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Tee It Up in the West Valley at These Top Golf Courses 

Legends at ArrowheadYou don’t have to drive far for a great course anywhere in greater Phoenix, and the West Valley is no exception. What’s more, West Valley courses provide top-notch golf for a value, compared to courses in Scottsdale.

Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia in Peoria offers a challenging and beautifully designed course, and this top-end experience doesn’t come at a high price. Competitive rates bring players back to the distinctive backdrop of the rolling and rugged Arizona scenery to test their mettle on well-kept fairways. 

Also set in the classic scenery of saguaros and desert hills, Quintero Golf Club entices players to its remote beauty with a reputation for immaculate greens. The course earned accolades from Golf Digest, Golf Weekly and Golf Advisor as top public course in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. 

The redesigned Grand Canyon University Golf Course (formerly Maryvale) is centrally located just south of Glendale, and captures the rich history of the area with up-to-date amenities. Players will love how the course invokes a championship venue with attention to true, consistent greens and strategic bunkers.

Verrado Golf Club in Buckeye sits near the feet of the White Tank Mountains and meanders into the old-growth desert. Keep an eye out for mule deer and other Sonoran wildlife as you progress up into the foothills and down rolling fairways. 

Goodyear’s Golf Club of Estrella is managed by Troon and designed by Nicklaus, so you can expect a  well-conditioned surface and challenge in course management when you come to play. Its location near the Estrella Mountain range puts players among natural washes and desert hillsides for a stunningly beautiful backdrop to your game. 

Resort guests and public players alike are welcome to tee off at The Wigwam’s signature courses, recently renovated with a focus on maintaining the master architect’s original, 50-year-old strategic layouts. All three are true parkland courses with exceptional fairways. 

Can’t wait ‘til cooler fall temperatures for a round? Some clubs offer summer specials and most will have automatically lower prices for the season, so there’s no reason not to enjoy an early morning tee time and take advantage of the bargains on top-tier courses. 

5 Golf Courses In The Arizona West Valley Worth Visiting

Put These Courses On Your List To Play!

The 500 Club Golf Course

Gorgeous 18-hole championship golf course nestled in the quiet foothills of northwest Phoenix. Designed by Brian Whitcomb, this par 72 layout offer subtle features that will challenge and excite golfers at every ability. The course plays 6867 yards from the championship tees, with a slope of 122 and a rating of 72.2. The 500 Club is truly unique in that it is one of the only public daily fee courses with the magical desert landscape and views of the valley mountains.

http://www.the500club.com/

Legend at Arrowhead

Designed by Arnold palmer, Award Winning Legend Golf Resort at Arrowhead Golf Club sits on a remote mountain slope 26 miles northwest of Sky Harbor Airport. This beautifully laid out course features 7 lakes and 156 bunkers all surrounded by beautiful valley mountains.The Legend plays 7,005 yards and a par-72 from the championship tees.

https://www.legendatarrowhead.com/

Glen Lakes Municipal Golf Course

Originally built in 1966 and designed by Jay Hillhouse, Glen Lakes is located just 5 miles from the Gila River Arena and University of Phoenix Stadium. This course offers a par 33 course featuring 6 par 4s and 3 par 3s. This course can be challenging with 40 foot eucalyptus trees and many bunkers. The 9th hole presents water off the tee and on the approach.

https://www.glenlakesgolfaz.com/

Bellair Golf Club

Known as the best executive golf course by locals, this par-59 layout course features challenges that attract experiences golfers but a shorter more approachable length for beginners and juniors. Bellair features 5 par 4s and 13 par 3s measuring up to 185 to 210 yards in length. This course opened in 1973 and was originally designed by Lawrence, Hardin & Nash.

http://www.bellairgolf.com/

Grand Canyon University Golf Course

Formerly the Maryvale Golf Course, GCU Golf Course was designed by Ted Robinson Sr. The par-71 golf course measures 7,269 yards from the championship tees. Features include new tee boxes, challenging greens, extended fairways, practice facilities and a 10,000 sqft. clubhouse including a restaurant and bar, second-story practice facility and fully equipped pro shop. A traditional walking golf course accented with beautiful greens, preserved full-grown trees planted in the early 1960s and distinct, memorable holes.

