Tag Archives: summer activities

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  BigSurfFun.com.

Devon, my week with an 8-year-old

For the past few summers, I have had the pleasure of having a nephew or niece spend some time with our family for about a week. While they are here, we schedule time for them at local summer day camps that match their interests.

Last year, my niece Isabelle, who is 11 years old and a very competitive gymnast, visited. I called Julie Witenstein at Arizona Sunrays and scheduled Isabella for one week of an intense gymnastics/dance camp.

This year, her younger brother Devon stayed and I called Paradise Valley School of Karate. Sensei Mike Wall allowed my nephew to take part in a fun-filled summer camp with small classes and two karate classes a day. They went to a Harkins Summer Movie Fun screening one of the days to see “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” (Harkins Theatres brings back some of Hollywood’s best family films each summer to keep kids entertained and cool. The company works with many of the summer day camps in Arizona to make it affordable for the whole camp to see movies once a week.)

While at PV Karate, Devon met Sensei Chuck.

Sensei Chuck works with Devon at Paradise Valley Karate.

Sensei Chuck is an ex-military man who takes charge. He instructed Devon on entering the mat, discipline and rules. Devon found himself thrown into physically challenging activities every day. It was exactly what we wanted for him.

During the evening, we found ourselves driving to Hubbard Family Swim School for some private swim lessons. Devon was supposed to go swimming and I wasn’t thrilled with his abilities in the water.

The first evening, Bob Hubbard was in the small pool when we arrived. As always, he commands the attention of his students, fellow teachers and families watching their children through the glass. Our family has personally known Kathy and Bob Hubbard for years. They were among the first supporters of the magazine.

I respect them for many reasons. They have taught my own children at camps and swim lessons. They unequivocally love children. I knew that with their guidance Devon would become a stronger swimmer and I would feel more comfortable with him in the water.

Devon practices floating at Hubbard Family Swim School.

We finished off the week weary and fulfilled. While it is exhausting having an 8-year-old in the house again, there is a laughter and volume that I find myself missing. — MaryAnn Ortiz-Lieb