The Maricopa County Park System is the largest regional park system in the United States at approximately 120,000 acres. Offering visitors the best of the Sonoran Desert, the parks are open 365 days a year for camping, ranger led programs and a full range of outdoor activity opportunities.
Estrella Mountains - Goodyear
Adobe Dam - Glendale
McDowell - Fountain Hills
Buckeye Hills - Buckeye
San Tan - Queen Creek
Cave Creek - Cave Creek
Spur Cross - Cave Creek
Usery - Mesa
Lake Pleasant - Morristown
White Tank - Waddell
Desert Outdoor Center - Peoria
Near Mesa, Salt River Tubing hosts float trips in the Tonto National Forest on the lower Salt river Rapids. They are located seven miles north of Loop 202 on Power Rd.
Three water parks offer a refreshing break from the Arizona heat. Find Big Surf park in Tempe, Sun Splash in Mesa and Wet'n'Wild in Phoenix.
Enjoy a family outing with a railroad theme at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. Ride the Paradise and Pacific scale railroad and the carousel; and visit museum displays and an arboretum. The park is open year-round in Scottsdale.
Maricopa Live Steamers operates more than eight miles of track on the Adobe Western Railroad for public rides on Sunday afternoons September through March.
Visit the Goldfield Ghost Town for a taste of the 1890's. Main Street has many shops, historic buildings, the Goldfield Museum, and an occasional gunfight! Tour the Mammoth Gold Mine, pan for gold or ride on Arizona's only narrow gauge train.
The Rawhide Western Town offers a petting ranch, panning for gold and numerous shows throughout the park. Ride a stagecoach, a burro or the desert train. However, watch out or the Sheriff may throw you behind bars!
The Phoenix area is home to a number of Amusement Parks offering all the traditional attractions: roller coasters, bumper cars, mini-golf, carousels, go-carting and of course, amusement rides for all ages.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the legacy of William Boyce Thompson, to instill in people an appreciation of plants and to fostering educational, recreational, research, and conservation opportunities associated with arid-land plants. The Arboretum is located at 37615 W. Hwy 60 between Florence Junction and Superior.
Phoenix's Desert Botanical Garden hosts one of the world's finest collections of desert plants. This one-of-a-kind museum showcases 50 acres of beautiful outdoor exhibits as home to 139 rare, threatened and endangered plant species from around the world. It is located in Papago Park at 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix.
Located in Margaret T. Hance Park at 1125 N. 3rd Ave. Phoenix, the Japanese Friendship Garden features more than 1,500 tons of handpicked rock, more than 50 varieties of plants, flowing streams, a 12-foot waterfall and a Koi pond. The Garden is the product of the Sister Cities of Phoenix and Himeji, Japan. Phone: 602-256-3204
The Heard Museum educates the public about the heritage and the living cultures and arts of Native peoples, with emphasis on the people. It is a living museum featuring both artifacts and contemporary art of Native cultures.
The vast collection at the Phoenix Art Museum includes works of art that span the centuries and the globe. The eclectic pieces comprise several diverse and stimulating galleries.
The Arizona Science Center provides exploration, education and entertainment for all ages with over 300 hands-on exhibits, a state-of-the-art planetarium and a five-story IMAX® theater.
The Arizona Railway Museum is a community effort towards the acquisition, restoration, preservation and display of railway equipment, artifacts and mementos related to railways of the past and present.
The Arizona Capitol Museum brings history to life every day through exhibitions, special events, and tours. More than 20 exhibits tell Arizona's story from territorial days to the present.
The Arizona Museum of Natural History features exhibits ranging from dinosaurs to ancient Indian civilizations to the settlement of the West, including a hands-on Adventure Center with interactive exhibits
Taliesin West showcases the principles of organic architecture and conservation of the natural environment developed by noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Arcosanti is the residence and studio of Paolo Soleri, presenting a unique bio-climatic architectural environment, with imaginative design and construction techniques.
This is just a sampling of over 60 museums in the area.
Greasepaint Youth Theater
Arizona Broadway Theater
Mesa Encore Theater
Arizona Jewish Theater
Murder Ink Productions
Arizona Theater Company
Arizona Women's Theater
Queen Creek Performing Arts
Black Theater Troupe
Scottsdale Center of Performing Arts
Broadway Palm West
East Valley Children's Theater
Visit the Phoenix Parks website
Zoos & AquariumsThe Phoenix Zoo covers 125 acres in four major exhibit zones: Africa, Tropics, Arizona and a Children's area. More than 1200 mammals, fish, invertebrates, birds, and reptiles are on exhibit.
The Zoo - which has been rated as one of the top five zoos for kids - is located at 455 N. Galvin Parkway in Phoenix's Papago Park, between McDowell and Van Buren streets. Phone: 602-273-1341
Located immediately north of Goodyear in Litchfield Park, the Wildlife World Zoo has Arizona's largest collection of exotic animals with over 2400 individual animals representing more than 400 exotic and endangered species.
Also, the state's first Aquarium is now open at the Zoo, located at 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park. Phone: 623-935-WILD
CasinosGila River Casinos operates three locations: Wild Horse Pass and Lone Butte off I-10 near Chandler, and Vee Quiva southwest of Phoenix near Ahwatukee. Bus transportation is available.
The town of Maricopa is home to Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino, south of Phoenix. Shuttle service is provided from various Valley locations.
There are two Casino Arizona locations adjacent to Scottsdale in the East Valley. One is at Highway 101 and McKellips Rd; the other is at Highway 101 and Indian Bend Rd.
The Fort McDowell Casino is northeast of Fountain Hills on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Community. Shuttle bus routes service many areas of the Valley.