Whenever we have time, the kids enjoy going to the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale which has a train ride for only two bucks, and carousel rides for a buck! Children under 3 are free with paying adult.
The first time we went here was during the birthday celebration of one of my Iranian friends. The party was held in the park and there were special rides for the guests on the carousel and a big railroad train as well...
The park is on 30 acres of land, and thus has very spacious playgrounds where families sometimes set up jumpers for kid's birthday parties! However, my son did fall once face first onto the sand when he followed some older boys jumping from an old cowboy playden...I saw him with his nose bloodied and crying...but I did First Aid and he was fine! Kids!
They also have the Hartleys General Store, Hand dipped ice cream, icees...and you will families enjoying the picnic ramadas and railroad museum.
Everyday open from 10 AM to 630PM
The Heard Museum is known for its nice collection of traditional and contemporary Native American Art, the major building being at Phoenix. However, the art center also has branches around the Metro Phoenix Area - one on the west side in Surprise...and now one that is located North at The Summit at Scottsdale - 32633 N. Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85262
You may also be able to purchase some of the distinctive arts on the display (pricey but unique!)
We have become resort-addicts in the Scottsdale area and so I found it fit to explorer Old Town Scottsdale. I looked at one of VTer Yaqui’s Old Town Scottsdale pages and I saw a picture of a fountain with four horses which looked familiar (on 5th Ave and Marshall) – so I told Yaqui I was going to look for it.
Then, when I went there, I remembered I’ve been in the area before but forgot about the fountain! How could I when it looks so beautiful. I guess being a VT tipmaker makes you realize more how things look like and taking pictures of them and writing about it “imprints” on the brain better. Or maybe I just have early Azheimmer’s, hehehe…
But this fountain does have four beautiful horses – reminding me of a similar fountain in the oldest shopping mall in the USA at the plaza in Kansas City. One of the horses’ name is EUROS, written underneath the horse. Maybe you can find out the names of the other horses…
Nice little boutique shops and snackhouses surround the area and this beautiful fountain can be a good meeting point.
Well, Scottsdale is surrounded by the mountains of Phoenix which include the Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak (named after that first lady soldier killed during the USA invlovement with Iraq) and we are blessed with amazing hiking trails:
South Mountain Park
largest city park in the world which has spectacular views of Phoenix and also has miles of nature, biking and horseback trails
This one is the most popular though; since it is the higest mountain with 1.2 mile trail that can be very steep at the summit --- best reserved for experienced hikers IMO.
Piestewa Peak (formerly known as Squaw Peak)
There was so much controversy when they changed this mountain's name - but now everybody agrees to it. It is a less strenuous hike but has still amazing views.
North Mountain Recreation Area
Located on either side of Seventh Street between Dunlap Ave and Thunderbird Road --- a flatter hiking trail
Cave Creek Recreation Area
This has hiking and biking trails
So, you've seen them riding it - the Segway, two wheeled platforms that you stand on and then it moves with you grasping on the handle bars. Well, you can experience this at the JW marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa for only US$65 per person!
It is a Segway Personal Transporter (PT), a delightful machine that can take you where cars and bikes can't. It can actually travel as far as 24 miles/ 38 km on a single battery charge depending on the terrain...and in Scottsdale, you will enjoy riding it as you look at the gorgeous McDowell Mountains for 90 whole minutes! There are three guided 90-minute tours daily.
Just one thing, don't forget to wear a helmet! And you also have to be at least 16 years old...
The mission of the Southwest Wildlife Rehabilitation and Educational Foundation is rescuing and rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife native to the southwest - and you can be a part of it! For only US$10 for adults, and $7 for kids, you can see mountain lions, bobcats, bears and other animals that thrive in the desert.
To achieve their mission, the Southwest Wildlife even has an on-site medical care center, wild animal rehabilitation, full-time wildlife consultation and education services, an accredited sanctuary for those animals that cannot be released, and volunteer dispatch teams that immediately respond to wildlife emergencies.
Truly this is an organization that we can (and should) support ion Arizona!
Tilapia, carp and catfish are available for fishing in Scottsdale!
I remember having caught hundreds of catfish while we were living by the lake in Southern California - but I always returned them to the water most of the time!
Kids who are under 13 do not need a license to fish! The Chaparral Lake is stocked with trout and catfish twice every month. And it is open everyday from sunrise to 1030PM
“The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy champions the completion and sustainability of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve for the benefit of this and future generations. We connect the community to the Preserve through public and private partnerships, environmental education and stewardship."
