Cacti, like watermelons, are packed with hydration and leave prickly needles in your mouth when you bite into them. Taste the unknown with today's Groupon: for $10, you get one adult ticket for a chartered nature cruise on the Desert Belle in the Tonto National Forest, 20 minutes from Mesa (up to a $20 value). Kids’ tickets are $10, and children four and under ride for free.
Desert Belle bear-hugs the natural world with narrated cruise tours through the wild wonders of Saguaro Lake. A 143-passenger tour boat propels patrons across the calm depths of the oasis, passing between towering canyons, vast swaths of desert, and holographic waterfalls. For 90 minutes, tour guides highlight exotic flora such as prickly pear and gigantic saguaro cacti, as well as untamed fauna such as mountain lions and coyotes that populate the wild vistas. Falcons and hawks soar above the desert’s blinding sand and tawny rock formations, casting distant shadows that fly away from their owners when photographed.
Desert Belle's vessel boasts an air-conditioned lower deck that provides cooled shelter from the sun’s heat. All passengers are provided with life jackets, which cruisers ages 12 and under are required to wear in addition to self-adhesive gills.
Bighorn sheep and mountain lions dart between the shadows of craggy lava cliffs as bald eagles swoop from sheer rock faces to wrest fish from Saguaro Lake below. Desert Belle has ferried sightseers through this picturesque lakefront within the Tonto National Forest since 1964, giving them rare glimpses of a thriving ecosystem that's inaccessible by foot or car. As the Desert Belle boat cruises leisurely, guides point out various flora, fauna, and extraterrestrials disguised as Arizona wildlife dotting the landscape. As riders listen to the narration from the shaded upper deck or air-conditioned lower deck, they can visually bask in cactus-studded desert vistas.
14011 N Bush Hwy.
Mesa, Arizona 85215