This is a large complex made up of the sanctuary and connected annexes. This is a working community and one special attraction yearly for visitors is the Nativity Scene and Christmas Lights show. They decorate to the hilt, as the pictures below show. Hundreds of thousand of lights make up the color illumination. Thousands of people come to see the wonder over the 20+ day event.
They have one million visitors come annually, and the grounds includes a large reflection pool, and cactus garden on this 20 acre compound.
The temple was first completed in 1927, and renovated in 1975.
This is a cactus garden next to the main canal. That canal was first dug by Indians back in around 700BC. Expanded many times, it now serves as one of the main water flows to the city/valley. The cacti garden is on 30 acres of grounds, and was a dedication of the Brinton family, who made there "stake" here, and had mills to process grains, which go *** water form the canals. Dilworth Brinton, a son organized the purchase of this ground to allow all to enjoy the canals and the cactus park.
This is a museum with some artifacts of the history of Mesa. It was closed when we were there, though. Adjacent to the museum is an auditorium-which the picture depicts. The museum looks to be rather small.
Open times are 10-4 Thursday through Sunday and cost is $5
The main feature here is the theater that holds events and shows for the public throughout the year. That is the large building in the middle of the complex. The art center is actually in the basement of another building, and has 5 galleries that feature mostly local art talent. We thought the $3.50 was barely worth the short tour. Unless you like some certain artist works, you can breeze right through the small galleries in quick fashion.
Cost is $3.50, and open generally 10-5 Tuesday through Sunday. There is a small gift shop on ground level that maybe you can find a "treasure"
Mesa downtown "revival" has only half way succeeded. There are some places to eat, and also art galleries that make up most of the shops. Basically there is not much to do, but stroll along Main Street and if you area shopping, there are some places that may meet your needs, but most seem not too appealing, in our opinion. The "anchor" is the Contemporary Art Center at corner of Main and Center Streets, or midtown center.
Be far one of the better visits we had in Mesa. The group used to be called as its better know name-Confederate Airforce Museum, but due to "political correctness", it must now be called Commemorative Air. This museum features 37 different vintage and restored aircraft; mostly from the WWII era, even though they have a few bi-wing from WWI time frame also. The main attraction is the B17 that is in working order after years of restoring painstakingly. All aircraft are operational, and a volunteer staff of 400 do the work, and are as dedicated as any in our country to the cause.
The trip is well worth about 3-4 hours for the more interested in seeing and hearing great history from volunteer guides describing the planes and how they got to the hangers.
It is open year round, but 9-3 on Wednesday through Sunday in summer and 10-4 winter of October-May and open every day. Prices are $10 for adult in winter times, and $7 in summer openings. Rides can be obtained during certain times in the year. Tours of the B17 bomber are available, and it demonstrates the cramped conditions the 12 man crew had to endure. It is a great adventure to see and feel. Cost is around $450 for standard ride in B17 with good view, and $600 for better view. Other plane rides may range $300-500.
The best thing about this area is being in the outdoors and taking in the beauty, fragile as it is. You have to get outside of the growing, sprawling town to do that, however. Last count is about 500,000 people and expanding. It is 1200 feet above sea level, and the air is still clean and clear out a ways away from the city boundary.
The attraction must be to see the sunsets and the mountains on a daily basis.
If you just want to be driven out on the water, then get on a paddleboat cruise. Offered on Saguaro Lake on Sat & Sun (10:30am & 12:30pm) this is a 90-min narrated cruise. Need to purchase tickets 45 min before departure date. Paddleboat is also available for private cruises.
Imagine escaping the blazing hot desert sun and diving into the cooler, clear waters of Saguaro Lake. Bliss on earth! Precision Marine is located in the Marina and they rent kayaks, fishing boats and pontoons, along with selling fishing licenses/permits and various supplies. Boats are easy to drive. Bring aboard your own cooler with drinks & snacks. Precision Marine also rents boats at Canyon Lake. Advance reservations are accepted with half-day minimum. No animals, BBQs or glass containers aboard the boats. Life vests are included with boat rentals and all children under the age of 12 yrs old must wear the vest at all times while aboard the boat.
