When it comes to unique experiences, Scottsdale has you covered with boredom-busting options that run the gamut from world-class museums and a renowned botanical garden to guided city tours, architectural wonders and the nation's largest wilderness preserve.

You'll also find culinary attractions like a working olive mill and a winery where you can create your own special blend. Amusement parks, an award-winning zoo and a railroad museum appeal to kids of all ages. And for those hankering for a taste of Scottsdale's frontier roots, the state's largest remake of an 1880s Western town is just minutes away.

Arizona Sun Circuit Quarter Horse

Arizona Sun Circuit offers Free Parking and Free Admission to all. The show begins on on Saturday January 28 and runs thru Sunday February 5. Wednesday February 1 is an off day with no show events planned. Multiple Arenas and events will be showing each day.

Most days events will begin approximately 7:30 am and finish around 7 pm. The Sun Circuit is held at West World, 16601 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, Az. 85260. We have maps of the show grounds, arenas and vendor areas posted here on the web site. Parking is available to the Public in the North Equidome parking lot.

Numerous Free Clinics are being hosted by Farnam on the weekends. A Clinic Schedule is posted here online. A Great Western Shopping Experience is offered in our 24,000 Sq. ft. vendor tent .

There's something for everyone!! Bring the whole family to see some of the greatest equine athletes in the World perform.

If you need more information please call 602-853-6764.

PIR Kolbalt Tools 500 Thunders

After five consecutive Sprint Cup Championships, it looks like it is time for Jimmy Johnson to step aside and hand the crown off to someone else. With only two races left, the PIR Kolbalt Tools 500 this Sunday, November 13, 2011 in Phoenix will help determine who that someone is. Right now, Carl Edwards holds a 3-point-lead over red-hot Tony Stewart. Placements in this race will have a dramatic impact in how the final race in Miami plays out.

In other words, don't miss this race. The flag drops as 3:00 p.m. The track is 30 miles west of downtown Scottsdale.

Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Rides

  • 1725 W. Williams Drive
  • Bldg. D, Suite 39
  • Phoenix , AZ 85027
  • Toll-Free: 877-771-0776
  • Phone: 480-299-0154
  • Fax: 505-823-1110

Rainbow Ryders Inc. Hot Air Balloon Company boasts 27 years of experience offering hot air balloon rides. Experience Scottsdale and Phoenix from this unique perspective with rides available every morning at sunrise year-round, weather permitting. Or, enjoy Arizona's breathtaking sunsets during a balloon flight in the winter months. Enjoy views of the Sonoran Desert while floating in the sky and sending greetings to earthbound folks below. After landing, enjoy a champagne toast and light continental breakfast to end your safe and memorable adventure. Upon completion, guests are presented with a flight certificate and balloon flight pin to commemorate the aeronautical experience.

Arizona Rafting

  • P.O. Box 1550
  • Buena Vista , CO 81211
  • Contact Name: Joe Greiner
  • Title: President
  • Toll-Free: (800) 231-7238
  • Phone: (719) 395-2112
  • Fax: (719) 395-6716

World Class whitewater rafting trips through the Upper Salt River Canyon are close to Scottsdale! We are proud to offer award winning service…Twice named “Company of the Year”! We can pick up groups in Scottsdale in the morning and return in time for a late dinner. Group discounts of up to 20% off and FREE trips for the group organizer. Exciting guided Half-Day, Full-Day and Overnight adventures are available from March through early May during the snow melt season. Expect challenging whitewater with professional guides on every boat. No previous experience is required. Longer trips traverse the Salt River Wilderness with beautiful beaches, spectacular hiking up side canyons and some of the most spectacular scenery in the Southwest. We use only top-notch equipment including self-bailing boats. Meals are prepared using fresh ingredients at our riverside facility. Established in 1976.

AZ Urban Athalon

The AZ Urban Athalon is great prep for if you are ever running for your life through a ravaged city trying to escape the hordes of invading aliens. The 3 mile course will feature 10 different obstacles from climbing over shipping containers to sliding across the hoods of cabs that have inconveniently blocked your way. This course will test your agility, fitness and strength. And while you may never find your self running for your life, it will still be a memorable experience and a great workout to boot.

The AZ Urban Athalon takes place Saturday, November 5th at the Salt River Fields. Cost to participate is $70 and teams are encouraged. For more information, check out this Fact Sheet .

