Phoenix is known as the Valley of the Sun, and with its year-round sunshine, it’s not hard to guess why. If you’re planning a trip but are stuck on locations, then you may want to consider Phoenix. Even if you’re unfamiliar with this destination, and you’re not even sure what time zone is Phoenix, you’ll want to visit ASAP. Buzzing with incredible landscapes, amazing wildlife, and so much more, Phoenix will provide you with plenty of places to explore, so you can make some amazing memories. Tempted? If so, here are some suggestions for what to do in Phoenix, Arizona.
Visit the Desert Botanical Garden
If you want to admire some stunning plant life, then make sure that you visit the Desert Botanical Garden during your trip. Located in Papago Park, this 140-acre botanical garden boasts an incredible collection of plants (totaling in about 50,000) which include cactuses and agave. It is also home to an impressive art exhibition of over 1,000 animal sculptures, known as ‘Wild Rising.’ The sculptures are all made from recyclable plastic and can be seen on display in the garden in all their glory. The Desert Botanical Garden includes some great trails that allow visitors to see all the unique plants. If you want awesome views, you can hike to the top of the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail which gives you a view of the mountains that surround the garden.
Explore the Mystery Castle
Do you have a love for mysteries and a strong sense of curiosity? If so, you’ll want to explore one of Arizona’s most unique landmarks, the Mystery Castle. As the name suggests, this castle has an interesting history; built in the 1930s by Boyce Luther Gulley as a gift for his daughter, Mary Lou, the property was reportedly constructed using an odd combination of materials including stone, adobe, automobile parts, rail tracks from a mine and telephone poles. Gulley also allegedly mixed goat milk with mortar, cement, and calcium to keep the three-story castle held together. The castle garnered media attention after Gulley died from tuberculosis in 1945 and left the castle to Mary Lou and her mother. Mary Lou and the castle were featured in an article in Life Magazine with the headline ‘Life Visits a Mystery Castle: A Young Girl Rules Over the Strange Secrets of a Fairy Tale Dream House in the Arizona Desert.’ If you want to see a part of history and also feel like you are stepping straight into a fairy tale, then this castle is definitely worth a visit.
Go Horseback Riding
To really get an authentic Arizona experience, you’re going to want to go horseback riding. Thankfully, Tuscon, Arizona is the perfect spot for this outdoor activity, with several ranches available for tourists to try out their riding skills. Whether you’re a novice or have years of experience in the saddle, taking in the sights of the Sonoran Desert on your noble steed will make you feel like you’re a part of a Western classic. And in case you’re wondering ‘how far is Tucson from Phoenix?’, the trip will take you about 1 hour and 41 minutes.
See the Phoenix Bat Cave
Not to be confused with Bruce Wayne’s infamous Bat Cave, this ‘cave’ is technically not a cave at all, but an abandoned storm drain. However, you won’t be disappointed when you visit, as this is the spot where, every year, 10,000 to 20,000 Mexican Free-Tailed Bats emerge from the cave to continue their migration south to Mexico. The bats gather in the storm drain to catch up on their beauty sleep, but if you’re about just before dusk, you will witness a swarm of bats unleashed from their hiding spot as they take to the sky. Obviously, if you are not overly fond of these winged creatures, then you may want to avoid this sighting, as the bats certainly won’t be afraid of you and have little concept of personal space. However, tourists are encouraged to view this event, as long as they stay quiet and do not disturb the bats.
Go to the Phoenix Zoo
First opened in 1962, this zoo is the largest privately-owned non-profit zoo in the US. The zoo is home to 3,000 animals and also has some great walking trails. Meet the animals, which include lions, wild dogs, Asian elephants, flamingos, lemurs, jaguars, ostriches and so much more. Learn more about the zoo’s conservation efforts and their green initiatives, like the Phoenix Zoo’s Green Team, a group of employees and volunteers who research and recommend more eco-friendly practices. You can also visit the zoo at night when you go to the Night Camp. Enjoy a tour by flashlight and camp in one of the several camping options.