If your ideal day involves a full cooler, an easy chair and the rocking motion as you glide along a river on an inner tube, then this is the place for you. Located on the Salt River, Arizona has the mos fun laid-back tubing ever. Be warned. This place is POPULAR with the college crowds so if you go during the weekends, be prepared for a mob scene! Otherwise the water is clear and running. Usually operates in the summer months till late September. There's an all day rate of $15 per person that includes the tube rental and shuttle bus service. Cash only so bring those dollars! And don't lose that rental tube or you'll have to fork over another $30 to pay for their loss. Children must be 8 years old or older and at least 4-ft tall. They do inspect your coolers so please don't bring any glass containers. Alcohol is allowed but please drink responsibly. Be sure to bring sunglasses and hats to ward off the strong Arizona sun.
This is a favourite among the college students who want to have some fun tubing down the Salt River -- the salt river tubing headquarters in Mesa is very organized and they have buses that bring the people to the river. Of course, you could also drive up to the river yourself. But just note of the time when you go, because they stop renting tubes at a certain time (like us, we missed it).
But you will see a lot of merrymakers (alcohol-loving), and a lot of families. And it is sad that trash is sometimes just left everywhere around the riverside. But the scenery along the river is just awesome, and a great reprieve during the summer heat ---- Tubing only open from May thru Sept, 7 days a week.
The tubing can last from 2 to 5 hours, so make sure you a strong SPF sun protector, sunglasses, hat. It is only $15 per dar per person per tube. And if you lose your tube, you pay $30. I can't imagine how you lose it when it is so big though...hehehe....
There are also group rates for 30 persons or more but needs 14 day advance reservation (480) 258-0078.
The Salt River is known for having a great time doing a "floating picnic" while you see along the way wild horses, herons and majestic mountains.
We were at the Tonto National Forest in Mesa and it was awesome we found this wonderfully unqique lake where you coukld rent a boat! It was already late afternoon and so we could only rent the boat for an hour since I think they closed at 6PM (August 2009), and so we got a 24 foot pontoon boat for just about $90 per hour + gas/tax....It was fun! You can rent boats up to 30 minutes before closing.
The lake is so nice because of the wonderful hills around it which are dotted by Saguaro cati...and it is a long strecth of lake - we were not even able to go around all of it because it is so long and curvy. We parked the boat in about three areas where we dipped into the warm waters ---(personally though I am scared of dark green lakes but I had fun though)
For those who do not want to get their own boats, there is a cruise I think which is called Desert Bell but it had just 2 cruises on that day at 1030 and 1230 - you can call Dsert Bell excursions at 480-984-2425 for proper times.
There were lots of people jetskiing and people can also fish for bluegill, walleye, bass, catfish and crappie.
And after all the activity, they do have a restaurant available with lots of misters to counteract the Arizona heat!
May through labor Day 8AM to 6PM
Labor Day through November 8 AM to 5PM
December through Feb 9AM to 4 PM
March through April 8AM - 5PM
Well, this is so much fun I could do it a lot more often than I actually do. This is a great activity, especially in the sweltering summertime. The waters are often crowded with hordes of revelers, many with altered chemistry, but it's a big river and there's room for all.
We have our own tubes and sometimes float further down the river than the official boundary, but it is just as fun to rent a tube for the all-inclusive $15/day from Salt River Tubing, which is an alternative we often choose, too.
What I like about the Phoenix Metropolitan Area is that there a several affordable theatre seats available. The cities, Mesa included, have devoted time and money into attracting the artists to live, stay and perform for the citizenry.
To show our support, we buy tickets or donate directly. The Mesa Arts Center has state-of-the-art facilities and as my family was walking past today, they had Celtic songs and ballads coming up...and there's several plays in line which include a lot of dancing and even symphony concerts!
Truly a great box office addition to this wonderful city of Mesa!
Call their TOURS hotline 480-644-6626 for FREE Public campus tours! They do need a 24-hour adavance notice though, and the tour included going to all the theatres, arts studio, Mesa Contemporary Arts and the Shadow Walk --- about 60 minutes of free tour so wear nice comfortable walking shoes...
Remember this, the FIRST SUNDAY of every month, there are free admissions to three downtown Mesa Museums! Offers good from 12-5 PM
Mesa Contemporary Arts
1 E Main St
480 644 6501
AZ Museum for Youth
35 N Robson
480 644 2468
AZ Museum of Natural History
53 N Macdonald
480 644 2230
Enjoy these freebies!