Amusement Parks in Cottonwood

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Hundreds of animals from around the world roam the spacious, natural habitats on Out of Africa Wildlife Park’s 104 acres. Tours of the Wildlife Preserve jaunt past gray wolves and spotted hyenas, while a 30-minute African Bush Safari travels through a 22-acre high-desert-plains habitat where lions and tigers roam the hillside. Caretakers, colorful toys, and brain-tickling games of chess entertain Bengal and Siberian tigers in the Tiger Splash’s 35'x50' pool. Guests eager to interact with the park’s critters can hold anacondas and boas at the Giant Snake Show or tag along with caretakers feeding lions and tigers with 800 pounds of raw food.

4020 N Cherry Rd
Camp Verde,
AZ
US

Though glimpsed by many people for the first time on an episode of The Amazing Race, the desert acres traversed by Fort McDowell Adventures are steeped in millennia of Yavapai Indian history. Guides lead visitors across the Arizonan foothills on a range of outdoorsy and sometimes anachronistic adventures, such as cattle drives and Segway tours through the Sonoran desert, kayaking adventures on the Verde River, and nature walks with Yavapai Indians. These excursions often end in nighttime wiener roasts, s'mores, and cocktails, a break from the frontier tradition of telling campfire sci-fi stories.

Activities at Fort McDowell Adventures’s four venues further immerse guests in the American Western experience. They gather for Dutch oven–style cowboy cookouts and depart for wilderness excursions from The Stables. At La Puesta del Sol, guests pass through a Spanish mission entrance into a dining hall, saloon, stage, and dance floor, and at Rosa's Ranch, they gather under the stars and around cookout fire pits nestled between rustic wooden ranch buildings. Groups dine at The Boulder House, named on the National Registry of Historic Places, whose rock walls bear evidence of petroglyphs, Native American occupation, and ancient spelunking expeditions.

14821 N Hiawatha Hood Rd
Fort McDowell,
AZ
US

The giraffe smells a food pellet. He pokes his head just over the railing and starts sniffing for the guest holding his treat. Not far off, some brightly plumed parrots land on another visitor’s arm, spying the tasty apple slices in her hand. Though you can’t get this close to every animal at Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium—such as the lions and the wild Larry Fitzgeralds—the keepers do facilitate animal-human exchanges as often as possible with the zoo’s more than 600 species. They also give visitors novel views of some exhibits by welcoming them aboard the Skyride, the Australian boat ride, and the African train safari. The adjacent aquarium adds to the zoo’s impressive animal collection, housing more than 75 exhibits and enough water to start a new earth colony.

Further attractions include a children’s petting zoo, daily shows, and a baby-animal nursery. At the 15-acre Safari Park, guests stroll or ride the tram through animal habitats, where they can spy on species that live on the other side of the equator. Wildlife World also features two restaurants where guests can feed themselves and their own helpless progeny.

16501 W Northern Ave
Litchfield Park,
AZ
US

The two-day Taste of Cave Creek event gathers more than 25 local restaurants and the region's most renowned chili chefs and salsa makers at Stagecoach Village. Two stages host live music performances, while samples of barbecue, Mexican, Italian, and other unique types of food are served. Judges and guests taste the contestants' chili and salsas during a cook off before their eyes feast on sculptures, paintings, and artisan jewelry at the art exhibits. Throughout the evening, guests can enjoy tastings of tequila and sip on drinks at a wine and craft-beer garden.

37622 N. Cave Creek Rd
Cave Creek,
Arizona
US

Wazee's World invites families and gamers of all ages to roam freely around an elaborate futuristic laser-tag arena and psychedelic cosmic mini-golf course. Simulating the feeling of being inside an Atari console, the 7,500-square-foot multilevel laser-tag superstructure places bearers of light among glowing walls, blinking buttons, alien figures, spaceship set pieces, and more. Utilizing the Nexus laser-tag system from cutting-edge gaming techs Zone Systems, the laser-tag arena offers a variety of new ways to play the classic space-age shoot-out game while funding research on perfecting laser pointers that actually keep students' attention. Continuing the empyreal effect, cosmic golf guides outer space putters through a galaxy of nine challenging holes. Under the rays of black lighting, golfers of all sizes can putt around aliens and extraterrestrial artifacts glowing an otherworldly neon hue. Instead of laser guns, players are armed with glow-in-the-dark putters and golf balls, allowing them to gain the hands-on experience needed to beat alien invaders at their own game once they arrive.

9750 W Peoria Ave
Peoria,
AZ
US