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One of Arizona’s most scenic travel destinations, Mesa offers a long list of exciting things to see and do. From leafy parks to live sports action and fascinating museums, this city appeals to all ages. Enjoy anything outdoor activities and family-friendly activities in Mesa, Arizona.
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What Is It? Usery Mountain Regional Park is a 3,648-acre park that features over 29 miles of trails for mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding through scenic landscapes.
Why Do It? Hikes range from short treks to challenging adventures that offer some of the most impressive views in the area. It’s worth sticking around, as the park not only hosts 73 campsites, including hookups but numerous special events like Movie Night in the Park, Full Moon hikes, Archery 101 and lots more.
Good to Know: The Nature Center is a great spot to start your exploration of the park, offering the opportunity to learn about the Sonoran Desert flora, fauna, and critters, as well as to pick up the last necessities for whatever adventure you plan to embark on.
What Is It? Spring is an exciting time to be in Mesa, offering the chance to watch the Spring Training baseball games and see some of your favorite players up close.
Why Do It? Catching a Spring Training game allows fans to experience baseball of the past, getting a glimpse of an honest relationship between the game and its fans that can no longer be enjoyed during the regular season. Seats are great, and affordable, allowing you to actually hear the bat whip through the air, and see the expressions on the players’ faces.
Good to Know: The Oakland Athletics play at the recently renovated Hohokam Stadium, while the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs are at Sloan Park.
What Is It? At the Arizona Museum of Natural History, visitors can delve into Southwest history, which includes everything from the dinosaurs of prehistoric times to territorial explorers.
Why Do It? Check out the creatures that once swam in the state’s Paleozoic seas, and find out how rocks of the area were formed. You’ll find all sorts of interesting displays that relate to the culture, habitat, and history of the southwestern region of the U.S. The towering Tyrannosaurus Bataar is a favorite with visitors, thanks to its rather frightening teeth and menacing presence, and roaring countenance. While tiny tots may run away from the petrified skeleton, despite the fact it hasn’t moved on its own for more than 80 million years, most visitors are mesmerized.
Good to Know: There are more than a dozen fossilized bones on display in Dinosaur Hall, including those of the cow-like Camarasaurus, the duck-billed Iguanodon, and numerous examples of Triceratops. Models of pterosaurs and pteranodons hang from the ceiling, while Dinosaur Mountain, a three-story re-creation of a Triassic peak, houses growling animatronic versions of a Pentaceratops, Stegosaurus, and other relics.
What Is It? Desert Belle Cruises offers narrated guided tours on picturesque Saguaro Lake.
Why Do It? This ship that was launched over a half-century ago takes passengers on a 90-minute tour around the lake, set within the Tonto National Forest just outside of Mesa. Guests enjoy fabulous vistas of the desert and high canyon walls, as well as Arizona wildlife including birds such as eagles, falcons, and hawks and mammals like bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions, and more.
Good to Know: The narrated cruise is both entertaining and educational and includes a partially air-conditioned lower level and the upper deck has awnings to protect guests from the glaring sun.
What Is It? If you happen to be here around Halloween, you’ll have the chance to experience the annual walking tour.
Why Do It? The tour features a Civil War veteran, a woman who delivered over 12,000 babies, a cowboy singer and poet from the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.
Good to Know: It is a self-guided tour of the cemetery with special speakers at the featured gravesites.
What Is It? The Commemorative Air Force Museum is an aircraft museum that was founded some 40 years ago thanks to the donation of a World War II-era B-17G aircraft named Sentimental Journey in 1978.
Why Do It? The first permanent hangar was built in 1985. Eventually, it grew to over 30,000 square feet of exhibition and facility space. It showcases multiple aircraft, along with World War II artifacts and memorabilia. Visitors can take a tour, or attend one of the many special events the museum hosts throughout the year.
Good to Know: The museum even offers the chance to fly in one of the rare historical military planes, including rides in the B-17G Sentimental Journey, a B-25 (Maid in the Shade) and C-47 (Old No. 30).
What Is It? Saguaro Lake Ranch Stables is where you should go if you want to experience the area on horseback, offering rides in the Sonoran Desert and Goldfield Mountain Range.
Why Do It? There are a number of ride options, from short 30-minute jaunts to two-hour trips, all led by experienced guides. Riders are taken along ridges with saguaro cactus plants and along the Salt River and across dry arroyos to the top of hills that offer magnificent views of the area, including Saguaro Lake, as well as the feeling of actually riding like the Cowboys did during the days of the Wild West.
Good to Know: Because of the intense heat during the warmer months of the year, it’s offered between October 1 and May 1.
What Is It? The Park of the Canals is named because of the ruins of canals, which were built by Hohokam Native Americans and Mormons.
Why Do It? Taking a walk through this admission-free park is like taking a walk through history, with the well-preserved ruins illustrating the engineering feat of the Hohokam Indians who lived in the Salt River Valley between 300 BC and AD 1450, growing beans, squash, agave and cotton. Mormon pioneers later used the canals to irrigate their crops in the desert. Visitors can enjoy a picnic here or simply marvel at the impressive architecture of the canals.
Good to Know: The park also hosts an extensive botanical garden with notable cacti from across the state’s desert region, as well as a variety of local flora. A large playground area is available for children.