In the heat of the summer in Arizona you have to think outside of the box in order to find things to do that don’t involve getting a heat stroke!
For that very reason one of my favorite things to do in the summer sun is driving to the Salt River, hopping on an inter-tube, and enjoying a few hours in Mother Nature on the cold crisp river. The Salt River is easy to get to and is located in Eastern Mesa. It makes a great day trip for family and friends and is often referred to as “the floating picnic”. Once you arrive at the parking area you can pay a flat rate of fifteen dollars for an inter-tube and shuttle service to the river, or if you have an inter-tube or floating device of some kind you can pay twelve dollars for the shuttle alone. A valid driver’s license is needed to hold for every five tubes rented and will be returned when you return your tubes. The Salt River will open on May 1st 2010 for the summer and well remain open on weekends only from nine am to six thirty am. When taking a trip to the river it is important to remember sun protection, water, and good tennis shoes. The river varies in the amount of time it takes to get to stops where the shuttle will return you to your car, so being prepared is vital. I also always bring a sheet or towel to place over my tube as they are black and can heat up in the sun. Other than that you can bring whatever you like from waterproof radios, coolers, games, and toys! The river is rocky and there are rapids so I wouldn’t recommend bringing children unless you have adequate floating devices and supervision.
Salt River Tubing
Another one of my favorite things to do in the summer to escape the heat is to visit local museums. Not only can you enjoy some culture and art, but also Museums are kept at a nice crisp temperature! So once you step inside, you will soon forget the above one hundred degrees it is outside! My favorite museums include the Phoenix Art Museum, Tempe Center for the Arts, Arizona Science Center, and a new arrival in town the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale. Many of these Museums offer discount days/nights or free shows on certain days. For instance on Wednesday’s admission is free at the Phoenix Art Museum. Also Tempe Center for the Arts offers complimentary ballets every so often outside it’s facility called “Ballet Under the Stars”. Check the websites below for more offers and summer hours!
Phoenix Art Museum: www.phxart.org
Tempe Center for the Arts: www.tempe.gov/tca/
Arizona Science Center: www.AZScience.org
Musical Instrument Museum: www.themim.org
Lastly, one of my favorite summer pastimes that couldn’t come in handier in Arizona is ice cream! Summer nights or days, it’s a great way to meet up with some friends while enjoying an ice-cold tasty treat! Here are my favorite unique ice cream shops in the valley of the sun.
The Sugar Bowl
4005 N Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Located in Old Town Scottsdale is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor straight from the early nineteen hundreds and to top it off it is all pink! They feature an assortment of ice creams, shakes, malts, and sundaes sure to make your mouth water. Find a seat up at the parlor itself or in a large pink booth. The Sugar Bowl is large, but it is always crowded! Tourists and locals can’t get enough of this place, so be prepared there may be a wait.
14202 N Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Frozen yogurt fans dreams come true! Yogurt Builderz takes the term self serve to a whole new level. Pick your bowl size, pick your yogurts, and pick any and all toppings you want. No extra charges for two flavors or five toppings just a simple scale at the register and you pay for your bowl by the ounce! Genius! Flavors change weekly but I have enjoyed mint, gingerbread man, peanut butter, cookies and crème, strawberry, lime, and of course vanilla and chocolate which can be swirled. They usually offer some more decadent flavors as well as some fruit flavors and non-fat choices. The topping bar is also unreal. Fresh fruits like kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, coconut, and pineapple. Candies, chocolates, sprinkles, cookies, and fudge! You want it on your yogurt they probably have it! The shop is small, bright, and modern so seating can get scarce and I often get mine to go. Yogurt Builderz is sure to please anyone’s palette because they are in control of what the make! So adults and kids alike love it here!