Scottsdale Native Trails Returns to Downtown Scottsdale

ginning tomorrow, January 19th, 2012 and going through April 14th, one of the best ways to enjoy the Native American culture while visiting Scottsdale is by attending a free performance Scottsdale Native Trails located in the Civic Center Mall in Downtown Scottsdale. With performances on most Thursdays and Saturdays, Native Trails, presented by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and produced by the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is dedicated to exploring the rich and varied cultures of Native America.

You can expect to see lively dances, dramatic music and taste traditional Native American food. The performances are completely free and happen at noon in the cozy grass of the Civic Center Mall located just off Brown Street near old town Scottsdale.

For more details and a complete schedule, check out our Native Trails page .

Railfair at McCormick-Stillman Park

All Aboard! Railfair 2011 free event features model train displays and exhibits,the park's new 10,000 square foot Model Railroad Building displaying O, N, and HO scale trains, moonwalks, and other entertainment. Free tours through the Roald Amundsen Pullman car, a former presidential car. Many of the park's seldom seen railroad equipment will be on display. Train and carousel rides are $2.00 each, with children under three riding for free with a paying adult. Saturday & Sunday, October 8 – 9, 10:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.

The Great Pumpkin Festival at the Desert Botanical Garden

If you are going to be in town October 20 – 23, 2011, you can't miss the 10th annual Great Pumpkin Festival at the Desert Botanical Garden . You get the awesomeness of exploring the desert flora in the spectacular setting of the DBG along with a great ole pumpkin patch festival that's perfect for the family. There will be live music, crafts for the kids, special concessions, and hayrides. All activities are included with paid Garden admission or Garden Membership. Children 12 and under can pick a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch.

Times: October 20, 2011 – October 21, 2011 / 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and
October 22, 2011 – October 23, 2011 / 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Desert Botanical Garden
1201 North Galvin Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85008

Cost: Admission rates are $18.00 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for students with ID, $8 for children 3-12 years-of-age; Garden members and children 2 years and younger are admitted free.

New Happenings at SMoCA

Free lunchtime lecture Series Wednesdays @ NOON in the SMoCA Lounge

Come eat your lunch at the Museum while you enjoy an exciting presentation about art.

The season kicks off with “Art Gossip”, a four-part series presented by SMoCA Docent Victoria Miachika.

January 11: “The Perfect Nude: Creation to Castration” (Ancient World to Dark Ages)

January 25: “Competitive Geniuses: The Renaissance”
February 8: “The Spectacle of Art: Baroque and Rococo and the Northerns”
February 22: “I Did it My Way: Impressionism to the Modern World”

Bring a sack lunch.

Sundays, January 8 – April 15 @ 3 PM

Learn more about the sculptures found in our nearby Scottsdale Civic Center Mall park by taking a free guided tour led by one of SMoCA's expert docents. 1st Sunday* each month. Walk-ins welcome.

SMoCA Lounge Open til 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays
*Free museaum admission after 5pm
The new space recently unveiled which the musum coins as a gallery transformed for the public. A labortory of art and life where the synergy of contempory art, design, food, cocktails, lively dialouge, education and community can intersect and evolve.

Arizona Fine Art Expo

The Arizona Fine Art Expo showcases more than 100 juried artists in a working studio environment, giving attendees unprecedented access to some of the world's most gifted designers, painters, sketch artists and sculptors. This years event is January 19 – April 1. Located at Jomax and Scottsdale Road just north of the 101, this ten-week event is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and costs $10. Children 12 and under are free.

Come out and enjoy watching these amazing artists do their thing and maybe even take some of it home. While you're up north, be sure to stop by the many fabulous restaurants located in North Scottsdale . What better way to cap off the day?

The Heard Musuem

Bolo Tie Exhibit

The bolo tie has become an iconic symbol of the West. Nothing screams cowboy louder than an ornate bolo. Now you have a very unique opportunity to see a large collection of these ties at the Heard Museum's Bolo Tie Exhibit . Come experience more than 170 different bolo ties, each a piece of art in their own right.

More details from the Heard:

Arizona's official state neckwear, the bolo tie, is enjoying a fashion comeback. Explore this uniquely Western sartorial adornment's history and revival in a wonderful and fun new exhibit at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. Native American Bolo Ties: Vintage and Contemporary will open Saturday, November 19, 2011.

