My childhood environmentalist phase never faded, so visiting Biosphere 2 with my family had me animated like a grade-schooler. Our visit might also have been arranged with the hope that I would inspire my children’s interest in life science. I would love to see them become little earth scientists and early engineers and appreciate along with me the chance to visit a rainforest, an ocean, a savannah, and a coastal fog desert right in the middle of the Oro Valley, near Tucson, Arizona.
There is something satisfying about going with my family to an art gallery. We all leave with a desire to create and the art supplies I have been collecting are rediscovered. My boys typically want to do something active and I usually think of a few standby activities before seeking out cultural exhibits. But there will always be movies to watch, indoor parks with longer summer hours, and we can always fit in some pool time after a short gallery visit.
Tucked away in an unassuming office building in Ocotillo area of Chandler, Arizona, is an art goldmine.
School is out and my kids might be thinking this means weeks of unlimited video games. If we stay home in cool comfort, they will surely get more screen time than is recommended, even after zipping through the art projects and science experiments we have been waiting to try.
Boys and grumpiness are two things our family knows a bit about. Contrary to popular belief, boys have a lot of emotions and expressions. They can even be dramatic. (Gasp!) Without knowing much about the story, I was excited to see that Finegan Kruckemeyer’s The Grumpiest Boy in the World addressed the emotional self of boys.
When you have little more than a day to get away, I hope you will go see the amazing Tonto National Monument in Roosevelt, AZ. There is hardly any preparation necessary. All you need are snacks, a water bottle, and sturdy shoes.
One of the first National Parks Service sites in Arizona, Montezuma’s Castle has become one of the state’s most identifiable features. (Legoland Discovery Center in Tempe even captured it in bricks!) The beautiful 800-year-old adobe pueblo built high up in the cliff shows the ingenuity of the ancient people who lived there. Even my young children were impressed (and only a little disappointed they couldn’t tour the “castle.”)
Tuzigoot National Monument in Camp Verde, AZ, has history, friendly rangers, beautiful views and some cool ruins. It is a little drive off of the freeway, and would make a great part of a visit to Sedona or Flagstaff. This is what we were able to do with three little kids in well under 2 hours.
As luck would have it, opening day of Childsplay’s production of Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat was wet and rainy, just like the setting of the book. Before the show, we read the book several times as a family. After all, Dr. Suess’s Cat has said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know.”Our preparation just added to the show’s fun, as live theatre always has room for surprises and interpretation makes space for some hilarious antics.
The world-famous saguaro may seem common, since they are in our neighborhoods and along roadways, but they are actually unique to our Sonoran desert. Even one saguaro is impressive, so a visit to the dense forest of cactus in Saguaro National Park was spectacular to behold.
Trains fascinate my kids, their cousins, and their friends. We enjoy train toys, books, movies, parks and museums–and The Polar Express is a classic part of our holiday festivities. The adventure and magic that railway travel conveys may be second only to Santa’s sleigh, itself. Train fans like us should add a quick stop at the Arizona Big Train Operators Holiday Open House
That was a long, hot summer! Our active boys have literally been bouncing off the walls. If you are like us, you have been eager to begin some outdoor adventures. As soon as the temperatures dropped, we made a visit to Casa Grande National Monument. Just a short drive from the Phoenix area, it is an easy, part-day outing.