After learning to fly in college, Arizona native Rob Norberg flew to Alaska, where he spent 20 years traversing mountains, streams, and valleys as a fishing guide and seaplane pilot. But the Arizona climate eventually beckoned him back. Norberg now leads tours five times a day in his Cessna Caravan seaplane, carrying passengers high above sights including the Salt River Canyon, Roosevelt Dam, and Tonto Indian Ruins and providing passengers with thought-provoking facts and history. His nine-passenger plane ensures a window seat for each passenger, and comes equipped with personal headsets so they can each listen to the plane's adorable heartbeat.
For more than 25 years the Grimh family has served as gatekeeper to the secluded beauty of Canyon Lake, welcoming travelers onto their modernly appointed paddle steamboat. The air-conditioned vessel plots courses for guided cruises, each of which highlight the canyon's vistas at a different hour. Nature and lunch cruises seek out bighorn sheep drawing pistols under the bright desert sun, whereas twilight cruises combine ambient, evening light with a buffet dinner of prime rib or filet mignon. Dolly Steamboats also set off at night for an astronomy cruise that includes dinner and expert star reading from local television and radio personality, Dr. Sky. An expert crew pilots the Dolly and her wealth of passengers on each photogenic excursion, gliding past the Sonoran Desert, rock formations, and the Tonto National Forest.
Comfortably nestled in the shadows of the San Tan Mountains, owner Perry Rea and his family coax silken oils out of the olives they grow in their own groves. After more than 10 years of experiments, they finally settled on planting a few more than 16 distinct varietals, which thrive in the otherwise unforgiving Arizona deserts. Extending thoughtful care to each harvest, they avoid using any pesticides or genetically modified trees, employ water-conserving drip irrigation, and hand-pluck their olives at the peak of ripeness. Within 24 hours of picking, the staff then presses the crop in order to extract oils that taste as fresh as honey taken directly from a bee's pantry.
The fresh oils line the shelves of the mill's marketplace alongside imported wines and locally made goods. In addition to gourmet food items, the store stocks an extensive collection of Italian ceramics, works by local painters, and bath-and-body products infused with extra-virgin olive oil.
Queen Creek Olive Mill's oils also appear on the menu of del Piero, the facility's Tuscan-inspired bistro. Based on the Rea family's own recipes, each entree incorporates organic ingredients whenever possible, including locally sourced meats and herbs from the organic garden.
For owners Sal and Dina Zappone, their eponymous Italian eatery is a dream come true. The newly renovated dining room is rife with modern accents such as earthen clay tiles, solar-powered silverware, and hanging lights like glowing red roses. It’s also a family establishment through and through. While Sal helms the kitchen, garnishing homemade pastas with fresh ricotta, and loading pizzas with fresh fennel sausage and truffle oil, his young son and daughter can often be found in small aprons, advertising their favorite dishes. Diners may also pair meals with an espresso or a light Morellino wine, which offers a fruity nose easier than sticking grapes in your nostrils.
No one knows where Dr. Vantas lost his way. Once an esteemed doctor at the vanguard of electroshock therapy for the mentally insane, the physician let his psychiatric hospital become a madhouse, prompting rumors of Vantas using inhumane experiments on patients. Those who enter The Asylum risk falling prey to its deranged denizens and the quack’s extremely cold stethoscope. This is the spine-tingling, horror-film narrative that plays out to visitors as they creep through The Asylum, a haunted site modeled after an 1870s-style mental institution and half of The Crypt Haunted Attractions’ two-piece tribute to fear.
The other creepy venue, The Crypt, beckons intrepid guests to descend into a vault filled with the living dead. As they tiptoe through the chamber's darkened corridors, voyagers must stay poised as they strafe around staggering corpses groaning about their hunger for brains or the lack of legroom in their casket.
In a dorm room at Arizona State University in 2005, a group of entrepreneurial young aviation enthusiasts hatched the plan for what would grow into Classic Air Aviation. Now, from their new home nest at Falcon Field Airport, the team of licensed instructors elucidates the fundamentals of flying for aspiring aces. Passionate instructors educate aviators with a range of classes and certifications that range from ground school and private-pilot training to certified flight-instructor training and commercial pilot certificates. All programs follow FAA guidelines to ensure that students learn the basics behind the airplane’s various flight controls and instrumentation and watch a mandatory PSA warning against the hidden dangers of gravity.