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.
A volunteer-run and faith-based organization, The Clothes Cabin provides free clothing, shoes, and linens to low-income families. The organization accepts only new or gently used items that are then washed, ironed, and sorted by size to offer an experience similar to shopping at a retail store. Its volunteers served more than 1,000 families in 2011, providing more than 60,000 articles of clothing and household linens. The Clothes Cabin also has a free laundry service and, whenever possible, supplements clothing and linens with donations of books, hygiene items, toys, and diapers.
CYT Tucson immerses kids in a supportive environment that nurtures discipline and self-confidence while instructing the future thespians in the arts of the stage. Their introductory Rising Stars program acquaints children aged 5–7 to the magic of drama through games, dance, and the lesson that emotions can be faked to influence people other than relatives and mall Santas. Older students can enroll in specialized classes and devote their attention to the triple-threat disciplines of singing, dancing, and acting. They may also branch out into specialty courses on such topics as improv and stage fighting. Leading its charges through the production of a fully realized musical, the center also stages several shows, including past productions of Pocahontas and Annie in recent years.
On the Riptide slide, brave park goers grip small, yellow rafts as they descend down a nearly vertical 35-foot drop into a long alley of water. This thrilling ride is one of the Breaker Water Park's main attractions, joined by the twisting and turning Bonzai Pipeline—which propels bodies through a large jumble of pipes—and a massive wave pool filled with more than 1 million chlorinated gallons. The sprawling Breakers compound also has two food and refreshment stands and plenty of space for dining or relaxation. Sunbathers and those afflicted with wicked-witch syndrome can plant their beach towels and collect sunshine at one of many seating areas, and families with children too small for larger water slides can escort the tykes to Captain's Kidd's Surfari. A designated kids' area, the Surfari gives littler kids an oversized and waterlogged playground outfitted with wading pools, tamer slides, and elaborate sprinkler fountains.
Though it may have "saloon" in its name, this Western-themed eatery is appropriate for all ages. The restaurant area is often filled with families dining on burgers, half-pound BLTs, and fresh smoked brisket, while a separate bar area is set aside for more adult pastimes, such as sipping beers and cocktails, listening to local bands, or jumbling up Scrabble tiles to invent new words. Chefs grill up 8 oz. filet steaks topped with garlic butter or Blue Moon-battered cod filets for diners, who cheer on the sports teams playing on the TVs scattered throughout the restaurant. They also serve up a wide range of appetizers, such as sweet corn fritters, beer battered onion rings, and Southern-style chili potato skins.