This group of sculptures is my favorite amongst the approximately 40 scattered around downtown Mesa as part of their Permanent Sculpture Collection. This sculpture is partly sponsored by the Chicago Cubs (GO Diamondbacks)!
This was the location of the Zenos Co-op established in 1889 housed Mesa's first General Merchandise Store. Zenos was an early name for Mesa and was a prophet in the Book of Mormon.
Why did Mesa tear down all the old buildings?
There are a few buildings of historical and/or architectural interest along Main Street in Mesa. They are marked with plaques although frankly, nearby Chandler did a much better job with the plaques. The Noonan Building is located on the main intersection of old Mesa where a small adobe building was constructed in the 1880s which served as the first post office for Mesa.
The settlement of Mesa started with Mormon Pioneers so it is not surprising that a major temple is located here. There is a visitors center where you can learn about the construction of the temple and the LDS Faith. There are several nice paintings depicting the life and teachings of Jesus and a ten-foot replica of the Christus sculpture by Bertel Thorvaldsen in the center. Hours are 9 AM to 9 PM daily. They also host some special events on the grounds like: Easter Plays in English and Spanish starting 2 weeks before Easter; Christmas Light Display and Nativity Scene starting just after Thanksgiving until 31 December; and nightly concerts at 7 PM from 1 December to 25 December.
The main part of the museum (which is not the part ON Main) is located in the oldest schoolhouse still standing in the Phoenix area. I opted for the new part of the museum located on Main Street because I wanted to see the display on the Cactus League. Unfortunately, the museum was not open when I stopped by. I will have to try again.
Many art museums seem like a high society party, everyone on their best behavior; as quiet as if they are in a library. This, however, is an art gallery designed for kids. Exhibits are designed for the stimulation, education, and enjoyment of kids from birth to 12 years old. Their latest exhibit is called Artville and is designed for crawling babies and young toddlers to explore and learn about colors, shapes, and textures. Hours are 10 AM to 4 PM Tuesday through Saturday and Noon to 4 PM on Sunday.
The Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa showcases a number of well-prepared displays of dinosaurs, native peoples, Arizona Territory (before we became a state in 1912) and even hands-on displays like panning for gold. This is the only natural history museum in the valley. Hours are 10 AM to 5 PM Tuesday through Friday; 11 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and 1 PM to 5 PM on Sunday. Do not try to sneak in; check out the guard in Photo 3.
One of my favorite things in these aviation museums is the diplays of nose art. Note the depiction of movie star Betty Grable. A popular story is that the famous pose depicted here came about because Grable was pregnant and was hiding her growing belly.
The displays on the inside include airplanes, helicopters and depictions of military life like the display of the woman at home receiving her husband's things after his death (photo 4). There is also a wing showing how the aircraft are maintained and restored for display.
The Commemorative Air Force Aviation Museum is dedicated to the maintenance of military aircraft with an emphasis on aircraft from World War 2 and other military memorabilia from World War 1 to the present. The hope is to educate the public about the past and instill a respect for the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve in the armed forces and their families. The museum is located on historic Falcon Field a training base during WW2. Hours are 10 AM to 4 PM daily between 1 October and 31 May and 9 AM to 3 PM Wednesday through Sunday 1 June through 30 September. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 62 and up $3 kids 5 to 12.
At 212,755 square feet, the Mesa Arts Center is the largest arts center in Arizona and one of the largest in the country. The center houses 4 theaters, 5 galleries and 14 creative arts studios in several buildings that are interesting and stylish themselves. The complex has a nicely open and airy feel to it and the area around the buildings is accessible 24 hours a day. The complex provides facilities for visual and performing arts along with arts education. Hours vary so check the website for what you are interested in, and admission is free.
A good place to start your tour of Mesa is the Mesa Visitors Center. Here you can get a map of the area, brochures on attractions/accommodations/dining and recommendations on how to best enjoy your visit based on your interests and the time you have available. The people here were very nice and one thing I really liked was that as opposed to the people at a couple of other nearby centers they would talk about attractions in other cities (e.g. Scottsdale) and not just say "that's not in Mesa".
This area is about 10 miles from mid Mesa. It is along Apache Blvd, then on to Hwy 88 north. The mountains stretch for the whole length of Hwy 88, but it stops just after Tortilla Flat at mile marker 222 at around Apache Lake.
This is about 10 miles form the east edge of Mesa. Take rRd for the shortcut. Otherwise, peole use Hwy 87; the long way around. The lake is 10 miles long, and has only small craft on the water. The Dixie Belle cruises this lake during the season on good days. Price is $20 for an adult; $10 for kids for the1 1/2 hour ride. Canyon lake also has a boat ride similiar called Dolly Steamboat. it is off Hwy 88
This is a park along Hwy 60 in Mesa, and features minature golf as well as a water park. The pics I had were not good, so the brochure is presented, even though we did not go in to the park. Prices are $6-7 for golf, and $25 adult, or $20 junior costs to water park. Open daily 11-10.