The gravesite of Governor Hunt (1859-1934) is the most visited of any of Arizona's governors. This seems only appropriate since he was the most elected governor in the history of the nation, having been elected to seven terms in office. However, those who visit his tomb are much less likely to be paying homage to the man than enjoying the view. His tomb overlooks Phoenix from above the Phoenix Zoo and Papago Park. Besides the magnificent panorama of the city, visitors can look over their shoulders and have a better view of the long horned sheep than if they were in the zoo.
Governor Hunt's Pyramid Tomb
625 N Galvin Pkwy
This "mountain" has long been called Squaw Peak, but was recently renamed Piestewa Peak in honor of Pfc. Lori Piestewa, who is believed to be the first native American to be killed in combat while fighting for the US military.
For someone from the Northwest, who is used to being rewarded with expanses of natural beauty for reaching the top of the mountain, looking out over the city is a little strange.
The hike is short but steep - elevation gain of 1200 feet in 1.2 miles. ALL climbing on the way up. It's also pretty busy. You will run into people on this trail that have never been on another hike, as well as those running up and down the trail.
There are other, less intense trails in the area, as well.
Taliesin West is Frank Lloyd Wright's Desert Masterpiece. It was designed to be, and still is, a living working educational facility.
Various tours are available. I took the 90 minute "Insights" tour, that showed the living area, the auditorium, the meeting room, and more.
This bridge became the backbone for creating a dam system to serve the Phoenix area. Before that dam process, and canals around the valley were formed/carved out by Indian tribes from back as far as 2000Bc per what I read. The Hohocam and Apache tribes are some that used the river system to thrive and live for the necessity of water.
The Salt River canyon is a 2000 feet decline carved out over the years, and is on Hwy 60, about 40 miles north of Globe; and 140 miles east of Phoenix. I did not get that far to see it, but the winding road and switchbacks sounded adventuresome.
Four lakes hold the water for the needs of the valley residents; Roosevelt, Apache, CAnyon and Saguaro lakes. None are large-being about 10 miles in length, but hold back enough to serve 4 million people. What is left by the time it gets to the valley is a pittance trickle, and what a shame. None is left for anyone downriver-or stream as you may wish. Canals direct the flow around the city
This downtown is among the best in Maricopa County (which includes Phoenix)!
Downtown Mesa invested thousands of dollars installing all these nice bronze statues depicting everyday life (like the one here with my son beside a newspaper boy) and giant polar bears and horses....this is just like the ones you see in Madrid or the fascinating art sculptures in Bratislava....So, it was very nice for me to find a city downtown like this near where we live.
Aside from the nice cafes, delis and stores, Downtown Mesa also has an impressive Natural History Museum with exhibits on dinosaurs, Mars, Cowboys and Native Indians - and even gold-panning!
They also have the Mesa Arts Center...just so much to see and do in downtown Mesa. So, don't forget to drive over there specially when you are in eastern Maricopa County.
There is a safari experience in the desert - the Out of Africa Wildlife Park which the a unique wildlife theme park complete with tigers and lions! There are safari vehicles where you can enjoy seeing the animals - the wildebeest, giraffe, zebra and more. The place is open year round except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and July 4th. Wednesday- Sunday 0930-5PM (admission closes at 4PM). Closed on Modays and Tuesday.
This safari place has regular shows like the Tiger Splash which features water play between the caretakers and the tigers, Wonders of Wildflife, Predator Feed and the Giant Snake Show (shows depending on day of the week).
Apparently, this place was started by Dean and Prayeri in 1988, and now it has become a favorite place to enjoy some piece of Africa in Arizona!
Located just 3 mi west of I-17 on Hwy 260 (exit 287) 25 minutes south of Sedona
verde Valley Justice Ct Rd, Camp Verde AZ
This is the famous Lowell Observatory with that historic 24" Clark Telescope which lets you see the moon, planets, star clusters and more! You can go to the center on Evenings, and no reservations are required. But viewing depends on what is in the sky and how the weather is.
Evening schedule is when it is best to view the stars - after dark: From Sept-May M, W, F, Sat 530PM-930PM, June_Aug 530PM-10PM.
Daytime programs include indoor multimedia about Lowell's research and the universe, given throughout the day, with historic tours conducted by the center. March-Oct 1015-1615 PM, Nov-Feb 1315-1615 PM. As of 2008, Adults $6, 5-17 yo $3 and students/seniors/AAA $5.
Go here to see the stars!
A day visit to the Desert Botanical Gardens is a wonderful experience. Start early in the day to avoid the heat but plan to spend a few hours there walking and enjoying the scenery and natural wildlife.
You will see beautiful plant specimens from the Sonoran Desert and other parts of the world. A wonderful feast for the senses.
Hidden amongst the plain ranch houses and fake grass of Glendale is an oasis alluding to the city's past as a rural farming community.
Saguaro Ranch is run as a city park and features an orchard (grapefruit), historic ranchhouse, flower garden and small botanical garden. There is also a rather large resident population of chickens, as well as a small group of peacocks, roaming free on the grounds.
Admission is free and parking is ample. This is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, especially with kids.
59th Ave between Olive and Peoria.
It doesn't seem to be a well-known fact, but the Phoenix area is home to the world's tallest fountain in the aptly-named Fountain Hills. About 30 miles northeast of the city on Highway 87, Fountain Hills is a small suburban and retirement town separated from the urban sprawl of the rest of the Valley.
