6 ways to celebrate Memorial Day weekend
You could stick around the house this Memorial Day weekend and maybe take in a movie or catch up on yard work.
But with so many things to do around Arizona, why not get out and get active?
Whether you tackle a physical challenge (be careful, it’s getting hot outside) or relax by a lake, there are plenty of activities to keep folks busy this holiday weekend. Here are six ways to enjoy the long weekend.
Memorial Day observance
Honor America’s military members at this traditional celebration and wreath presentation at Pioneer & Military Memorial Park in Phoenix.
There will be speakers and presentations by local Boy Scouts as well as re-enactment organizations representing the Revolutionary and Civil wars and the Buffalo Soldiers. There will also be rifle volleys by the Confederate Veterans and ceremonial Civil War-era cannon fire.
Visitors can tour the Smurthwaite House, which, along with the cemetery, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Details: 9 a.m. Monday, May 30. Pioneer & Military Memorial Park, W. Jefferson St., Phoenix. Free. 602-534-1262, www.azhistcemeteries.org.
Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer for many folks. With that comes a desire to escape the Valley heat. Arizona’s six national forests have plenty of camping opportunities. So do state and Maricopa County parks.
If you’re thinking of camping on the holiday weekend, keep in mind you’re not the only one. Parks and forests will be hopping with visitors, so why not make a reservation? Many campgrounds let you save your spot in advance.
U.S. Forest Service campground reservations: 877-444-6777, www.recreation.gov.
Arizona State Parks campground reservations: 520-586-2283, www.azstateparks.com.
Maricopa County Parks campground reservations: 602-506-2930,www.maricopacountyparks.org.
Don’t forget that fire restrictions may be in effect. Here’s where to get news and other useful information about Arizona’s national forests.
Coconino: 928-527-3600, www.fs.usda.gov/coconino.
Coronado: 520-388-8300, www.fs.usda.gov/coronado.
Kaibab: 928-635-8200, www.fs.usda.gov/main/kaibab.
Prescott: 928-443-8000, www.fs.usda.gov/prescott.
Tonto: 602-225-5200, www.fs.usda.gov/tonto.
Finally, you can check for fire restrictions all around the state here: firerestrictions.us/az/.
Arizona Road Racers Summer Series
Get your heart pumping with this 5-kilometer run/walk in Gilbert. It’s the first event in the Arizona Road Racers’ summer series, which consists of five races through Aug. 7.
Participants can earn medals by placing in the top three overall (for runners or walkers) or finishing first among runners in their age group. Awards will be presented at the Endless Summer Distance Classic on Sept. 11.
The race starts bright and early May 28, leaving the bulk of the weekend for relaxing activities.
Details: 6:30 a.m. Saturday, May 28. Freestone Park, 1045 E. Juniper Ave., Gilbert. $5-$85, depending on your age and date of registration. 602-954-8341, www.arizonaroadracers.com.
Zuni Festival of Arts & Culture
The 26th annual festival takes place in the cool pines at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff.
More than 50 Zuni artists are participating. Attendees can enjoy authentic food, art demonstrations and music and dance performances by the Zuni Olla Maidens and Cellicion Zuni Dancers. Artwork for sale will include pottery, jewelry, fetish carvings, beading and weaving.
Learn more about Zuni culture through documentaries and lectures by educators and scholars who showcase Zuni identity, emergence and migration beliefs, worldviews and current-day issues on the reservation.
Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, May 28-May 29. Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 N. Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff. $12; $8 for age 67 and older, students with ID, Native Americans and ages 10-17; free for age 9 and younger. 928-774-5213, musnaz.org/heritage-program-festivals/zuni-festival.
Cave Creek Balloon Festival
Attractions at the seventh annual festival include live music and a flyover by Warbird Squadron 20 out of Deer Valley Airport. Kids can enjoy free face painting and balloon twisting in addition to playing at the kids zone.
Balloons begin to inflate at 7:30 p.m. and will be on display until 9, when fireworks are scheduled to start. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
Parking is available at the center of town at 38406 N. Schoolhouse Road. The cost is $5 and includes a shuttle to the festival. Proceeds benefit Cave Creek Unified School District.
Details: 5:30-10 p.m. Saturday, May 28. Rancho Mañana Golf Course, 5734 E. Rancho Mañana Blvd., Cave Creek. $12, $7 for ages 3-12, free for age 2 and younger in advance; $12-$15 at the gate. VIP tickets are $35-$75 and include separate entry area, dinner buffet, private cash bar and private restrooms. Veterans and active-duty military personnel can purchase tickets at half price. 480-488-0398,cavecreekfestivals.com.
Mountain sky rides
Want a bird’s eye view of northern or southeastern Arizona? Check out these scenic sky rides on chair lifts that normally shuttle skiers and snowboarders to the slopes.
The Arizona Snowbowl ski lift north of Flagstaff takes you on a 25-minute ride to Agassiz Peak at 11,500 feet. On a clear day you can see the surrounding cinder-cone volcanic field all the way to Grand Canyon. Forest Service interpretive specialists await at the top to answer questions about the biology, geology and history of the area.
At Sunrise Park Resort on the Fort Apache Reservation in eastern Arizona, the lift takes you to 10,700 feet for views of the White Mountains. In addition to the sky ride, Sunrise Park offers nature hikes, zip-line tours, downhill mountain biking and other activities during the summer months.
At Mount Lemmon Ski Valley north of Tucson, a half-hour ride takes you up to 9,100 feet among the aspen, fir and pine trees. Riders can look for more than 200 species of birds and other wildlife on the mountain while enjoying panoramic views.
Arizona Snowbowl: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend and Fridays-Sundays through mid-October. About 14 miles north of Flagstaff on U.S. 180. $19, $10 for seniors and ages 6-12, free for age 5 and younger. 928-779-1951, www.ArizonaSnowbowl.com/Events.
Sunrise Park Resort: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays-Mondays. On State Route 273 west of Greer. $18, $14.50 for active military members, $12 for seniors and age 12 and younger. 928-735-7669, sunriseskiparkaz.com.
Mount Lemmon Ski Valley: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays. 10300 Ski Run Road, Mount Lemmon. $11, $8 for seniors, military members and ages 13-17, $6 for age 12 and younger. 520-576-1321, www.skithelemmon.com.
BY: Weldon B. Johnson, The Republic