This is a great group of people, conservationists and naturalists in Scottsdale, Arizona - and they offer guided hikes through their website! It is a very educational tour of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and best of all, it is FREE! However, tours are seasonal...
Whether or not you enjoy architecture this is an enjoyable tour. The first Taliesin was built in Spring Green, WI. Taliesin (pronounced tally-essen) West was the winter home for Frank Lloyd Wright, his third wife and a small group of architects who came out to the Arizona Desert soon after the Great Depression. With little money his wife suggested he teach and lecture others about architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright built Taliesin West (40,000 square feet of living space) for around $10,000. Frank Lloyd Wright liked to see his work as Organic Architecture, which it is designed to blend in with nature. None of the buildings are taller than the tallest Palo Verde Tree. As you approach Taliesin West the buildings are really not even visible.
His designs were unique and the thought processes put into the designs are incredible. The tour was enjoyable and informative, our tour guide was a student there at the school. We took the Insight Tour which was 2 hours in length (says 90 min, but we were there for full 2 hours) This tour shows you several theaters, the pools, sculpture garden, Frank Lloyd Wrights office, his bedroom, the Garden Room, etc. There are several tours to choose from. Most start every hour on the hour.
Frank Lloyd Wright was a visionary and he did designed his houses as works of art. You can see the modern, organic and oriental designed combined in a visually unique way. I loved the way he played with light and the fact that none of the rooms are square. They call it "deconstructing the box", all of the rooms are angled, the entryways are narrow with angled roofs designed to keep people moving into the main room.
Fascinating tour, interesting house just see if you can guess where the Front Entrance to the home is!
This isn't really a place to see, but if you are in the area this work of art is beautiful especially at night when it is illuminated. You can pull into the mall to see it close up. It is 125 feet tall and constructed of steel. This design was taken from Frank Lloyd Wrights concept design of the Arizona State capitol building.
An Amusement park fun for the kids and adults alike. Cracker jax has three 18-hole miniature golf courses with varying degree of difficulty. It also has go-karts, mini go-karts (for those under 56") bumper boats, putting course, batting cages, and a large indoor (nice and cool) arcade area. The park is opened late, and is well lit, so it is still enjoyable to go in the evening during summer months. One of the best spots for kids in the Phoenix area-they will have a blast!
Well lit, fun for various ages, and clean facility.
You can usually find 2 for 1 coupons on their website or in the Entertainment book.
Tucked away in a residential area, you could almost miss this little gem in Scottsdale. Preferably visit on a day with a slight breeze, so you can walk around the grounds and listen to the beautiful windbells. It truly is a magical place to stop for a bit. Paolo Soleri was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and has designed these works of art. You can walk around the grounds, enjoy the sounds of the hundreds of windbells, watch as they are crafted, and of course you can purchase them. The bells range from around $30 on up to hundreds or thousands of dollars.
KC's Classic Carriage Company offers carriage rides throughout Old Downtown Scottsdale, the Arts District, and several other areas for those interesting in seeing this part of town in a more leisurely way. Narration by the driver gives facts and history of what you're seeing. In Summer, I probably would pick a time other than in the mid-afternoon due to the heat and out of consideration for the horses and driver. Pricing depends on the number of passengers.
Nice carriages and well-taken care of horses make it a pleasurable way to see some of the town. Carriages stop & pick up at Brown & Main Streets and are generally available on a walk-up basis. If you desire a specific time & date, however, reservations are suggested. Call 480-855-3810 to make sure you aren't disappointed. Carriages are also available for special occasions and events (weddings, parties, etc.) so call the same number for pricing and pick of carriages.
Ask about the Scottsdale Livery and Antique Carriage Museum which displays a variety of vintage carriages, etc. This small museum is open only part of the year.
This tip should really be listed in "Off the Beaten Track" tips but the first time we visited Arizona and stayed in Scottsdale, we were told about "Rawhide" thought it would be a good place to take the "youngens" (young ones) who were 8 and 6 yrs. old at the time and it was, as they say, right up the road apiece and in Scottsdale.
