Saturday, January 7, 2017

Beckees Top Five Places to hang out in Scottsdale with the Fam

Once again, as I said in this post, I often wonder where the locals really hang out in the places I visit (or when I move to a new place). So, I am going to share my top five local hang out spots from the places I have lived.   I posted about Omaha and about Spokane so far. 

Today's Top 5: Scottsdale
So, after living in Omaha for 8 years (with a one year break in the middle in Spokane), we moved to Scottsdale, AZ where my husband was doing a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic there. So, like Spokane, it was only a  year spent there, but unlike Spokane, I was not on bed rest! :) Yeah! We loved Scottsdale and really tried to take advantage of the beautiful sunny weather! I learned that I love hot places. I had great air conditioning in our rental house (and basically everywhere), so the extremely hot summers didn't even bother me. It was actually a pretty heavenly year. 

In no particular order, here are my top 5 favorite Family hang outs in (and around) Scottsdale: 

1. Fountain Hill Park 

What is it? A Park surrounding a lake with fountain. With a disc golf course and a Spray ground (important stuff in Scottsdale)!

My Experience with it: I know, this is not in Scottsdale, but in Fountain Hills. But guys, I love it here. Seriously, LOVE it! From where we lived, it was a short drive up to Fountain Hills. It was a very oft visited park for us since we love disc golf and the splash pad was a great place to cool off in the Arizona heat. I would guess we came here once a week at least...

Where is it? 12925 N Seguaro Boulevard, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268 

What can you do there and what does it cost? FREE to disc golf, play on the playground or splash pad, or to walk around the park). But since you will already be in Fountain Hills, you should stop over and spend some money on some of the most delectable chocolates ever at Chocofin! YUM! 
2. Lost Dog Wash Trailhead in McDowell Sonoran Preserve 

What is it? Hiking Trails in a preserve

My Experience with it: We like to hike and be active as a family as much as possible, so this was an awesome find! When my kids started school in Arizona, we discovered that there was a parking area and trail head for great hikes, just past their school. It was awesome. So close to home, and really fun! We went on these trails often. Once or twice a month at least. They are family friendly, but stay on the trails to avoid the walking cacti. And MAKE SURE to bring WATER!!! (Gotta stay hydrated in that hot climate)

Where is it? Located at the North end of 124th Street beyond Anasazi Elementary School. (Go to Anasazi at 12121 N 124th St in Scottsdale, drive north past the school and you will drive right into the parking lot for the trail heads)

What can you do there and what does it cost? You can hike some awesome trails! It's FREE! Bring Water!

3. Camelback

What is it? Another Hiking Spot, right in the middle of town

My Experience with it: Here is where I get to hang my head in shame. I only tried to hike this 2 times, both times we had all our kids with us. The youngest 2 were 1 and 3 at the time. It was hard to help them up and at some point I turned around with them both times and sent my husband the rest of the way up with the older kids. So, I have never made it to the top. It is now a bucket list item to do so! Side note-if you have young kids like that it may be a tougher hike than they can handle...but if youare fit and can help them, you can totally make it. BRING WATER though...

Where is it? There are 2 trails up. Echo Canyon Tail parking is at 4925 E. McDonald Dr. And Cholla Trail (which incidentally does NOT have parking at the trail head) is at 6131 E. Cholla Lane. But you can park down the street. Here is the official page with info about Camelback. Also Check out this page for some great info about where to park when planning to hike either of these trails. 

What can you do there and what does it cost? Hike. Hike to the top of Camelback then come back here and shame me for not making it to the top. Oh, it's free, but parking is a beast so plan to go early in the morning (like 4 am early) or plan to take a while to park. BRING WATER!!! Staying hydrated in the AZ heat is super duper important friends! 

Please check out this awesome site for lots of info about Camelback.  

4. Phoenix Zoo

What is it? A zoo.

My experience with it: One of my biggest regrets about my time in Scottsdale is that I did not discover the zoo sooner. It was my own fault really. Lots of friends told me to go, but I just honestly didn't want to pay. But near the end of our year there, my mother in law came to visit and she and I decided to fork out the big bucks and take the kids there. 

Where is it? 455 N Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ 85008  

What can you do there and what does it cost? First of all, as I mentioned above, it is expensive (base prices are about $25/day for ages 14+, $15/day for ages 3-13. Free for ages 2 and under), but it was worthwhile to spend some time there. In retrospect I should have bought a membership when I first moved there and we for sure would have made it worth the $170 it costs for the Family membership (Now I have enough kids over the age of 3 that I would need to buy the $270Family Plus plan, but I still think that would be worth it.)  BUT there really is a lot to do there. Obviously there are lots of cool animal exhibits, but they also have (for additional costs) a 4-D theater, a train, a carousel and camel rides.

5. Wet N Wild Phoenix

What is it? An awesome water park

My Experience with it: Let me tell you something, when we were moving to Scottsdale, most of the houses had pools. I searched and searched for a house without a pool because I had 5 kids under 10 years old and none of them were great swimmers (ironic as I am now living in Yakima and looking to buy a house with a pool). I quickly regretted that decision (though I did feel safer at home without a pool in the back yard). We needed a place to go a cool off. We discovered there was a Wet N Wild water park in Phoenix, AND we discovered that there was a deal on season passes. So we splurged and bought season passes for the whole family. It was a bit of a drive away, but the kids and I spent a big chunk of our summer there. 

Where is it? 4243 W Pinnacle Peak Road, Glendale, AZ 85310

What can you do there and what does it cost? Prices are a little much for daily passes, but you can usually get a great deal on season passes. Current daily prices are listed here and season pass info is here. As far as what you can do, there is a variety of slides, a wave pool (my fave), and a lazy river. Lots to do and a great place to cool off during the summer. 

It was super hard to keep this list to 5 items and here are a few Honorable mentions that really could easily have been on this list. So, make sure to check these out as well!

  • McCormick Stillman Railroad Park at 7301 E Indian Bend Road in Scottsdale. It is a blast! Do not miss it.
  • Pools are a huge deal in AZ since it is so hot! Most houses have pools, so if you live there, make friends, if you stay at a hotel, plan to make use of the pool, or if all else fails, go to a public pool. There is a list of public pools here. 
  • Professional Baseball teams do Spring Training in Scottsdale/Phoenix area. If you are there for that, make sure to catch a game!