Though glimpsed by many people for the first time on an episode of The Amazing Race, the desert acres traversed by Fort McDowell Adventures are steeped in millennia of Yavapai Indian history. Guides lead visitors across the Arizonan foothills on a range of outdoorsy and sometimes anachronistic adventures, such as cattle drives and Segway tours through the Sonoran desert, kayaking adventures on the Verde River, and nature walks with Yavapai Indians. These excursions often end in nighttime wiener roasts, s'mores, and cocktails, a break from the frontier tradition of telling campfire sci-fi stories.
Activities at Fort McDowell Adventures’s four venues further immerse guests in the American Western experience. They gather for Dutch oven–style cowboy cookouts and depart for wilderness excursions from The Stables. At La Puesta del Sol, guests pass through a Spanish mission entrance into a dining hall, saloon, stage, and dance floor, and at Rosa's Ranch, they gather under the stars and around cookout fire pits nestled between rustic wooden ranch buildings. Groups dine at The Boulder House, named on the National Registry of Historic Places, whose rock walls bear evidence of petroglyphs, Native American occupation, and ancient spelunking expeditions.
The giraffe smells a food pellet. He pokes his head just over the railing and starts sniffing for the guest holding his treat. Not far off, some brightly plumed parrots land on another visitor’s arm, spying the tasty apple slices in her hand. Though you can’t get this close to every animal at Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium—such as the lions and the wild Larry Fitzgeralds—the keepers do facilitate animal-human exchanges as often as possible with the zoo’s more than 600 species. They also give visitors novel views of some exhibits by welcoming them aboard the Skyride, the Australian boat ride, and the African train safari. The adjacent aquarium adds to the zoo’s impressive animal collection, housing more than 75 exhibits and enough water to start a new earth colony.
Further attractions include a children’s petting zoo, daily shows, and a baby-animal nursery. At the 15-acre Safari Park, guests stroll or ride the tram through animal habitats, where they can spy on species that live on the other side of the equator. Wildlife World also features two restaurants where guests can feed themselves and their own helpless progeny.
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.
Powered by 270cc Honda engines, the SODI go-karts at Speed Street Indoor Race Track generate 9 horsepower while rocketing around the 1/3-mile track at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Fit for drivers of all skill levels, aged 7 and older, the karts and their pilots whiz through the track as tire walls, helmets, and the ghost of Henry Ford protect them at all times. Races mimic the action of big-league sprints, and onlookers can watch the action on the track or on TV screens around the complex. Speed Street Indoor Race Track welcomes birthday parties and corporate events, outfitting its media rooms with A/V equipment and full-service catering. It also organizes league racing, giving drivers the opportunity to compete for a spot in Speed Street's elite hall of fame.
Each Skateland & Great Skate location maintains an arsenal of tools for family fun: rows and rows of orange wheeled roller-skates, breezy air-hockey boards, and colorful arcade games. As skaters show their rolly-rink prowess, they whiz past colorful murals, depicting fireworks against a black backdrop or a beach populated by surfers and elderly grains of sand. When resting legs, kids operate claw machines, attempt levitating along with air-hockey pucks, or try their hands at skee-ball to win tickets that they can redeem for prizes. Add a reserved area, a party host, pop, and pizza to the equation, and the roller rinks also make for a exciting birthday.
At Jambo! Park, children uncork bottled up energy as they spring across an indoor playground sprawling with jungle-themed rides, family-friendly games, and towering play structures. The fun factory's Phoenix locale manufactures raucous laughter and endless enjoyment with myriad attractions, including the Himalaya mini roller coaster, Monkey Barrels ride, and Spin Tops ride. Families can settle disputes over who's the favorite child in a pirate-themed laser-tag arena or club their way through the six greens of a mini-golf course. Miniature pilots control their altitude as they circle around on the Flying Elephants ride or take a spin on the Jungle Swing ride. Little conductors can take in the views on the Safari Train. A three-level play structure festooned with tubes and slides welcomes climbers and sliders, and more than 90 nonviolent video games jangle merrily in the arcade.