By Lauren Wong
As spring time rolls around in Arizona, many look forward to the Cactus League’s Spring Training that brings 15 MLB teams to 10 stadiums throughout the greater Phoenix area. With no definite answers on whether or not Spring Training will begin later this month, what else is there to do?
Just because this year’s spring training is stuck at “TBD,” doesn’t mean you have to just sit and wait it out. The 10 Arizona stadiums are scattered throughout Goodyear, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Surprise, and Tempe. Let’s take a look at some fun activities you can do in each city to kill some time while the MLB leisurely thinks about what to do.
Surround yourself in the wonderful outdoors and visit Estrella Mountain Regional Park’s 20,000 acres of desert, mountain, and wetland terrain. Whether you’re just looking for a nice backdrop for your afternoon picnic or are an avid hiker, there’s something here for everyone. The park has baseball fields, a picnic area, golf course, fishing, and over 33 miles of trails.
Are you a collector? Are you looking for a unique item to feature in your home? Are you shopping for a gift? Find dozens of hidden treasures inside one of Arizona’s largest collections of antiques. There’s two Phoenix locations, one off of 1-17 and Cactus and the Phoenix West mall at 1-10 and Dysart in Goodyear. There’s over 55,000 square feet of isles upon isles of vintage antiques to shift through so come see what you can find!
Since you can’t sit at the baseball stadium, plop yourself in one of Harkin Theatres Estrella Falls 16’s stadium seats that have 3D projection, digital sound, and an expanded snack bar. They also feature a lobby bar and all laser projection. Movie schedules are usually posted online on Wednesdays for the following week.
Full of culture, Mesa has a handful of intriguing museums to check out. Museums are always a great go-to option when it comes to entertaining guests of all ages. There’s the Arizona Museum of Natural History that was founded in 1977. Within its walls you’ll discover 60,000 objects of natural history, anthropology, and art, as well as 10,000 historic photographs. The i.d.e.a. Museum is perfect for children of all ages. Standing for “imagination, design, experience, and art,” they focus on STEAM activities to engage your kids in learning and creative thinking. Get a behind the scenes look at a World War II fighter and torpedo bomber by joining in on a cockpit tour at the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum.
This 52,000 square-foot facility has indoor racquetball courts, a climbing wall, public gymnasium, and more. In 2007 and 2008 it was recognized by the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association as the Outstanding Facility of the Year. Get in a good workout by signing up for one of their scheduled exercise classes.
Catch a show at Theater Works! Be amazed by all the local talent around you from musicians, to dancers, story-telling projects, improv theater, comedians, and more. Their calendar and events are posted on their website along with ticket information.
Cleanse your pallet and choose your favorite wine as you sip and sample over their meat and cheese nosh. Starting in 2008, Irlyn and Gavin, wine makers and owners, have since curated over 20 wine varietals. This family owned wine tasting room has two lines of wine, Gallifant Cellars wines, and SouthPaw Cellars.
As the biggest city in Arizona, there’s an endless list of activities to try and places to visit. If you’re in the city you can swing over to the Phoenix Zoo where you can wander through the different exhibits, sit in on an animal presentation, and visit the monkey village. For a hands-on experience check out their giraffe encounters, stingray bay, and even ride a camel!
If you’re looking to get out and hike, there’s the Desert Botanical Garden, South Mountain Park, Papago Park, Echo Canyon, and many more. Simply indulge in Phoenix’s city life, go bar hopping, test out some local eateries, or take pictures in front of all the famous landmarks. With so many museums and offered tours throughout the city you’re bound to find something you’d enjoy.
Known as being one of the top travel destinations to visit, visiting Old Town is a must. It’s your one-stop destination for all things shopping, restaurants, and history. There’s always some event going on whether it’s the Thursday Art Walks, a new museum exhibit, or farmers market. Check the calendar before planning your visit.
This two million square foot mall is known for its luxurious brands. As the biggest mall in Arizona and within America’s 30 largest ones, you can find just about any brand you’re looking for.
Find this unique park in the heart of downtown and hop aboard the Paradise and Pacific Railroad. You can also ride the 1950-vintage Allan Herschell carousel! You can buy the $3 tickets to ride the train or carousel at Stillman Station, or just enjoy the weather with your free admission. Hartley’s General Store is there for when you need a refreshment.
The 2008 USTA Outstanding Facility award winner, Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex, features a 2,500 seating arena and is open seven days a week. There are 25 courts with 17 of them equipped with lights, two racquetball courts, and table tennis tables.
Want to have a game day with your friends and family? Uptown Alley brings you 40 high tech, regulation sized bowling lanes equipped with 15 foot projection HDTVs and black lights! They also offer multiple experiences to choose from with their multiplayer Virtual Reality games. There’s a two-story laser tag maze, sports theater, billiards tables, and over 80 video and prize games.
Be enveloped in the underwater world in Arizona’s one and only 360° ocean tunnel. Watch as 500 creatures from sharks, stingrays, to exotic fish, and more, leisurely go about their day with only a clear shield between you and this massive 180,000 gallon tank. Their other exhibits include the Bay of Rays, Interactive Touchpool, Shipwreck Exhibit, Temple of the Seahorse, and more!
There is so much to do and explore in LEGOLAND! A must see is Miniland. With one million LEGO bricks, they’ve created an interactive Phoenix cityscape. The museum also has a LEGO 4D Cinema, Kingdom Quest, Merlin’s Apprentice Ride, LEGO Racers: Build and Test, Creative Workshop, a play zone, and so much more. Check out their website to see a map and list of everything offered within “the ultimate indoor LEGO Playground.”
You can always visit Arizona State University too. Check out the campus, sports stadiums, and college life all right in Tempe.
RioVista 1 – 4: Rio Vista Recreation Center, photo credit City of Peoria
SeaLife 1 – 5: SEA LIFE Arizona photo credit SEA LIFE Aquarium
LEGO 1 – 5: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Arizona, credit LEGOLAND Discovery Center
Harkins: Harkins Theatres Estrella Falls 16, credit Harkins Theatres
Brass 1 – 2: Brass Armadillo Antique Malls, credit Brass Armadillo
Railroad 1 – 3: McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, credit The Railroad Park
Airforce 1 -5: Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum, photo credit ‘Airbase Arizona Flying Museum’
Old Town 1 – 6: Old Town, photo credit to The City of Scottsdale