Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wild Ride at Bearizona

As I mentioned in my recent posts, Graham and I made an impromptu visit to Williams last weekend to tour Bearizona wildlife park. It wasn't on the way to Flagstaff, but we had always wanted to go there. We found it just off Interstate 40, at Exit 165 in Williams. We had our two dogs in tow, so we were worried we might not be allowed to see the park. But when we got there the attendant gave us a warm welcome and even gave Capone and Taylor some treats. Dogs are in fact allowed for the drive-through portion of the park, provided that the windows are rolled up the entire time. (However, if you want to stroll through the animal exhibits in the fort, the dogs are not permitted.)

When you enter the park, you're given a GPS unit that plays audio along the tour. It repeatedly warns that you should keep an eye out for a Sasquatch, but we didn't spot any on our drive. (It's all part of the fun, I guess.)


You're cautioned on several occasions not to lower your windows, but we didn't have any issues with curious wolves or bears. Most of the animals were more concerned with getting food and water, which was left on the side of road so that passers-by can get a glimpse of the animals.

You'll also notice train and car wreckage along the route, as if the attraction were part junk yard, part park.

You'll see Rocky Mountain goats, Dall sheep, American burros, bison, Alaskan Tundra wolves, Arctic wolves, black bears, white bison, and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. If you don't catch a peek at one of the animals you can always drive through again; admission gets you as many tours as you'd like. And the park is open 7 days a week year-round. 

We came across a bear that was cooling itself off in this pool. Temperatures in the high 70s were too much for him, it seems.

The Fort Bearizona walking area has javelina, a red fox, spotted skunks, swift fox, bobcat, badger, porcupine, ringtail cat, river otter, beaver and more. Live raptor shows are held three times a day from March-December. 

The best part of the visit was seeing the bear cubs play. Two were play-fighting atop the trees, which was entertaining yet anxiety-inducing. I am still in awe of how they can avoid falling. Impressive ... and adorable!