Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium opens 15-acre Safari Park, celebrates 30 years

LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ - The Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium and Safari Park is celebrating 30 years with a large expansion.

The park celebrated the grand opening of its 15-acre Safari Park Saturday, which will feature the new African lion habitat and a variety of African birds, according to the park's website.

Guests will be able to also take an optional tram ride through several of the animal exhibits.

The park's owner, Mickey Ollson, dreamed of opening his own zoo over 60 years ago.

However, instead of pursuing his dream he became a junior high teacher.

"I was a junior high teacher because it gave me three months during the summer to raise my exotic birds," Ollson said.

Around 30 years ago, Ollson got into a bad car accident.

"I told myself that night within a year that the zoo would be open, and within about 10 months the zoo was opened," said Ollson.

Later this spring, according to the park's website, the Safari Park will include baboons, wildebeest, cheetahs, Watusi cattle and a Greater kudu.

The Wildlife Park is open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

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