Well-known all over the world, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is one of the busiest and biggest airports on the planet. It's the largest airport in all of Arizona and the busiest in the state too, serving close to 45 million passengers on an annual basis and ranking as the 41st busiest airport on the entire planet and one of the top 10 busiest airports in the United States. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
2.Best Phoenix Airport Restaurants
3.More Phoenix Airport Restaurants
5 Best Phoenix Airport Restaurants
- Overview, Photo: adragan/stock.adobe.com
- Best Phoenix Airport Restaurants, Photo: petrrgoskov/stock.adobe.com
- More Phoenix Airport Restaurants, Photo: JJAVA/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: waranyu/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Tovrea Castle
The Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights, otherwise known as the Jewel in the Desert, is located in Phoenix, Arizona. When it was completed in 1930, the castle was located seemingly in the middle of the nowhere. Today, the 40 acres of protected desert landscape is surrounded by bustling metropolitan Phoenix. The 5,000 square foot, 4-story castle sits at the highest point on the property. The castle has a tiered appearance, which is colloquially referred to as wedding cake style.
The cactus garden surrounding the castle contains species from Arizona, New Mexico and California, as well as species from as far away as Central and South America, Australia and Africa. Over 500 species are planted in the garden, each carefully marked with its scientific name since they were first planted in the 1920’s. White river rock collected from the Salt River on the southern end of the original property lines each of the garden beds. The gardens include two ponds, a game court and a horseshoe area. In the 1930’s the Tovrea family, the home’s second owners, added an aviary, reflecting pool, rose garden and large concrete patio.
History: Construction began on the castle in the 1920’s, spearheaded by the property owner, Alessio Carraro. Carraro was an Italian immigrant who came to America in 1907. Originally a shoe cobbler, he built a fortune in the sheet metal business in San Franciso, was a gold miner, a land developer, and was known for his skill as a water witch. In 1928, Carraro moved to Phoenix with big plans to develop the land there into both a resort and a housing subdivision to be named Carraro Heights. The Castle was to be a hotel, and the centerpiece of his design. The cactus garden surrounding the castle was built by M. Moktatchev in the 1920’s. Mokta, as he was known, was a Russian immigrant who approached Alessio Carraro with an offer to build the garden. For unknown reasons, Carraro sold the hotel less than one year after construction was completed. The new owner of the property was Edward Ambrose Tovrea. Tovrea was a successful Phoenix area businessman who had built a well-known meat packing business, the Arizona Packing Company. Unfortunately, Tovrea died within one year of the purchase, but his wife Della continued to live in the castle until her own death in 1969. Years later in 1993, both the castle and the surrounding 44 acres were purchased by the City of Phoenix. Citizens had overwhelmingly approved a bond measure to raise the funds. In 1998, restoration began on the gardens. City of Phoenix officials used historic photographs to determine which species were originally part of the garden, and planted several saguaros and smaller cactus to replace those that had perished. Cactus plants were also arranged less densely to allow proper room for growth. The non-profit Tovrea Carraro Society was formed in 2010 to assist the city with fundraising and management of the castle and gardens. With the help of the Tovrea Carraro Society, the property was able to open to the public in 2012. Restoration projects are still ongoing. The Castle is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and is also an Arizona Centennial Legacy Project and an official Phoenix Point of Pride.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The property is open to visitors by tour only. Volunteers lead tours of both the castle and the surrounding cactus gardens. Tours begin via tram with an exploration of the gardens and outbuildings, and continue with the basement and ground floor of the castle. Tours last approximately two hours. Due to limits on tour occupancy, reservations must be made in advance. Tours are quite popular, and fill up quickly. The Tovrea Carraro Society opens bookings for reservations in July of each year, and available spaces quickly disappear. Special event tours are scheduled throughout the year. A Harvest Moon tour takes place on select evenings in October and includes refreshments on the castle’s patio, which is normally not open to tours. Evening twilight tours are available on select weekends in June. The castle and gardens rely heavily on volunteers for support. Garden Days are held on weekends throughout the cooler months of the year during which volunteers may sign up to work in the gardens to help with weeding and planting.
5025 E. Van Buren Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008, Phone: 602-256-3221
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Attraction Spotlight: Pueblo Grande Museum
Located in beautiful Phoenix, Arizona, the Pueblo Grande Museum offers both indoor and outdoor attractions for every age level and interest. Focusing on Native Americans (specifically the Hohokam people), this engrossing and interactive museum and archaeological site is incredibly important as well as fun and educational.
The grounds that are now the archaeological park and museum was originally donated to the city of Phoenix in 1924, although it did not open as a museum until 1929. When it opened, a city archaeologist/museum director was hired, which was actually the first city archaeologist in existence in the United States. Now open for almost 90 years, the museum continues to draw both local and national visitors who want to know more about the people that originally lived on the land and their importance to the nation as a whole.
Main Gallery - The main gallery exhibit centers on exploring the Hohokam native people through their architecture, agriculture, and arts. The Hohokam had an incredible impact, both locally and nationally, as the canal system they invented is the basis of the canal system currently in use in the United States. This exhibit displays their focus on the arts through their pottery (Red-on-buff) and their jewelry (both stone and shell), as well as photomurals and hands on areas discussing the woven materials that the Hohokam found important (even though these materials do not preserve well enough to display). Also, visitors can learn about the “Big House,” which is said to have been used by the Native Americans for observing astronomy.
