Everything from hands-on activities to appearances from storybook characters abounds at The Everything Kids Fest, a two-day celebration of the whimsical minds and innocent hearts of children. Among the many activities, kids and their families can construct new worlds at the Legoland California build arena, explore their fantasies at the Peter Pan pirate playground, and absorb animal-kingdom gossip from sheep, chickens, and goats at the petting zoo. Meanwhile, fairy-tale favorites such as Beauty from Beauty and the Beast, Tinker Bell, Cinderella, and the Fairy Godmother perform perform on the main stage. Local plush athletes including the Coyotes' Howler and the Suns' Gorilla ruffle each other's foam during competitive events.
UltraStar Cinemas cossets moviegoers in cushy seating as they enjoy Hollywood hits alongside buttery servings of popcorn. Film buffs can peruse the current showtimes by location to handpick an action-packed flick, romantic comedy, or chilling thriller featuring inexplicably aggressive hamsters. The concession stand outfits moviegoers with snacks, drinks, and buckets filled with warm kernels, keeping stomach grumblings to a minimum during showings and providing crunchy projectiles in case of sudden younger-sibling attacks. UltraStar Play it Again Cinemas also offers a selection of Hollywood hits for patrons to enjoy in high-back reclining chairs alongside snacks from the concession stand.
Phoenix Area Skydiving’s professional staff specializes in training and instilling confidence in first-time skydivers. They accompany these novices into compact aircraft for up to 120-mile-per-hour tandem free falls over the expansive Arizona desert landscape. Once up in the air, they field visitors’ questions about flight mechanics and often let them control the parachute, granting a more effective hands-on skydiving experience than wrestling with a ceiling fan. They also prepare visitors for solo flights with an accelerated free-fall program, and safeguard each diver’s safety with a technique briefing and gear check before every flight.
Local thespians Matt McAuley and Richard Vines banded together with the Dysart Community Education Department to conceptualize Ghostlight Theatre on the tenets of entertaining and educating the community with the dramatic arts. The theatre's live productions give members of the community an opportunity to flex their theatrical muscles through acting, designing costumes, and pursuing careers as prop trees. Meanwhile, Ghostlight Theatre’s summer camps prepare budding thespians aged 10–18 for their moments in the spotlight.
Since 2008, Dance Doctors has been committed to transforming students of all skill levels into confident, capable dancers. Dance Doctors’ professional instructors teach classes at two locations—a dance studio in Surprise and another in Mesa—providing easier access for students who have busy schedules or keep waking up in strange places. Instructors teach waltz, swing, and salsa steps to beginners and experts alike, and they also schedule Zumba dance-fitness classes that are set to upbeat latin music with a BPM of at least 1000.
By morning, Brady Bogen is "the voice of morality" on KUPD's Holmberg's Morning Sickness, but come lunchtime, the quirky radio personality dons another cap: barbecue aficionado. After finishing his radio shift, Brady heads over to his barbecue restaurant—Porkopolis—which he co-owns with seasoned restaurateur Matt Hamilton. You can spot Brady in the joint's dining room, captaining the bar, greeting customers, or digging into a juicy barbecue sandwich himself. Otherwise, he might be in the kitchen, directing chefs as they pile platters high with slices of tender brisket, pulled pork, and ribs. The skilled chefs smother platters with Brady's own brand of tangy sauces and pair dishes with classic sides such as mac 'n cheese, beans, and cornbread. For dessert, the chefs dish out apple crisp and handmade popsicles from Paletas Betty.
Customers hungrily inhale barbecue aromas as they await meals in the dining area—a space described by a Mouth By Southwest blogger as "sleek" and "modern." They bide the time by sipping draft beer and artisanal cocktails, including bacon bloody marys and drinks made with whiskey from Ole Smoky Distillery.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.