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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 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!
As you ascend you will be astounded at how light you feel. Hovering over the valley, you can see and hear the life of the Sonoran desert. Certain tours even up the romantic factor. Upon landing, an elegant table setting, complete with tablecloth and china, awaits you. Delicacies prepared by famed Phoenix chef Vincent Guerithault will whisk you away to a culinary wonderland. This is not for those on a tight budget but it's definitely worth the money spent for the memory created! The launch site is at Cave Creek and Jomax Road. Sunset flights operate seasonally, November through March.