Try some of these intriguing events around the state. Get out and explore Arizona.
5/11-12: Western Trade Days
See how the West was fun at an event with everything from gold panning to pony rides. Watch a blacksmith practice the time-honored craft, and see how chainsaw artists can turn ordinary logs into works of art. There also will be cowboy poetry, weaving demonstrations and live music to enjoy as you browse more than 60 vendors.
Details: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 11-12. Nota Ranch, Central Avenue just north of Eighth Street, Mayer. Free. 928-925-9898, www.facebook.com/WesternTradeDays.
5/12: Wildlife Festival
Viewing wildlife in the actual wild can be very time consuming, if not dangerous depending on the wildlife being viewed. This festival brings the wildlife to you in safe and educational ways. See rattlesnakes, alligators, birds of prey and more courtesy of Arizona Game and Fish. There also are games to play and fish to catch.
Details: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, May 12. Green Valley Park, 1000 W. Country Club Drive, Payson. Free. 928-472-5110, www.paysonrimcountry.com/wildlife-festival.
5/12: World Migratory Bird Day
World Migratory Bird Day began in 2006 as an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. Join in these kid-friendly activities, educational displays and guided bird walks.
Details: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, May 12. Red Rock State Park, 4050 Red Rock Loop Road, Sedona. $7, $4 for ages 7-13. www.azstateparks.com/red-rock.
5/13: Riordan Second Sunday Special Tour
Step back to 1904 and hear stories of survival and success in young Flagstaff as the Riordan ladies share their tales during a guided mansion tour. These popular tours are recommended for age 12 and older. Space is limited, so reservations are required. Reservations and information can be obtained by calling the park. Does not include regular tour admission to Riordan Mansion.
Details: 2-3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 13. Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, 409 W. Riordan Road, Flagstaff. $15. www.azstateparks.com/riordan.
5/12-13: Festival of the Arts
Artists from the Kingman area set up shop at this annual festival. More than 70 vendors are happy to exchange their goods and services for your cash. You’ll find paintings, photographs, ceramics, jewelry and much more in one location. There also will be live entertainment and plenty of food.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, May 12; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, May 13. Centennial Park, 3333 Harrison St., Kingman. Free. 928-716-5237, www.gokingman.com.
5/12-13: Mountain Artists Guild Fine Art & Wine Festival
Prescott — Arizona’s official quaint small town (or so it would seem) — hosts one of its more popular festivals as the picturesque Courthouse Plaza fills with more than 140 artisans offering their creations. You’ll find works in all sorts of media, including metal, ceramics, glass and canvas. Visit the wine garden for samples from local wineries.
Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, May 12; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, May 13. Courthouse Plaza, 120 S. Cortez St., Prescott. Free admission; charge for wine-tasting tickets. 928-445-2510, www.PrescottArtFestivals.com.
5/12-13: Yuma Territory Live Steamers
Catch a ride on Yuma’s mini railway and learn about railroading history and safety. The 7½-inch gauge railroad fits children and adults, and this is one of the last chances to ride before the season ends.
Details: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, May 12-13. 50 Prison Hill Road just below the Yuma Territorial Prison. A $2 donation per rider is suggested. 928-782-1988, yumalivesteamers.org.
Through 6/3: “One Trader’s Legacy: Steve Getzwiller Collects the West”
Steve Getzwiller, a cowboy, collector and Indian trader, has been collecting Native American and Western artifacts for almost 50 years. “One Trader’s Legacy,” at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, is the first time Getzwiller’s personal collection of paintings, rugs, pottery, baskets and guns are on public display.
Details: Through June 3. Desert Caballeros Western Museum, 21 N. Frontier St., Wickenburg. $12, $10 for seniors and AAA members, free for active military and a guest and for ages 17 and under. 928-684-2272, westernmuseum.org.
From afar it looks like a velvet pincushion, hundreds of needles piercing an earthen tapestry of desert hues. Closer inspection reveals an almost unreal landscape of stately saguaros stretching toward the sky, growing in numbers found only in this place.
Photographs and drawings often depict the saguaro as a loner, a single inhabitant on a barren plain that instills a sense of utter loneliness. But the truth emerges here where the cactus thrives, clustered in a forest lacking only a leafy canopy. Saguaro National Park is split into two districts, Tucson Mountain to the west and Rincon Mountain to the east. Tucson Mountain District is more accessible and has a vehicle-friendly loop drive that offers a scenic sampling. Take the short Valley View Overlook Trail to see the undulating waves of saguaro below.
Details: Saguaro National Park’s Tucson Mountain District is 110 miles south of Phoenix. The Rincon Mountain District is 134 miles southeast of Phoenix. www.nps.gov/sagu.
RELATED: At Saguaro National Park, a fragment of the Old West is necessary to preserve the future
A collection of well-preserved military buildings dating to the late 1800s plus a modern cultural museum. The Kinishba structure is about 4 miles away.
