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Things to Do in Arizona

The Colorado River flows through the state’s most popular attraction – the Grand Canyon, a breathtaking national park and whitewater rafting site. To its north, find Page and Lake Powell. In the northwest corner, east of Las Vegas, are Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. In the central mountains, find Williams, Flagstaff and Sedona - a shopping and spiritual get-a-way. The Phoenix area - Scottsdale with its golf and spa resorts, Tempe and Mesa – offer numerous things to do. Explore the desert with cactus and wildlife. A trip’s not complete without a southwest-inspired meal at a local restaurant. Tombstone showcases the Old West, while mining heritage is featured at various sites. Visitors can stay at a dude ranch, a hotel or lodge.
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Arboretum at Arizona State University (ASU)

215 East Seventh Street
Tempe, Arizona
480-965-0100
ASU's campus is the arboretum and reputed to be Arizona's largest public urban arboretum. Visitors are invited to explore the university by taking one of two trails or to make their way to Arboretum Park. The latter is home to native trees and shrubs, herbaceous plants and cacti.

The campus features plants from around the world. It is the official collection holder of edible date palms for North America and one of its oldest residents is an Arizona cypress planted in the early...
Hours & Admission
Daily, dawn to dusk. Free.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

2021 North Kinney Road
Tucson, Arizona
520-883-2702
An extensive outdoor nature park, the desert museum, situated in the Tucson Mountains, showcases the unique eco-system of Arizona, especially the Sonoran Desert.

This is achieved through a natural history museum, a botanical garden with more than 1,300 species of plants indigenous to the Sonoran desert and a zoo with 300 species exhibited in natural habitats. See hummingbirds, prairie dogs, rattlesnakes, coyotes and Gila monsters. Tours and live demonstrations are offered....
Hours & Admission
March to May and September, daily 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., October to February, daily 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., June to August, Sunday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Admission.

Botanical Desert Gardens

1201 North Galvin Parkway
Phoenix, Arizona
480-941-1225
Nestled amid the red rock buttes of 145-acre Papago Park, Botanical Desert Gardens is home to one of the finest and most diverse collections of succulent plants, including 169 rare, threatened or endangered plant species from the world's deserts, especially those of the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico.

The garden’s collection is especially strong in cactus, agaves, aloes and the flora of the Sonoran Desert. More than 50,000 plants are featured along five thematic trails: ...
Hours & Admission
October to April, daily 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., May to September, daily 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Closed major holidays. Admission.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

37615 U.S. Highway 60
Superior, Arizona
520-689-2811
The arboretum, the oldest and largest in the southwest, began as an effort in the 1920s by self-made millionaire “Colonel” Thompson to promote awareness of desert plants, the Sonoran Desert eco-system and arid lands. Its focus continues today by showcasing desert plants with collections from Australia, Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and North and South America.

Located in the Tonto National Forest in the Superstition Mountains, the park houses...
Hours & Admission
May to August, daily 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., September to April, daily 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed December 25. Admission.

Catalina State Park

11570 North Oracle Road
Oro Valley, Arizona
520-628-5798
The Santa Catalina Mountains form the backdrop for this 5,500-acre desert park located near Tucson. From the foothills, landscape rises to near 3,000-feet above sea level. Here find canyons and streams and a vast array of desert plants and wildlife.

The park offers camping, picnicking, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and wildlife viewing (early morning or late day). Park residents include birds, deer and jackrabbits, among others....
Hours & Admission
Park: daily 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Hours Visitor center: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission.

Colossal Cave Mountain Park

16721 East Old Spanish Trail
Vail, Arizona
520-647-7275
This desert refuge has sheltered people for over a thousand years. It has been a home, shrine, and hideout for train robbers, challenging workplace, exciting playground and tranquil retreat. Today the 2,000-acre park is on the National Historic Register and showcases Colossal Cave and La Posta Quemada Ranch.

Labeled a dry cave because it no longer produces formations, like those that remain including stalactites, stalagmites, helictites and flowstone. Visitors...
Hours & Admission
Mid-March to mid-September, daily 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., mid-September to mid- March, daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission.

Glen Canyon Dam

Lakeshore Drive
Page, Arizona
928-608-6072
When the Glen Canyon Dam, built between 1956 and 1966, was constructed on the Colorado River it forever changed life in and along the river. Standing more than 700 feet above the riverbed, the dam created Lake Powell.

The Glen Canyon power plant is one of the largest hydropower facilities in the country, with a capacity of 1,320 megawatts, producing nearly 5 billion kilowatt-hours annually while serving about 5.8 million customers....
Hours & Admission
Carl Hayden Visitor Center: November to February 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., March to May and September to October, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., June to August, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Closed major holidays. Free.

Grand Canyon National Park

118, Highway 64
Grand Canyon, Arizona
928-638-7888
The Grand Canyon is a geological wonder, one of the Natural Seven Wonders of the World. According to the National Park Service, the carving of the canyon by the Colorado River has taken place over the last six million years, exposing rocks at the bottom of the canyon that are close to two billion years old.

The Grand Canyon shares many characteristics with its neighboring national parks - Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Arches and Capitol Reef - parks that lie within the geologic province...
Hours & Admission
South rim: daily. North rim: May to mid-October. Admission.

Heritage and Science Park

115 North Sixth Street
Phoenix, Arizona
602-262-5071
Heritage and Science Park, also known as Historic Heritage Square, reminds visitors of Phoenix’s Victorian past. The landmark Rosson House* is joined by other museums - Arizona Doll and Toy Museum* and the Arizona Science Center*, gift shops and restaurants situated in buildings dating to the late 1800s. These represent the only remaining group of residential structures from the original town site of Phoenix. (*see separate listings)
Hours & Admission
Varies by business. Free.

Japanese Friendship Garden

1125 North Third Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona
602-256-3204
This 3.5-acre oasis, Ro Ho En in Japanese, honors the sister city relationship between Phoenix and Himeji, Japan. Guests are invited to stroll the peaceful setting and discover more than 50 Japanese plants that thrive in the desert environment, the koi pond, bridges, streams and a waterfall.

A focal point of the garden is a Japanese teahouse where traditional tea ceremonies (fee; reservations required) are held the second Saturday of each open month....
Hours & Admission
Early October to late May, Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission.
Information subject to change without notice.
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