Phoenix/AZ.... what not to miss?

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by verlee, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. verlee

    verlee DIS Veteran

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    It looks like the family and I are headed west this spring. The inlaws are in Phoenix and have invited us to stay for a week. I have never been to Arizona and have no idea what there is to do besides the obvious Sedona, Grand Canyon ect. Any suggestions for our family would be great! We have two boys 6 and 9. I am pretty sure we will have a rental and will be spending a night or two in northern Az. Thanks!
     
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  3. eduk8r26

    eduk8r26 DIS Veteran

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    The Arizona Science Center downtown is pretty nice for the boys. Sun Splash water park is in Mesa. If it is open then it should be warm enough to go. Also has mini-golf. Diamondback stadium is downtown. Go see a game or take a tour of the stadium if they are out of town. Google "Phoenix with kids" and you probably will come up with a ton of stuff to do.
     
  4. verlee

    verlee DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the ideas! I did google family/kid activities and also checked into Trip Advisor. I just like to hear personal experiences. :)
     
  5. jdb in AZ

    jdb in AZ <font color=green>It could end up curdled<br><font

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    You might enjoy the Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson -- about two hours southeast of Phx. They have lots of unusual wildlife, including gila monsters, snakes, and even vampire bats.
     
  6. 5forDis

    5forDis Mouseketeer

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    I can't tell if you staying only in Phoenix or going to Sedona/Grand Canyon. I just posted this in the Budget Forum and will copy it here (sorry if I misunderstood your destination):

    This is our trip costs (2 adults/3 kids)

    Rental Car from Phoenix $500

    Sedona I love Sedona!!!
    Time Share for a week in Sedona (we only stayed 2 nights) $297
    M Diamond Ranch Cowboy Breakfast & Horseback Ride $260.87
    Pink Jeep Tour (Broken Arrow Sunset Tour) $371.60

    Grand Canyon
    Check in at Yavapia Lodge at the Grand Canyon $163/night
    Jr. Park Ranger Program: Free
    Shuttles all over the South Rim to different points: Free
    Dinner at El Tovar $150

    We clearly did A LOT in a short time and I wish we had more time at each destination, but we didn't, so we made the best of it. No regrets. I loved the Grand Canyon. When we go back to Arizona, we will devote at least a week to see more of the state. We did not walk down (not even part of the trail) into the Grand Canyon due to high winds and snow (! first week of October--this is atypical for the South Rim). We weren't prepared for hiking with 3 kids on trails with snow/winds, but we hiked around the top. My daughter literally bumped into an elk when walking from the restaurant with her Dad to the gift shop. My husband thought it was a statue...until it moved . Sedona took our breath away with the beauty. It was so much better than I could have imagine even after looking at pictures. DH & I are quite serious about retiring around there. We went to the M Diamond Ranch and it was spectacular. The trail ride is a very slow, gentle ride and was perfect for my children and us. I think we rode about 2 hours--definitely enough for this Mom and kids . When we were there they told me they are opening overnight accommodations for a full ranch experience, which would be so cool for kids. It was clean, the horses were well cared for, the food at the cowboy breakfast was yummy. I hear the dinner is even better.

    We wanted a room at El Tovar or Bright Angel but they were booked full. I was worried about Yavapai Lodge (thought it would be too rustic) but the room was very nice, newly renovated, eco-friendly with nice bamboo floors, nice tiled bathroom, and it comfortably slept 5 (!)
     
  7. verlee

    verlee DIS Veteran

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    The Sonora Desert Museum sounds fun. The boys would love it! We are hoping/planning to get up to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. But it is 5 hours away so we would need to stay over night. I am finding rental cars for around $250 for 7 days. Like you say so much to do and not enough time.:thumbsup2
     
  8. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    When in the spring are you coming out? Spring Training is in full spring during March. Always a fun afternoon with various teams and venues to choose.

    The Phoenix Zoo is great. The Science center is great. The Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa is worth a couple of hours (They have dinosaurs and you an pan for gold). If your boys like fire engines, The Hall of Flame is really cool.

    If you can swing a trip to Sedona, you can stop at Montezuma's Castle on the way.

    Also, don't know if the boys would be up for it, but The Musical Instrument Museum is an outstanding world class museum with a room where the kids can try specfic instruments like drums and gongs.

    ETA:

    If you spend some time in Flagstaff, head 30 minutes west to Williams and visit Bearizona. It is a drive through wildlife park and is a lot of fun. Also Lowell Observatory is fun as well as a couple of museums up there.
     