Details: 127 Scout St. Fort Apache. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday in summer, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday the rest of the year. $5, $3 for age 64 and older and students, free for age 6 and younger. 928-338-4625, www.wmat.nsn.us/fortapachepark.htm.
Ongoing: Valley of the Moon
Details: 2544 E. Allen Road, Tucson. Open evenings on the first Saturday of each month, and for special events. www.tucsonvalleyofthemoon.com. A 2.3-acre park built from 1923 to 1932 by spiritualist George Legler, who offered tours of this “fairy world” complete with actors, storytellers and musicians.
Ongoing: Watson Lake
Watson Lake is beautifully situated in the rocky wonderland of Prescott’s Granite Dells. A private company rents canoes and kayaks right on the lake, or bring your own boat. The lake is not stocked, but contains warm-water species. The 5.2-mile Peavine National Recreation Trail loops around the lake and is popular with hikers, bicyclists and equestrians.
Fish species in the lake include: largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish and catfish. There is no store at the lake, so bring your own supplies.
Details: 3101 Watson Lake Road, Prescott, 928-777-1550, cityofprescott.net/services/parks/parks/index.php?id=24.
Ongoing: Lowell Observatory
Lowell Observatory was founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell, a wealthy Bostonian with a keen interest in astronomy. The original 24-inch telescope was built in Boston and shipped to Flagstaff. Today, the scope no longer is used for research but to educate the 70,000 people who visit the observatory every year. Lowell devoted his time and fortune to the search for Planet X, one that had been theorized to exist beyond Neptune, the eighth planet in our solar system. Percival Lowell died in 1913. His search finally bore fruit in 1930 when Pluto was discovered.
Details: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. 1400 W. Mars Hill Road, Flagstaff. $15, $14 for seniors, college students and AAA members, $8 for ages 5-17, free for age 4 and younger.. 928-774-3358, lowell.edu.
Ongoing: Arizona Horseback Experience
In the beautiful mountainous grasslands of Sonoita, we discovered a fun adventure that brings the Old West to Arizona’s New West. Arizona Horseback Experience has created a one-of-a-kind tour that takes you on horseback through canyons and hills you could not see any other way. Stop along the way and take in spectacular views, and the cherry on this ride is a delicious lunch and a tasting of some of Arizona’s best wines. Kick back enjoy your wine; Arizona Horseback Experience will safely drive you back.
Details: 16 Coyote Court, Sonoita. $180 per person. 520-455-5696; www.horsebackexperience.com.
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Go to azcentral.com/exploreaz on your smartphone or tablet to access almost 500 recommendations for the best places to eat, play and stay in 14 destinations around Arizona, chosen by The Republic’s dining, travel and things-to-do experts. You’ll also find top-10 lists of the state’s best spas, golf courses and more.
Ongoing: O.K. Corral
The O.K. Corral is the centerpiece of any Tombstone visit. The gunfight re-enactment takes place at 2 p.m. It lags in spots but ends with a flourish of well-staged carnage. Tour C.S. Fly’s Photo Studio, study the models occupying the shootout site and watch an old-time blacksmith at work. Before leaving, don’t miss the Historama, a sweetly clunky multimedia show from 1963 that’s narrated by the least cowboylike star available at the time, Vincent Price.
Details: $10; free for age 5 and younger. 326 E. Allen St. 520-457-3456, okcorral.com.
If you’ll be taking visitors to the Grand Canyon over the holidays, make a detour at Williams to visit Bearizona. This drive-through zoo offers a chance to see wildlife from the comfort of your car.
A series of gated exhibits features Rocky Mountain goats, American burros, bison, Arctic wolves, Alaskan tundra wolves, Dall sheep, Rocky Mountain sheep and black bears. You must remain in your car through the drive-through area, where animals are free to roam.
You’re welcome to stroll about in the walking area. Animals here include a red fox, bears, lynx, raccoons and javelinas. There also are a petting zoo and gift shop. The park is open daily year-round. (Closed on Christmas.)
Details:1500 E. Route 66, Williams. 928-635-2289, bearizona.com.
Ongoing: Tombstone at Twilight
Explore Tombstone’s Old West shops and attractions during the city’s new monthly Tombstone at Twilight events.
During the early-evening hours, tourists and residents can shop and enjoy free entertainment. A mock shootout features the Blood at Dusk Gunfighters, and many residents stroll Allen Street dressed in 18th- and 19th-century clothing.
Details: The event is held on the last Saturday of each month. Along Allen Street in Tombstone. Free. www.facebook.com/TombstoneAtTwilight.
Ongoing: Fort Verde
Fort Verde was the site of mass surrenders in 1873 by Yavapai and Apache people who grew weary of fighting and were cut off from supplies. Today, there are three buildings for park visitors to explore: the living quarters for the commanding officer, the surgeon’s quarters and the quarters for bachelor officers. Rooms are furnished in the style of the times — the living spaces for the commanding officer and the doctor show an attempt to bring Old World class to the Wild West. Furniture is ornate and Victorian. The museum in the visitor center explains the fort’s history.
