Parks & Recreation
The McDowell Mountain Range, Mummy Mountain, the Continental Mountains, the Camelback Mountains, Tonto National Forest, Lost Dutchman State Park and Granite Mountain State Preserve offer hiking, camping, mountain biking, off-roading, and horseback riding. Three lakes in Tonto National Forest, the Salt River and the Verde River provide places to fish, boat, and swim. Whitewater rafting down the Verde River is an exhilarating experience. A more sedate, but equally cool time can be had tubing in the Salt River where birdwatchers often see heron, egrets and eagles.
Attractions & Points of Interest
Museums throughout the area celebrate Native Americans, Spanish and Mexican heritage and the Old West with art and artifacts. The Hoo-Hoogam Ki Tribal Museum houses Native American cultural items. The Heard Museum contains large collections of Indian art and cultural items, along with antique and contemporary European art. The Phoenix Art Museum houses contemporary and historic art works from Latin America, Europe, Asia and the West. The Shemer Art Center is in an historic Spanish-style house and features traditional and contemporary art.
Other area museums include the Arizona Science Center with a planetarium and hands-on exhibits, the Deer Valley Rock Art Center with nature trails and petroglyphs, and the unusual Hall of Flame Firefighting Museum which features fire fighting equipment, photos and memorabilia. The Fleischer Museum is home to more than 200 Impressionist paintings, done in the California school style. Interesting structures dot the landscape at the Consanti Art Studio. Paolo Soleri has his studio here and displays his ceramic windmills and wind chimes. Taliesen West, a National Historic Landmark, was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a winter residence.
For sports enthusiasts, the Valley of the Sun is host to the PGA Tour?s Phoenix Open, the Arizona Open Golf Tournament, the State Farm Women?s Tennis Classic and the Franklin Templeton Tennis Classic. Phoenix is home to the Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), Phoenix Suns (NBA), Phoenix Coyotes (NHL), Phoenix Mercury (WNBA), Arizona Rattlers (arena football) and the Fiesta Bowl. The University of Phoenix Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium that opened in 2006. It is considered an architectural icon for the region and is most well-known for hosting the Arizona Cardinals (NFL) among many other sporting and entertainment events. Major League Baseball teams hold Spring Training in the Valley of the Sun. Fans can watch teams play practice games in what is known as the Cactus League. For those who want to do rather than watch, there are more than 300 golf courses in the Valley of the Sun along with tennis courts, racquetball courts and swimming pools. Other activities include hot air ballooning and tours by jeep, horse, bike, foot, or helicopter.
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