Just on the US-60 as you are approaching Wickenburg downtown from Phoenix, you will see this side road which will lead you to this huge reserve filled with trees, a giant pond, and a mysterious river whose water comes from underneath the ground.
There are several birds in the sanctuary, over 280 kinds I believe and so bring your binoculars or just use one of their binoculars at the Visitor Center where they loan it to you for free. They are very nice people who manage the place and we had Lorraine with us at the desk. You sign up and pay only $5 for adults, free for kids below 11.
They have a picnic area, but we chose to walk around the pond and it is a pretty long walk with the kids, spewcially since we took so many pictures along the way, hahaha...
Here is a video of our experience which might express how we spent our day on March 16, 2013 (a day before St Paddy's Day):
Hassayampa River Preserve and the Jumping Family
This house was built for the Trinidad Family in 1863. It may be the oldest house in Arizona. It has also served as a military post, a stop on the stagecoach line, and a store. Today it houses a nice Art Gallery.
The Texas Hotel was built in 1895. It was first established nearer the mining area and was moved to this location in 1904. A room cost $1.50 or you could sleep on a bed on the screened porch for 50 cents.
The last display I will show you is some street scenes they recreated from early Wickenburg. Displays included: A nice old carriage; the General Store where the settlers got their food, building supplies and other things needed to survive; the saloon where you went to relax; the church where you went to confess what you did in the saloon; and the gunsmith shop where they kept your guns in working order.
The first room next to the admission desk is the Hall of History. Here they have a variety of display showing the history of the town and the area. Most of the displays in this area are dioramas. Some of the earliest settlers in the area were the Hohokam. There was a massacre here in 1871 where 6 settlers were killed. It was initially blamed on Apache and Mohave Indians but evidence indicates that is probably not true. This was one of the incidents that caused the US Government to send more troops out west in 1874. In the late 1800s mining was very important to the area. There are also dioramas showing animals in the area and one dedicated to the glider base here during World War 2.
One of the main attractions in Wickenburg is the Desert Caballeros Museum. The museum is situated in a very nice building and it has a number of displays that are very well done. This would be a nice, professional-looking museum in any major city. When I visited they were having a special event called "Cowgirl Up", so they had lots of people in costume, lots of food, music, and vendors to keep you interested. The museum had a variety of permanent and rotating displays. Hours are 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Saturday and 12 PM to 4 PM on Sunday. The museum is closed on major holidays and on Mondays in June, July and August. Admission is $7.50 for adults; $6 for seniors and AAA Members and free for active duty military.
Photography is allowed in some rooms but not in others.
Your first stop should be the Chamber of Commerce located in the old Santa Fe Depot. The Santa Fe Depot was built in 1895, and served the town for many years. In 1987 the restored building became the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce. Stop here to get a map of the historic district, hiking maps of the area, and any other information you need to enhance your visit.
Definitely worth a stop, the Desert Caballeros Museum is a real surprise! I was amazed at the variety and quality of the various exhibits. The Hayes Collection - on loan from the family of the same name - is a remarkable assembly of cowboy artifacts like spurs, holsters, saddles and such (sorry, no photographs allowed!). There's also a very impressive mineral collection, and a large gallery of western-style paintings featuring many Remingtons.
There were several rooms faithfully depicting western scenes - like the saloon and the general store. Another interesting exhibit is a collection of bola ties donated by a local newscaster.
I forget how much it was - $8 maybe. The hours are 10-5 everyday except Sunday, which is 10-4.
The Etter General Store was built in 1864 and served as the main source of goods for the settlers in Wickenburg. The original building was Adobe. The wood siding was added much later.
For many years the town of Wickenburg had no jail. They simply chained the prisoners to a large tree from 1863 to 1890. I guess it worked because nobody ever escaped.
The Garcia School was first built on this site in 1905. The current red brick building replaced an earlier wooden structure.
Next to the Chamber of Commerce/Santa Fe Depot (1895) is Engine # 761 which was built in 1890. It made many trips along the railroad line that served Wickenburg.
On the lower level there are several recreated rooms from the early period of Wickenburg. The items on display in the rooms were collected from numerous sources and do not reflect any one room.