Family travel to Phoenix, Arizona by Ann LoCicero
One of America's top outdoor destinations and the country's fifth largest city, it is not an accident that Phoenix is home to several of the best destination resorts located in the United States. Explore desert parks and lakes, tour archaeology ruins and historic gold mining towns, or visit one of the many the museums and state-of-the-art sporting facilities.
From Surprise to Apache Junction, the twenty distinct communities that make up the greater Phoenix area offer visitors everything from the slow-paced rural southwest to a bustling college atmosphere. Whether your interest is sports or archaeology, history or hiking, biking, horseback riding, or bird watching Phoenix offers something for everyone not wanting to venture beyond the Valley of the Sun.
Enjoy hiking, biking and horseback riding at the many area parks such as South Mountain, McDowell or Papago. And if quintessential southwest is your goal, explore Hohokam Indian ruins and participate in a simulated excavation at the Deer Valley Rock Art Center or pan for gold and tour a gold mine in Goldfield Ghost Town.
On the chance that it does rain or the kids simply need a break from the great outdoors, take advantage of Valley's cultural side. Children of all ages will enjoy exploring a re-created Zuni Pueblo and participating in hands-on activities at the Heard Museum, discovering science and technology at the Arizona Science Center, or taking in a performance at one of the children's theaters, Childsplay or Valley Youth Theatre.
While you will need to do a fair bit of planning if you intend to take advantage of the many activities unique to Phoenix, there is no need to venture very far. Many child-friendly activities are less than an hour's drive from anywhere in the Valley.
So if you are looking to escape the bitter cold of winter or an overcast rainy spring, plan a trip to Phoenix and once you've pulled your kids away from the numerous activities offered at your destination resort, explore a few of the many fun things to see and do in the Valley of the Sun.
The Sky Harbor International Airport is conveniently located in the heart of Phoenix. Direct flights to/from most U.S. locations. International flights to London (UK) and several cities in Canada and Mexico.
Your mode of transportation will greatly influence your options. While shuttle services will get you to and from your hotel and public transport will get you around downtown, families wishing to venture beyond their resort should consider renting a car. A light rail system is scheduled to begin operation in 2009.
When to travel
The best time to visit is from November to April.
Health & safety
Car seats are required for children weighing 40 pounds or less. Booster seats are required for children under the age of 8 or less than 4 feet 9 inches (144 cm) tall. Children under 12 should sit in
Things to keep in mind
Distance! The greater metropolitan area covers nearly 2000 square miles.
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About the Author
Ann LoCicero is the founder of www.kidscantravel.com an emergent website for families intent on making the most of their leisure time together.