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Downtown Phoenix's hottest sports fixture is this immense masterpiece of engineering. Home to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the facility seats more than 48,000 and features a retractable roof that exposes the natural turf to sunlight. During the intense heat of summers here, this air-conditioned ballpark cools down the heated competition. Other highlights of the building include a pool and spa that can be reserved for private parties. Tours are available year-round and last a little more than an hour.
For a look into the history of Arizona as it was in the late 19th Century, visit Historic Heritage Square and its environs. One of the highlights in downtown Phoenix, it is filled with other sites including the opulent Rosson House which dates back to 1895. This Queen Anne structure has been fully restored and today functions as a museum recreating the magic of a time long forgotten. For a bite to eat, the noted Pizzeria Bianco is just around the corner. Other sites in the square include the Arizona Doll & Toy Museum, and if you wish to escape even the 21st Century, right next door you'll find the Arizona Science Center.
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.
Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights was built by a businessman Allesio Carraro in the year 1920. The castle has a beautiful architecture one that resembles a sand castle and is surrounded by a garden of cactus which took a year to develop even before the castle was constructed. This carefully planned build and theme is befitting to the deserts of Arizona. The structure is three storeys high and is easily accessible by public transport. Though the blueprint was planned to make this place into a hotel resort, the dream fell short due to changing hands of ownership and management. Continued to be preserved as a castle by the City of Phoenix, Tovrea Castle continues to be one of the most visited tourists' spots and the tickets for its tours sells out quickly.
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.
The Phoenix Zoo offers a plethora of activities for family recreation. Sprawling over 125 acres (50 hectares), this privately-owned leisure facility is a must-visit when in the Valley. It is home to over 1,300 exotic species including lions, giraffes, baboons and meerkats, making it one of the country's largest zoos. Explore the verdant labyrinth of the Forest of Uco, take a hike along the African Trail and enjoy a tractor ride at the Harmony Farm. Also, the interactive programs on offer are both educational and entertaining.
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!
Located close to the city of Scottsdale, the Camelback Mountain watches over Phoenix, Arizona's sweeping semi-arid plains from a spectacular elevation of nearly 1,400 feet (426.72 meters). The mountain gets its name from the resemblance it bears to the unmistakable shape of a camel's hump. The north trailhead offers views of red cliffs rising 200 feet (61 meters) in some areas, beckoning rock climbers with its challenges. Antelope squirrels, lizards, and snakes are the landscape's most widely-spread inhabitants. The Praying Monk red sandstone formation is arguably the site's most noticeable sight.
Visit the traditional home of the ancient Hohokam and Patayan peoples who left traces of petroglyphs (rock art) in the Hedgpeth Hills. View more than 1500 of these on a quarter-mile trail. Different interpretations of the designs can be studied at the indoor exhibits. Remember to carry a cap, sunblock, binoculars and plenty of water during your visit. It would be advisable to carry along a notepad to jot down points. Children get an opportunity to create their own petroglyphs out of clay.