7 Things You Must See When Visiting Phoenix
There are a lot of things to see and do in Phoenix, so it's understandable to not know where to start. But don't worry! Following this guide will ensure a great trip no matter when you take it!
The Phoenix area is very large and there are so many choices for things to see and do on your vacation. Even figuring out where to start can prove quite the challenge. But worry no longer, because by choosing to visit one of these seven locations, there is no way that you and your entire group won't be happy for the rest of the day.
The Cactus League
If you are taking a spring vacation and love baseball then Phoenix is the place to be!
It should be made clear from the start that "The Cactus League" is not a single place, but is instead the spring training league for half of the teams in the MLB (those teams being: San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A's, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and Los Angeles Dodgers).
The spring season lasts from March 1st until April 2nd, and most teams play every day. Attending a Cactus League game is a great opportunity to see your favorite team (and possible future team members) for much less than you would pay during the regular season. You may even get to chat with one for a bit, or at the very least get a signed ball!
As expensive as regular season baseball is, getting food and drink at the game will often cost you even more. This is yet another bonus to spring baseball! Concessions at Cactus League games will be much cheaper, and potentially more varied than the usual ballpark fare, depending on which park you visit, than they would be, letting your entire party have a nice meal without blowing your entire vacation budget.
Depending on the teams playing and where you want to sit, ticket prices range from around $10 to $50.
Game schedules change every spring, so make sure to check the official site for up-to-date details.
Desert Botanical Garden
If you're interested in learning about Arizona's local flora and fauna then there's no place better than the Desert Botanical Garden.
The Desert Botanical Garden is a hugely impressive collection of over 50,000 plants on 140 acres. Volunteers are dedicated to preserving the Sonora's indigenous plant life, while also teaching visitors about it at an affordable price.
Depending on when you make your trip, the Desert Botanical Garden offers a number of different tours and activities. One of the most significant are the Garden Tours offered from October through May. On these tours a docent will lead patrons through the garden, helping them understand and appreciate the unique plants that inhabit the Sonora Desert.
Another unique activity is the Garden Flashlight Tour, which is offered in the evening during the summer. This tour will let you and your group experience the desert's nightlife and how very different it is than during the day.
The Garden also hosts a great many events, such as dog days, concerts, local art exhibitions, and much more, throughout the year. However, please note that some of these events may charge an additional fee in addition to the general admission.
The Desert Botanical Garden is open from 8:00am to 8:00pm every day.
General admission is $22 for adults and $12 or less for children.
If you have kids in your party, or if you just love animals, the Phoenix Zoo is a surefire hit.
Since its opening in 1962, the Phoenix Zoo has served to teach its community about the importance of wildlife and wildlife preservation. With more than 1,400 animals (30 of which are threatened or endangered) in their care, including animals such as the Komodo Dragon, Bighorn Sheep, and the Coyote, their collection is very impressive. It's a great family trip with a price that can't be beat.
Also of note is the Phoenix Zoo's Black-Footed Ferret recovery and breeding programs. The Black-Footed Ferret is critically endangered and is one of the rarest mammals in the world. Thanks to the efforts of the Phoenix Zoo and other conservationists, the species is at the start of the road to recovery. If you're lucky, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of one (and even if you aren't so lucky, check out their 24-hour live stream of the ferret breeding area, linked below).
The Phoenix Zoo's hours vary by season. Please check their official site to see when they will be open during your trip.
General admission is $20 for adults and $14 for children.
Live video from the Phoenix Zoo’s black-footed ferret breeding center!
Japanese Friendship Garden
Feeling like a taste of the Far East? If so, then there's no place better than Phoenix's Japanese Friendship Garden.
The Japanese Friendship Garden is 3.5 acres of authentic Japanese tranquility. It contains features such as 50 different kinds of plants, and over 1,500 tons of stonework. It also boasts a very large Koi pond containing over 300 fish.
At the Friendship Garden, you can also experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and get a taste of one of Japan's oldest and most venerated customs.
Both self-guided and private tours of the garden are also available.
The Japanese Friendship Garden is only open from October through May. The hours are 10:00am to 4:00pm Tuesday through Sunday. They are not open on Mondays.