http://www.gcugolf.com/

Summer Camp Options For West Valley Kids

kid photographer photoIt’s summertime and the kids are getting restless. It’s been proven that children who attend summer camp are well rounded, have better social skills, and are problem solvers.  If you’re looking for a fun option to get the kids out of the house, and gain extra skills, check out these local summer camp options in the West Valley. 

Glendale / Peoria Family YMCA

Camp Sky-Y is an overnight camp for youth ages 7-16 and is in Prescott. Serving the Greater Phoenix Area, Camp Sky-Y offers the quintessential overnight sleep-away camp for kids looking to build relationships and have adventures. 

Arizona Sports Complex

Located in Glendale, this multi-sport facility offers a variety of day camps for kids over the summer to improve on their athletic abilities. Not sure which sport is best for your child? Check out the multi-sport camp that allows participants to try a variety of sports to see what they like best. 

Camp Invention

At this hands-on learning camp, participants will get to explore a new topic relating to entrepreneurship, technology, problem solving or innovation. This one-week camp allows children to develop their problem-solving skills and build confidence while creating a project. 

Arizona Dance Artistry

If you’re looking to advance your child’s dance technicality, the Arizona Dance Artistry offers a day camp over the summer for youth ages 2-18. This is a great chance for the young ballerina’s to improve their dancing and be ready for fall season. 

City of Peoria

The Parks and Rec Department of Peoria offers day camps that include STEM, arts and crafts, team building and much more. For ages 2-12, there’s a variety of summer camp topics for children to sign up for depending on their interests. 

Browse this interactive map to learn about west valley homes and neighborhoods.

 

Fun Things To In Phoenix

desert sunset photoIf you live in the Metro Phoenix area and you’re looking for something exciting to do during the month of September, there are tons of great festivals you might want to check out. Depending on your own personal interests, you might be able to find tons of great activities you never knew existed all within a short drive from where you live. Check out our list of top picks for September activities in the Metro Phoenix area and see which ones you might want to take part in when the time comes!

Saboten Con

Do you love anime conventions? If so, Saboten Con is right where you want to be. On the first weekend of the month, this convention will be taking place in Phoenix. Bring along your favorite cosplay and join the fun at the panels that will be going on throughout the whole weekend. Don’t forget to stop by and visit some of the special guests for this convention, including voice actors, artists, and other exciting members of the anime and Western cartoon worlds both. This is a family-friendly event, but there are some adults-only after hours activities that do take place at night during the convention.

Rock the Guac

If you’re a big fan of guacamole, you’ll want to check out Rock the Guac. This is a fun and lighthearted event based around the love of none other than guacamole! Taste test guacamole made by chefs from all over the area and don’t forget to stop by the taco bar to help yourself to some delicious delectable while you’re at it. Flamenco dancers and lucha libre wrestlers will provide entertainment for the evening, and you will have the opportunity to purchase alcoholic beverages throughout the night if you wish too. This event takes place at the Camby Hotel in Phoenix and is $50 per person at the door.

Furry Friends Fine Arts Festival

Stop by the Shemer Art Center on September 16 for a $5-per-person activity that’s fun for the whole family! This is an art exhibit and festival centered around the furriest people in your life. You can tour animal-themed art displays and check out all sorts of fun performances and readings put on by some of the cutest pets around! Stop by to check out live music and tasty food before you leave—and don’t forget to bring your dog along for the day, too.

This has only scratched the surface of fun and exciting things to do in Metro Phoenix this month!

Click here to check out what’s happening in Glendale!

