Are you thinking about visiting the Phoenix or Mesa, Arizona area and want to know what there is to see and do? In this episode of The Great Escape, I’m going to walk you through the best Arizona activities that our beautiful state has to offer. We’ll explore everything from the Grand Canyon to off-road fun to give you an idea of what you can enjoy here.
The Grand Canyon
Whether you’re looking to live in Arizona or are just visiting, there are some things that you must see and do while you’re here. The first thing that you need to check out is the Grand Canyon. People from all over the world come to the Grand Canyon National Park, a 277-mile stretch along the Colorado River in the adjacent uplands.
The Grand Canyon is one mile deep and up to 18 miles wide, layered with brilliant colors. It offers camping, an RV campground, hiking rafting, guided tours, a museum, shopping, lodges, and mule rides. Remember, it can get really cold, so dress accordingly and make sure to wear layers.
The Phoenix Zoo
The second attraction you don’t want to miss is the Phoenix Zoo and Botanical Garden at Papago Park. The Phoenix Zoo is one of the largest nonprofit zoos in the US with over 3,000 animals and over 400 species represented. This includes many endangered species as well.
The zoo has four different trails: the Africa Trail, the Arizona Trail, the Tropics Trail, and the Children’s Trail. It’s a great way to enjoy our beautiful weather and get outside—and the kids and grandkids will love the Petting Zoo. In fact, I volunteered at the Petting Zoo years ago. Growing up in the country in Minnesota, I missed my horses and my cows. Once in a while, I just needed my country fix while helping out the zoo at the same time.
Next door you’ll find the Botanical Gardens, a 55-acre garden with thousands of species of cactus, trees, and flowers from all over the world. There are several trails including the Desert Flower Loop Trail, the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail, and the Desert Discovery Loop Trail. The fragrances and brilliant colors are just amazing. While you’re there, you can enjoy lunch at Gertrude’s, a Diner’s Choice Award winner that serves food from local farmers and gardens.
The OdySea Aquarium And Butterfly Wonderland
The next Arizona attraction you won’t want to miss is the OdySea Aquarium and Butterfly Wonderland. Located in the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian community in Scottsdale, it’s the largest marine aquarium in the southwest United States. It includes exhibits such as Rivers of the World, Penguin Point, OdySea Voyager, and SeaTREK—where you can actually get in the water with the stingrays. While you’re there, you can even get aqua massage therapy or visit the oxygen bar during your visit.
Right next door is Butterfly Wonderland, where you get to see over 70 different butterfly species. You’ll also get to see the Rainforest Bird exhibit, the Rainforest Reptile exhibit, and the Honey Bee Extravaganza. While you’re there, you can stop at the Edible Insect Station for a snack or the Butterfly Wonderland cafe.
The NASCAR Raceway
It’s off to the races for attraction number four; whether you like car or boat races, we’ve got you covered. The NASCAR Raceway is located in Avondale on the west side of town. While they do have events throughout the year, September through February is most active with the Championship, Weekend running from November 5th through the 7th.
If you prefer boat races, the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park is a world-class multi-use lake on 120 acres with a one-mile straight away. They host events throughout the year, including the Southern Drag Boat Racing Association from November 19th through the 21st. If you want to race, you can rent the lake on your own and host your own event.
The Motorsports Park also has an off-road course for off-road racing. It is fact, it’s now home to the Nitro Rallycross.
Wild Horse Hotel And Casino
You don’t have to go too far from the Wild Horse Motorsports Park for the fifth and last attraction: the Wild Horse Hotel and Casino. Whether you like to gamble, enjoy a show or a concert, or dine out for a great meal, you’ll find it at one of our eight casinos here in the valley. The largest is the Wild Horse Hotel and Casino, located right in the southeast valley in Chandler.
Enjoy Arizona’s Attractions
I hope this gave you some insight into just a few of the attractions that Arizona has to offer. If you’d like to learn more about what there is to see and do in the area or want real estate advice, feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to connect. Call/text 480-226-1925.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of The Great Escape, my show all about 55+ living and moving to Arizona. We’re passionate about helping people escape to their next adventure, so make sure to stay tuned to see what I feature next!