The distinctive tie originated in the Southwest, and its popularity quickly spread throughout the West and in many other parts of the country. The distinguishing necktie has been made even more distinctive by contemporary American Indian artists in Arizona, who make bolo ties that are exquisite expressions of individuality and ingenuity.

Bolo ties, representing the casual nature and somewhat rugged milieu of the West, emerged as a form of men's neckwear in the 1940s. They directly countered business suits as well as the formality suits represented, and instead marked a different style and a different way of life. In particular, American Indian jewelers and silversmiths brought individuality and creativity to this art form, offering a broad range of unique and artistic options.

The bolo ties included in Native American Bolo Ties come from the Heard's permanent collection of more than 170 bolo ties and from the promised gift of Chicago collector Norman L. Sandfield. His collection consists of more than 1,000 bolo ties, scarf slides and ephemera, many of which will be on display. Additional works may be added as needed from other private collections and museums.

The exhibit will be accompanied by a book written by exhibit curator Diana Pardue with Norman L. Sandfield and published by the Museum of New Mexico Press; the price will be $29.95. The only other book on the topic is William J. Kramer's 1976 book Bola Tie: New Symbol of the West.

The exhibit and book will show the antecedents of the bolo tie including Victorian neckwear and scarf slides. It will include an important early scarf slide from the Heard Museum collection made in 1930-40s by Leekya Deyuse (Zuni Pueblo). The exhibit and book will also include new information on patents for the different backings of the bolo tie, which is essential to accurate dating of a tie when the date is not otherwise known.

Also, the exhibit examines how Western wear, including the bolo tie, was popularized through 1950s television shows and movies. Some TV and movie personalities who brought scarf slides and bolo ties into the everyday vernacular include the Cisco Kid, Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers. And of course, the exhibit will showcase bolo ties created by American Indian jewelers from the late 1940s through today.

The bolo tie's road to acquiring the status of Arizona's official neckwear is also quite interesting; the story stretches out several years. KOOL Channel 10's anchor Bill Close and five other bolo tie enthusiasts met in 1966 at the Westward Ho Hotel in downtown Phoenix. From the beginning, their intent was to make the bolo tie a state emblem. Perhaps to help the cause, Arizona Highways Magazine devoted several pages of its October 1966 issue to Southwestern jewelry, including bolo ties. Help arrived when Governor Jack Williams proclaimed the first week of March 1969 as “Bolo Tie Week.” After several unsuccessful attempts, a bill making the bolo tie the official state neckwear was finally passed on April 22, 1971. The bolo tie is also the official neckwear of New Mexico and Texas, although Arizona was the first state to designate it as such.

Inaugural Phoenix Indian Center American Indian Market

The event is an inaugural two-day juried market, highlighting more than 100 premier American Indian artists from throughout the U.S.; and representing an array of American Indian art including: paintings, sculptures, carvings, jewelry, baskets, pottery and more. 100% of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Phoenix Indian Center, a social service agency and the nation's oldest Indian Center of it's kind, for over 64 years.

This family event also includes a food pavilion featuring American Indian menu items including the ever-sopopular,Indian fry bread. Cultural programs from the Phoenix Indian Center will provide entertainment.

  • Admission: FREE

Art Fest of Scottsdale

Saturday and Sunday
10:00 am-5:00 pm

Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza
75th St. and Indian School Rd.
7380 E. 2nd St. Scottsdale 85251

Dogs are welcomed to attend!

The annual ArtFest of Scottsdale is one of the valley's most popular holiday traditions. Downtown Scottsdale features 200 artists from across the country where you can find that one of a kind gift just in time for the holidays. Visitors will enjoy fine art, fine crafts, local authors, live music throughout the festival, taste tempting foods in a beautiful sculpture garden setting. Other amenities include hands on kids activities, Scottsdale art museum, great restaurants, plenty of close parking and unique shops. Now in the eighteenth season the ArtFest™ of Scottsdale is known for cutting edge contemporary art.

The Arizona Fall League

About the Arizona Fall League

Makeup of the AFL

There are six teams in the Arizona Fall League: the Scottsdale Scorpions, Mesa Solar Sox, Salt City Rafters, Phoenix Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas and Surprise Saguaros. These club names were picked by Major League Baseball as reflective of the Southwestern desert traditions in the state.

