Are you ready for a break? Spring Break comes early this month – March 7 through 11, for the public schools serving Estrella. That means it is the perfect time to discover a family adventure waiting just outside your door. Here’s a week’s worth of fun-filled local day trips and outings, some are minutes from Estrella in Goodyear, others are just a few hours away…but all of them are packed with adventure.
- COMMUNE WITH NATURE
Here is a perfect chance to learn all about the natural habitat right outside your front door. Just two miles from Estrella, the Estrella Mountain Regional Park Nature Center features live animal displays, interpretive panels and photos to bring nature home. Snacks and drinks are available on site, so, make an afternoon of it. Fees vary, but general admission is $7 per vehicle. End your day with a visit to the Estrella Star Tower on Estrella Parkway at Hillside Drive. Climb to the top for spectacular views of the Estrella Mountain landscape; after dark hundreds of stars light up the structure’s surface.
Just 7 miles from Estrella you will find the Base and Meridian Wildlife Area. Located at 115th Avenue and the Gila River, there are more than 200 acres to explore. You may run into many types of riparian wildlife and you can always enjoy the shade of the cottonwood, willow and salt cedar trees that thrive along the banks.
Discover an even wider world, just two hours away at Biosphere 2. Under acres of sealed glass, you will find an ocean, mangrove wetland, tropical rainforest, savanna grassland and fog desert. Designed to mimic earth itself, Biosphere 2 was first conceived of as a scientific experiment, and still supports research activity at the University of Arizona. It is now open for public tours with prices ranging from $15 to 25.
Distance from Estrella: Nature Center – 2 miles, Base and Meridian Wildlife Area – 7 miles, Biosphere 2 – 134 miles.
- GET MUSICAL
It will be a truly harmonious adventure when you head to the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). 6,000 years of history and instruments, remarkable for their craftsmanship and artistry, all come together in this world-renowned museum located less than an hour from Estrella. With more than 15,000 instruments from nearly every country on earth, it’s a visit sure to fill your day with sights and sound.
If live music is more to your liking, drop in any Thursday – Saturday in March for Glendale’s LiVE! @ Murphy Park concert series. Downtown Glendale’s Murphy Park is an ideal venue to hear some of the best live, local music in the valley, all for free. Concerts run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Leave time to explore downtown’s hyper-local shops or award-winning restaurants. You can also grab a craft beer at the on-site tap truck. You can check out the lineup at www.glendaleaz.com/liveatmurphypark.
Distance from Estrella: Musical Instrument Museum – 48 miles, Murphy Park – 23 miles.
Cost: MIM-$10-15 for children/$20 for adults, LiVE @ Murphy Park-Free
- GO “DOWN UNDER”
You don’t need to head to the Southern Hemisphere to go “Down Under,” just head to southern Arizona, where you will find a trio of underground adventures. Start with a tour through the state’s coolest caves at Kartchner Caverns, just east of Tucson. A rare cave that offers visitors a look at an entire family of colorful formations; Kartchner Caverns visitors will see stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, cave popcorn, shields, columns, totems, drapery, bacon and the massive 58-foot-tall Kublai Khan column in the Rotunda Room.
A few miles further southeast, Colossal Cave Mountain Park is also an Arizona favorite, with 3.5 miles of mapped passageways. The water source has disappeared, and the formations are not growing, so it’s now called a “dry” cave, but it’s still an awesome natural wonder.
Experience the rich history of Arizona by taking an unforgettable tour through active and inactive mines in Southern Arizona. Our top pick – the Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee. What beats getting dressed up in miner’s gear and riding a train into a copper mine?
- Kartchner Caverns: 2980 Arizona 90, Benson, 184 miles from Estrella
- Colossal Cave: 16721 E. Old Spanish Trail, Vail, 160 miles from Estrella
- Copper Queen Mine: 478 N. Dart Rd, Bisbee, 230 miles from Estrella
Distance from Estrella: 160-230 miles
Cost: Copper Queen – $6.50 for kids/$14 for adults, Kartchner Caverns – $5-13 for children/$23 for adults (helmet and headlamp tours are slightly more), Colossal Cave – $12 for children/$22 for adults
- HEAD NORTH
Looking for something a bit more extreme? Grab your coat and head north to Flagstaff and Williams. Our top pick is the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course. The Extreme Adventure team says It’s a chance to “play with friends and family up in the trees. Enjoy the challenge, feel the sweat, and push boundaries. Forge new ground on the course, and in the relationships that matter most.”
Prefer biking to climbing? At the same location you will find Fort Tuthill Bike Park. This little-known gem is free, great for all ages, and open from dawn to dusk. Created as a place where the community can practice their mountain biking skills, it offers beginner, intermediate and advanced flow trails, pump tracks for kids and adults, drop zone, skills area, and cyclocross features available for riders.
