Phoenix: 5 Family Favorites
In the Phoenix area for just three days, my son and I loved everything we did. We wish we had been there longer, because I’m sure that we’ve left fantastic things out, and we would have loved to discover more.
Going on hot air balloon rides is quite the thing to do in the Sonoran Desert. When we went on our ride we saw about four other balloons in flight. There’s good reason too. The landscape is fascinating to watch from above, and the mountains are striking. When we landed we were treated to a catered breakfast and a champagne toast. It was surreal and pleasant to enjoy this in the middle of the desert. Sometimes they land in a parking lot, which is easier for the folks chasing the balloon on land in vans, but maybe not as charming for the passengers.
2. Arizona Science Center
Hands down, the best science museum we’ve been at. At 11, Charlie is finding some of the science museums repetitive or just too “young” for him. But here, we stayed until closing time. Actually after closing time, because Charlie dragged me to an activity where we put these electrode headband things on and battled to move a disk with our brains. He won, and there wasn’t time for a rematch, which I’m sure I would have won against the little whippersnapper. Other favorite exhibits with him and his local Phoenix buddy, Cassie, were “animate yourself” computer activity, a water table where they created dams made of mud, and a platform and experience various weather disasters. We also enjoyed telling our Phoenix friends that dust storms are called “haboobs” by the meteorologists. We couldn’t say that word enough.
This is a popular spot for watching the sun set over Phoenix. It’s not only got a great view of the city and the mountains, but it also has an old stone building that you (when I say “you” I mean it literally; I’m not doing it) can climb on top of, and lots of rocks and ridges to climb on while your mother clutches her chest in fear.
4. Mary Coyle
This restaurant has its priorities just right, according to kids. It has about one page of food, and about four of ice cream. Seriously. The time that must have gone into creating these sundaes is staggering. For food (in case you’re curious) I had an egg salad sandwich. It was not great. But who cares. It just left more room for my sundae, which was composed of a fudgy brownie, chocolate ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry. The ice cream was so good I completely forgot about my mediocre egg salad sandwich.
Water gets its own special mention because never in my life have I been as focused on water. Water to drink. Water to swim in. For an easterner used to humidity, the arid air was comfortable, but it made frequent exposure to water a necessity.
So don’t forget your water!
Need a family friendly hotel in Phoenix? Read Jody’s review of the Fairmont Scottsdale.