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home : blogs_old : heads up hiker January 25, 2015

Heads Up Hiker
By Cheryl Hartz, Prescott Valley, AZ
The best hikes in the county, safety, plus plants, trees and wildlife on the way!
Friday, December 11, 2009

Blog: Hike Out of Africa in Arizona

 Cheryl Hartz

Molly Hartz gets a giraffe kiss at Out of Africa.

It's not a Wilderness trail, but you can get plenty of exercise at Out of Africa in Camp Verde, if you choose to walk, rather than ride. You might even get smooched by a giraffe.

Out of Africa park provides the opportunity to see exotic and indigenous animals close up. Some of them you can touch, or as is the case with the giraffe in the African bush safari, kiss. If you put a carrot (the tour guide distributes) between your lips, the friendly giraffe will remove it with his long tongue. A sloppy experience not to be missed!

You also can touch his wrinkly hide, which will surprise you with its rock-hard quality.

You have to ride the open bus to see the prey animals - zebras, giraffe, ostrich and various ungulates - on the bush tour. But you can take a tram or walk up the hill to visit predators - lions, tigers, bears, (Oh my), hyenas, wolves - along with other critters, such as the rhino, lemurs, prairie dogs, coati mundis, and more in the wildlife preserve.

Out of Africa moved to Camp Verde from the Phoenix area a few years ago, and continues to add to its displays and experiences, including the Tiger Splash and snake show. I've attended several times, taking different family members and using coupons, because it's pricey, but worth it. (Individual or season tickets might be a good idea for Christmas gifts. And they have a well-stocked gift shop.) I don't begrudge the money, because big animals need big food supplies. And the overall experience is outstanding. Viewing platforms allow you to see many of the critters without looking through a fence.

We usually break up our visit by viewing half of the park in the morning and half after lunch. We pack a picnic and have a tailgate party in the parking lot, but the park does offer some refreshments.

Out of Africa is just off Highway 260 and easy to get to. Phone is 928-567-2840.

Related Links:
• Out of Africa

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