Saddle Bronc Grill plunks its guests straight into the middle of a sci-fi western. A hitching post augments the restaurant's saloon-like exterior, where customers are more likely to see motorcycles than horses waiting out front. Napkins have been switched out for bandanas at each table, and the soft glow of 13 flat-screen televisions illuminates the wooden slats of the walls. This blend of genres is no accident—the grill strives to be a country-western bar with all the comforts of the modern era, allowing diners to snack on classic cowboy food even as they follow their favorite sports team. Live bands twang away on weekend evenings, and the Tavern Poker League takes place on Thursday, though players needn't abide by traditional frontier rules that force the loser to eat his own spurs.
The menu, meanwhile, remains faithful to an entirely rustic ambiance. Broasted chicken and flat-iron steaks follow appetizers such as fried onion rings. Side dishes pay homage to the snacks of hungry ranch hands, running the gamut from corn bread and sweet potato fries to a potato-stuffed poblano pepper. To conclude meals, Rock Springs Café populates the Into the Sunset dessert list with a rotating selection of homemade pies.
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.
Pinz celebrates classic ten-pin competition with open hours throughout the week, league opportunities, and cosmic bowling each weekend. The newly renovated facility is now outfitted with synthetic bowling surfaces, glow-in-the-dark carpeting, and flat-screen television sets. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the lanes take on glowing hues that emulate the experience of bowling under the Northern Lights without the inconvenience of getting frostbite. Pinz’s onsite kitchen dishes up quick specialties to fill bellies, and the facility’s game room is equipped with pool tables, air-hockey tables, and a digital jukebox capable of plucking old 45s from the far reaches of the Internet.
Amy Tuso aims to capture in vibrant acrylics and oils the joy of both the creative act itself and the subject of her choice–whether that be a minimalist, abstract take on cloud formation or a somewhat-pulpy rendition of a cowboy riding a mechanical bull. Browse her gallery to sample the radiant spectra of her brushjitsu. Small pieces start at $25, while her largest pieces range from $55–$65, with all gradations of pricing and dimensions in between.
Green Zebra Adventures allows participants a chance to steer the unparalleled terrain ferry that is the Tomcar through a portion of 23,000 acres of the Sonoran Desert. At the beginning of the three–four hour tour, you can flip a talismanic clump of desert dust to determine who will take the wheel first. After setting out on a relatively mellow road to get a handle on the vehicle, passengers will follow their guide out onto the breathtaking uneven terrain. Scheduled stops grant opportunities to switch drivers, snap photos of saguaro cacti, and take a quick dip in the Verde River (weather permitting). Aside from an appetite for brush, rocks, and path-invading cacti, your desert chariot comes equipped with four-point racing-regulated safety belts that ensure Mom's piece of mind as you zip over the Sonoran path. Four-wheel independent suspension and a high ground clearance allow passengers to enjoy the off-road experience without the whiplash and jostle-hip commonly associated with all-terrain vehicles.
Just two blocks from Fountain Hills' famous 560-foot fountain, Fountain Bowl stands as a monument itself, celebrating strikes, spares, and even the occasional split. After its 2009 renovation, the family-friendly alley now boasts shiny new lanes, pin-spotter machines, glow-in-the-dark carpeting, and flat-screen TVs. With two friends and a frenemy, 10-pin fans can fill up four seats at one bowling lane, throwing slashes and Xs for as many as three rabble-rousing rounds.