Explore Arizona during vacation expo - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Explore Arizona during vacation expo

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Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2010 5:00 pm

With school letting out and a long holiday weekend on the horizon, you may be dreaming of getting out of town.

Believe it or not, it's not too late to plan a last-minute getaway, particularly if you hit up the Arizona Highways Travel Show, a one-stop vacation expo going on this weekend at Phoenix Convention Center.

Designed to help Arizonans plug into the recreation opportunities in their own backyard, it'll feature more than 100 exhibitor booths, two seminar stages and food and drink concessions.

"People are going to be able to talk directly with (representatives at) a variety of booths. We've got exhibitors from all over the state, from a city's visitors bureau or a hotel in Tucson or Sedona to attractions like Out of Africa Wildlife Park or Meteor Crater," says Rich Ripley, the show's organizer.

Steve Bodinet of Channel 3's "Arizona Family Adventures" and Robin Sewell of Arizona Highways Television will share travel ideas and tips. Arizona Highways magazine photography editor Jeff Kida will give a presentation on photographing the state's scenery. Other experts will give talks on wildlife watching, traveling the Arizona State Parks system and exploring the Navajo Nation, among other topics.

"It's kind of cool to have a show all about your own state and all the great opportunities right here locally, especially at a time when money is hard to come by for a lot of families," says Brennan Basler, a park ranger who will give a presentation at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on hiking throughout the state.

Basler, who leads hikes and interpretive programs for adults and children at Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa and San Tan Mountain Regional Park in Queen Creek, estimates he's logged about 2,000 miles on Arizona trails in the 6½ years he's lived in the state. And that's not counting his day job, where he's spends five days a week outdoors on the parks' trails. He'll share information on how to maximize hiking experiences and dispense a two-page handout with some of his favorite tried-and-true resources.

"I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I'll never finish in a lifetime everything that's here to see in just this state alone. There are a lot of hidden gems," he says.

Expo visitors will be able to pick up discount coupons from hotels, adventure outfitters, wineries, tour operators and other tourism companies. They can also enter to win prizes, including autographed Diamondbacks items, a multi-day photography workshop with the photographers of Arizona Highways, a weekend getaway to Tombstone, $100 Best Western gift cards and a free night's stay in a converted 1929 Santa Fe Railroad Caboose in Williams.

Admission is $5, but a coupon good for $2 off is available at http://special.azfamily.com/arizona-highways-travel-show/3tv-coupon.pdf. When you use that coupon, $1 from each ticket sale will be donated to the Arizona State Parks Foundation.

Arizona Highways Travel Show

What: Learn about destinations, attractions, amenities and outfitters across the state through exhibitor booths and seminars with Arizona travel experts.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. See full schedule on page 17.

Where: Phoenix Convention Center's Hall F, 100 N. Third St., Phoenix

Cost: $5 per person; go online for discount coupons

Information: www.arizonahighwaystravelshow.com

Schedule of events



11 a.m. How to Photograph Arizona with Jeff Kida, photo editor at Arizona Highways Magazine

12:30 p.m. 3TV's Arizona Family Adventures with Steve Bodinet of KTVK

2 p.m. Robin's Arizona with Robin Sewell, host and producer of Arizona Highways Television

3:30 p.m. Cathy Droz, of Two for the Road USA and Grandparents on the Go, and Cathy Burford, of Rev up your RV and Cooking for the Road


10:30 a.m. Hiking Arizona with Brennan Basler, Maricopa County Parks ranger

Noon Traveling the Park System with Ellen Bilbrey of Arizona State Parks

1:30 p.m. The Desert Botanical Garden: Your Desert Destination with Amy Whatley, the garden's Adult Education Coordinator

3 p.m. Postcards from the Parks with Jim McPherson of the Arizona Preservation Foundation and Arizona Heritage Alliance



11 a.m. How to Photograph Arizona with Jeff Kida, photo editor at Arizona Highways Magazine

12:30 p.m. Arizona's Centennial Planning with Karen Churchard of the Arizona Centennial Commission

2 p.m. Exploring the Navajo Nation with Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation staff

3:30 p.m. The Desert Botanical Garden: Your Desert Destination with Amy Whatley, the garden's Adult Education Coordinator


10:30 a.m. Venomous Insects of the Sororan Desert

with Bill "Doc" Talboy, Maricopa County Parks ranger

Noon Kartchner Caverns: Protection of a Natural Resource with Chris DeMille, manager of Kartchner Caverns State Park

1:30 p.m. Wildlife Watching Basics with Joe Yarchin of Arizona Game & Fish Department

3 p.m. Postcards from the Parks with Susan Culp, of the Sonoran Institute, The Governor's Sustainable Parks Task Force and Arizona Heritage Alliance


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