Tag Archives: family friendly

Phoenix Zoo Lights

Every winter (since 1991) starting Thanksgiving week until early January, the Phoenix Zoo decks out the grounds in an amazing light show.  Phoenix ZooLights is a holiday tradition for locals and visitors alike.  For these few weeks every year, the Phoenix Zoo transforms into a holiday wonderland at night.  phoenix-zoolights

The mild winter temperatures in Phoenix (early evening in the 60’s F/18 C) are perfect to enjoy hot chocolate and walk around the Zoo admiring the light show.  Only some of the animals may be visible during the ZooLights event, but you may still get to see a Unicorn! Continue reading Phoenix Zoo Lights

South Mountain Park

Hiking is one of my favorite free activities in Phoenix.  Our desert valley is surrounded by mountains providing stunning views and wildlife.  South Mountain Park/Preserve in the heart of Phoenix is over 16,000 acres, approximately 20 times the size of New York’s Central Park, it is the largest municipal park in the country!  Now is the perfect time to Go Take a Hike!

South Mountain Park
South Mountain Park

South Mountain Park is easy access from anywhere in metro-Phoenix and offers trails for every level of athletic ability.  Horses, dogs, and mountain bikes are all welcome on the trails.

Desert Classic Trail
Desert Classic Trail

With nearly 60 miles of trails, I like to map out the hike before heading to a trail head.  Most trails are easily followed with metal signposts along the trail as a guide, and many of these were recently updated with trail name, QR code, elevation, and specific trail post information.  I always bring a hard copy trail map of the area I plan to be in.  A recent hike with friends was so beautiful we decided to add another couple miles to our hike, which was easily accomplished with a brief look at our trail map.south-mountain-park-map

 

 

There are at least 4 main parking lots, and many more parking areas near perimeter trail heads.2015_SM1There are excellent maps and detailed descriptions of trails provided by National Geographic at All Trails website.  Here is more information about the beautiful desert trails including petroglyphs and ruins.

Pima Canyon entrance from Guadalupe
Pima Canyon entrance from Guadalupe

Pima Canyon entrance is accessed from I-10 and Baseline road, just off of 48th street and Guadalupe.  This popular parking lot is usually packed with cars, and offers restrooms, water fountains, shaded benches, and areas for cooking/grilling.

Pima Canyon Gazebo
Pima Canyon Gazebo

 

Desert Foothills Parkway is a smaller parking lot located at the Southern tip of the park and offers shaded area, water fountains, and portable toilets.

Desert Foothills Parking and Gazebo
Desert Foothills Parking and Gazebo

 

 

Continue reading South Mountain Park

Tea at Arizona Biltmore Resort

The right food and drink not only provide nutritional substance, but cleanse & calm the mind.  I drink a lot of tea of many different varieties.  High quality Tea is a thing of beauty.

My friend and I often share Tea stories, varieties, recommendations, and have enjoyed Japanese Tea at Nobuo for lunch earlier this year.  Looking for another great tea experience, we consulted TeaMap.com and started on the list.  Some of these locations have  closed, and others are quite a drive.  Another Tea enthusiast friend just had Afternoon Tea at the Biltmore Resort last weekend, and it was the perfect choice.

Biltmore tea seating for 5
Biltmore tea seating for 5 people

The Arizona Biltmore Resort is Waldorf-Astoria property built in 1929 in the art-deco style of design.  The atmosphere is old Hollywood glamour.  It was a stark contrast to Afternoon Tea at the American Girl Doll Cafe in Chicago last year, but both very enjoyable. Tea at the Biltmore is served in the main lobby, near the restaurant, by the front windows. Continue reading Tea at Arizona Biltmore Resort