The teams are broken into two divisions, East and West. Each Major League Baseball team sends six top prospects to the Arizona Fall League, 180 players in all. The games are played in the Spring Training stadiums used by the Giants, Mariners, Padres, Cubs, A's, Royals, Rangers, D-backs and Rockies.

How good are the players in the Arizona Fall League? The 2011 All-Star Game in Arizona featured 41 AFL alums, including both starting pitchers -- Roy Halladay and Jered Weaver.

Each August, Major League clubs hold a position draft to determine the players who will go to Arizona. Most are Double-A and Triple-A Minor League players. Each club can opt to send one player considered a Class A player.

History of the League

The roots of the Arizona Fall League go back several years, when the Major Leagues wanted to create an easily accessed offseason league. A concern was that some of the best ballplayers left to play winter ball out of the country, such as in the Caribbean and there was no way to monitor them.

If Major League Baseball created a league that it could govern and monitor, it would be better organized. If a player was injured, proper care and treatment would be on hand. With the Arizona Fall League, managers, coaches, scouts and league officials could participate.

"That was the beauty of this," says Steve Cobb, AFL executive vice president, "and that seemed to be one of the unifying factors for all the clubs. They created a Fall League where all of their personnel would be involved, with reduced travel and immediate accessibility on the part of scouting."

Baseball Benefits off the Field

"There's a two-pronged mission to the AFL," Cobb says. "One is for the players to accelerate, and hopefully jump a classification. The other is for the managers and umpires to develop. For those who aspire to be Major League managers, this is a place to gain additional experience. The AFL provides employment opportunity to enhance managers' and coaches' skills ... Dusty Baker is a good example of a field manager who had not had managerial experience until he had managed here in '92 for some seasoning. Then he became the field manager of the Giants for a decade before joining the Cubs. And he was the National League Manager of the Year three times -- 1993, 1997 and 2000.

"The umpires come from the Umpire Development Program," says Cobb. "And again, this league is for their development as well.

"We've had considerable success with working through (college) sports management programs," Cobb adds. "People have gained some baseball experience here in the Phoenix market, from working in the AFL. We have been able to enhance many interns' careers. The Arizona Fall League is unique in the industry."

The Games

Given the top prospects who play here, every game in the AFL is like a future All-Star Game. It's a definite destination for baseball fans and families who want to see great action on the diamond. "These are all the Spring Training sites, first-class facilities," Cobb says. "The playing surfaces are outstanding."

A day or night at a game is affordable: $7 for an adult and $6 for kids and seniors, and you can sit anywhere you want. Group tickets for 20 or more are available for just $3 apiece. The AFL sells individual season passes ($75 for seniors, $85 for adults), and a family pass (for up to six people, $115). That means you can go to as many games as you'd like.

Another benefit of the Arizona Fall League is that all six stadiums are within a short driving distance. Most stadiums are within minutes of each other. "It is very condensed," Cobb says. "That's one of the beauties of Arizona versus Florida, quite honestly. Florida has some wonderful ball parks, but there's some pretty lengthy driving in between."

Ticket Information


Individual game tickets are available for purchase day of game at the stadium box office. Tickets will be on sale 90 minutes prior to game time. Cash and checks accepted.

Individual Championship Game Ticket Prices:
  • $7 - Adults
  • $6 - Seniors (55+), Children (17 and under)
  • $4 - Groups (20 or more)

Individual game tickets are available for purchase day of game at the stadium box office. Tickets will be on sale one hour prior to game time. Cash and checks accepted.

Individual Game Ticket Prices:
  • $7 - Adults
  • $6 - Seniors (55+), Children (17 and under)
  • $4 - Groups (20 or more)
AFL Season Pass

Enjoy a season full of exciting Arizona Fall League action at the best prices in baseball. The season begins on October 4 and concludes with the championship game on November 19. Your pass is good for every AFL game... at every stadium! Your online order must be placed by October 18, 2011 .

  • $75 - Senior Season Pass (55+)
  • $85 - Adult Season Pass (ages 18-54)
AFL Family Pass

Your pass is good for every AFL game... at every stadium! Your online order must be placed by October 18, 2011 .

  • $115 - Family Season Pass (Good for up to six (6) members)

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