Category Archives: Local attractions

Big Surf opens season with half-off deal

Photo courtesy of Big Surf Waterpark in Tempe.

Big Surf Waterpark is offering 50 percent off of general admission during the first three weekends of May for guests who bring in at least three non-perishable food items for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.

The promotion begins on Saturday, May 5, when Big Surf Waterpark opens for the 2012 season, and continues on Saturdays and Sundays through May 20.

On Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13, moms get in free when at least three non-perishable food items are donated. Everyone else in the group will receive 50 percent off admission with three or more non-perishable food donations.

‘We’re thrilled to kick off our 43rd season by partnering with the original food bank, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, and to provide to those in need of food,” said Bob Pena, Big Surf Waterpark General Manager, in a press release.

The waterpark is open weekends only through May 20 and then daily day from  May 25 through Aug. 6. Then it’s back to a Saturday/Sunday-only schedule from Aug. 11 through Sept. 16, when the 2012 season concludes. The park will be open on Labor Day. Season passes are $49.95.

Big Surf has been an Arizona icon for more than 40 years. It is located on 20 acres at 1500 N. McClintock Dr., on the border of Tempe and Scottsdale. 480-994-2297 or


What do you think about those cubs?

Bearizona Wildlife Park sent this adorable photo of triplet black bear cubs born in January. The cubs range in color from cinnamon to dark chocolate brown. Bears found in the Southwest are typically lighter in color than their eastern counterparts.

Bearizona triplet cubs. Photo courtesy of Bearizona Wildlife Park.

Visitors to Bearizona, located in Williams, are able to get a close look at captive black bears while learning about their habits and history.

Black bears commonly have two to four cubs per litter and can nurse up to six cubs. Despite high birth rates, only four out of 10 cubs will reach their first year in the wild. The high mortality rate is the result of starvation and depredation by male bears.

Bearizona has a wide variety of North American animals. Its mission is to promote conservation and preservation with memorable encounters of animals in their natural environment.  Visitors can drive in their own vehicles to view animals in their natural habitat, walk through Fort Bearizona to see smaller wildlife and see a High Country Raptors’ Show.

Williams is located west of Flagstaff on Route 66. For more information about Bearizona, call 928-635-2289 or visit

Erin Saltzman

Rawhide celebrating 41st birthday this weekend

Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler is gearing up for an entire weekend packed with live music, western entertainment, birthday cake, dinner specials at the Rawhide Steakhouse & Saloon and original Western-style attractions to commemorate its 41st birthday.

The birthday celebration begins at noon Saturday and Sunday Feb. 25-26. All attractions will be free and kids will receive free hats and bandanas.

Rawhide recreates the Wild West in the 1800s with gunfights, explosions, daring falls and all the antics of the Arizona Roughriders. The Texas Kate Wild West Show is a family-style show displaying the skills and antics of a World Champion Trick Rider. JP Sage’s Shoot to Thrill Show brings gun spinning and trick shots you won’t soon forget.

Included in this year’s festivities is a full schedule of activities for all ages. Enjoy a desert train or stage coach ride, the petting zoo, panning for gold, shooting gallery, pie eating contest, cowboy stories, game alley, gun fights, stunt shows, trick roping, live country music, a real blacksmith, Rawhide Downs-Barnyard Animal Races and more. And don’t miss the 75-foot Stuntman High Fall with the cutting of the birthday cake at 6pm on Saturday.

Festivities continue with additional events through April 15. For dates, hours of operation and additional event details, visit

Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass on the Gila River Indian Community is located at 5700 W. North Loop Road in Chandler, just off I-10 Exit 162 at Wild Horse Pass.

Ziva has arrived at SEA LIFE Arizona

Arizona has its first resident sea turtle now that Ziva has arrived at SEA LIFE Arizona. Here are some photos and a video about her arrival, and some interesting facts about sea turtles, from Malori Heppler, marketing and trade sales coordinator at SEA LIFE.

Ziva is a green sea turtle. Green sea turtles get their name from the green-colored fat under their shell.

Ziva was rescued off the coast of Florida on May 24, 2010, and was taken to the Volusia Marine Science Center, where she was treated for boat strike injuries to her head and carapace. Ziva has been deemed un-releasable to the wild because of her injuries. She sometimes has trouble swimming, so she has special places on her shell where she wears weights to help her swim and dive more easily.

Ziva will live in SEA LIFE’s 161,000 gallon ocean tank among sharks, rays, guitarfish and tropical fish.

Sea turtles can hold their breath for up to 5 hours!

