At Central Arizona Riding Academy, instructors Uli Schmitz, Dorie Schmitz, and Mary Jane Parmentier espouse a simple equestrian system. They believe that by combining positive reinforcement, professional training, and good, old-fashioned family-friendliness, they can groom students to excel as lifelong horseback riders. They accept students of all ages and ability levels into the program at their 10-acre facility, and coach them on building strength and confidence inside a pair of all-weather footing arenas. Students can learn the finer points of dressage and eventing, or stick with basic riding, which comes in handy when the mounted police pull onto the road behind you.
Though the calendar maintains that it's still the 21st century, the experienced cowfolk at MD Ranch take visitors back to the Wild West with horsemanship and equestrian knowledge that's been perfected across the centuries. Joining them is a herd of well-trained horses, who itch to take riders on vigorous romps across the Sonoran Desert landscapes of San Tan Mountain Regional Park. The only outfitters in the mountains, the ranch's seasoned guides lead experienced or first-time riders along desert trails, trotting past stately cacti on all-day and sunset excursions or galloping in search of far-off coyote choruses during intense ranch rides. The herd contains a wide range of horse personalities–from horses that are safe for even the most inexperienced riders to those with enough go for seasoned cowboys. On-site trainers work with steeds and riders alike, teaching students of all ages the techniques of English and Western riding as well as basic horsemanship and equine care skills.
Charming Pony Parties elevates children?s birthday celebrations to fairy-tale status by inviting a few very special guests?ponies. Ponies are hand-led by staffers to let both the children and the ponies enjoy the open air. Whether the party is held at a park, at home, or on the center?s spacious ranch, the ponies dress for the occasion by donning unicorn horns, flowers, and colored hair spray, making it easy to match any princess, pirate, cowboy, or knight theme a child desires. Meanwhile, extras such as bounce castles and snow-cone machines, and events like the barn party, castle party, and the upcoming pirate ship party, add even more excitement.
Sprawling across 392 acres and home to thousands of unusual plant and animal species, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum is far from a standard classroom. Here, people learn through exploration rather than through textbooks; they’re able to smell the plants they study and ask native squirrels for direct quotes about soil quality. Jaunts through the park cover a range of terrain. Butting up against the northern face of Picketpost Mountain, the park encompasses canyons, hills, and trails carefully landscaped to duplicate arid environments from around the globe. The cactus garden features plants both sinuous and spiny, creating a vast collection of shapes and textures nestled into the dusty red landscape. Queen Creek Canyon provides respite from the sun, its towering trees thriving in the cool shade. Visitors pick up tips on how to enhance their own yards in the demonstration garden of drought-tolerant plants, which are relatively easy to care for except for when they demand chocolate milk. Additional education can be found in classes and lectures held at the Smith Interpretive Center.
Lauded by the Phoenix New Times as the best indoor skate park in town, Xtreme Air Jump 'N Skate captures 30,000 square feet of adrenaline-tinged family fun and transforms it into a high-flying jump park and a custom-designed skate park.The park's 54 connected trampolines, velcro wall, and Slamball courts provide ample entertainment for those without boards, and skateboarders and scooters can launch into the foam pit and rip the rails and ramps at the 10,000-square-foot park while attentive staff monitor them closely. Near the skate park, the Little Xtremers park pumps up inflatable castles where children aged 5 and younger can perform bouncing renditions of Hamlet. Parents can await playing progeny at the Grind Cafe, watch their kids on the large screen viewing TV, or just relax in the Parents' Lounge.
JumpStreet is an indoor trampoline park where taut floors and angled walls made of springy trampoline surfaces beckon children and adults to bounce back and forth or try aerodynamic flips and gravity-defying leaps. The arena is structured like a skateboard park, though bouncers don’t need any equipment to hop across the wall-to-wall planes or climb up, slide down, or spring off the tilted trampoline walls, which can also be used to recreate the summer Olympics’ popular trampoline belly-flop event. Guests can hop on over to the springy dodgeball courts, where safe, competitive play is enhanced with ample bouncing, and arcades and batting cages offer engaging activities for those who need to rest their feet. Scattered across JumpStreet’s various locations are an assortment of other safe, kinetic activities, including a bull ride, a multicolored maze, and a foam pit.