We started off our Arizona visit in a KOA about an hour from the capitol city. We are not to impressed by the KOA’s and were hesitant to stay at another one (this was our second stay at one). It had a decent price for a KOA when we looked into it online, they typically have many amenities and are very family friendly; however, we quickly found out why the price was so good, they were still under construction on the pool and the playground, they also had none of the games that are usually standard at these campgrounds. It’s not that we really want these things, but we were expecting them here and had told the kids that there would be a playground. So we only stayed two nights, just long enough to go into Phoenix and tour the capitol museum. After our two nights we moved not to far away to the Lost Dutchman state park. It was a nice campground and very clean. We enjoyed our stay there, Chris even caught a lizard for Miles!
The capitol museum was really great. It was the original capitol building, but they turned it into a museum when they no longer used it for functions of government. It was very interesting and contained a ton of information. We were there for over two hours even though it was a self guided tour. In front of the building there are many memorials to our veterans and other officers. Theses were all very well done, we enjoyed looking at them and talking to the kids about what they each represented. The building itself is copper domed, it wasn’t originally, but they decided to make it so when they turned it into a museum. Inside they had a piece of the USS Arizona as well as a replica of the ship. There was also quite a bit of information on WWII and some of the other ships from that time. Another area had information on different amendments they had made or proposed to their original constitution, each one said whether or not it had been approved or denied. A timeline of events leading up to them becoming a state went around a different room. It was all very well laid out and extremely informative. I would highly recommend a visit to this capitol museum.
While in the Phoenix area we also took the kids to yet another science museum and decided to experience the Phoenix Zoo. We love that we can go to so many science museums as they are educational and fun. Each one has something different to offer. This one had a whole section on building, showing the different steps and processes to building a house. There were large foam blocks they spent a long time building their own structure with, and a plumbing section they learned how to pipe together faucets. We always have fun and learn new things at museums. The Phoenix Zoo is laid out pretty well making it pretty easy to see everything. We were there for several hours and got to see many of the animals there. It was much smaller than the last zoo we visited, but still had tons of animals. It was neat how they had islands in the middle of a large body of water and different types of monkeys and apes lived on each one. It is the only zoo in the US that lets you go into the enclosure with the squirrel monkeys which of course we did and you do get to see them really close, it was awesome! They also have a section of Arizona native animals where we got to see a Mexican Wolf. They are much smaller than the wolves we saw at Yellowstone. We were there during their Lego display which we thought was funny because we had just been at Legoland, but they had some really cool Lego animals and we had to get pictures with all of them!
The state park we stayed at called the Lost Dutchman was really cool. We were surrounded by huge saguaro cactus and mountains. It was a well kept park with nice, large spaces. We only hiked around a little because we were in Phoenix most of the time, but the trails were great with awesome views. The kids were able to do the Junior Ranger program there and earned a button. The ranger even let them pick out a piece of “gold” for completing every activity in the book. Overall we enjoyed our time in the Phoenix area, everything but the traffic. It has a beauty that you can’t find anywhere else and the weather stays pretty nice during months it’s cold everywhere else.