Flagstaff With Kids

Keepers of the Wild in Valentine

Add Keepers of the Wild in Valentine to your list this summer! As a mom of two energetic kids, aged 6 and 9, finding activities that capture their interest and provide educational value can be a challenge.

Lindsay Lutes

Add Keepers of the Wild in Valentine to your list this summer! As a mom of two energetic kids, aged 6 and 9, finding activities that capture their interest and provide educational value can be a challenge.

However, our recent visit to Keepers of the Wild in Valentine, Arizona, was an absolute hit with both of them. Located conveniently off Route 66 and a great stop on the way to Las Vegas or when visiting Northern AZ, this wildlife sanctuary is a fantastic addition to any family road trip.

Keepers of the Wild is located about 3 hours from Phoenix. We decided to stop there for a day on our way to Las Vegas! From the moment we arrived, my kids were captivated. The sanctuary is home to over 150 animals, including tigers, lions, bears, and exotic birds, all rescued and given a second chance at life. My 9-year-old son was thrilled to see the big cats up close, while my 6-year-old daughter was enchanted by playful monkeys and lemurs.

The guided tour was a highlight for us- we rode around on a tram with just one other family for about 90 minutes and stopped at EVERY enclosure. The guide was knowledgeable and shared fascinating stories about each animal, making the experience both educational and engaging. My children were full of questions, and the staff was patient and informative, making sure everyone had a great time. It is well worth the extra $10/ticket for the tram tour!! The tour departs a few times a day (check schedule online) and the last tour of the day includes the daily feeding!

In addition to the guided tours, the sanctuary offers self-guided tours, which allowed us to explore at our own pace. I recommend bringing a picnic lunch, as the snacks and drinks in the gift shop are slightly limited, but the gift shop was very nice and affordable! We did get some Route 66 Rootbeer and ice cream sandwiches!

One thing that stood out to me was the sanctuary’s dedication to animal welfare- these are rescued animals that give to live out their days in peace. Some of these animals lived rough lives before coming to Keepers of the Wild. It’s clear that the staff genuinely care about the animals and their well-being. We even learned about their adoption program, which allows families to support the care of a specific animal.

My kids can’t stop talking about our visit and are already asking when we can go back. If you’re planning a trip along Route 66 or heading to Las Vegas, I highly recommend adding Keepers of the Wild to your itinerary. It’s a memorable and enriching experience that the whole family will love.

Tips for Visiting:

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring sunscreen and water, as you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors.
  • Check the sanctuary’s website for tour times and special events to plan your visit accordingly.
  • Although this is an amazing animal sanctuary and I HIGHLY recommend visiting, it is important to remember the mission behind this facility. Most of the animals are older, and we rescued from unfortunate situations. Once they find sanctuary at this facility, they get amazing care, beautiful enclosures with added enrichment activities- but not human contact/training. These animals get to do what they please- and that may be sleep all day!!
  • Go on the last tour of the day- the feeding tour!!
  • Consider adopting an animal to support the sanctuary’s ongoing efforts in wildlife conservation.

Keepers of the Wild in Valentine offers a perfect blend of adventure, education, and inspiration, making it a must-visit for families.

Open Wednesdays-Monday, 9-5pm Admission: Adults (13 and up): $20, Seniors (65 and up): $15, Children (3-12): $12, Military: $15

Additionally, there are guided safari tours available for an additional $10 per person. These tours provide an in-depth experience through the sanctuary with insights from knowledgeable guides. Learn more on their website!

Admission is included with the Get Out Pass (use code “phoenixwithkids” for the best discount on the pass), and can sometimes be found on Groupon. But buying direct to support the sanctuary is my recommendation!


  • Lindsay Lutes

    Lindsay is a Mesa, AZ native and mom of two! Lindsay loves hiking, traveling, staycations, cats, coffee, and Disney! Her goal is for her kids to have a fun-filled childhood that they will cherish throughout their lives! She works full time as a nurse and her husband is a teacher, so they try to fill school breaks and weekends with a lot of family fun!

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