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In Japanese, Ro Ho En roughly translates into 'Good News Garden', and when you arrive at the tranquil park hidden behind the Irish Cultural Center, you will see, hear and feel the good news. Along the peaceful strolling trail, the garden has more than 50 different plant varieties surrounded by streams and Koi ponds. Throughout the year, the garden hosts local events like the Tea Ceremony held every third Saturday of the month or Matsuri Festival in late February. The garden also welcomes volunteers looking to contribute towards the welfare of the environment and learn more about developing their green thumb.
Named for the Spanish word for "enchanted," this mid-city emerald oasis lives up to its name. 200 acres of no-fee picnic areas and nature trails afford family entertainment. Minutes away from the business district, it is a great place to bring your lunch. For the kids, there is an amusement park called the Enchanted Island, a playground and a swimming pool. Older kids and adults enjoy lighted basketball courts, handball and racquetball courts, softball field, urban fishing, and paddleboats or canoes. Find golf nearby at the Encanto municipal golf course, or the Executive Length course.
The Pueblo Grande Ruin and Irrigation Sites, are outdoor archaeological open spaces, housing the museum. Exhibited at Pueblo Grande Museum & Archaeological Park are the ruins of a prehistoric settlement of people who lived, farmed and prospered for centuries in this region. Known as the Hohokam, they built their first irrigation system more than 1,000 years ago. They were the first people in the area to develop this kind of canal system. Phoenix's lone National Historic Landmark, sections include an authentic ball court, irrigation canals and a football field-sized platform mound. The site was declared as a National Historic Landmark in the year 1964.
Drive through one of the largest parks in the United States that covers over 16,000 acres (6474 hectares). With many lookout points, South Mountain Park, offers fantastic views of Phoenix and the surrounding valley. Summit Lookout is at 2,330 feet (710.18 meters) and highlights the enormity of this sprawling desert area. For visitors, the Interpretive Center takes you through the heritage of the area including mining and botanical history. If you prefer an experience out of the car, hike by the marked trails and study the preserved petroglyphs. Carry lunch and enjoy the park's picnic areas with kids in tow. Remember your sunscreen, hat and drinking water when visiting Arizona's best park.
If you are in Phoenix and enjoy going on easy treks, then Papago Park is the place for you. With its sandstone buttes, marked paths and slight elevation, it is perfect for family hiking trips and there are plenty of easy mountain bike paths. The most notable attraction of the park is the hole in the rock formation, which formed over thousands of years most likely from water erosion. For the more adventurous, visitors can climb the face of the rock for an unparalleled view of Phoenix. Additionally, the park is close to famous attractions such as the Desert Botanical Garden and Phoenix Zoo.
Centrally located, Piestewa Peak is a part of the Phoenix Mountains. There are over a dozen trails which one can hike and enjoy a panoramic view of the Sonora Desert. For those who wish to simply observe nature, the park affords that opportunity as well. Covered areas in a well-maintained picnic area allow visitors to observe the local wildlife and plants. Remember your sunscreen, hat, and plenty of water when visiting the park.
The Desert Botanical Garden was opened in 1939 to preserve the area's pristine desert environment. Today, the garden helps save endangered plants, with the focus still on native flora and special emphasis on succulents. The cactus collection is world-renowned and between the months of March through May, the seasonal blooms are spectacular. The garden hosts several events throughout the year, some of which include the popular 'Butterfly Habitat' during the spring and the 'Luminarias' during the holiday season. If you come during the summer months, don't forget your hat and sunscreen!