A March 2005 trip
to Phoenix by VickiFunes
Quote: When my daughter and two grandchildren, ages 5 and 9, visited Phoenix over spring break 2005, we looked for ways to entertain the kids without spending a lot. Here's what we came up with. Your kids might enjoy these things, too.
Attraction | "Enchanted Island Amusement Park"
The nine rides are: (1) the train, which is a one-third replica of a real steam train, the C. P. Huntington. It takes a 7-minute scenic-overview tour of Enchanted Island and the adjacent Encanto Park. Adults are permitted. (2) The Encanto Carousel was built in 1948. Adults are permitted. (3) There is the Parachute Tower, which lifts the kiddies up into the air and brings them down again slowly and gently. Adults are permitted. (4) The Bumper Boats are similar to standard bumper boats, but smaller. These are made for the 48-inch-and-under crowd only. They operate in an 18-inch-deep pool with staff supervision. (5)The Dragon Wagon is a mini-roller coaster for kids. (6) The Kiddie Cars move around in a circle while the little tykes beep horns and flash lights. (7) The Rock-n-Roll is a spin-the-car type of ride on the order of Disneyland's Mad Tea Party ride. Adults are permitted. (8) The Red Baron airplane ride has little red-and-white planes that "fly" in a circle while the children "steer" them to fly high or fly low. (9) In the Mini Enterprise, kids "fly" a little helicopter around in a circle. And that ends the list!
All-day passes are $10 for kids under 54 inches or $6 for those over that height. Individual tickets are also sold. We had a buy-one, get-one-free offer for children’s all-day passes, so both the grandchildren rode as long as they wished for just $10. The BOGO offer came from the Entertainment coupon book for Phoenix, which is actually a book nearly 2 inches thick and stuffed with coupons of all sorts, especially for dining. If you're coming to Phoenix and plan to dine out or do several activities, you may save money by ordering this $30 book before you come. (You can preview all the coupons and order at Entertainment.com.) In summary, my 5-year-old granddaughter was completely thrilled with Enchanted Island. My 9-year-old grandson at first declared, "This is baby stuff!" but then he went on to have a good time as well.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 21, 2005
1202 West Encanto Blvd
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
+1 602 254 1200
Other than just enjoying the beautiful trees and landscaped greenery of the park (because Phoenix is a desert city, and those aren't things we can see all of the time!), my favorite activity was exploring the lake via pedal boat. We paid $6 for a half-hour rental (which was adequate for seeing all of the lake). My daughter, the two grandkids, and I all fit comfortably within the boat. The children had to wear life jackets, which were provided at no extra cost. We pedaled around a palm-covered island, watched some ducks swimming in the lake, and got a good view of the Encanto 9 Golf Course.
After our little cruise, we let the kids play at the children's playground while we sat in the shade and watched. We ended the outing with a picnic lunch at a shady table. The March weather was balmy, and we all agreed that we'd love to return to Encanto Park the next time that they come to visit Phoenix.
2605 North 15th Ave
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
+1 602 261 8994
The receptionist gave the kids a check sheet of specific petroglyphs to watch for, plus a clipboard and pen for marking them off once spotted. The kids were eager to find the petroglyphs listed on the sheet, so I'm happy the Center provided this little feature which piqued their interest. We were having a nice time strolling along the trail, yet it was an especially pleasant surprise when a Native American guide strolled up to us to explain some of the things we were seeing. (Guided tours don't happen on a daily basis, and we came on one of those days when there weren't any.)
The first thing we learned is that the petroglyphs are much easier to spot when they're in the shade--and he held an umbrella over one of the boulders to prove his point. Suddenly little figures appeared where only faint lines had been before. (The guide suggested that we return after 3pm for the best view--which is when the petroglyph hill moves into the shade.) We also learned why many of the petroglyphs are so faint--the newest ones are several hundred years old, and the oldest date back several thousand years. Petroglyphs are made by the artist's removing the outer DARK layer of rock to reveal an inner, LIGHTER-COLORED layer in the spots where the picture is to be. The longer the lighter-color layer stays exposed to the elements, the darker it becomes, and therefore, the contrast between the picture and the background rock diminishes with time. The petroglyphs range from simple spirals and squiggles to pictures of objects and animals (such as the "kissing deer" petroglyph, which the Deer Valley Rock Art Center uses for its logo.)
We also learned that the words "petroglyph" and "pictograph" aren't interchangeable. A pictograph is rock PAINTING, as opposed to rock ETCHING, which is done when making a petroglyph. When we finished the outdoor trail, we spent some time in the attractive gift shop, where prices were quite reasonable for small trinkets (like the package of stretchy, rubber snakes the kids picked out), but also included books, artwork, and Indian-made fine jewelry.
Deer Valley Rock Art Center
3711 West Deer Valley Road
Glendale, Arizona 85308
+1 623 582 8007
Attraction | "Castles N' Coasters"
The rides are: (1) Desert Storm, a steel-track, looping rollercoaster; (2) The Patriot, a tamer adult rollercoaster; (3) The Sky Tower, which lifts you up, then drops you 120 feet down; (4) Splashdown, a log flume ride; (5) Sea Dragon, a swinging-pendulum-type ride (seen in many amusement parks); (6) Free Fall, another tower that raises, then drops you; (7) Naskarts, real small cars to drive; (8) Bumper Boats; (9) Ramrods (bumper cars); (10) Magic Carpet, a fast ride in circles; and (11) The Carousel, with 60 beautiful handcrafted horses and circus animals. There are also three kiddie rides.
Another area of the park is a large building containing over 300 games--video games, air hockey, pinball, skeeball, etc. A third area is the very attractive set of four miniature golf courses. All three areas of the park have different operating hours, so it's best to call ahead. We took the grandkids miniature golfing here and were very pleased with the lush, green landscaping, the numerous little lakes, rivers and fountains, and the darling little buildings used as part of many of the putting greens. (At night, there are also dozens of festive, colorful lights turned on.)
Children age 5 and under play free; plus, we had a BOGO coupon from the Entertainment Coupon Book for Phoenix, so the outing was reasonably priced. (Other discounts coupons can often be obtained a local grocery stores. Also, after paying full price for your first round of golf, subsequent rounds receive a discount.) Each golf course is different, and all are equally lovely. If we'd had more time, we would have enjoyed trying them all!
Castles -n- Coasters
9445 North Metro Parkway East
Phoenix, Arizona 85051
+1 602 997 7575
Attraction | "Christmas lights on Cacti and Palms!"
Christmas Light Viewing on Cacti and Palms