Out of Africa Zoo: Prescott, AZ Discovery Trip Part Three

This is my final post on my September Prescott, Arizona discovery trip. To be exact, the Out of Africa wild animal park is in Camp Verde, an hour’s drive from Prescott. I love the goals of the zoo workers and the animals at the zoo. Lots of camels, tigers, lions, birds, ostriches, antelopes, etc., even a colony of prairie dogs. You’ll have to visit the zoo to see them. This post also includes memories of my 2007 Africa trek, leaving me only time to talk of zebras and giraffes.

A sidenote: since it was my birthday month, my zoo visit was free!


ooa_zebratimeoutI’m starting with the zebras because they’re my favorite. At the zoo, I saw them in two contexts: one where the zebras are put in a time out and one where they can roam free. Their timeout enclosure definitely did not look like punishment.  See photo above? Do you see a hint of repentance in those saucy eyes? Yep, I don’t either.

The zebra timeout enclosure was directly across from the giraffe’s timeout enclosure. More on giraffes later.

I fell in love with zebras on a 2007 trip through Kenya and Tanzania. On a safari in a caldera, I saw a zebra taunting satiated jackals napping after a kill. Obviously taking a dare from his herd, a lone zebra eased up to the pack. Quite proud of himself, strutting before his human and zebra onlookers, he missed an irritated jackal who slowly rowe to its feet. Fortunately, he finally did catch the movement in time. Before he galloped away, his stunned “uh oh” look made me laugh.

00a_zebra-mafiaI like how our Arizona safari guide likened zebras to the mafioso of the park. See the mobsters above? The animals are given “cookies” to draw them closer to our bus on the veldt. The zebras line up on the road to stop the bus and refuse to give way till given cookies.

Another 2007 story. We stopped on the road through the park by a herd of adolescent zebras, standing in a cluster, seeming to communicate with each other nose-to-nose. They weren’t there to extort cookies from us. Suddenly they galloped at full speed into a herd of peaceful wildebeests, causing them to scatter in a panic. The zebras romped back with delighted expressions on their faces.

At the end of this post, I’ll include another sneaky zebra moment, but this time in Arizona.


A highlight of the trip was feeding a celery stalk to the giraffe. Gentle and ever so polite, the giraffes would lean into the bus window and accept the celery with their very wet, sticky tongues.

The zoo has only male giraffes. Females are pricey. The one giraffe in timeout was there because he’d come to believe another giraffe had hidden a female. This would make a fun mystery plot with an end of the world theme. Man kills a friend who claims he’s locked the last female left on earth in his attic. After the murder, he discovers that there was no female and now he is truly alone. I read that resentment and despair in the eyes of the giraffe in timeout.



As promised, I’m including this photo as a final note to my visit. Check out who snuck in the picture!

Please let me know of your favorite spots and things to do in Prescott. Anyone else visit the Out of Africa zoo in Camp Verde? Did you see the tiger splash show?

Trip report respectfully submitted by Michelle K

About mlknowlden

In 2011, I left engineering to write full-time. Between the years 1992 and 2011, I’ve published 14 stories with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine that have featured the hypochondriac detective Micky Cardex and two stories that did not. The 1998 story “No, Thank You, John” was nominated for a Shamus award. Many of these stories have been included in anthologies and translated in multiple languages. With Neal Shusterman, I’ve also published a science fiction story for the More Amazing Stories anthology (Tor) published in 1998 and co-authored with Neal Shusterman an X-Files Young Adult novel (DARK MATTER) for HarperCollins in 1999 under the name Easton Royce. For Simon & Schuster in July 2012, we published an e-novella UNSTRUNG in Neal's UNWIND world. I have graduate degrees in English and Electrical Engineering.
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3 Responses to Out of Africa Zoo: Prescott, AZ Discovery Trip Part Three

  1. Kaye Klem says:

    I love giraffes! Years ago we saw giraffes at the Catskill Game Farm, and fed them the stuff supposed to be for the animals. They loved it, and were very gentle. Then around the corner of the enclosure we saw a sign saying DON’T FEED THE GIRAFFES. THEY BITE. [I knew from feeding horses tidbits, you keep your palm flat and let them take the food from it. That way they don’t miss, and get your fingers!] They didn’t bite when we fed them, were just eager and grateful. I’ve always though the way they run is not awkward but graceful–they undulate in fluid motion when they run.

    • mlknowlden says:

      Love your memories, Kaye! Colorado Springs has a great habitat in the Cheyenne mountains if you don’t mind steep treks. You can purchase romaine lettuce leaves to feed the giraffes. When I was in Nairobi, you could feed giraffes with a pellet between your teeth. I declined. I love the way they move too. They have lovely feet.

  2. dayya says:

    Love the zebra photo bomb! He’s like hey look at me!

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