This Western themepark was constructed to look like an old 1880's Western town. Rawhide had its own dusty main street bordered on either side by old, Western-style wooden-plank buildings and wooden-plank sidewalks. Tucked in here and there were the shootin' gallery (my son's favorite), shops, a saloon, the steakhouse and other buildings you might find in an old Western town. I remember best the shootout show where the good guys wearing white hats quickly dispatched the bad guys wearing black hats. It was quite an action show--especially for the little cowpokes. The shows are the heart & soul of Rawhide's character, but extras add a lot to the atmosphere.
Today Rawhide has moved from its original location in Scottsdale to a new location: Wildhorse Pass on the Gila River Indian Community in Chandler, AZ. They've added lots of new attractions such as stagecoach and burro rides, gold panning, a petting ranch, rock climbing, card shark shows, a mechanical bullride machine, and lots more.
If all this activity has whetted your appetite look no further than the Main Street. The Rawhide Steakhouse still serves up a big Western meal and even features live entertainment. The menu lists items you won't find in 'normal' places yet won't attract the likes of Andrew Zimmern: Rocky Mountain oysters (don't ask), and fried rattlesnake for instance. For normal people, there's barbecue ribs, USDA Choice steaks, barbecue chicken, baby-back ribs, prime rib, served with side dishes including cowboy beans, corn cobbette, and their green chili cornbread. ( $16.95 to $28.95) Leave room for dessert--they all sound good. Ask for a child's menu for the little ones ($7 assorted selections includes steak fries, beverage and a BADGE!!)
Golden Belle Saloon is located just next door if your taste is for specialty drinks, or just appetizers and desserts. Other dining choices are available and consider Rawhide's Sundown Cookout!
Rawhide can be a fun day for the whole family! Also a great place for kids' birthday parties!
Parking & admission to Rawhide is free; however and BUT, attractions, special events, games and shows require a fee. Check the ticket booth for more info. & prices.
PLEASE, check the website for opening dates and hours!!
Since no one else in my family was interested, I took the complimentary hotel shuttle to visit Taliesin West, one of the architectural schools designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most famous American architects.
The low, horizontal structure virtually disappears into its surroundings, as Wright must have planned it. Construction of Taliesin West began in 1937 with the actual building taking place over many years by apprentices who were a part of the resident Taliesin Fellowship.
The website states, "Taliesin West is the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The buildings rest on 600 acres of preserved Sonoran Desert open space on the South foothills of the McDowell mountains with spectacular views of Scottsdale, Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun."
Taliesin West is quite a large conglomeration of building including room for drafting studios, classrooms, study rooms, the William Wesley Peters Library, and exhibition spaces. The tour I took covered much of the buildings where we saw large rooms theaters provide space for "theatrical performances, concerts, music and dance rehearsals, as well as space for videos, films, visiting lecturers, special events and formal dining." While I thought the rooms were not as warm and detailed as I had hoped to fine, I am sure that the presence of large groups of people add a different aspect and feel to the rooms. Uninhabited they felt spartan, cold and deathly quiet. However, some spaces open directly to the outdoors and nature.
As we were shown around the rest of the property, we learned that all students and many faculty live on campus. Buildings and garden courts are linked together by walkways and terraces and there were some interesting architectural fountains and nuances there.
First-year students are required to build their own shelter on the 600 acre property with a limited amount of materials and space. It was interesting to see the various designs used, as well as how the different materials were used---some were the most basic of shelters with virtually no structure, and others were more substantial and functionally built to insulate it not only from the heat, but also from the cold nights in the Sonoran desert. I believe the quarters had no electricity. I cannot remember all the details but I do remember thinking how ingenious the students were and how determined they must be to live in the makeshift housing for any length of time.
The Mission: T H E . F R A N K . L L O Y D . W R I G H T . A R C H I V E S
"The Frank Lloyd Wright Archives, headquartered at Taliesin West, was founded to preserve and perpetuate the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and to educate the public concerning his important and unique contribution to architecture."
For serious students of architecture and other admirers, Taliesin West is the resposity for 'The Archives,' the collection of Frank Lloyd Wright materials is vast: More than "20,000 original drawings, 190,000 documents of correspondence covering 1887-1959, approximately 600 original manuscripts, a large Oriental art collection, historic photographs of buildings and family, and related materials from books to articles. The Archives also preserves works of Mrs. Wright and of the Taliesin Fellowship..."
Taliesin West offers tours, and there is a nice shop with many types of books, souvenirs, and other interesting and architecturally-related materials offered. There is also a small cafe.
It's northern counterpart is "Taliesin East" in Green Spring, Wisconsin where many of the faculty and students move for the summer months.