 

Ten Things to Do in the Summer in the Valley

lake photoAre you looking for something to get out and do during the summertime? Would you like to plan a staycation in the area or figure out some nice day trips to take with the whole family? There are a lot of exciting places to visit and things to do in summer in the Valley, if you just know where to look!  Here are some ideas beyond the usual  movie theater visits:

Scottsdale

  • Ice Skating – If you’re looking for something to help beat the summer heat, why not go to an indoor ice rink and do some skating? There are several indoor rinks in the Valley, but Scottsdale is home to Ice Den, which is a very popular choice.
  • McDowell Sonoran Preserve – This is a great place to take an early morning or evening walk and keep your eyes peeled for local plant and animal life, too. Bring the whole family for an outing that’s as educational as it is fun.  Remember to bring your sunscreen and water!

Glendale

  • Cerreta Candy Company – Take a tour and see how candy is made at this production facility. You might even get a free sample or find something you can’t live without in the gift shop afterward.
  • Drive-In Movie – There aren’t a lot of drive-in movie theaters left these days, but the Glendale 9 boasts about being one of them. Take in a move from the comfort of your car for a trip back in time.

Peoria

  • Challenger Space Center – Check out this technology center and learn all about space and how we interact with it from here on Earth. There are plenty of exhibits to check out as well hands-on experiences for kids and adults both.
  • New River Trail – Take an early morning hike on the New River Trail or bring your bike and enjoy over 10 miles of paved trail equipped with water stations.
  • Kayaking and Paddle Boarding – With Go Paddle AZ, located in Peoria, you can take a day-long adventure on the water and experience kayaking, canoeing, and Paddle Boarding alone or with a group of friends.

Phoenix

  • Children’s Museum – If you have little ones, you can’t miss a chance to go to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. This is a fun hands-on experience that’s sure to keep your little one happy and entertained all day long.
  • Arizona Science Center – Learn all about science and discover things you didn’t even know about when you visit the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix. This is a great activity that’s sure to please the whole family.
  • Phoenix Zoo – No list of sightseeing in the Valley would be complete without mentioning the Phoenix Zoo.  From June through August, the zoo opens at 7am (6am for members). Take it in for a morning visit to learn more about the animals that live there and then let your kids cool off at the Leapin’ Lagoon, the zoo’s splash pad.

Click here to learn about northwest valley homes and neighborhoods and view homes for sale listings. 

Hot Air Balloons Rides Around The Valley

One of the earliest signs of spring and summer here in the Valley of the Sun is the arrival of hot air balloons soaring through our skies.  There are several reputable hot air balloon companies that offer a wide variety of options for hitching a ride on one of those soaring beauties:

  1. Apex Balloon Rides—Offering rides 7 days a week from October to May, Apex Balloon Rides launch daily at sunrise, and also at sunrise beginning in the cooler months of November through March.  This owner/pilot operated company aims to offer a more personal experience, and even offers hot air balloon weddings.
  1. Scottsdale Hot Air Balloons–  This company features shared and group rides with 4-8 people, as well as private rides.  They offer bed and breakfast packages as well as wedding charters.
  1. Rainbow Ryders–  This company features sunrise balloon rides, departing from North Phoenix, for both adults and children (ages 5 and up), as well as sunset balloon rides from November to March.  The sunset balloon ride package is 4 hours in duration and also depart from North Phoenix.
  1. Hot Air Expeditions—Hot Air Expeditions offers various packages, all of which include viewing of the hot air balloon being inflated.  Their Balloons and Tunes package includes a 45-60 minute balloon ride, post-flight champagne and breakfast at Vincent’s on Camelback, plus a transfer to the Musical Instrument Museum.  Sunset flights include hors d’oeuvres catered by Vincent’s.  Flights depart from the Deer Valley Airport.
  1. Aerogelic Ballooning—This company features two different launch locations.  One in North Phoenix, and one in Gilbert.  Various packages are offered from sunrise or sunset balloon rides to dawn patrol and full moon balloon experiences.

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Fun Festivals in March

Arizona is enjoying some fantastic spring weather in 2017.  If you’re looking for some reasons to get out and enjoy these mild, spring days, consider checking out one of the many festivals and events around our beautiful Valley of the Sun.

