Scarlet and I took a little road trip this summer. Well, when I say little I mean long. It was long, and hot! We drove to New Mexico to see my new sister and my nieces and meet my nephews for the first time.
The drive is about 15 hours from Los Angeles so to add a little fun and break up the trip, we decided to stop in Mesa, Arizona for a couple nights on our way there and back. I’m so glad we did.
There was lots to see and do that really made the trip much more bearable for my seven-year-old (and me).
Check out the fun there is to be had for families in Mesa, Arizona after the jump…
We drove from Los Angeles (with a fun stop in Quartzsite on our way, where we snagged a bunch of geodes for the kids to smash) to Mesa, where we checked into the Sheraton Mesa at Wrigleyville West, which is fantastic because it’s pretty much brand new and it’s right next to where the Cubs do spring training, but even more important, the giant brand-new amazing Mesa Riverview Park. The view from our room was lovely, overlooking the greens and the park in the distance.
My little hotel connoisseur threw on her bathing suit and jumped on the bed.
After a long swim in all five of the pools, we headed out to the park.
Scarlet said “This is the greatest park I have ever been too!” She climbed this crazy tower (actually the world’s largest rope-climbing tower! It’s 50 feet tall!).
and zipped on the 75 foot zipline a million times. She also enjoyed the giant splashpad, which is definitely a necessity in Arizona in the middle of summer.
From there we continued on our journey to New Mexico. But we loved Mesa so much, we decided to stay a couple days on our way back. We headed up to the Apache Trail to take a tour of Canyon Lake.
We grabbed tickets for the “Mark Twain” style Dolly Steamboat and climbed aboard.
Scarlet LOVED the Dolly Steamboat.
We spent 90 minutes touring the lake and learning about the geological history of the area. We saw the petrified trees in the sides of the lake, and most of the people on the boat saw Big Horn sheep right here. They are supposedly in this picture. Maybe my eyes are bad. People were freaking out with excitement. Can you spot them?
Scarlet did, but she had borrowed some binoculars from the captain, who of course was her BFF.
The steam boat was air conditioned, which was a nice touch, it really helped to be able to experience the desert landscape without the desert heat, though we did venture outside for a closer look. Scarlet is making a heart with her hands to show she loves Arizona.
She also made me pose for this photo.
And she posed for me.
Our last order of business was to take Scarlet for some super kid-directed fun so we headed to the I.D.E.A. Museum. The acronym stands for Imagination, Design, Experience, Art and that is exactly what happens inside. And also outside, as before we even entered the building, Scarlet was playing the oversize instruments lining the walk to the entrance. This. Place. Is. Awesome. Younger kids can throw on some socks and experience this world
but Scarlet and I dug into the exhibits. They were amazing. Filled with local art, the museum takes kids on a journey through their imaginations while offering interactive art projects at every station. The museum hosts world class traveling exhibitions you would expect to see in big metropolises, right in Mesa. Scarlet made her own crazy animal which i think she called a Cactopus.
She dressed up in costume and starred in a movie on a green screen, she took up supplies and made art of all kinds from decorating grecian urns to telling a fairytale inside a tree. But her absolute favorite display was the black light Alice in Wonderland tea party, where she dressed like a rabbit and had a blast.
I felt like the white rabbit, down a hole into a kids’ fantasy land.
We had a blast in Mesa, Arizona and can’t wait until our next road trip to New Mexico so we can stop there again to experience more of what it has to offer kids, including the Arizona Museum of Natural History, the Usery Mountain Regional Park Center, and the Mesa Arts Center.