In 1966, Chuck Mabery bought a cattle ranch that dated back to the late 19th century, planting the seeds of the Blazin' M Ranch. After stints herding and growing vegetables, the flood of 1993 forced the Mabery family to start over, inspiring them to show off their musical talents at a traditional chuck-wagon dinner staged on the property. Fully renovated in 2010, the ranch now hosts an authentic Arizona frontier town where visitors can experience the cowboy life through such activities as lassoing mechanical steers, shooting wax bullets out of a real Colt .45, and learning how to easily covert ten-gallon hats into metric. A selection of shops fits customers out in Western-themed apparel, the copper Spur Saloon serves local wines and microbrews, and a museum delves into the history of the ranch, pioneer-era Arizona, and the Yavapai-Apache Nation. An old-time photo studio, "Pistols and Petticoats", allows groups to have their likeness captured while wearing Victorian costumes. At the museum, the unique Wood'n West Gallery enthralls visitors with moving dioramas of Western life, hand carved over 30 years by a master whittler.
Running with 1,500-pound bulls is inherently dangerous—the organizers of the stateside Running with the Bulls don't deny that. But that doesn't mean that the thrill of Pamplona has to come with the mistreatment of the animals, which is why participants who hit, slap, harass, or otherwise impede the progress of the bulls will be removed from the venue. With those distractions aside, spectators can focus on the essence of the run: watching 12 horn-swinging bulls dash through a quarter-mile course on the heels of runners who must have heard that this event was called Running with the Lambs. But the event gives the community more than elevated heart rates, as each three-day spectacle begins with a charity run that benefits Operation Hawkeye, an organization that supports the families of Special Operations forces who've been killed in combat.
Nestled within 18,500 square feet and designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's quintet of galleries—formerly a cineplex's five theaters—have hosted changing and permanent exhibitions of art, architecture, and design since 1999. The outdoor sculpture garden features acclaimed pieces such as James Turrell's experiential Knight Rise skyspace and James Carpenter Design Associates' Scrim Wall. After viewing the art outside, visitors can return indoors to explore furnishings and jewelry in the shop or examine work by local youth in the young@art gallery. The museum's Visions Teen Program continues to nurture burgeoning talent, pairing teenagers with visual-art teachers and visiting artists. Adults can also enrich their artistic know-how at lectures and workshops until they are able to draw a perfect circle with a pencil still tucked behind their ear. The museum's lounge fosters artistic communities through events ranging from screenings of international art movies to art-making sessions.
At Stand-Up, Scottsdale! bellies ache from a rotating selection of nationally known comedians seen on Comedy Central and late-night talk shows. The intimate 180-person venue, where such local legends as David Spade got their start, beckons a cast of talented funny persons that changes regularly. Voted Best Comedy Club of 2012 by Arizona Foothills magazine, the ha-ha hot spot has recently hosted performances by noted names including Dana Carvey, Frank Caliendo, and Norm Macdonald. A full menu of pub-food appetizers and entrees keeps would-be hecklers otherwise occupied, and Wednesday evening open-mic nights allow rookie comics to test their mettle.
Amid the smell of blooming hyacinths and the colorful ensigns of freshly emerged butterflies, one need only turn to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick for proof of an encroaching spring. As the spring-training grounds for both the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks, the park?named as an homage to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community?sports 12 baseball diamonds, giving fans ample opportunity to watch the action and practice voicing play-by-plays of groundskeepers mowing the adjacent fields. In addition to spring-training bouts, Salt River Fields also hosts numerous special events, such as arts festivals and charity sports events.
Within Studio Movie Grill's expansive auditoriums, towering screens enrapture audiences seated in plush leather recliners and at dining tables. As the familiar celebrity faces in blockbuster and cult-classic features deliver Oscar-worthy lines, sneakily quiet waiters deliver meals from a full menu decorated with more than 100 items, including gourmet pizzas, smoked ribs, and cocktails infused with the spirit of Daniel Day-Lewis. Bartenders at the lobby bar dole out glasses of premium liquors, wines, and draft beer before and after shows.