Twilight FairFirst, on March 11, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Faire is a parade followed by a festival, starting at 10 a.m.  The parade begins at Third and Sheridan Streets in Phoenix, and will feature several floats and performers, from Irish dancers and marching bands to bag pipers.   The faire will be held at the Irish Cultural Center at Hance Park located at 1106 N. Central Ave in Phoenix.  With a small admission fee, the faire will showcase three different stages featuring Irish step dancing, Irish music and of course, bag pipe players.  Food, crafts and a kids’ area will also be a part of the fun.

Another event to check out is the Zoo Move & Groove 5K Trail Run/Walk and Festival on March 11th, beginning at 7 a.m., which has the goal of raising money for the Phoenix Zoo.  This is a family-friendly 5K run/walk, a 1 mile “leisure loop” and a Kids’ Dash.  Following the races, join the festival which features a dance party, animal yoga, zoo-robics and other fitness-type activities.

On March 16-19, from 6-9 pm, the Art Detour 29 is a guide to the arts and cultural activities in downtown Phoenix.  The tour includes opportunities to meet over 100 artists in their studios and galleries, plus the chance to view and take part in performances and activities.  There will also be a “Kids’ Detour” which will feature family-friendly art-themed activities.

For a quintessential Arizona experience, check out Roots n’ Boots in Queen Creek.  This event will be March 17-19 this year from 9 am to 9 pm, and features a PRCA Pro-Rodeo, sorting competitions, community barrel roping, live entertainment, a carnival, vendors and several free family activities.   This event is hosted at the Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Center at 20464 E. Riggs Road.

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Beyond Backyard Birthday Parties

az on the rocks facility photoWhile backyard birthday parties can be the perfect way to celebrate your child’s special day, sometimes it’s fun to think outside the box and host the party elsewhere.  These options mean zero clean-up for you, and lots of fun for the birthday guest of honor and all of their guests.

  1. Butterfly Wonderland.  This new venue offers a fun way to learn about butterflies, as well as to interact with these beautiful creatures in the rainforest atrium.  Butterfly Wonderland offers three different party packages with two different themes: butterflies or bugs.  The packages include all-day admission (plus the 3D theatre) for up to 15 children and 3 adults, a decorated party room, a fruit platter and a birthday cake or cupcakes.  (Pizza is available for an additional charge).
  2. Amazing Jake’s Food and Fun.  This 90,000-square foot indoor amusement park houses a carousel, bumper cars, bowling, laser tag, tea-cup ride, roller coaster and go carts, plus dozens of video games.  There is also a giant buffet restaurant onsite offering pasta, pizza, salads, soup and dessert.  Birthday party packages include unlimited buffet access, a reserved party area, balloon bouquet ad rides for the party guests.  A minimum of 10 guests required.
  3. AZ On the Rocks.  This indoor climbing gym in north Scottsdale features 14,000-square feet of climbing walls, and claims to be the largest such gym in Arizona.  Birthday party packages include a sleepover option.  All party packages include climbing gear for 10 guests plus hosts to facilitate the party and climbers.  Additional options include pizza, drinks, ice cream, cake and goody bags.
  4. Circus School of Arizona.  This exciting option offers kids the change to learn circus arts such as aerial silks, tight rope, the trapeze, hula hooping, and more.  These arts are taught by professional circus performers.  Additional party package options include balloon artists, face painting, character performers and more.  A minimum of 7 guests is required.
  5. Enchanted Island Amusement Park.   Located within Encanto Park in central Phoenix, this outdoor amusement park is a fun place to host an outdoor birthday party this time of year.  There are various packages which can include unlimited rides, a party hostess, a shaded party area, decorations and ice cream.  One such party is the Pirate’s Cove Party which features a charcoal grill and a private bounce house or inflatable obstacle course within a one-acre private party area.