Details: 125 E. Hollamon St., Camp Verde. 928-567-3275, azstateparks.com/Parks/FOVE.
Ongoing: San Xavier del Bac
San Xavier del Bac restoration projects goes on year around to preserve an historic monument in the Tohono O’odham Nation near Tucson, Az.
This striking church, about 10 miles south of Tucson, was begun by Franciscans in 1783 and finished 14 years later. Today, the “White Dove of the Desert” serves the Tohono O’odham community with daily Masses, religious ceremonies and a school. Visitors can tour the church and its elaborate murals, statues and museum, which offers exhibits and a 20-minute video on the mission’s history. Then they can move outside and rest their eyes in the tranquil courtyard or walk over to the nearby cemetery. Remember, it’s an active church, so be respectful of worshipers.
Details: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. 1950 W. San Xavier Road. Free; donations accepted. 520-294-2624, www.sanxaviermission.org.
Ongoing: Hoover Dam
One of the most striking features in western Arizona is Hoover Dam, the 726-foot-tall stopper of the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada. It was built in Black Canyon during the Great Depression and dedicated on Sept. 30, 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The Bureau of Reclamation offers tours of the dam (1 hour) and power plant (30 minutes). Tours start with a 70-second elevator ride down 54 stories to one of the tunnels built to divert the river away from the construction site. It takes you to the Nevada wing of the power plant, home to eight generators, mostly used to power Southern California.
Spend some time in the visitor center, which has interactive exhibits and a visual and audio history of the dam’s construction.
Details: About 75 miles north of Kingman on U.S. 93. 702-494-2517, www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam.
Ongoing: Grand Canyon Railway tour
The Grand Canyon Railway’s historical steam locomotive No. 4960, outfitted to operate on environment-friendly waste vegetable oil, will depart from Williams Depot and take you to the Big Ditch.
Details: 9:30 a.m.-5:45 p.m. daily. 233 N. Grand Canyon Blvd., Williams. $59-$75; $29-$45 for age 15 or younger. 928-635-1418, experiencewilliams.com; 800-843-8724, thetrain.com.
Ongoing: Red Rock State Park
Drop in to learn something about the Oak Creek ecosystem, Arizona history and the formation of those majestic red rocks. The park offers environmental education, guided nature walks and daily presentations.
Details: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Guided nature walks at 10 a.m. Daily activities and presentations at 2 p.m. The park is southwest of Sedona on State Route 89A. $5. 928-282-6907, azstateparks.com/parks/rero.
Ongoing: The Smoki Museum
The Smoki Museum’s mission is to promote understanding of and respect for American Indian cultures of the Southwest. The museum holds two Navajo rug auctions each year. Auctioneer Bruce Burnham will help the uninitiated learn about the art forms.
Details: Smoki Museum, 147 N. Arizona Ave. Prescott, AZ. Free. 928-445-1230, smokimuseum.org.
Ongoing: Woods Canyon Lake
Get out of town, and rent a boat or just walk a trail around this Mogollon Rim lake. Anglers can fish for stocked trout. The lake is within a short distance of scenic viewpoints along the Rim, about 45 minutes from Payson.
Details: The turnoff to Woods Canyon Lake is 29 miles northeast on Arizona 260. Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests: 928-333-4301, www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf.
Ongoing: Lynx Lake
Lynx Lake is a blue gem just a few miles from the bustle of downtown. Nestled in the green hills of the northern Bradshaw Mountains and surrounded by tall pines, scrub oak and manzanita, the lake is a quiet getaway because only boats with electric motors, sails, paddles or oars are permitted. You may bring your own — kayaks and canoes are popular — or rent one at Lynx Lake Store starting in the last week of March. An easy, 2.3-mile trail loops the lake, and there are two campgrounds nearby.
Details: 928-443-8000, www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott. Lynx Lake Store, 928-778-0720.
Ongoing: Big Lake
Spend time at one of eastern Arizona’s nicest high-elevation lakes. Rent a boat, fish for trout, hike one of the nearby trails or just camp out. The lake, nestled in the cool pines, is just one of several in the scenic White Mountains.
Details: Boat rentals at 928-521-1387, biglakeaz.com/index.htm.
Ongoing: Sahuaro Ranch
Did you know date-palm trees can live more than 100 years? They do, and you can see many fine specimens at the Sahuaro Ranch Park Historic Area, which also has historic buildings, barnyard and fruit orchards. Tour the Main House Museum, built between 1891-98, and learn about the history of the people who lived there.
Details: Grounds open 6 a.m.-sunset. Tours 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Sahuaro Ranch Park Historic Area, 9802 N. 59th Ave., Glendale. Free. 623-930-4200, glendaleaz.com/srpha.
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