General admission is $5 for adults and $4 for children.
Tea ceremony admission is $30 per person. The schedule is very limited, so please see their web site if you are interested.
Wells Fargo History Museum
They may be your bank today, but did you know how Wells Fargo started out? Take a look back through the history of one of America's oldest surviving companies at the Wells Fargo History Museum.
One of 10 Wells Fargo Museums across the US, the Phoenix branch offers patrons a look back at pure Americana. The museum contains hundreds of artifacts from various points in Wells Fargo history, such as a genuine stagecoach, a collection of Old West firearms, gold smelting equipment, and a recreation of what an old Wells Fargo office would have looked like. And while you're there, be sure to take some photos with their replica stagecoach, learn how a telegraph works, or check out the largest public N.C. Wyeth western art display.
For any lover of American history or Americana, the Phoenix Wells Fargo History Museum is sure to offer you and your party a few hours of fun, entertainment, and learning at a price that just can't be beat!
The Wells Fargo History Museum is open Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
Admission is free!
As the world's largest butterfly conservatory, Butterfly Wonderland is nothing to bat an eye at.
Butterfly Wonderland offers many different experiences that for a price of just shy of $20 really is a steal. It's most impressive feat is being the largest butterfly pavilion in the United States, giving visitors the chance to see over 3,000 different butterflies from around the globe.
But butterflies are not all there is to see at Butterfly Wonderland! Patrons can also see displays of insects and other creepy-crawlies native to Arizona, such as scorpions and walking sticks. Or, you can head over to their honey bee exhibit to learn how and why honey is made.
And if that wasn't enough, you can also head into their 3D theater to check out a short film ("Flight of the Butterflies"), or head into the Butterfly Emergence Gallery to learn about the butterfly's metamorphic life cycle. If you're lucky, you might even get to see a butterfly emerging from its cocoon!
Bugs aren't all that Butterfly Wonderland offers. Head to the Rivers of the Amazon to check out numerous exotic fish such as African Chiclids and the Amazon Pacu Fish. Round off your aquatic interlude by stopping by the stingray touch tank.
In addition to Butterfly Wonderland, there is one more nearby attraction, the Odysea Mirror Maze. Admission to this attraction can be purchased in combination with admission to Butterfly Wonderland.
Butterfly Wonderland is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
General admission is $19.95 for adults and $12.95 for children. Combined admission for Butterfly Wonderland and the Odysea Mirror Maze is $27.95 for adults and $19.95 for children.
Rawhide Western Town and Event Center
If you're craving a taste of the Old West, there's no way to get it faster than at Rawhide Western Town. Rawhide will offer your party numerous Old West and outdoor adventures.
There are numerous ways to travel around Rawhide, such as by authentic 1800s stagecoach, hay-wagon, or on one of the burros for which Rawhide is famous. But that's not all that Rawhide offers! Guests can also go gold-panning, or mechanical bull-riding. There's even a petting zoo for any animal-loving kids who may be with you.
Also be sure to catch a performance at the Six Gun Theater for one of the loudest and most exciting Wild West stunt shows around! There are three shows on Fridays, seven on Saturdays, and six on Sundays. As one of Rawhide's headline attractions, it's sure to excite and amaze.
But attractions aren't all there is to Rawhide. Numerous shops and restaurants will make sure that everybody in your party will have something to enjoy.
Rawhide also plays host to numerous events throughout the year, such as concerts, craft shows, conventions, and obstacle courses. So be sure to check out their schedule to see if there's anything coming to town that you might be interested in.
Rawhide is open from 5:00pm to 10:00pm on Fridays, 12:00pm to 10:00pm on Saturdays, and 12:00pm to 8:00pm on Sundays.
There are no admission or parking fees, but attractions inside will cost $4.95 plus tax for one ticket. An unlimited attraction wristband can be purchased for $14.95 plus tax.
NOTE: Turn your computer's volume down. This site has loud sounds that can't be turned off, unfortunately.
There are so many things to see and do in Phoenix that there's no way they can be contained by just one list. However, going to any of these places will be an awesome first step toward an even awesomer vacation!
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