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A Day at the Museum

Here in the Valley of the Sun, we are culturally blessed with a plethora of museums to visit.  Whether your interest is music, art, history or science, there is a place for you to enjoy.  Here are a few of the more popular options . . .

Phoenix Art Museum—The largest art museum in the Southwestern United States, the Phoenix Art Museum is home to a large collection of art, sculpture in the outdoor garden, as well as festivals, art films, live performances, and photography exhibitions.  The website is updated with current as well as future special exhibits so you’ll never miss whatever is new. There are a restaurant and a Museum Store on site.

Heard Museum—This museum focuses on American Indian art and history, and offers a fascinating, in depth look at this beautiful culture.  With a combination of contemporary art by Native Americans as well as ancient artifacts and textiles, the history of the tribes is well-represented and presented.

Children’s Museum of Phoenix—This incredible, multi-story museum literally has something for every age.  Babies will enjoy the baby areas, toddlers will be able to enjoy most of the areas and elementary-age children will have the run of the entire museum.  Packed full of interactive exhibits from the Noodle Forest, to the recreated grocery store and restaurant, to the book loft, art studio and multi-story Schuff-Perini climber, this museum can easily take an entire day to discover.

MIM museum photoMusical Instrument Museum—This incredible museum is ranked in the top 20 museums in the United States by Trip Advisor.  With over 360 exhibits, representing every nation, this comprehensive museum is a delight for adults and children alike.  The MIM lets you experience all facets of music via sound, videos, and instrument exhibits.  The onsite café is also very popular.

Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve—This museum on a 47-acre Sonoran Desert preserve features the largest concentration of Native American petroglyphs in the Phoenix area.

Arizona Science Center—This center is popular with all ages, but children especially will enjoy its many interactive and hands-on exhibits.  Be sure to check out the planetarium, the IMAX movie and any special exhibits.  Free coupons are sometimes available to Phoenix Library members.

Day Trips in Arizona

SedonaBeating the heat in Phoenix and Scottsdale during the dog days of summer is no easy feat.  Sometimes the best way to escape the heat is to escape entirely, even if only for a day.  Here are some popular day trips to consider this summer . . .

Pack up your camera equipment and head north to Sedona for the day.  Sedona is a mecca for hikers, mountain bikers, golfers, art lovers AND shoppers, all of who will enjoy the jaw-dropping vistas of Sedona’s red rock formations.  First-time visitors to Sedona may want to consider signing up for a Jeep tour which is an exciting, off-road way to experience Sedona.   If you time your visit right, you may be able to enjoy one of Sedona’s many festivals.

Lake Pleasant Regional Park.  This gorgeous park is located on Carefree Highway, about 15 miles west of the I-17 freeway.  This 23,000-acre desert park has the beautiful Lake Pleasant as its crown jewel.  There is a fee to enter the park ($6 per vehicle), and there are multiple ways to enjoy this desert oasis.  From fishing, boating and hiking to camping and swimming, there is something for everyone at Lake Pleasant.

Grand Canyon.  The Grand Canyon is only 4 to 4.5 hours north of metropolitan Phoenix, so it’s entirely possible to make the Grand Canyon a destination for a day trip.  Assuming you don’t want to hike into the canyon or take a mule trip down its depths, you will have a good 4-5 hours to take in the stunning vistas of this national park without having to find overnight accommodations.

Verde Canyon Railroad.  This is a fantastic day trip any time of year, and you’re sure to see abundant wildlife as well as Indian dwellings.  The train leaves from Clarksdale, about 2 hours north of Phoenix, and is ridden 4 hours (out and back) along the Verde River through the gorgeous Verde Canyon.   Consider taking one of the moonlight trips during the summer months, to experience the Sonoran Desert after dark.

Jerome.   This is a must-see for visitors to AND residents of Arizona.  This historic copper mining town is located between Prescott and Flagstaff, at 5,200 feet elevation, and is only 90 miles from Phoenix.  This mountainside town features lots of shopping, dining and art, all within historic buildings.  This fun day trip is suitable for all ages.

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