Celebrate Arizona’s 100th birthday by getting out and enjoying a day in the desert landscape.
A variety of outdoor events are being offered across the Valley and state to honor the centennial. Opportunities abound to get some exercise this Valentine’s Day and celebrate loving Arizona.
Lake Pleasant Regional Park offers a celebration of Arizona’s statehood birthday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 14. Start the morning off right at 8 a.m. by joining the ranger on a short morning history hike above Lake Pleasant (1 mile). At 10 a.m., take a 1-mile “100 Moments in Arizona History” Hike. At noon, enjoy some gold panning and Arizona history inside the visitor center. Have some fun in the amphitheater at 1 p.m. as we go back with “100 Memories of Arizona”. The last hike of the day will be a 100-minute “Hike into Arizona History – The Lake Pleasant Connection,” above the shoreline of Lake Pleasant (4 miles). This hike starts at 2 p.m. In the Visitor Center at 4:30 p.m., play the “Are You Smarter than an Arizona Fifth Grader” game. Take Hwy 74 to Castle Hot Springs Road, turn right into park, follow signs to visitor center.
Estrella Mountain Park is celebrating the Arizona Centennial with the groundbreaking of the Centennial Trail and a wild bird release at 11:45 a.m. The Centennial Trail will be a half mile loop trail that will follow an old braid of the Gila River behind the Nature Center. The “old braid” will run with water from the aquifer directly below the site. Historical and educational features such as exhibit nodes, benches, descriptive kiosks, and public art relevant to the trail’s concept and environment will be installed. These features will describe and depict the geologic history of the Estrella Mountains, explain the history of the Hohokam people and their culture, provide information on the first explorers and settlers of the region, discuss important historical events, and track the effect of agriculture, industry and war on the economy of the Three Rivers Region to 2012. The project will provide visitors an enhanced experience along a trail that is easily accessible, ADA compliant, and one that highlights natural features visible and undisturbed today. Take Estrella Parkway several miles south of Interstate 10 to the park entrance on Vineyard Avenue in Goodyear.
The National Park Service is offering free admission Feb. 14 at many sites in Arizona in honor of the state’s centennial celebration. The sites include Casa Grande Ruins, Chiricahua, Montezuma Castle, Organ Pipe Cactus, Pipe Springs, Sunset Crater Volcano, Tonto, Tuzigoot, Walnut Canyon, and Wupatki national Monuments. The free admission also applies to the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Saguaro national parks; Tumacacori National Historical Park; and Glen Canyon and Lake Mead National recreational areas for one day only.