Phoenix Valley of the Sun Attractions
The greater Phoenix area is popularly known as the Valley of the Sun.
Sun City, Arizona
The retirement town of Sun City, 11mi/18km northwest of Phoenix, came into being in the 1960s, and now has a population of 50,000 senior citizens. Offering the attractions of leisure, a pleasant life style, an agreeable climate and beautiful scenery, it is almost entirely residential, with no schools or kindergartens, still less industry. Another settlement of the same kind, Sun City West, has grown up in the immediate vicinity.
Sun Cities Museum of Art
The Sun Cities Art Museum features exhibits of American, Asian and other art.
Gila Bend, Arizona
Gila Bend (pop. 1,747) is located on a bend of the Gila River southwest of Phoenix. It is regularly the hottest spot in the United States.Nearby is the Gatlin Site archaeological ruins, an important Hohokam farming and manufacturing center between AD 800 and 1200. The town is working to develop the site including an interpretive trail.
Avondale is one of the Tri-Cities in the West Valley, along with Goodyear and Litchfield Park. The town began with the name of Coldwater, its name when fisrt settled in the late 1880s. When the post office moved to nearby Avondale, the name Coldwater was discontinued.
Carefree is a planned community located beside Cave Creek in the northeast environs of Phoenix. The planning began in the 1940s and first buildings went up in 1958. Carefree has the world's largest sundial, at 62 feet, and it points to the North Star.
The largest sundial in the Western Hemisphere is located in Carefree, built as a tourist attraction in the late 1950s. The world's largest sundial is in Jaipur, India. Located in Sundial Circle, this ancient time telling instrument was constructed of a steel frame and covered in anodized copper.
The Boulders is a resort with public championship golf course in Carefree, with beautiful desert scenery and boulder formations. Visitors can enjoy tennis, a full-service day spa and upscale shopping. Horseback riding, hiking, and mountain-biking tours can also be arranged by The Boulders staff.
Carefree Studio is a movie facility with three massive sound stages and an outdoor Western town set.
Heard Museum North
The Heard Museum North in Carefree is a new 8,500 square-foot exhibit space for the Heard Museum in Phoenix. Two full-scale exhibitions are presented annually.
Address: 34505 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85262-1202, United States
Opening hours: 10am-5pm; Sun: 12pm-5pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Memorial Day - USA (last Monday, May), American Independance Day (Jul 4), Labor Day - USA (1st Monday, Sep), Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Easter - Christian
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $5.00, Senior over 65 $4.00, Students $2.00, Child 12 & under $2.00, Child 5 & under FREE
Useful tips: Free public guided tours with trained and experienced docents are offered Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Rawhide Land & Cattle Company Jeep Tours (closed)
ATTRACTION IS CLOSED.Jeep tours through Arizona's backcountry feature views of Native American ruins and narratives about area history, wildlife and plant life.
Goodyear is part of the Southwest Valley, along with Avondale, Litchfield Park and Tolleson. Small farms were established in the early 1900s by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company to grow Egyptian cotton - a component in tire cords. These farms grew into company towns, including this one, named for its originator.
Duncan's Family Farm (closed)
ATTRACTION IS CLOSED.Duncan's Family Farm in Goodyear is a 2,000 acre vegetable farm with guided tours, a farm market, petting zoo, and an antique equipment display.
Estrella Mountain Regional Park
Estrella Park is a 19,840-acre park that features 65 acres of grass with ten covered ramadas, picnic tables, grills, restrooms, playground equipment, two lighted ballfields, an 18-hole golf course, and a rodeo arena.
Guadalupe is a Mexican-American and Yaqui Indian community just south of Phoenix. The Yaqui Indians founded the town when they fled their homeland to avoid persecution and enslavement. The town was named for the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico.
Casa Grande, Arizona
Casa Grande was founded in 1879, midway between Phoenix and Tucson. It is named for the famous Hohokam Indian Ruins 20 miles to the northeast.Nearby attractions include Picacho Peak State Park and Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.
Ak-Chin Indian Reservation
The Ak-Chin Indian Reservation is located 43 miles northwest of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, near the town of Casa Grande.Archeological finds have confirmed that tribal ancestors of the Ak-Chin have occupied and farmed the Ak-Chin land for several thousand years.
Casa Grande Valley Historical Society and Museum
The Casa Grande Valley Historical Society and Museum features exhibits on local culture and history. There are 3 period rooms, Native American artifacts, mining and agricultural exhibits, and a historical diorama.
Cave Creek, Arizona
The town of Cave Creek is located in the foothills north of Phoenix, close to Carefree.Temperatures in Cave Creek average about 10 to 15 degrees cooler than Phoenix.
Cave Creek Museum
The Cave Creek Museum displays artifacts from prehistoric times through to ranching and mining in this century. The collection reflects the lives of Indians, miners, ranchers and pioneers.On-site is also the First Church of Cave Creek, built in 1948 and the last remaining Tubercular Cabin, which is on the National Historic Register and the Golden Reef Stamp Mill.
