Show Love, Shop Small at Cottonwood Mall
- June 29, 2021
So much to see at Animal Park and Ride located in Cottonwood Mall! We are an interactive petting zoo and retail store!
Show Love and Shop Small!
Learn More About Animal Park
Freddy Lopez has always been an animal lover. Since he was two years old, he has always had pets, mostly reptiles. Now, as the owner of Animal Park, Lopez gets to share his love of animals with other people every single day.
Animal Park is an interactive petting zoo and pet store located inside of Cottonwood Mall. The store offers shoppers unique experiences not usually found inside of a shopping center, such as getting to hold an 18-foot Reticulated Python, or sitting down and playing with Juliana Mini Pigs. Since Animal Park is also a licensed pet store, you can come in to play with the animals, and then leave with your new pet. At any given time, roughly 80 percent of the animals in the store are available for adoption.
At the age of 17, Lopez joined the military, and had to leave all of his pets behind. After returning from service, he re-entered civilian life, but felt as if there was something missing: animals. “When I left the military, I bought some fish just to sit down and watch them, because they’re so calming,” said Lopez. “Animals are my comfort zone.” Since then, he has raised birds, snakes, and other reptiles, and has loved sharing his knowledge of animals with other people. “This shop, for me, is a dream I never knew I had,” said Lopez. “I’ve always loved animals, but I never thought I would open a petting zoo and now a pet store. This is really a blessing.”
In November of 2020, he moved to a larger location towards the middle of the Mall, and started bringing in more animals – and more customers.
Just recently, Lopez purchased a small shuttle bus. “We have some big discounts for schools and churches,” Lopez explained. “I want to bring in people who couldn’t otherwise make it out here.” His commitment to gathering the community goes beyond school trips and church outings, however. As of late, he has been raising awareness for people with autism, and even provides wheelchairs for shoppers who need one to traverse the mall.