Located on 30 acres (12.14 hectares) of land, this park has undergone massive changes since its initial construction. A favorite of railroad enthusiasts and the little ones in the group, this is a perfect place for a family day out. The park features an Antique Carousel and Clock Tower. The Model Railroad Building, which houses various artifacts relating to trains and rail, has been reconstructed as a 19th-century style rail-shed. Try something from the snack bar served out of a Southern Pacific caboose. The ticket prices and timings of the attractions vary, check the website for further details.
Located in the McDowell Mountains foothills, this National Historic Landmark was the former Winter home and school of the famed architect. Wright had been visiting Phoenix for years and he had stated that Arizona needed its own architecture. So in-between these visits, he purchased the land for a paltry sum and then subsequently began construction and attracting students. The structure today is the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and is open for tours. Some of the highlights include Wright's former office, The Garden Room, the pool, theater and Main Studio.
Congregation Beth Israel is the oldest synagogue in the valley and serves the Jewish community of Phoenix and Scottsdale. The onsite Sylvia Plotkin Judaica Museum conducts tours that offer insight into the Jewish culture and religion. The congregational library is one the largest Judaica libraries in the SouthWest and has a collection of over 12,000 religious texts.
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!
Mesa Grande Cultural Park is one of the best sites in the region and among the two Hohokam mounds in the Phoenix metropolitan region. It gives an insight into the Ancestral Puebloan Period from the 11th through the 14th Centuries of the Hohokam. According to records and archaeological facts, this place was the hub of the community's status symbol. This preserved site showcases an ancient culture and the lifestyle of the forefathers of the Pima tribe. If you love history, then this seasonal site must be in your itinerary when visiting Mesa.
The Mormon religion and its adherents have played a prominent role in the establishment and development of Mesa. The Mesa Arizona Temple opened in 1927, and it is still one of the largest operating temples in the Mormon religion today. This visitors' center welcomes people of all faiths to tour the building, stroll around the beautifully manicured grounds, or attend one of the many events held here. During the holiday season, the temple puts on one of the largest light shows in the city, creating just another excuse to check out the landmark and informative visitor center.
As a settlement, the city of Mesa's history dates back 2,000 years, when the Hohokam people settled here and built the famous irrigation canals. After their mysterious departure, there were several groups of settlers that arrived in Mesa, and the city was registered in July 1878. Today, Mesa is the third largest city in Arizona and a hub for tourism. Among the attractions that bring visitors to the city are the Mesa Grand Ruins, Park of the Canals, Arizona Museum of Natural History and the LDS Mesa Arizona Temple. The city is also home to several prominent cultural venues like the Mesa Arts Center and the Mesa Amphitheater. Do visit the town's website to know more about Mesa.
Located in North Mesa, the Park of the Canals preserves both local history and terrain. Hohokam Indians inhabited many different regions throughout Arizona over 2,000 years ago, becoming one of the most prominent cultures in the Southwest and lending to area's significance. Particularly special, the Hohokam people are credited with providing the first canal system from the Salt and Gila rivers. In fact, the modern metropolitan city of over 3.5 million people still relies on the pathways of this ancient canal structure. As it's also a park, the city of Mesa has added a mini botanical garden, information center, playground, and picnic tables for your convenience and enjoyment.
This volcanic butte at the end of Mill Avenue has many names; the original inhabitant Hohokam Indians regard it as ʼOidbaḍ Doʼag, the city of Tempe as 'Hayden Butte' after the city's founder, and ASU students affectionately know it as 'A Mountain'. Regardless of the nomenclature, everyone can agree that the butte provides a nice hike with some beautiful views of Tempe and its environs once you reach the top. In addition to some great exercise, on the way you will see ancient petroglyphs from the aforementioned Hohokam, native wildlife and the massive letter 'A', which celebrates the nearby university.
Since 1874 until the present day, there has been a granary at this site. Conveniently located at the shores of the Salt River, the mill was a catalyst in the development of Tempe by providing a source of income for nearby resident farmers. The two prior mills were lost to fire and this reinforced concrete structure was built in 1918. The mill was the oldest Valley factory still in continuous use before operations ceased in 1998. It subsequently fell into disrepair, however the city decided to preserve the site as a historical monument at the base of Tempe Butte. Today at the mill, visitors can walk around the building, throw a picnic or on occasion, catch a show at the manicured amphitheater.