Sea turtles are faced with many threats in the wild. They can get entangled in marine debris and fishing nets or struck by a vessel, as Ziva was.

Incidental catch by fishing operations is one of the most serious threats that face sea turtles. Many fishing vessels now use trawl nets with turtle excluder devices (TEDs) that allow caught sea turtles to escape the net safely

Ziva's special traveling crate.

Ziva goes for a swim in her new home.

SEA LIFE Arizona is located on the northeast corner of Arizona Mills in Tempe. Hint: Tickets purchased online ar 20% off! For more information, call 480-478-7600 or go to

Shamrock Farms has been here for 90 of Arizona’s 100 years

Shamrock Farms is celebrating 100 years of statehood and its own 90 years of serving farm-fresh dairy products to Arizona families.

As an official sponsor of Arizona’s Centennial, Shamrock Farms is celebrating with a giveaway of 100 daily prizes and hosting a special edition Centennial farm tour.

Meal time for the cows at Shamrock Farms in Stanfield, south of Phoenix.

“We’re proud to be a part of the state’s history,” says Sandy Kelly, director of marketing for Shamrock Farms. “We are joining the celebration of Arizona’s centennial to pay tribute to this great state and thank the families who have supported Shamrock all these years.”

The dairy started in 1922 in Tucson with only 20 Guernsey cows, one model truck and a dream. Today, Shamrock is comprised of Shamrock Farms, one of the largest family-owned and –operated dairies nationwide and Shamrock Foods, one of the top 10 largest foodservice distribution companies in the United States.

The “100 Celebrating 100” giveaway includes 100 daily prizes and one grand prize of a Roxie-supply of dairy and a family fun pack to Arizona attractions. Everyone who enters instantly wins a free child pass to Shamrock Farms Farm Tour during Arizona’s Centennial year. Online entry and official rules are available at

Special Centennial tours now through May 2012 will educate guests about how the “cattle” of Arizona’s 5 C economy have thrived. All guests receive a limited-edition Centennial keepsake wristband.

Then & Now: Shamrock Farms Celebrates 90 Years

THEN: In 1922, Shamrock began with 20 Geurnsey milking cows. The herd was hand milked until 1933, when milking machines were used for the first time.

NOW: Shamrock Farms has a herd of more than 10,000 cows, including 700 specially raised organic cows. Some of the cows in Shamrock Farms herd are the Guernsey breed and thus, descendants of the first herd in 1922.

THEN: Shamrock Farms began by selling rich raw milk, delivered in traditional pint and quart glass bottles. The pasteurization process was introduced in 1926, and Shamrock Farms was one of the first to meet the requirements.

NOW: Shamrock Farms offers more than 200 dairy products, including 60 milk products alone. Shamrock Farms Extended Shelf Life (ESL) capabilities introduced in 2001 make it possible for its farm-fresh milk to be enjoyed across the country and created a national following.

THEN: Everything began in Tucson in 1922 and moved to Phoenix in 1956, when Shamrock Farms built a new plant including a state-of-the-art quality control lab and culture room for making sour cream, cottage cheese and buttermilk.

NOW: Shamrock Farms still operates from its 1956 location along I-17 and Thomas Road, best known for its iconic time and temperature sign. Much has changed since 1956, however, including the time and temperature sign, which was converted to an energy-efficient LED sign in 2009.

THEN: Shamrock Farms business began with 40 to 50 customers, with the majority of its customers being home delivery.

NOW: Today, Shamrock Farms and its sister company Shamrock Foods boast nearly 20,000 customers nationwide.

THEN: Shamrock was very proud of its one Model T delivery truck in 1922, and expanded to have 55 refrigerated delivery trucks by 1955.

NOW: Shamrock operates a fleet of more than 1,000 vehicles to service their customers.

Visit to sign up for the giveaway and learn more about farm tours.

Pizza and pucks for package purchase

The Phoenix Coyotes and Papa John’s have introduced a “Pizza & Pucks Family Pack” with special prices and perks during three upcoming Coyotes games.

The package includes four upper- or lower-level tickets to one of three Saturday night games in December, four Coyotes game pucks, and a voucher for a large Papa John’s pizza redeemable at any Valley location. Prices start at $99.

The Pizza & Pucks Pack is available at (password: pizza). Puck vouchers also can be redeemed at the Coyotes ticket sales table behind section 106 on selected game dates.

The package applies to the following games:
• Saturday, Dec. 3 versus Philadelphia Flyers
• Saturday, Dec. 10 versus Minnesota Wild
• Saturday, Dec. 17 versus New York Rangers

For more information visit or call 480-563-PUCK.

