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Vanessa says Bearizona strives to connect visitors (more than 100,000 in the park’s first six months) to the land that supports the animals as well as the animals themselves. The park collects 120,000 gallons of rainwater annually and produces 20,000 kilowatts of solar energy each day thanks to solar photovoltaic cells. Fifty tons of recycled scrap material helped create waterfalls and rock sculptures in the habitats.
And for the throngs of motorcyclists that drive through Williams each year, Bearizona can accomodate those travelers, too. Tour buses can be reserved for an additional fee since the dirt roads are not conducive to bikes. Groups can also reserve the buses. Vanessa says people spend as little as 30 minutes or as much as six hours exploring the park. Once you pay your admission fee, you can drive through the park as many times as you want. If you visit in the summer, you’ll see more activity before 11 a.m. and after 3 p.m. The park wasn’t expecting all the bears to hibernate during the winter, but since this was Bearizona’s first winter, hibernation activity won’t be known until this spring.
Bearizona’s location makes it ideal for the carloads of families who head to the Grand Canyon each year and spend the night in Williams. We love the fact that the park includes many animals that are native to northern Arizona – animals that you otherwise might not have the chance to see without backpacking into the forest. The drive-through portion of the park with its obscured fences and free-roaming animals makes you feel like you’re on a safari in the middle of the forest, and even the walk-through area doesn’t feel like a zoo with traditional cages; the habitats are surrounded by rock walls and trenches but no fences. The whole park lends itself to a truly unique wildlife experience.
Bearizona is located off Route 66 in Williams. Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the last car is admitted at 4 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day as well as Jan. 9 through the beginning of March. For admission prices, contact the park. For more information, call 928-635-2289 or visit www.bearizona.com.
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