Tag Archives: Camp Verde

Happy World Rhino Day!


Today is World Rhino Day!


Photo I took of a rhinoceros at Out of Africa wildlife park in Camp Verde, Arizona



According to the International Rhino Foundation, each day, on average, three African rhinos are killed for their horns. The IRF is working to save all five rhino species. With World Rhino Day, the IRF hopes to teach people about rhinos, call attention to their plight, and show people how they can help save these massive critters.

Go to http://www.rhinos.org/stay-informed/world-rhino-day to learn more about World Rhino Day and how you can help save rhinos from extinction.

Did you know? The closest living rhino relatives are tapirs, horses and zebras.
Did you know? A group of rhinos is called a crash.
Did you know? Rhino pregnancies last 15 – 16 months!

Find out more things you may not know about rhinos at http://www.rhinos.org/25-things-you-didn-t-know-about-rhinos.

It’s World Giraffe Day!


Hey Everybody! It’s World Giraffe Day!


I took this photo of Pilgrim, one of the giraffes at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Arizona.


World Giraffe Day was started by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF)  to celebrate the longest-necked animal on the longest day or night (depending on which hemisphere you live!) of the year – 21 June. It’s an annual event to raise awareness and shed light on the challenges giraffes face.

Did you know that there are less than 80,000 giraffes in the wild?

To learn more about World Giraffe Day and how you can help giraffes, go here: http://worldgiraffeday.squarespace.com/


I took this photo of Pilgrim waiting for snacks from the people in the safari tram.

(My calendar tells me that today is also Father’s Day and the first day of summer. Shout out to dads and summertime too!)

Machine Gun Rentals


As we were driving up to the entrance of Out of Africa, we saw a building to our right with a sign on it. This is what the sign looked like:


We did not investigate the building, but with a quick Google search, I found it is the Copper Star Indoor Shooting Range.

Here’s a map of the area:      Map of Copper Star Indoor Shooting Range

On the map you can see the Copper Star Indoor Shooting Range, Out of Africa Wildlife Park, and the Yavapai County Jail, all snuggled together in the same area. While I’m pretty sure the rented machine guns are only to be used within the shooting range, it’s disturbing to think of someone renting a machine gun and taking it into the wildlife park to shoot up some animals or using it in a jailbreak from the county jail.

But you know how it is in Arizona (or if you don’t know how it is in Arizona, I’ll tell you now): People gotta have their guns!

The Guns & Ammo Network website voted Arizona the #1 best state for gun owners in 2014. Here’s what the Guns & Ammo Network had to say about this honor:

It was a tight race for the top spot, but it came down to the intangibles. The Grand Canyon State takes the top spot again this year, and for good reason. It has the most well-established competitive shooting scene in the nation and a culture that embraces shooters and the shooting sports. Arizona is the home of Gunsite, the nation’s oldest and best known private shooting school; the 1,650-acre Ben Avery shooting facilty [sic]; as well as numerous firearm manufacturers including Ruger. Concealed and open carry are legal without a permit, and the state also issues permits to residents who travel outside the state. CCW permits from all other states are recognized. Arizona does not restrict legally possessed NFA items, magazines or MSRs.

To read the article about the best states for gun owners in 2014, go here:

To learn more about the Copper Star Indoor Shooting Range, go here: http://copperstarisr.com/.



Before we even got to Out of Africa, Nolagirl was talking about getting pie on the way home. She said there was a restaurant between Camp Verde and Phoenix that has really amazing pie. She said she isn’t too enthusiastic about the food at the restaurant, but she really likes the pie.

When we got off I-17 at exit 242, we saw this sign:


I think this was the first time I ever saw a picture of a slice of pie on a highway department sign.


This is the sign outside the Rock Springs Cafe.    

(Side note: While i was shooting the photo to the left, I heard a loud metal crunch. A mega big truck was pulling out of a parking space and didn’t turn wide enough. The truck crunched into the car next to it, and as it kept turning, got hooked on the car. The driver of the truck had to back up to unhook from the car. OUCH!)


Here’s what the front of the cafe looks like. Yippie for pie murals!

We went inside, and there was some confusion about where to sit. There’s a tiny (two or three tables) sitting area behind the pie cases, but since there were four of us, we were told we should see the hostess about sitting in the dining room. The hostess said there would be a ten minute wait for a table, so we spent our waiting time looking at pie.

There was apple pie and peach pie. There was lemon meringue pie and Tennessee lemon pie. There was pecan bourbon pie. There was coconut cream pie and chocolate cream pie and banana cream pie. There were other pies, too numerous for me to remember. (See a full list of Rock Springs Cafe’s pies here: http://www.rockspringscafe.com/pies.html.)

The hostess finally sat us in the bar. I don’t know why we had to wait ten minutes. The place was not crowded, and there were several empty tables in the dining area.

Our waiter was a young guy who looked just like a young guy working in a roadhouse should look. He had on dark jeans, a black t-shirt, and slicked back hair. I should have asked to take a photo of him, but I didn’t want him to think I was some flirting old lady. He took our pie orders, then brought water out to all of us.

Nolagirl ordered the Jack Daniels Pecan. That’s her favorite. Little Phoenix ordered banana cream. The slice was huge, and she ate it all down. Izzy and I both ordered slices of chocolate cream pie. Oh. My. Goodness. It was so good. The cream part was thick and fluffy. The chocolate part was thick and silky. I ate every bite slowly and savored each mouthful.

Here’s a photo of my slice of pie:


It tasted even better than it looks.

Out of Africa, Part 1


I was originally going to have only one post about Out of Africa, but when I’d written over 2,000 words and still had more to say, I decided to present the tale in more manageable chunks.

