Just Deserts: Mesa, Arizona Brings History and Future Together
Twenty miles outside of Phoenix lays Mesa, Arizona. Due to its culturally rich history and abundance of outdoor activities that are both fun and educational, student travel groups would be well advised to take a closer look at this unassuming city, which happens to be the state’s third largest. Mesa offers a myriad of historically significant attractions, especially noteworthy to student groups. This well-rounded city also displays a keen enthusiasm for contemporary art. In addition to the many activities and attractions, Mesa’s striking desert scenery makes for singular sightseeing.
Student Tours in Mesa
Saguaro Lake Ranch offers multiple touring options for student travel groups looking to experience all that the desert landscape has to offer. Among the most popular is the horseback riding tour down the Apache Trail and into the heart of the desert. On this tour, student groups will have the chance to see famous Mesa desert sights such as the Horse Thief Wash, Kissing Cacti and stunning views of Saguaro Lake.
Another option is a voyage aboard the Dolly Steamboat, a replica of a sternwheeler paddleboat. Groups can cruise the lake’s secluded inner waterways and spot desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife. The 90-minute nature cruise, offered by Saguaro Lakes Ranch, is the most suitable and educational option for student groups.
Student Tours Attractions in Mesa
Students have the chance to experience history in a whole new way at Goldfield Ghost town. An Old West replica town that illustrates life in a mining community during the late 19th century, it serves as a gateway to the Superstition Mountains
Mesa’s Usery Mountain Park, 3,600 acres of natural parkland surrounded by mountains, offers hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding and RV trails, in addition to housing Arizona’s only five-star-rated archery range. An evening visit to the park offers the chance for students groups to participate in one of the park’s star gazing sessions. The park provides visitors with a telescope, and a resident expert to guide the journey through the constellations.
For a little more insight into Mesa’s history, the Park of the Canals, a 31-acre preserve featuring the remains of the intricate system of irrigation built by the Hohokam people, is a main Mesa tourist attraction. The park illustrates the culture and significant contributions of the Hohokam, and student groups will have a chance to see an up close view of the city’s original, ancient irrigation system.
Downtown, the Mesa Museum of Natural History offers student groups a one-stop shop for both local and world history through dinosaur exhibits, an indoor waterfall, replicas of artifacts and dwellings of ancient native peoples, and a courtyard where visitors can pan for gold
Mesa is also on the forefront of modern art with the Mesa Arts Center. The Arts Center has a contemporary art museum featuring an impressive permanent collection in addition to diverse revolving exhibits, and offers live performances in four state-of-the-art theaters.
Student Performance Venues in Mesa
Student groups looking to perform during their visit should look no further than 12 West Main. This downtown Mesa space houses a 7,000- square- foot venue adaptable for any purpose.
Student Accommodations in Mesa
The newly renovated Comfort Inn of Mesa is within walking distance to the Mesa Arts Center and the Mesa Convention Center and offers large group accommodations
Another convenient option, Best Western Mezona Inn, is centrally located in downtown Mesa, and within walking distance to cafes, shops, and museums.
Student Dining Options in Mesa
Mesa’s historical influence can even be felt in its dining choices. Rockin R’ Ranch features a traditional BBQ menu and lets visitors feel what it was like to live on a ranch in Arizona’s pioneer days. This themed restaurant features wagon rides, gun fights and gold panning in addition to its “cowboy campfire” atmosphere.
An enormous 6,000 pipe Wurlitzer takes center stage at Mesa’s Organ Stop Pizza. Built in 1927 and played by the restaurant’s world-class musicians, Organ Stop offers a variety of pizza and sandwiches in a casual dining atmosphere.
Annual Festivals in Mesa
Mesa’s MACFest is an annual festival that runs October through April and showcases local artist creations, food and music. MACFest is located throughout the downtown area, starting at the corner of Main and Center streets
Mesa Arizona combines a sense of history with a look to the future. The equal focus on the reigning influence history has over it present day culture, as well as the enthusiasm that this city displays for up-and-coming art make it an ideal destination for student group travel.