas where you feel much more like you are driving in the wild. There are plenty of different kinds of deer to see.
The Wolves weren’t out in the open as much and it was nearly impossible on our visit to capture them without manmade structures in the shot.
As you would expect, there are plenty of bears in Bearizona. While many were off sleeping at a distance, we did get some up-close views.
There were also a few being playful, which was fun to watch compared to the sleeping bears.
After you leave the trees, you get the buffalo on the “plains,” which were much more of a mud pit when we visited. Still, it was a cool way to get up close to a pretty large herd of buffalo.
The only downside is the fence in the background of all your shots.
The last animals before you finish up, with drive through more bears, are the mountain goats. They aren’t as exciting, but you get really close to them.
After the drive, it is nice to get out and walk around the zoo and enjoy some food. The jaguar is the coolest animal in the zoo. Unfortunately, the exhibit wasn’t my favorite and you couldn’t get a great look at it except from a distance.
Everyone loves a porcupine!
Eagles have been a favorite of mine since growing up in Washington. You could get a good look of them at Bearizona, but the structure cut out a ton of light and made it difficult to get a good shot.
Badgers are another fun animal. Part of what makes Bearizona great are seeing the fun, but less exotic, animals you don’t see at many zoos.
The foxes were cute, but they were hidings from us.
I loved the bobcat and had fun shooting it.
The habitat wasn’t very interesting, but it was big enough to get some shots without a fence.
There were a few more animals I didn’t get great images of, but overall it was a fun day with the family and a great time shooting wildlife. Shooting in a zoo/wildlife park will never compare to seeing and photographing animals in the wild, but doing it at a park like Bearizona is a lot more fun than at your traditional zoo.
If you want to see other fun attractions in the area, check out our guide to the area.