Hop aboard an antique tractor to take a hayride tour of The Windmill Winery, which spans more than 100 acres of Arizona countryside, boasting historical buildings and breath-stealing scenery. Visitors can wind through the working farm to see a collection of early 20th-century buildings plus a host of farm animals humming nursery rhymes under their breath. Wine sippers can then drink in views of two lakes, the Gila River, and the Superstition Mountains before heading into the 1920s dairy barn to test palates with five signature wines culled from small and organic wineries. Learn about each wine's origin and how to pair it with the right culinary sidekicks, then sate grumbling bellies with a freshly grilled meal served on the back porch of the First Pinal County Sheriff's House. The night will wind down under the stars with a bonfire, s'mores, and bone-chilling stories about pairing fish and red wine.
Situated in a pristine 745-acre country club complete with an intimate outdoor-concert venue, The Good Life Festival concert series showcases legendary performers alongside boutique shopping, wine tastings, fine dining, and more. Best known for the hits "American Woman" and "These Eyes," Canadian classic-rockers The Guess Who will energize eardrums at 4 p.m. Three Dog Night will grace the stage at 6 p.m., breezing through the band's 12 gold records and 21 consecutive top-40 hits—seven of which have become European national anthems—including "Joy to the World" and "Mama Told Me Not to Come." When the festival opens at noon, shopping sages can peruse booths displaying clothing, custom furniture, fine cigars, and more, and culinary connoisseurs can sample tempting gourmet tidbits while partaking in more than a dozen varieties of wine.
A person steps onto the range and raises a pistol, aligning the sight not on a paper target, but on miniature pumpkins. To keep things fresh, the staff at Ted's Shooting Range likes giving both members and the general public a bit of novelty every now and then by furnishing range targets that range from bowling pins to balloons. Ted's NRA-certified instructors also train students during classes, such as their Basic Pistol and Home Defense courses.
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.
A safe space. That's what the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley give to more than 43,000 kids each year. But along with keeping kids out of harm's way after school lets out, the Boys & Girls Clubs enrich children's lives though their programs. Kids get creative in arts classes, learn social interaction and fitness skills in sports programs, and prepare for the future with technology courses that ensure they won't buy stock in companies that only produce floppy discs.
But the Boys & Girls Clubs impact kids beyond afterschool care. In addition to the East Valley clubs having the first Arizona club to serve a Native American community, the clubs' Ladmo branch has Mona Dixon, who was named National Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 2010.
Her path of success, encouraged by the Boys & Girls Clubs, led her from a girl homeless and worried about her family's survival to a young woman with a full ride to college and named one of the Top 28 Most Influential Black Women in America by Essence magazine.
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.