The pond that is home to the fountain is in Fountain Park along Saguaro Boulevard about one mile north of Highway 87. Parking and admission are free, and the park itself is a beautiful, grassy and inviting enclave perfect for spending a cool winter's day in the sun. If you have kids, there is a playground adjacent to the lake.
The fountain runs every hour on the hour, and can reach over 500 feet when the winds are calm. If they're not though, you may get a little sprayed.
When blooming, the rose farms of the West Valley (Litchfield Park) create quite a spectacle.
They're generally along Northern Avenue around Reams Road. Early to mid-February (pre-Valentine's) may be the best time to view them.
East Route (for US 60 East, AZ 87 North, I-17 North): There are several ways to jump on this route, and you still unfortunately have to go through the East Valley suburbs of Phoenix to use it. But it's very worth it.
To start, either take AZ 77 to AZ 79 out of Tucson to Florence, or take the AZ 87 exit off I-10 near Picacho and follow to Coolidge and turn east on AZ 287. At this point, you can either turn north on Attaway Road and head over the Gila River to get to Hunt Highway, then head west to Ellsworth Road in Queen Creek (the Hunt Hwy/Ellsworth intersection was recently re-aligned and they just sort of merge into one another) or follow AZ 79 north from Florence to US 60 and head west to the Ellsworth Road exit. The latter is actually faster as there has been a residential boom along Hunt Highway recently and the traffic has gotten pretty bad.
Take Ellsworth Road north and it will head into the mountains and become Usery Pass Road. Turn right at the stop sign, and you're on Bush Highway. This will go over the Salt River at the the area used for tubing and swimming, pass several canyon overlooks, and continue to Saguaro Lake, which is very nice and popular for boating. The road then hooks north and intersects AZ 87. If you're going to Payson, you can turn north here. For I-17 north, turn left and head west a bit.
At the first light (Mohave Road), turn right. If you don't mind a well-graded gravel road through the indian reservation, keep going straight. Otherwise, follow Mohave Road and it will become Grande when you enter Fountain Hills. Turn right when it ends at Saguaro Blvd and then right again once that ends at Fountain Hills Blvd. This road will lead into the hills and a beautiful desert and eventually to the Rio Verde community.
You'll hit a stop sign after Rio Verde. The Verde River can be accessed by going straight. Otherwise, a left will take you back to I-17. Just follow it to North Scottsdale Road, turn right, then turn left after about 2 miles onto Carefree Highway (AZ 74).
Phoenix is not for everyone. It's a sprawling metropolis with crowded streets and freeways and can sometimes take hours to drive through. I always try to avoid it, often using really strange roads that aren't always on maps. The following are oriented for coming from Tucson to destinations outside of Phoenix.
West Route (use for I-10 West or US 93 North): The easiest way to bypass Phoenix to I-10 West is I-8 to AZ 85. You could do this, or you could take the old highway, which is scarcely travelled and much more interesting.
When you exit I-8 in Gila Bend for AZ 85 north, stay on the ramp until you hit southbound AZ 85. Take the first right that's possible. This should be Old Highway 80. If you miss it, you can turn right at the next street and go back around on the neighborhood streets. Old Highway 80 will take you alongside the Gila River, past cotton fields, one of Arizona's two remaining shrimp farms, and eventually to a beautiful old suspension bridge. The road then curves into the hills. You'll hit the village of Hassayampa and will need to turn left onto Salome Highway (there should be some large power lines nearby). Follow this several miles to 355th Avenue and take a right. That's the end of the hard part, so just enjoy the drive through the desolate Hassayampa Plain. At the stop sign, turn right to stay on the paved road and you'll be near Vulture Mine, and then Wickenburg. When you hit US 60, you can continue to US 93 by going straight.
about terminology -- the museum itself uses the term "chicano" and explains this choice as because the term was in common usage when the museum was established, although "hispanic" and "latino" have replaced it more recently.
this is a VERY small art museum that is not usually listed in the guidebooks. the admission charge is $2 for adults, $1 for children under age 12.
the focus of the museum is basically on artists from mexico and the southwestern united states. when i was there, the museum contained paintings and sculpture by mexican and chicano artists, with a few paintings from spanish artists as well. many different styles of painting are represented. i believe that the exhibits change periodically.
the museum also has a gift shop with house decorations, prints, books, videos, and many other items from mexico, the southwestern united states, and spain. i bought some bright paper flowers (actually the texture was more like very, very thin strips of wood shaving or the leaves on corn, so maybe i'm wrong about the paper part), a print, and some of those strips of lace-cutout paper that can be draped across a room during holidays. everything is priced quite reasonably.
between the museum and the gift shop, you should allow about an hour. the museum is open from tuesday through saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. you must pay for metered parking during the week, but there are spaces just outside the museum. on the weekend, i think parking is probably free.
the museum is at 147 east adams street, phoenix, AZ, 85004, between 1st and 2nd streets in downtown phoenix. it is easy to miss the entrance, but look for the hyatt hotel, which is directly across the street from the museum. when i was there, it was a little hard to get to the exact block because of construction in the area, so watch the street signs carefully to get to the right block address numbers.
If you like to visit colleges and universities, as we do, you might check out GCU. It is one of only two colleges in the U.S. with the "Antelope" as its mascot. (The other one is the University of Nebraska at Kearney.)
From Interstate 17, take exit # 203, the "Camelback Road" exit, and go west about 3/4 of a mile. The school will be on the north side of Camelback Road.
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