  9. verlee

    verlee DIS Veteran

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    Awsome ideas thanks! We are still debating on our dates mid Feb or end of March. If it is end of March we have already decided to watch the Brewers play!
     
  10. jwwi

    jwwi DIS Veteran

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    You have rec'd some great suggestions. I loved staying at the Bright Angel lodge at the GC. It was so rustic and fun to be so close to the canyon.
    The Arizona Desert Museum is great, but is in the opposite direction from the GC. So if you only have a week you will probably want to pick one or the other. Sedona can be seen on the way to or from the GC, but is worth at least a full day if you want to do any tours.
    The Brewers play at a stadium in Maryvale, we enjoy sitting in the outfield grass area, I'm sure your kids would love it too. Bring sunscreen and a blanket to sit on. It is very easy to watch from so many areas, also walk around and explore the stadium.
    Don't forget to go on a hike in one of the mountain areas in town. Camelback is very popular, but there are others that are worth the time too. Echo Canyon, Phoenix Mountain Preserve and Saguaro Lake area.
    Have fun
     
  11. Huff

    Huff DIS Veteran

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    Febuary could see significant snow around Flagstaff and Grand Canyon as well as Oak Creek Canyon on the north edge of Sedona. It is beautiful at that time but driving could be an issue.

    Along with Bearazona drive thru zoo (worth the visit!) in Williams, there is also a deer farm where you can feed numerous deer. There are other animals here as well. If it has snowed recently there is a great snow play hill about 2 miles east of the deer farm on route 66.

    In Flagstaff is Lowell Observatory. It is over a century old and is where Pluto was discovered as well as mapping of the moon for the Apollo missions. Good visitors center and tours of the old telescopes.

    South of Tucson near Benson is Kartchner Caverns state park. One of the best preserved living caves around. Incredible formations full of color and has a visitors center, RV park/campground etc. Not far from here is Tombstone which is a great place for a fun old west afternoon. Ghost town ruins of Fairbanks is also nearby.
     
  12. Schrute Farms

    Schrute Farms Mouseketeer

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    We are planning a five day trip to Arizona in mid April.(arrive on Monday, depart on Saturday)

    Two adults, two kids (5 and 2)

    Is it worth splitting the stay between Sedona and Scottsdale? Or should we pick one?

    We arrive fairly early on Monday so if we split the stay would probably go to Sedona first. I figured on Wednesday we would check out and head to Scottsdale(probably stay at the Phoenician).

    thoughts?
     
  13. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    I agree with splitting your stay. Sedona for a couple of days should be enough with a 2 and 5 year old.

    Have you looked into any other Scottsdale resorts. I think there are others (i.e. Kierlands) that may be more kid friendly.
     
  14. ahutton

    ahutton WDW Bride Dec 6, 1996

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    With elementary school age and younger kids - having a couple bad weather day ideas will be important too.

    Makutus Island in Chandler is like the biggest McDonalds playground you can imagine made magical like you would not believe. It was originally built as Club Disney in the late 90s and much of the original structures for playing remain. My kids have spent many hours running and playing there and love it. It is one of the few things they miss now that we're not in Phoenix. Amazing Jakes is also a great indoory family day if the weather is uncooperative. Bowling, tons of games, bumper cars, mini-golf and the buffet/pizza is pretty good.

    We also had great outdoor days at Fiddlesticks in Tempe and there is a similar place in North Scottsdale and Golfland in Mesa. Mini-golf, go-karts, games lots of fun stuff.

    For a fun family dinner, Rustlers Rooste on South Mountain has great views and an awesome slide. They are great for big groups and have a fantastic slide that the kids love.

    The Phoenix Zoo was mentioned above, the Desert Botanical Gardens is right by there too. We used to pack a picnic in a cooler and then have lunch at a picnic table there. Tempe Town Lake has boat rentals and is close to that area too.
     
  15. Schrute Farms

    Schrute Farms Mouseketeer

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    I am trying to pick one jeep tour in Sedona. I have a five and a two year old and a wife that has a weak stomach so I am looking for something on the mild side.

    I think I have it narrowed down to three. Does anyone have experience with any of these?

    Pink Jeep Tours: Scenic Rim
    Pink Jeep Tours: Coyote Canyons
    Red Rock Tours: Red Rock Panoramic

    thanks,
     
  16. Schrute Farms

    Schrute Farms Mouseketeer

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    One more questions: How safe is the parking area at Montezuma's Castle? We will have a SUV with our luggage in it.
     
  17. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    It's good. Tourists park there all of the time. Not to worry. It is a National Monument so there are park rangers around.
     

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