If you have ever driven south of Phoenix on i10 to Tucson, you seen the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch near Picacho Peak and wondered,
“What is that?”
“Ostriches in the desert?”
“It’s in the middle of nowhere! What fun could that be?”
As a family who has done many road trips (we drove cross country with our three young children), we have seen a lot of different things. But the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch is not only a place to stop at as you drive by, but a destination to check out!
Located by the picturesque Picacho Peak, Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch is located right off of i10 just south of Casa Grande in Arizona. More than just Ostriches, there are many different animals you can see, pet, feel and experience!
The main entrance has a shooting gallery (laser that takes coins), seating area with benches, check in center, gift shop, Sting Ray Bay and entrance to the bathroom. If you have a large family, this is a great place to go. Kids under five are FREE!. I highly suggest pairing up non-readers with readers as there are a lot of signs explaining things throughout the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch that are important.
The Bathrooms are a separate small building but are clean, functional and have changing stations! They also have whimsical signs in the bathroom. Make sure you use the bathroom before heading out to the animals as there are no other public use bathrooms throughout the ranch.
Picnic Benches are available for guests who bring their own food or those who want to have a little party. There is no extra fee for parties, but you can reserve the benches. No food is available for purchase, but there are vending machines for drinks. Rooster Cogburn Ranch also has a refrigerator available for guests who might need this for their party.
Pictured above is the check in area. Here you will pay, get your coins for the shooting gallery (not included in admission charge) and your feed for the animals! Children 5 and under are free!
Two blue cups will be given to you and are stacked inside of one another. I highly suggest that if you have a wobbly walker or a child who likes to dump things out that you bring a stroller or little baggies to dole out the food to them slowly! My kids at 9, 6 and 5 were ready to give all their food to the first animals they saw.
The Animals at Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch-It’s not just Ostriches anymore!
These donkeys were very funny to feed. Make sure that you are gentle with the animals, and they will be gentle to you. The older ones crowd at the front, but the younger ones tend to hesitate and hang out towards the back.
Munchie was trying to give some of the younger ones some food in this video but some of the older ones pushed forward!
I even got a picture of “Smiley” smiling! Is that a face only a mother can love?
Sweet Fallow Deer
Next we visited the Fallow Deer. Unlike most deer that lose their spots when they are older, Fallow deer retain their spots. These deer are sweet and easy to feed and pet.
All my kids love animals, but Dimples is by far the one who loves to interact with them the most. You can see how sweet and gentle the deer are with him. The Fallow Deer are eagerly awaiting some attention and food. The younger Fallow deer were hanging out in the shade.
If you like goats, or like animals at a distance, you will love the goats on the “hill”.
The Upcycling Feeding Machine
Boer Goats, like any kind of goats, love to be on hills. They love a higher vantage point. Well, Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch came up with a solution to their flat ranch. This Electric Scissor lift is perfect for the Goats who want to escape the doldrums of flat life and want to see the i10. Or, want to see life from an elevated point of view.
They have food and water PLUS the owners came up with a fun treat delivery system. They are cut up wiffle balls on a track that kids (and adults) can put food in and then move up to the goats! Old engine parts are upcycled into a goat delivery system!
Next is the goat wall! It almost looks like a little goat game show!
I got to kiss a goat at Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch.
Full disclosure, because I kiss and tell. I had a piece of their food between my lips and so it wanted the food more than it wanted me. I feel a little bit used, but that is ok. My husband still likes me and even took this picture!
After we visited the Boer Goats we visited the Ostriches. Be warned, Ostriches are not the brightest creatures! Obviously their head size is not that large, and neither is their brain! Even though they are huge birds, their brains are the size of a walnut.
The Main Event
I had never seen an ostrich up close before, so it was really cool to see that their inner eyelids close opposite to their outter eyelid. I couldn’t take pictures too closely in fear that they would want to eat my camera!
In the video, my husband shows the food delivery system for the ostriches. This is the safest method so that you don’t get pinched by the ostriches. You can also feed them by hand, but make sure you have your hands well below the fence if you want them to eat off of your hand. Also, they will eat anything, so keep all other items FAR away from the Ostriches if you don’t want it to disappear.
I did have to take a nice shot of Picacho peak with the Ostriches in front. They are cute animals!
Next were the Nigerian Dwarf Goats. These Dwarf Goats have cute “beards” and are super friendly and easy to feed. They LOVE to be petted too! MY kids really enjoyed feeding them, and they are the last animals to feed the green “pellets”. At this point, the green pellets that you have in your green cup can either be saved to go and feed the animals again or you can go back and later. However, the other animals that you will meet cannot be fed the green “pellets”.
Bunnies and Sign reading!
Next on our trip were bunnies!
Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch does an amazing job with the signing to tell you what all your coins and cups and food is for. If you have a lot of kids, especially those who don’t know how to read, you will want them partnered up with readers for this! Luckily only Dimples is my non reader at this point, but he follows along easily. I loved how they had so many signs telling us what to do. Honestly, even as an adult I forget!
We were lucky enough to have guides with us! So, I had to ask about predators. Having all of these animals in the middle of the open desert seems like a perfect place for coyotes and other animals to come and poach some yummy snacks! Unbelievably, they have really no incidents of animal attacks. The bunnies have an amazing covered shelter to keep them safe from birds getting them from overhead. The little “house like ” structures in the middle of their bunny structure are heating and cooling elements to keep them happy and safe year round. And as for poo clean up, its blown to the end of the structure for easy clean up! They really think of everything!
This place is for the birds (in the fun sense!)
We also got to see and feed some Pekin ducks. The easier way to feed the ducks is to put the food on the little deck, however, Dimples shows us how brave he is to hand feed them!
The Lorikeets are a lot of fun, and they take the little “juice packet” that you have in one of your cups.
The Lorikeets are all housed in huge greenhouse like structure with some tortoises! Make sure a friendly guide lets you in and out of the Lorikeets double door enclosure so that none escape.
I’ll be honest. I’m not a little bird person. I’m actually kind of petrified of little birds being on me, but these birds were incredibly sweet.
The fun thing about the Larakeets is they open the nectar for you. The little plastic cover is no problem for them to take off and then throw with their little beaks.
Ocean Front Property in Arizona
After the Larakeets, you can go back around and see the animals or head back into the main building for the sting rays and diving ducks.
I thought the sting rays were so cool, especially because they have their own huge spa tub! I mean, look at this cool pool they get to swim around in. A guide will give you your “sting ray” food to feed them. Sting rays kind of have a vacuum for a mouth on the bottom of their bodies and will just slurp it in off of your hands!
The Cownose Sting Rays might even peek themselves out of the water for a tasty treat! My kids saw the diving ducks check out their food, but unfortunately I was chatting so I didn’t see it. But, my kids really loved it.
The gift shop is an awesome place to check out Ostrich dusters (we bought a few), Ostrich eggs, and even Ostrich jerky. There are also stuffed animals to keep your kids cuddly on the way back to your home! The staff was amazing and it is definitely worth a trip out to see this amazing and different Ranch!
Also, they love hosting school trips and homeschoolers and have educational information and lessons for kids of all ages. They also have summer and winter hours, so check out their site for the latest information on hours before you go. I’m so excited that we made the trip and really encourage others to do the same! It is great for the whole family and very affordable too.
17599 E Peak Ln, Picacho, AZ
We received complimentary admission. All opinions are 100% my own