A great family getaway from the heat is in Williams, Arizona, where the temperature there is 20 to 25 degrees cooler.
It's also the home of Bearizona, a terrific drive-thru park with bears, bison, wolves and much more. I had a chance to visit with my family last week, and my kids loved every minute of it.
The park started in 2009 when Sean Casey purchased 160 acres in Williams. The Casey family also run a park called Bear Country in South Dakota. The location of the new park was between Colorado or Arizona, and Williams was the perfect fit because it was on the way to the Grand Canyon.
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Half of the animals are rescues and the other half are from other parks across the country. To see them, you drive through different areas that are separated by fences and cattle guards. The bears are separated by age. Cubs are in Fort Bearizona, and the junior bears live in the drive-thru areas with adults. We saw a ton of them walking around. One was even taking a bath right next to our car - the kids loved it.
After you drive through all the different enclosures, you park and head into Fort Bearizona. That is where you will find the bear cubs, a "Birds of Prey" show, a badger, petting zoo and many more animals. They have just expanded the gift shop and added a beautiful restaurant. Also, get this, dads, they even sell local beer on tap at the park. Brilliant.
If you are interested. it's about a 2 hour and 15-minute drive from Phoenix. Take Interstate 17 north then Interstate 40 west to Williams. The cost is $20 for adults, $10 for kids 4 through 12, and age 3 and under are free.
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