Central Arizona has many fun attractions - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Central Arizona has many fun attractions

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Posted: Saturday, January 10, 2009 6:07 pm | Updated: 2:13 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Where are you totally in your zone? Is it out of doors rafting down a river? Is it out with friends sharing wine and laughter? Is it interacting with your children as they are absorbed in the wonder of a new experience?

There’s a zone of another kind, a slice of Arizona where you can find all the elements that make your particular brand of fun possible to the highest level. And that is the action-packed core of the state, that central area that encompasses Camp Verde, Prescott, Clarkdale and Cottonwood.

Consider some of my favorite options for recreation and tours while in the Zone:

Out of Africa Wildlife Park is fun for young and old alike. The Zoo can be found at this unique park set on 104 wilderness acres in Camp Verde and is home to more than 400 animals, many rescued from unfortunate circumstances.

Out of Africa offers exciting ways for the public to interact with tigers, snakes, and other creatures. Take a photo safari; watch the Predator Feed as 800 pounds of raw meat are thrown to anxiously waiting carnivores; touch, pet, and hold a Python or Boa Constrictor; feed a tiger; and watch the Tiger Splash, a spontaneous play between tigers and people, culminating with tigers leaping into a pool of water.

To find Out of Africa Wildlife Park, take exit 287 from Interstate 17 three miles west toward Cottonwood. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Less than a two-hour drive from the Valley gives you time to work up a hearty appetite.

Do you want to experience your inner cowboy? Head to Blazin’ M Ranch and eat your fill of chuck wagon grub after the park, then enjoy the cowboy music, storytelling, and comedy, or …

Is an afternoon of wine-tasting more to your liking? Check out Alcantara Vineyards, where a newly constructed Tuscan farmhouse serves as the tasting room overlooking the Verde River and Oak Creek.

Maybe your interests lie in past civilizations. Visit Montezuma Castle National Monument, a five-level “high-rise apartment building” built in a cliff by Sinagua Indians over 600 years ago for a great Arizona History activity.

Two tours that I enjoy are The Verde Canyon Railroad and The Cowboy Jeep Tour. The Verde Canyon Railroad train ride is for all seasons. With fall colors, winter beauty, and spring rain with a cool alternative ride on the rails available in the summer, this is a can’t-miss attraction.

Try out the Caboose Deal for six (adults only) while with friends. Champagne, hors d’ouvres, private impeccable service, and spectacular scenery is what you can expect.

The Cowboy Jeep Tour is a ride in the West with “real” cowboy tales and yarns of yesteryear. They have plenty of stops for scenic pictures, and the tour does an excellent job of showing you the landscape of Central Arizona. Ask for the Ya-Hoo Sleep 'N Jeep package if you want to stay an evening.

Find the Monthly Newspaper AZ Tourist News at participating Village Inn, IHOP and JB’s restaurants as well as your local Chamber of Commerce and convention and visitors bureaus.

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