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Fun Phoenix

Arizona Science Center

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            The Arizona Science Center is a relatively new spot in downtown Phoenix.  The Center hosts a variety of activities for the whole family.  Children will love going to this place because there are lots of hands-on projects.  There are many things to do at the Center. 

You need to make some decisions when you arrive at the admissions counter.  Your choices include visiting the exhibits, viewing a giant screen film or going to a planetarium.  The decision is a difficult one to make but use the time you have set aside for the visit to guide your decision.  Don’t take on too much.  You can always make a return visit.  All of the admission choices include the exhibit portion.  I believe this is the highlight of the trip for children.  Children become involved in the activities at the Center.  These exhibits allow the visitors an opportunity to not only read and learn about science concepts but also participate.  The giant screen film is always changing.  When you arrive at the Center you will have to look at what film is currently showing.  It can be an awesome experience viewing a film of this size.  The planetarium is an amazing experience too.  The planetarium takes you out to the night sky, where you are guided through the constellations.  Be prepared for a ride at the end of the show.  Visitors can also try all three activities.

I have found that taking my time moving through the Center has proven to be the most rewarding.  Children can become very excited with all the things to see and touch.  It is important to slow them down and talk about the things they are encountering.  It will make the experience more beneficial.

The Arizona Science Center is open every day of the year 10 am to 5 pm (except on Thanksgiving and Christmas).  The admission is as follows: exhibits only adults $x.00 – children (4-12) and seniors (65+) $6.00, exhibits and giant screen film adults $1×0 – children and seniors $x.00, exhibits and planetarium adults $x.00 – children and seniors $x.00 and all three activities adults $x.00 – children and seniors $x.00.

It is located in downtown Phoenix on the northwest corner of Washington and 7th Street.  You may find parking in the parking garage at the Heritage and Science Park only (southeast corner of Monroe and 5th Street).  If you bring your parking stub you may get it validated at the admissions counter.

The Center is a fun filled day.  Be prepared to spend some time there.  The Center also has a gift store full of great objects to remember the day and increase learning.  There is also a snack area nearby.  If you plan to take more than one trip to this exciting spot you might want to look into a membership.  The films and exhibits are always changing and nobody will ever tire of the endless opportunities to explore.

Wildlife World Zoo

            The Wildlife World Zoo is a unique zoo.  As a native Arizonan, I always want to go explore new spots in the area.  One such spot I recently visited was the Wildlife World Zoo.  It was a great experience.  The Zoo is much smaller than what I expect to see, but its small size is more than made up with the special experiences that it holds around every corner.

            The Zoo hosts one of the largest collections of exotic animals.  Visitors are allowed to have an up close experience with these animals.  The Zoo has several exhibits for your family to see.  Some of these exhibits are: A Small Mammal Exhibit, Tropics of the World Reptile Exhibit and the Waters of the World Aquarium.  In all of these exhibits you will see strikingly unusual animals.  I enjoyed the small bats in the Small Mammal Exhibit.  When I was at the bat enclosure, I was able to see the feeding of the bats.  This was exciting to see so close.

            Arizona’s first white tiger is also at the Zoo.  This creature is spectacular.  It was a real treat to see this animal in person.  There are several other experiences that I also enjoyed like the wildlife shows.  Be sure to check the schedule of these shows at the admissions gate.  Plan your tour so that you won’t miss one of these informative shows.

            Children will love the petting area.  The Zoo has a variety of friendly animals for the young ones to pet.  I have to admit my most favorite area was the giraffe enclosure.  I have seen giraffes on television, in magazines and in zoos, most of the time these creatures are far away.  It is difficult to truly grasp the size of these tremendous creatures.  The Wildlife World Zoo allows visitors a chance to really understand these animals.  At the Giraffe Feeding Station visitors climb stairs to perch where you may feed the giraffes.  I could have stood there all day gazing at these giraffes.  I marveled at their gentleness and size.  It is an experience everyone should have in his or her life.

            The Wildlife World Zoo is open seven days a week 365 days a year.  The hours are 9 am to 5 pm.  The admission is adults $9.95, children (3 – 12) $4.95 and children (under 3) free.  If you are with a group of 10 or more the admission is $1.00 less per person. 

            The Zoo is located at 165th Avenue and Northern.  One of the easiest ways to get there is to take Interstate 10 West to Litchfield Road and then North on Litchfield to Northern.  Turn left on Northern and head West to the Zoo.  The Zoo is on your left side. 

            You will love your visit to this special zoo.  I did.  It is an experience I will never forget and worth repeating.

Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

            This is a spectacular place to visit any day of the week.  The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum uses natural landscapes as a backdrop for the numerous creatures that live there. 

            The Museum is divided into four areas for visitors to enjoy.  The four areas are: Life Underground, Riparian Habitat, Desert Grassland and the Hummingbird Aviary.  These four exhibits give you the chance to see the animals in their natural habitats.  In the Life Underground exhibit you will see tarantulas and kit foxes.  The Riparian Habitat allows you to see underwater the various creatures.  Some creatures you will see are river otters and desert fish.  You will spend some time at the Desert Grassland enclosure watching the black-tailed prairie dog colony.  These prairie dogs can be quite entertaining.  Everyone delights in the Hummingbird Aviary.  The Aviary has hummingbirds all around and visitors are able to walk through to see them up close.  What an experience!

            There are so many animals at the Museum.  You will see a Gila Woodpecker, Mountain Lion, Fig Beetle, Mexican Wolf and a Collared Lizard.  It can be surprising to discover how many creatures do live in the desert.  Many individuals view the desert as a dead lifeless place, when in actuality the desert is teaming with living creatures.  The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum shows just how many things are living out there.

            The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum did a spectacular job creating such realistic habitats for the animals.  As a matter of fact, the gardens are a highpoint of the visit to the Museum.  The gardens display cacti, wildflowers and succulents which make the desert bloom.

            When you make a visit to the Museum, please come prepared.  Your visit is primarily an outdoor experience.  Make sure you have a hat, sunscreen and comfortable shoes for walking.  The Museum provides shady ramadas, drinking fountains and restrooms.

            There are two restaurants at the Museum.  One is a coffee bar and the other is a casual refreshment ramada.  Visitors are asked not to picnic on the grounds.  You may choose to browse in two of the gift shops on the grounds.  There you can find something to take home to remind you of the trip. 

            The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum is open every day of the year.  The hours are October – February 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and March – September 7:30 am to 6:00 pm.  The admission to the Museum is Adults $xx, Children (ages 6 – 12) $xx and Children under 6 free.  The Museum does offer group rates.  You may wish to become a member of the Museum.  Members receive discounts on a variety of items.  Please look into a membership at the admissions gate.

            The Desert Museum is located in Tucson.  The best way to get to the Museum is to take Interstate 10 to Speedway Boulevard.  Exit on Speedway Boulevard and head west.  Turn right onto Kinney Road.  Travel down Kinney Road about 2.5 miles and the Museum will be on the left side.  The drive to the Museum is marked with brown signs saying “Desert Museum”.

            I had a great time at the Arizona Sonora Museum and I know you will too.  The Desert is a beautiful place.

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