Starting more than a decade ago with self-driven seven-day excursions in northern Arizona and Baja California, Sedona Off Road Adventures has since expanded into scenic day tours, sunset tours, and treks down extreme terrain. Guides dispense geological and historical tidbits as up to 12 Hummer passengers weave through trails tucked behind mountains and navigate obstacles down rougher trails littered with rocks and hitchhiking tumbleweeds. Jeep tours whisk guests 2,000 feet above a pine forest or deep into ancient Indian ruins, and helicopter and Hummer combo tours grant glimpses of Boynton Canyon from overhead before returning customers to terra firma for a trek through primitive trails. Later, clients eager for a chance behind the wheel can enrich their Hummer-piloting ability at driving-school sessions.
The Colorado Plateau is a sprawling piece of natural history. The 130,000 square-mile area has been home to diverse life?from prehistoric plants and dinosaurs to Native Americans, who have inhabited the area for 12,000 years. Since 1928, The Museum of Northern Arizona has celebrated the region and its beauty with science-based and art exhibits.
Heritage Park and its volunteers are dedicated to the conservation and protection of wildlife, caring for more than 150 indigenous and exotic mammals, reptiles, and birds in a 10-acre haven. Many of Heritage Park's animals were previously injured, abandoned, or marked with a human imprint that prevents them from rejoining their packs without bringing personalized coffee mugs for everyone. While prowling through the sanctuary, visitors might spy a mountain lion that was kept as a pet, a black bear that was orphaned by his mother, or a fox rescued from a swimming pool. Emus, tarantulas, and ring-tailed lemurs also run free in their habitats, serenading onlookers with their wild cries.
Heritage Park also plays an important role in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, granting asylum to critically endangered Mexican gray wolves, which are being reintroduced into the wild after a 20-year absence. The zoological sanctuary is open every day, with extended hours from May 1 to October 31 to give guests a chance to see animals that are usually out running errands during business hours.
My Petting Zoo LLC offers children and adults alike the chance to interact with a variety of gentle animals. Miniature goats, a mini horse, and a pony named Riley cavort among rabbits, chickens, ducks, and potbellied pigs. Customers are welcome to visit the animals at a farm, or request a mobile visit that brings the animals to parties, events, schools, or homes.
Desert Caballeros Western Museum traces its origins back to 1960, when local leaders including Barry Goldwater and H. K. MacLennan founded the non-profit "to collect and preserve the history, learning, lore and mementos incident to the development of Wickenburg and the Arizona Territory." What started as a small-town museum blossomed into a regional institution full of artifacts of the Old West and Arizona culture. Thanks to the tireless work of local historians and curators, as well as hundreds of volunteers, the Desert Caballeros Western Museum draws droves of visitors to Wickenburg with its insightful art collections, historical exhibits, and hands-on learning opportunities.
Visitors can take in the picturesque landscape of the nearby Boyd Ranch as they converse with real-life cowboys and horses, or decorate their homes with paintings and sculptures made by Western women at the Cowgirl Up! exhibition. Regular exhibits enrich minds of all ages, dazzling guests with intricate artwork and pottery, the natural beauty of the gem collection, and the tiny, tiny people living inside the historical dioramas.
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.