You can also try some ghost hunting when you explore the spookiest corners of Flagstaff during the Haunted Downtown Tour. Along with historical sites, your guide shows you scenes of altercations and experiences which have resulted in numerous reports of suspicious and supernatural activity. Hear fascinating stories about the original pioneers of Flagstaff and their struggle to build a civilized city on the border of the frontier. You can walk, bike or take a Segway. Price start at $30.
Another option – Fishing at Sedona Rainbow Trout Farm. Kids love to fish — especially if they are pretty much guaranteed to catch one. If your family doesn’t have a favorite fishing hole, this is the place to get some fishing experience. It’s an enjoyable day trip, located off Highway 89A before you get to uptown Sedona. The trout farm has everything you need — bait, poles and easy-to-catch fish. Plan to get there mid-morning so the kids can catch their fish by lunchtime. Plan to pay $8 to $12 per fish, depending on the size. Then you can pay 50 cents to have your fish cleaned. Sounds good to us!
Bearizona is another Arizona favorite. It’s a fantastic way to see a varied collection of North American animals (Bears! Wolves! Bobcats!) from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle or in the exhibit area after the drive-through portion.
- Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course and Fort Tuthill Bike Park: Fort Tuthill County Park, Flagstaff, 160 miles from Estrella
- Segway and Pedal Tours: 19 W Aspen Ave, Flagstaff, 160 miles from Estrella
- Sedona Rainbow Trout Farm: 3500 N State Rt. 89a, Sedona, 137 miles from Estrella
- Bearizona: 1500 Historic Rte. 66, Williams, 190 miles from Estrella
Distance from Estrella: 137 to 190 miles
Cost: Extreme Adventure Course – $29 for kids’ course/$58 for adults, Fort Tuthill Bike Park – Free, Haunted Flagstaff tour – $30-89, Sedona Rainbow Trout Farm – $8-12, Bearizona – $20-35
- MAKE IT A LAKE DAY – SCORPION BAY MARINA AND LAKE PLEASANT DISCOVERY CENTER
Make it a lake day at the largest lake in the Valley – Lake Pleasant. With over 10,000 acres of water surface and 116 miles of shoreline, this place always has room for more. The best part, it’s located only 50 miles from Estrella.
Perfect for kids is the Lake Pleasant Discovery Center. It showcases hands-on learning and displays about early settlers, area wildlife and plants and combines learning with fun. Onsite gift and snack shops are also available.
Scorpion Bay at Lake Pleasant is Arizona’s premier floating playground, offering daily pontoon and ski boat rentals. Go for the fishing or go for the frolicking—either way, incredible mountain views, fantastic dining and world-class marina services will be found. Scorpion Bay offers wakeboarding and wake surfing lessons, paddleboard yoga classes, plus kayaks, tubes and paddleboard rentals the whole family will enjoy!
- Discovery Center: 39345 N Overlook Rd, Peoria
- Scorpion Bay Marina: 10970 Peninsula Blvd, Morristown
Distance from Estrella: 50 miles
Cost: Water sport rentals start at $40
- TAKE THE TRAIN
The entire family can climb aboard at the Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park. Every Sunday, the park offers free train rides for visitors along 13 miles of track. You can also enjoy railroad artifacts and model train layouts. Located at 22822 N. 43rd Avenue the park is just 35 minutes from Estella.
Next stop the Verde Valley, with a trip on the Verde Canyon Railroad. From the moment you step onto one of the meticulously refurbished train cars you and your family will be transported to a simpler, more leisurely time. It’s a chance to travel through 110 years of history along a 20-mile journey. Tickets are $109 per person and the train departs from the Clarkdale Depot.
Distance from Estrella: Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park – 30 miles, Verde Valley Railroad – 114 miles
Cost: Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park – Free, Verde Valley Railroad – $109
Wherever your Spring Break adventures take you, have fun making memories your family will cherish for generations.
Find your new home at Estrella.com and discover why 7,000 families already call this diverse, welcoming West Valley master-planned community home. Located in Goodyear, Arizona amongst pristine mountains and a dramatic desert landscape, Estrella offers new homes from seven builders, with 17 model homes to tour, and 39 distinct floor plans. Estrella amenities include multiple Residents’ Clubs, resort-style pools and a waterpark, 72 acres of lakes, 50-plus miles of paths and trails, the Yacht Club of Estrella, the award-winning Nicklaus Design course at the Golf Club of Estrella, community welcome center Casa Lucero, and more than 40 signature and neighborhood parks.