OdySea, Butterfly Wonderland, and Wildlife World Zoo in Phoenix, AZ


Gosh, the summer is going by fast, and I can't believe a month later, I'm still posting about our trip to Arizona...Still, it was an amazing trip, and definitely a little more newsworthy than summer camp and our other low-key events at home.

After visiting the Grand Canyon, Page, Flagstaff, and Sedona, AZ, we headed over to Good Year (near Phoenix) to visit my cousin Vincent and his wife Jamie.  It's hard to believe that eight years ago, they took the plunge and moved out West without knowing a soul.  They're both librarians (he works for a state library, and she works as the library director for a high school), and they met while taking online classes together for their masters in library science.  From the moment they started dating, we couldn't believe how much they had in common--both loving books, video games, board games, Star Trek, the Blue Man Group, and evidently, the desert.  They're both enamored with their life in AZ, which means we can always count on visiting them when we're out here, but we won't see them moving back to the East Coast anytime soon!

During our last weekend in Arizona, we met up with them, and they generously offered to be our tour guides.  Phoenix was experiencing record breaking heat, around 110 degrees, but it didn't stop us from visiting Old Town Scottsdale or even going to the zoo.

After having breakfast at the Daily Dose restaurant, (yes, I did try their s'mores pancakes), they showed us around Scottsdale, and then we headed to Butterfly Wonderland.  Lewie knew a little about butterflies, having watched their growth stages in his kindergarten and first grade classes, but we never took him to a butterfly place.  Boy was he in for a surprise! He loved the 3-D movie and then didn't want to leave when it came time to to enter the butterfly pavilion.  Not only did we learn that this butterfly pavilion is the largest in the U.S., but it's also home to 3,000 butterflies from all around the world!  Lewie desperately wanted one to land on him.  A few came close, but at age eight, this boy, I think, is still a little too fidgety.  One landed on me but only for a mere second.  It flew off the minute I showed my excitement, which was right away!

Lewie took to my cousin right away.  Kids love his sense of humor!

My cousin tricking Lewie into thinking a butterfly really landed on his head!

The moment a butterfly almost landed on Lewie.

My favorite blue butterfly from afar.  I could never get to see one close and personal.

After Butterfly Wonderland, I went to the OdySea Aquarium while my two boys decided to go on a desert ATV (TomCar) tour.  (There will be more about this adventure in my next post.)  This was time for me to spend alone with Vincent and Jamie, and while the aquarium was certainly a wonder to see (sea), I have to admit that the real charm was getting to play "catch up" with family.  Highlights of the Aquarium were watching the three-toed sloth and "petting" the stingrays.  I had no idea how much they enjoy the attention!

Classic Vincent!

So creepy!  I don't think I can swim in the ocean again!
The next day we braved the hot Arizona sun, and went to the Wildlife World Zoo near Phoenix.  The parking lot was EMPTY, which means not many people visit the zoo in this kind of heat, but Vincent and Jamie promised us they knew the zoo and ways we could keep out of the sun while still enjoying the animals.  They were right, but we still had to avoid heat exhaustion.  Every 15 minutes, we were buying cold drinks or slushies to keep ourselves normal.  Even the poor outside animals looked at us as if to say, "Man, if you think I'm going to perform or do cartwheels for you in this heat, you're crazy!"  The animals in the air-conditioned inside exhibits, on the other hand, were full of life!  No crowds meant we had the chance to watch them all to ourselves.

I didn't notice the boys were showing off their bellies in this picture...

Lewie loved playing with this monkey.

Feeding the giraffes...

Lewie requested to sit with "Uncle Vincent" on the train, of course.

The safari train...

I couldn't believe the size of these ostrich eggs!

We spent the rest of our time visiting Vincent and Jamie's home; the boys had a chance to play video games, and I played a few unique card games with Jamie.  The visit, as always, was way too short, but at least we had a lot of memories to take home with us.


  1. My grandmother lived in Scottsdale but the only place I've been to of those you mentioned is Old Town! That is so cute how Lewie took to Vincent!

  2. What a great weekend stop. I can't believe how hot it was and that y'all braved the zoo! Looks like a fun trip!

  3. This looks so fun! I love all the different unusual butterflies.
    I have about six week's worth of posts from our trip to Arizona, so I definitely understand!

  4. So I lived right outside of Phoenix for 1.5 years and somehow never made it to the zoo! Still kicking myself for that!


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