It’s a party at the Arizona State Fair

This year’s Arizona State Fair is an early Centennial celebration with gripping rides, thrilling spectacles and almost any kind of food you can imagine to eat on a stick.

Find out about deals and discounts on admission.

An oldie but goody: the giant slide is a popular State Fair attraction.

All the favorite traditions are on hand, along with some all-new marvels and activities. Fairgoers will be treated to Arizona-themed events, including Passport to Culture and Celebrate the Arizona Experience. Part of Arizona’s Fair-time Birthday Bash, these events will take place in the Arizona Lottery Backyard on Saturday, Oct. 22 and Sunday, Oct. 23. The two-day celebration of 100 years of Arizona’s heritage and history will include VIP appearances, historical and educational exhibits and entertainment.

The 2011 annual Arizona State Fair, running from through Nov. 6 (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays), hosts a variety of fun-filled attractions, activities and rides for all ages at its traditional location at 19th Avenue and McDowell Road in Phoenix.

The ferris wheel is the fair's iconic image.

This year’s list of new attractions includes:

OUR BODY: The Universe Within exhibit, presented by Maryvale Hospital and Phoenix Baptist Hospital, educationally and artfully displays approximately 200 organs, human bodies and other anatomical specimens. Open daily, admission is $5 and children 5 and under are free when accompanied by a paid adult. (Does not include Fair admission.) The exhibit does contain actual human bodies, with eyes and genitals intact, as well as a section about the urinary and reproductive system, with specimens pertaining to those areas. The exhibit is recommended for children 12 and older and parental discretion is advised.

Butterfly Adventure – Surround yourself with hundreds of colorful free-flying butterflies that create a magical experience for children and adults of all ages. This exhibit will be open daily during the fair, and a professional butterfly wrangler will be on hand to educate visitors about the butterflies.

The Big Aerial Show features juggling, hand balancing and trapeze, with a jaw-dropping performance atop an 80-foot-high sway pole.

Slack-wire Sam’s one man acrobatic comedy show is family friendly entertainment at its best. Unicycling, juggling, and hand balancing are all done on a slack-wire while providing clever commentary that entertains audiences of all ages.

Valentine’s Performing Pigs showcases Nellie, “The World’s Smartest Pig,” and her friends performing amazing and athletic feats three times daily at the Fair. The swiners will dance, jump in the air, play catch with the audience, run up teeter totters, slam dunk basketballs, pop balloons, roll barrels and madly roar across the stage on scooters and skateboards! After all of their performance, guests will have the ability to meet all of the performing pigs.

Sean Michael Mireau and the “Volcano Island Band” will perform lively calypso/island/luau/reggae/steel drum music live daily at the Fair. Some of their most requested songs include “Margaritaville,” “One Love,” “Red Red Wine,” “Brown Eye’d Girl,” “Kokomo,” “Stir it Up” and “Hot Hot Hot.”

Catherine Hickland THE HYPNOTIST will give you tears-rolling-down-your-cheeks laughter as you watch your friends and family do things you never imagined possible. Hilarious Hypnotist Catherine Hickland is also known for her roles in “One Life to Live” and “Knight Rider.” Hickland will also display an actual “KITT” car from the show.

XBOX 360 Kinect Experience – In this mobile demo tour experience at the Fair from Oct. 14 – Oct. 16, you can jump in and play Kinect for Xbox 360®, the revolutionary way to play games and connect with friends using your whole body. It’s hands-free, controller-free, carefree fun! Jump right into the action to play great new Kinect games and get exclusive offers on Kinect.

Break Shop is a high-energy presentation of head-spinning acrobatics and all-out break-dancing performed up close and at eye level. In step with a family-friendly tempo, a team of five break-dancers present a variety of acrobatics, dance and costuming that aim to inspire and entertain audience of all ages.

Procrastinators – These outrageous drummers turn five-gallon water bottles, barstools and pots & pans into legitimate musical instruments while jumping, sliding, twisting and stomping their way through fast and furious rhythmic fun.

Thrill The World – Thriller Dance – Fairgoers can watch as zombies attempt a world record for the Largest Simultaneous Worldwide Dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at 7pm Saturday. Oct. 29  on the North Box Office Plaza. Brought to you by the Phoenix Valley Thrill The World group and MOViN 97.5.

Watch "zombies" try to recreate Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

With the exception of OUR BODY: The Universe Within, all attractions described above are free with Fair admission. Visit for more information and a complete schedule of all Fair attractions and activities.

All photos courtesy of the Arizona State Fair