Cave Creek Mistress Mine (closed)
ATTRACTION WAS DESTROYED BY FIRE.The Cave Creek Mistress Mine is an old 1883 gold mine. It has a museum displaying antique mining tools and equipment. Mistress Mine is a working mine that still mines by hand, similar to how it was done in the 1880s.
Grace Foundation for the Preservation of Americana
The Grace Foundation for the Preservation of Americana is a private museum in Cave Creek. It showcases the collection of Grace Voss Frederick, including vintage clothes, men's uniforms, music boxes, magic lanterns, early phones, radios, TVs, jukeboxes and bicycles.
Gilbert is located southeast of Phoenix. The town was incorporated in 1920 and has seen tremendous growth, with a population that has grown substantially over the last the century.
Gilbert Historical Center
The Gilbert Historical Center tells the history of the area from prehistoric to modern times. The Historical Center features a display of antique farm equipment, artifacts from early school days and toys, clothing and shoes from the late 1800s.
Hale Centre Theatre
Hale Centre Theatre began in 1947 in a small rented building in Glendale. It is noted as the longest continuously running, privately owned and operated theatre company in the US. There are an array of performances weekly.
Peoria (pop 60,000) is located 11 miles from central Phoenix. The first settler arrived in 1885, from the Midwest, and named it Peoria after their hometown in Illinois.
Peoria Sports Complex
The Peoria Sports Complex is America's largest baseball spring training facility, with a 11,000-seat stadium and 12 practice fields. It is home to both the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners in the spring, and the Peoria Javelinas and Sun City Solar Sox in the fall. It was the first Major League Baseball facility in the country shared by two teamsIn addition to baseball tournaments, the facility hosts community events, concerts, art and trade shows, weddings and group events. Surrounding the complex are numerous hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment.
Challenger Space Center
The Challenger Space Center in Peoria has a space flight simulator and hands-on space lab. The 2-hour simulated space mission allows visitors to experience launching and docking. The Challenger Space Center is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and features star-gazing and planetarium programs.
Address: 21170 North 83rd Avenue, Peoria, AZ 85382-2458, United States
Opening hours: 9am-4pm; Sat: 10am-4pm; Closed: Sun
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Memorial Day - USA (last Monday, May), American Independance Day (Jul 4), Labor Day - USA (1st Monday, Sep), Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $6.00, Child 18 & under $4.00, Senior over 55 $4.00, Child 5 & under FREE
Facilities: Gift shop
Coolidge (pop. 6,927) is the home of the Casa Grande Ruins. The town of Coolidge is also west of the Pinal Pioneer Parkway.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is located in Coolidge. The ruins include the Casa Grande, the largest remaining structure built by the prehistoric Hohokam Indians. It is four stories high and 60 feet long, and designed to align with the sun and moon at specific times.Surrounding the main building of the Casa Grande Ruins are the remains of a walled village. A prehistoric ball court is still visible with a viewing platform located above it.
Address: 1100 Ruins Drive, Coolidge, AZ 85228-3200, United States
Opening hours: 9am-5pm
Always closed on: Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $5.00, Child 15 & under FREE
Useful tips: Admission fee is valid for 7 days from date of purchase.
Facilities: Restaurant or food service
Gila River Indian Reservation
The Gila River Indian Reservation occupies 372,000 acres south of Phoenix, and is the homeland of the Pima and Maricopa Indians (known as The River People.)
Address: 315 West Casa Blanca Road, Sacaton, AZ 85247, United States
Sacaton is a small village on the Gila River Indian Reservation. It was first visited by Spanish missionaries in 1696.
Gila River Culture Center
The Gila River Cultural Center is located on the Gila River Indian Reservation. It features arts and crafts of the Pima and Maricopa Indians. Basket and pottery making demonstrations are available, Indian dance groups perform and there are six recreated villages on display.The crafts that are available at the Gila River Cultural Center include baskets, sterling silver jewelry, pottery, Southwest Indian music and toys.
Litchfield Park, Arizona
Litchfield Park is one of the "Tri-Cities" of the West Valley. Litchfield Park is a planned residential community with a small town atmosphere.
The Wigwam is a public golf course and resort in Litchfield Park. The Wigwam has been around since 1918 when the Goodyear Tire Company built the Organization House for sales representatives who supplied equipment to the ranchers. In 1929 The Wigwam opened its doors as a guest ranch.
Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium
The Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park has the largest collection of exotic animals in Arizona, over 3000 animals covering 600 species.
Address: 16501 West Northern Avenue, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340-9466, United States
Opening hours: 9am-6pm
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $26.50, Child 12 & under $14.25, Child 2 & under FREE
Useful tips: Aquarium exhibits are open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Special evening-only admission (after 5 p.m.) to the Aquarium is $16.99 for adults and $8.99 for children 3 to 12.
Tolleson, a station on the railroad, was founded in 1912 by W.G. Tolleson of North Carolina.