Servers and patrons alike crunch across scattered peanut shells on the way to their tables at Teakwoods, a boisterous neighborhood watering hole crowned Best Sports Bar in 2009 by Phoenix New Times. A team of chefs cooks up classic American eats, including half-pound burgers, meaty sandwiches, and their award-winning wings, which can heat up gastro-chambers and cargo-pants pockets with flavors such as medium, hot, and honey-barbecue hot. As bartenders pour draft beers and concoct tasty libations, guests can catch their favorite sporting events on one of many high-definition TVs that broadcast events from the MLB, NFL, and UFC. When guests can't make it to the restaurant, Teakwoods' chefs cater fare to events, gatherings, and parties.
On tandem flights, Sonora Wings Hang Gliding's instructors, who are certified by the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, take their customers to soaring altitudes, where they glide like birds over Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. The unique vantage point allows for breathtaking views—wild mustangs running through the desert, distant mountains, and red-tailed hawks that soar within a robotic arm's grasp. To reach these heights, hang gliders are towed behind the company's Dragonfly, a small aircraft specifically designed to launch hang gliders. Sonora Wings Hang Gliding's pilots and instructors take off on these adventures from sunrise to sunset, and they can capture each moment on HD video.
Foothills Golf Group’s four golf courses each carry the company’s signature: immaculately groomed sweeping landscapes. The 7,142-yard behemoth that is Club West Golf Club showcases this purity of the turf with a challenging course design filled with elevation changes and stunning views of the surrounding hillsides. The Duke At Rancho El Dorado and The Foothills Golf Club represent classic Arizona golf, leading players along a lush emerald carpet that winds through a desert landscape peppered with shrubs and cacti. The 6,713-yard Ahwatukee Country Club rounds out the portfolio with a fair layout that challenges all skill levels to keep the ball out of the desert sands haunted by the ghost of Peter O'Toole's caddy.
The roar of the plane engine recedes, and soon the only sound is the rushing of the air. The blue expanse of the sky extends endlessly in every direction—except straight down, where Phoenix is slowly blossoming from a satellite map into a 3-D skyline. With a snap, the parachute puffs into action and turns the 120-mile-per-hour descent into a gentle drift.
The instructors at Skydive Phoenix get to enjoy this experience almost daily. They also have the pleasure of inducting customers into the delights of controlled plummeting as they perform tandem dives in a dedicated drop zone—one of few to offer actual city views during the fall. Strapped to their customers, sky guides take care of all the important aspects of the dive so that their partner can just enjoy the sights and adrenaline. They also provide coaching for those who wish to work up to unchaperoned dives, which are the only way to meet single clouds.
Before 1998, Maurice Sheldon kept busy as a computer programmer, web technology teacher, and architect. But since his induction into the world of PPG (powered paragliding), "Mo" has won multiple accolades for his skills as a glider pilot, once winning third place at the USPPA national competitions. He endeavored to share his passion for flying above the desert landscapes outside Phoenix by opening Airparamo, a 1,500-square-foot paragliding equipment and instructional facility in Maricopa. He achieved an advanced instructor certification in 2003 and has helped hundreds of pilots learn to navigate solo flights and shoo away advancing rain clouds.
The house lights dim, and stage lights begin to brighten. As they rise, so do voices from a huddle of children at center stage. Their voices ring out clear and clean, unhindered by heavy instrumental accompaniment, a homage to the songbirds on Glee. In fact, this stage is set by Desert Sun Performing Arts' class of the same name. At Glee class, kids harmonize and move to Top 40 hits and Broadway classics. The class is one of the performing-arts offerings at the dance studio, which also holds classes in contemporary dance, ballet, jazz, lyrical, and tap.