I am finally feeling myself again after our crazy Arizona adventure and ready to share all the fun things we did around Phoenix. We had initially planned our trip for 10 days and then it got extended to 17 days thanks to Omnicron and the storms in the Pacific Northwest. For those first 10 days I jam packed our days with adventures in the morning and relaxing by the pool in the afternoons. If you have teens or little ones renting a house with a pool is a must.
In our 10 days we visited the Desert Botanical Gardens accompanied with a photo shoot, the Phoenix Zoo, The Hole in the Rock, Butterfly Garden, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, Odysea Aquarium, Glendale Glitters, Piestewa Peak Hike, and Tom’s Thumb Hike. And I cannot forget to share the most amazing tacos from Cocina Madrigal.
If you have little ones and they enjoy the zoo and animals I recommend checking out the Phoenix Zoo. With our huge family I found tickets on Groupon for cheaper than the admissions price. We found ours on Groupon for $23 a piece and if you purchase them at the zoo they are $29.95 for adults or $19.95 for children. They also have these sweet little animal rides called Rydables and you can rent them by the minute.
Right next to the zoo is Papago Park where there are some great hiking trails, or you can go check out The Hole in the Rock. The Hole in the Rock is a super duper short hike and Sydney enjoyed the views. We didn’t explore the trails around Papago Park but if we visit Phoenix again we will definitely check them out.
Prior to our visit to Arizona I booked a photo shoot with the talented Morgan of Prickly Pear Photography LLC. Morgan suggested we take our photos at the Desert Botanical Gardens and she picked a beautiful location. Sydney and my mother in law led the way through the Gardens. The boys were not as impressed as the ladies were but we enjoyed our time exploring the Gardens. Tickets were a little on the spendy side but they were worth it. Make sure you plan enough time to walk through it all, there is a lot to see.
And if you are ever in the Phoenix area and are needing an amazing photographer check out Morgan she was wonderful to work with!
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park was a fun little park to explore with Sydney and Orson. The railroad ride and carousel ride were inexpensive and the kids enjoyed the rides. Sydney also had a blast playing at the park. This was a great little park to explore.
The Butterfly Garden was a neat place to explore, it was a little spendy but Sydney loved walking around with the butterflies. I don’t know if it was worth the amount we spent there are no children rates, or Groupon options. If we were to go back to Phoenix I don’t think we would check it out again.
Next to the Butterfly Garden is Odysea the Aquarium. Be sure to check out the bathroom before going upstairs, it is definitely one of the coolest bathrooms we have been in. Again the tickets to the aquarium were expensive and if we were to go back I don’t think we would visit here again. There was no Groupon option or children ticket options. Sydney had a blast exploring the Aquarium and she loved the Tide Touch Pool.
Goldfield Ghost Town in Apache Junction is a fun place to explore. If we didn’t have the little ones we might have went on one of the tours. But walking around and seeing one of the shows was interesting and loud. A little piece of advice do not stand too close when they start the show if you have sensitive ears like me.
Two hikes that we were able to explore were Piestewa Peak and Tom’s Thumb. Both hikes were pretty intense with two little ones. We made it about halfway up for both which is pretty impressive for Sydney considering these were her first two hikes. And Orson just added an additional 20 lbs to my hikes but they were both beautiful. The next time we make a visit hopefully we can make it to the top with both kiddos.
And if for whatever reason you find yourself celebrating Christmas near Glendale check out Glendale Glitters. Or any light shows for that matter. Sydney and I had blast wandering around checking out all the Christmas lights set up in downtown Glendale.
As far as places to stay we loved staying in Scottsdale. And if you ever need a beautiful place to Airbnb please check out Mindy’s place in Scottsdale. Our place in Scottsdale was close to great hikes, restaurants, and shopping. If we find ourself in Arizona again we will definitely be saying in this area again.
Last but not least if you are wanting to eat the best tacos in the world you NEED to go check out Cocina Madrigal. They have thee most amazing tacos I have ever eaten in my entire life. The beef tenderloin steak is marinated in the most delicious pomegranate marinade and cooked to perfection. The tacos were so good we had to eat them twice and I am drooling just thinking about them. You will not be disappointed. Do yourself a favor and if you ever find yourself in the Phoenix area you will go grab yourself some tacos, maybe an elote and some delicious chips and salsa!
And that’s it for all my recommendations for if or when you find yourself in the Phoenix area. I will post another blog on what you should and shouldn’t when it comes to traveling with kids. Our 10 day trip turned into an extended 17 day nightmare and there were plenty of things I wish I had purchased and looked into before we went on our family vacation. Overall we had a blast and made the best of it!