Children’s Gallery - Children love the hands-on exhibits located in the children’s gallery. Focusing on how archeologist identify and dig for artifacts, children will get to study clues, learn how to use those clues to identify different artifacts like pottery, and use magnets to create their own designs! There is also an orientation video for both children and their parents in the museum theater or create their own miniature version of a Hohokam village. There is also a stratigraphy (also known as an excavation) wall, where children can examine different layers of history for themselves.
Outdoor Trail - Walk through the actual Hohokam archeological site (known as Pueblo Grande). Explore the exhibit Doorways to the Past to see an adobe home (compound) as well as a pithouse cluster. There are also different agriculture and desert plant exhibits, like the agricultural garden (displaying the many crops grown there - corn, beans, squash) and the desert oasis. Visit the platform mounds (possibly built around 1150 AD) and see here they played sport (known as the ballcourt, which effectively is an arena although exactly what was played here remains unknown).
Museum collection - In addition to the specific artifacts pertaining to the Hohokam people, the museum also acts as a repository for the City of Phoenix as a whole. This collection also focuses on other southwestern Native American tribes (including Maricopa pottery) as well as documentary archives (like field notes, maps, and logs) and 40,000 photographic images.
Field trips and school tours are always welcome at the museum. Tours must be booked at least two weeks in advance by calling the museum, and they are scheduled Mondays through Fridays from October through April. Each tour can accommodate up to 60 students, and there must be one adult chaperone for every seven students present. Plan on at least an hour and a half to two hours for the tour, and there is a small fee per student. There are teacher’s packets available on the website so that teachers can plan their lessons ahead and they are welcome to visit the museum for a walk through at no cost prior to the field trip.
Please be aware that tour guides are not able to be guaranteed, as they are volunteers. There are no food options at the museum, so teachers should make sure to plan accordingly. There are, however, picnic tables and the museum are able to store sack lunches if the field trip falls around the lunch hour.
Visitors should make sure to stop at the store on their way out of the museum to both pick up a souvenir and also help support the museum, as money from each purchase goes back into the museum. There are Hopi dolls (Katsina), pottery, and fetish carvings, which are all made by local Native American artists.
Pueblo Grande Museum, 4619 E Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ, 85034, Phone: 602-495-0901
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Attraction Spotlight: Heard Museum
Founded in 1929 by Dwight and Maie Heard, the Heard Museum in Phoenix is dedicated to the authentic and accurate portrayal of the arts and cultures of Native peoples by successfully combining the beauty of art with the stories of American Indian people from their personal perspectives. Internationally renowned for the exceptional quality of its collections, world-class exhibitions, innovative educational programs, the Heard Museum provides visitors with a unique perspective and insight into the art and cultures of Native people, particularly those from the Southwest.
The Heard Museum art collection features more than 40,000 objects that focus and highlight the lives of Native peoples, particularly those from the Southwest. The two focal areas of the collection range from contemporary Native fine art from North America, and cultural groups from the Greater Southwest, both of which feature exceptional items such as Hopi katsina dolls, Navajo textiles, baskets, ceramics, and Navajo and Zuni jewelry. There are also more than 4,000 artworks ranging from the 20th century American Indian Fine Art Movement to the present and include superb works by extraordinary historical and contemporary American Indian artists.
The Heard Museum offers a variety of customized educational programs and learning experiences for school groups, children, and adult learners both at the museum and off-site, as well as supplying teachers with a range of excellent resources to add to their distinctive classroom curricula.
Hands-on children’s educational tours and school tours of several museum galleries are available for grades K-12, as well as individual and private tours if required. The museum’s interactive galleries offer interactive fun for children, and ‘kids-at-heart’ and boast many unique cultural learning opportunities for both children and their parents.
The Heard Museum is home to the Billie Jane Baguley Library and Archives — a comprehensive research facility that provides an extensive array of information about indigenous art and cultures from around the world. The Library also offers an unparalleled resource collection on almost 25,000 American Indian artists through a vast collection of books, periodicals, papers, biographies and more. The Library and Archives collections include American Indian artists’ biographical resources, American Indian art and culture of the Southwest, and American Indian fine arts, as well as Inuit art and culture, indigenous arts of Oceania, Africa, and Asia, and general anthropology and history. Other collections include creative writing and a variety of Native Studies, and Museum Studies and library and archival sciences.
The Heard Museum is located at 2301 North Central Avenue in Phoenix and is open every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Museum offers daily guided public tours that are included with admission and are led by experienced docents who explore the artists, cultures, and artwork featured in the museum’s galleries, as well as the signature exhibit ‘HOME: Native Peoples in the Southwest.’ The Museum also offers personal guided tours and individual experiences, as well as school and group tours, with lunch packages available.
The Heard Museum has several on-site shops that sell a variety of authentic Native American art and artworks, as well as specialty items, books, and gifts. The stores help to promote American Indian cultural by providing a platform for American Indian artists to display and sell their art, and in turn educate the public about it. The Heard Museum Shop sells an array of American Indian jewelry, basketry, pottery, sculpture, paintings, katsina dolls, and weavings, and Books & More offers a wide selection of books about American Indian art and its history, as well as numerous children’s titles, cooking books and travelogues.
The Courtyard Café serves excellent Southwest-inspired fare in a relaxed atmosphere within the Museum. Tuck into freshly prepared salads, sandwiches, and hot entrées, many of which feature American Indian and locally sourced organic ingredients, accompanied by a variety of beverages and soft drinks. Specialty coffees, sweet treats, and grab-and-go snacks can be ordered from the Coffee Cantina.
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2301 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004, Phone: 602-252-8840
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