Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Four outstanding attractions in Phoenix, Arizona

For many visitors to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, location is the main draw.  There’s no denying the attraction of spectacular Sonoran Desert scenery, breathtaking Camelback Mountain, and a sunny Arizona climate. All these natural features have spawned a huge resort community with world-renown golf courses and spas.

Golf at nearby Gainey Ranch offers spectacular scenery
But even visitors who chose to downscale their accommodations will find the area offers numerous attractions for a variety of interests. Spend a few hours a day away from your hotel or resort exploring these interesting sights:

Musical Instrument Museum—Fun for the non-musical visitor as well as those who play an instrument. Whether you know much about music or not, you’ll enjoy the diversity found in this museum. Learn about and hear musical instruments from every country in the world as they bring to life sights and sounds of different destinations. See guitars from the earliest models up to present day instruments. Listen to an antique organ, explore cultures through the sounds that represent their lives.
Check out unique instruments at the Musical Instrument Museum
Taliesin West—Built by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1930s, this stunning project was constantly expanded and modified until the architect’s death in 1959. Regarded as one of his greatest masterpieces, Taliesin West was literally built out of the desert using rocks and sand to balance the design with the surrounding environment. Guided tours lead you through the buildings and explain Wright’s theories as brought to reality here. Architecture students still study the master’s talent in extended workshops.

Renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed and lived in Taliesin West.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Taliesin West, reopened on Oct. 15, 2020 in Scottsdale with a new self-guided audio tour which provides visitors a safe and interactive experience accessed through their personal smartphone. The highlight of the audio tour is hearing Wright’s own spoken words firsthand through original audio recordings. Wright discusses his work and sources of inspiration at Taliesin West and across the United States.

Desert Botanical Garden—The world’s finest collection of arid-land plants and wildflowers is displayed in a beautifully landscaped outdoor garden. Five thematic trails illustrate topics such as conservation, desert living, plants and people of the desert. Rather than finding the garden a dry, barren plot of land, you’ll begin to appreciate how alive the desert is with colorful blooms and adapted creatures.

Desert Botanical Garden showcases beautiful and unusual plants.

Get a bird's-eye view of the Sonoran Desert.
Hot air balloon ride—On this magical adventure observe the Sonoran Desert from above while drifting tranquilly on a sunrise flight. Feel wispy breezes while inhaling fresh air.  Watch the balloon get inflated and then observe the captain masterfully use air currents to raise the wicker basket a mile above earth. Riding in the balloon’s basket is a thrilling experience and provides unobstructed views for the best photographs of this unique landscape, not to mention a couple of jackrabbits scampering below. Afterwards, bask in the glow of a successful flight at a traditional champagne breakfast served  on white-clothed tables set up where the balloon lands.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

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