Outside of Williams, Arizona, is a tourist attraction called Bearizona. The sign was hokey enough that it caught my eye as I drove past. It certainly was not on my list of places to visit in the area. Still—that night—I checked it out online and learned it was a drive-through wildlife adventure that housed lions and wolves and bison. Oh my. I decided I might give the place a try, if I finished planned activities some day in the late afternoon.
A few days later, I was finishing my visit at Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument late in the afternoon, so I headed for Bearizona. I arrived a bit after 4 pm, knowing the place closed to new entrants at 5 pm. I was the only tourist in sight! The entrance fee was steep: $20 per person (not car!) with tax added on. The drive-through portion was only 3-miles wandering through some pine trees, so I was more and more doubtful that visiting Bearizona was a good idea. At least some of the animals were rescues, and the habitats seemed very open and natural.
Then I started the drive through Bearizona—and had a great time! The attendant handed me a GPS gizmo that narrated the tour over the car radio, sharing info on each animal group as I drove into its area. Each car could travel at its own pace, even stopping along the road at times. A couple cars entered after me, but rushed through the little drive as soon as possible. I was very content to sit and watch and wait to see what animals would become visible. Most came out to play!
First up were the Rocky Mountain Goats and American Burros. They did not do much, but were content to let tourists watch them.
There were also American Bison and Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep. They did not do much either but stand around and eat, but they seemed content enough. Later in the year, maybe they would not be molting.
A separate exhibit showed White Bison. The two tourists who started the tour after me zipped by me as I was waiting and watching these big beasts. After they rushed past, the baby bison came into view. He’d been there, just hidden behind his mom.
The Black Bears were pretty active. Younger ones were playing together, but it was not easy to catch them on film. Some were content to sit—or nap—so I could take their picture.
By far my favorite animal was the Artic Wolf. Two of them were chasing each other in a great game of tag, seeming very much like dogs I have known and loved. And the four of them greeted each other in a little group, as if they had not seen each other for quite some time. Watching these wolves was a delight!
I arrived at Bearizona too late in the day to enjoy one of the Bird of Prey shows. I also opted to not wander through the little petting zoo with a handful of kids who were there ahead of me. But when those options are included, the cost does not seem quite so exorbitant. If you are ever in the area, I would suggest you stop and enjoy these animals. Just make sure your windows are clean for the best photo opportunities. Funny. The zoo stresses you cannot have your windows rolled down as you drive through the bear and wolf enclosures. I sure would have loved to pet them!
They seemed interested in me too!