There’s a certain thrill when a wild animal suddenly appears on a road trip. In most cases you see it, you reach for the camera, and before you know it, it’s gone. At the Bearizona Wildlife Park, however, outside Williams, Arizona, driving the compound is like experiencing that thrill on repeat every couple of minutes, as bears, wolves, Dall’s sheep, and mule deer appear out the window of your car. On the three mile long, self drive adventure, visitors will experience numerous encounters you would never expect up close—so much so that it’s required you keep the windows up at all times. Watch as a black bear lumbers through the forest or a wolf sneaks slowly through the grass, or Bighorn sheep, bison, and burros graze in the forested setting. In winter, many of the animals are covered in snow and the forest is a whitewashed wonderland, and you can get to experience an American safari and still use the heater in your car. After making a lap through the wilderness enclosure, head inside for the raptor show and exhibit on birds of prey, or walk through the trails at Fort Bearizona to see baby animals up close. Throughout the day, there are educational talks and shows such as feeding the otters and bobcats, as well as tips on how to safely share the wilderness with bears.
When visiting the Bearizona Wildlife Park, most visitors will want to allot at least two hours to visit. There are strict rules against feeding the wildlife, and only cars with functioning windows are allowed to drive through the park. Set on the roadside of Route 66, the park is approximately 30 minutes from Flagstaff and an hour south of the Grand Canyon.