IMG_2108Out of Africa is a wildlife park in Camp Verde, Arizona. You can find out everything you want to know about it here: http://outofafricapark.com/.

I’m not a big fan of zoos, and I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wildlife park. I mainly decided to visit Out of Africa because the park grants visitors free admission during their birthday month. My birthday is in February and so is Nolagirl’s so we decided we should go together when we could both get in for free. Also along on the trip were Nolagirl’s daughter LIttle Phoenix and her friend Izzy.

(Sidenote: Earlier in the week, I’d gone to the Goodwill Clearance Center and found four tutus. I bought them and brought them with me when I met the gals before our trip to Out of Africa. I was so pleased by the excitement the tutus caused. Each of the ladies chose one and wore it for the whole day. We quickly began referring to ourselves as “the Tutu Gang.” We received several compliments on our attire and had a lot of fun dressing up.)

After stopping at the ticket office and paying for the girls and picking up our pink happy birthday bracelets, we headed directly to the African Bush Safari Tour. Visitors filed onto a safari tram with no windows and prepared to meet animals up close and personal. Our guide (and driver of the tram) was Lauren.

IMG_2197We stopped first to feed a giraffe named Pilgrim. Lauren told us giraffes naturally have no top teeth, so it is safe for people to feed them. (We were told that zebras, on the other hand, have very strong top and bottom teeth and should not be fed by hand. We were told that if we held five fingers out to a zebra, we were likely to have fewer fingers when we withdrew our hand.)

Everyone in the tram had been given a slender green leafy plant to offer to Pilgrim. He knew the routine and he was waiting for his treats when the tram approached his living area.

Here's Pilgrim leaning into the tram to be fed.

Here’s Pilgrim leaning into the tram to be fed.

Here's Pilgrim leaning into the tram to take a treat from Lauren's mouth.

Here’s Pilgrim leaning into the tram to take a treat from Lauren’s mouth.

We were told that Pilgrim doesn’t like having his face touched and would get upset if we tried to touch it, so we didn’t get to pet him. Being able to feed him was so cool;  it was ok that I didn’t get to pet him too. Now I can tell people that I’ve fed a giraffe!

IMG_2112      IMG_2117

Pilgrim is not the only giraffe that lives in Out of Africa. There is another male, Kibo, who lives there too. The two giraffes were once good friends, but they started fighting over an “imaginary girlfriend,” and now have to live separately.

IMG_2187      IMG_2192

After feeding Pilgrim, we continued on our African Bush Safari Tour. The tram went through a gate, and we rode around in an area where visitors are not allowed to walk. Although the animals are in captivity, they are still wild, and they could easily hurt people who don’t know how to act around them.

The critters below in particular could do some damage.IMG_2139 That is a sable antelope. According to Wikipedia, sable antelopes “inhabit wooded savannah in East Africa south of Kenya and in Southern Africa.” How about another look at those horns? IMG_2138

Unlike most other types of antelope (and deer, elk, etc.) the sable antelope won’t try to run from a predator. Here’s Wikipedia again: “When sable antelopes are threatened by [a] predator, including lions, they confront it, using their scimitar-shaped horns. Many of these big cats have died during such fights.” That’s what our tour guide told us too. If this creature is not taking any shit from a lion, do you think it’s going to put up with some stupid human with a camera acting a fool in its face? I think not. That’s why the stupid humans with the cameras had to stay in the tram.

Next we saw zebras.

IMG_2147     I didn’t see any people sticking their hands out of the tram to see how many fingers they would end up with if they offered five to a zebra.

We learned that zebras are black with white stripes. The clue is that the nose of a zebra is black. Apparently, zebras are entirely black under their fur!

IMG_2148One thing that amazed me about Out of Africa is that the human caregivers recognize each animal individually and by name. While visitors just see a group of zebras milling about, members of the Out of Africa staff know each animal’s name and story. Our guide told us about one young zebra who’s having a bit of an identity crisis. She doesn’t want to hang out with the other zebras. Instead, she’s been hanging out with the other animals in the African Bush area. She’s trying out living with other animals so she can decide what kind of critter she wants to be! IMG_2149

The zebra on the right is the mom. The zebra on the left is her "teenage" daughter.

The zebra on the right is the mom. The zebra on the left is her “teenage” daughter.


Baby zebra

The photo to the left is of a baby zebra. I believe it was just a few weeks old when I visited. The black stripes on zebras start out brown and get darker as the zebra gets older. Zebras moms are pregnant for 13 months, and baby zebras weigh about 70 pounds when they are born.

IMG_2168The photo on the left shows an addax. It’s got some pretty groovy horns too. But I don’t think it fights lions.

The animal to the right  is one of the watusi (ankole cattle). IMG_2180These were the last animals we saw on the African Bush Safari Tour.

We also saw a camel named Humphrey and an ostrich named Chili-Pepper on the African Bush Safari Tour. Both Chili-Pepper and Humphrey live alone in separate enclosures because they don’t get along with any other animals. When we stopped to see Chili-Pepper, Lauren got out of the bus to interact with her. Lauren showed us how ostriches will instinctively jab their heads at anything right in front of them. She warned us that we did not want Chili-Pepper to hit us with her beak, and suggested we just move out of her range if she approached the tour bus. Lauren also told us that if threatened, an ostrich would not defend itself with its beak. If it could not run away (ostriches run extremely fast), it would fight by delivering a powerful kick and use its inner toe to cut open the enemy.

To read about the predators at Out of Africa, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/06/03/out-of-africa-part-2/.

All of the photos in this post were taken by me.