A man-made forest of native, drought-tolerant plants shamelessly gulps carbon dioxide from the air within Desert Foothills Gardens Nursery, a plant hub that also churns out pottery, fountains, sculptures, and more. Hundreds of varieties of plants vie for attention, from aloes and agaves to bougainvilleas and yuccas. Grace the top of your top hat with a one-gallon golden barrel cactus ($6), or grab a five-gallon purple prickly pear ($19) to accentuate the poolside. Various sizes of cardoons, saguaros, and white Argentine giants are also available.
Bead Bar's bead baristas guide jewelry crafters with a wealth of bauble knowledge, provisioning projects from the amply stocked store. Students can bring their own spirited refreshments to make sessions merrier, journeying past bead-bedazzled walls and cascades of clasps to reach the workshop, where they'll discover the basics of jewelry creation during basic stringing and crimping classes (click here to view the schedule). After pupils choose one of five bracelet kits—which include a clasp, four fire-ball beads, finishing beads, wire, wire guards, and a strand of firepolish beads—instructors model foundational stringing techniques and imbue new crafters with a sense of symmetry and color combinations. Bracelet makers learn how to highlight feature beads and artfully select accent beads, then take an oath to use filler beads only for fighting crimes of bare-wristedness. To bring closure to both classes and adornments, the staff imparts advice on selecting clasps to make sure bracelets can't leave wrists or ankles without asking permission first.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Sealy mattress sets
Pro Tip: Above all, lie down on a few mattresses. Select the one that feels supportive at your comfort level.
Walk-ins Welcome: Yes
Thirty minutes, once a week. That's all it takes at Hubbard Family Swim School for a young child to master breath control, find their buoyancy, and backstroke straight into the world of swimming. Classes are broken into eight swimming levels, beginning when children are only 2 months old. In Baby Splash, instructors and parents both enter the pool, where they help little ones build a confidence in water. Beginning at age 3, students can dive into more difficult classes such as Jellyfish and Lobster, so named for the ocean species with the most Olympic gold medals. Masterful strokes can take kids into Hubbard Family Swim School's recreational teams, which compete during the summer.
Of course, the aquatic lesson plans are only as good as the instructors themselves, and Hubbard Family Swim School boasts an expert faculty at its locations in Phoenix, Peoria, and Mesa. Each of these swim instructors gets ample hands-on training and continuing-education courses throughout the year. Floating atop this sea of talent are Bob and Kathy Hubbard, the company's founders. Both grew up as active swimmers, and they made sure that each of their eight kids learned to swim at a young age—something that led to countless hours of boating, swimming, and snorkeling. Hubbard Family Swim School is the manifestation of their two loves: family and swimming.
In 1975, Jay Kogan's parents opened up a store that was literally a hall of frames—just a small store stacked with thousands of frames. At the time, they had no idea that that tiny corridor would expand to 12 locations throughout the greater Phoenix area, all still run by the Kogan family. Today, their shops have more than 4,500 custom frame options along with mats of all colors and textures, as well as seven glazing choices and expert assembly. They can answer framing questions and frame everything from documents and artwork to posters and small 3-D objects such as sports memorabilia and very still grandmothers.
When they custom-produce frames, the family cuts their mats exactly, miters frame corners precisely, and installs flawless glass. Or, since the stores' walls are lined with ready-made frames, customers can walk in and find what they're looking for quickly. Since installing framed art is an art unto itself, they also offer hanging services with an eye for placement and ability to install in difficult spaces.
Lighting Unlimited is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel for its clientele, with each of its four locations beaming with endless design possibilities born of a 5,000-strong stock of light bulbs and ballasts. A hefty catalog puts shoppers in easy reach of 50,000 more such accessories from more than 30 manufacturers, including Philips, Westinghouse, and Sylvania. Tasked with wrangling the multitude of fixtures, the staff of certified lighting specialists helps shoppers pinpoint specific bulbs and design lighting layouts for landscapes using underwater, directional, and putting-green fixtures. Complementing the luminescent selection, they feature an array of parts and accessories, including light sockets, colored gel sheets, and flashlights that have the power to make or break a shadow puppet's career with the flick of a switch.:m]]