My Dad waits for Kaden to come down the water slide at the main pool at the Arizona Biltmore.
Myself w/ Kaden and Kendall on the grounds of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel.
Kaden comes down the tin slide at Rustler's Roose.
Kaden looks at the giraffes during our trip to Phx Zoo.
I liked the very natural setting (watch out for the numerous cactus' within finger tips reach) and the fact that there were lots of hands on areas for the kids. Probably the best exhibit at the Phoenix zoo is StingRay Bay featuring stingrays, sharks and horseshoe crabs in a pool that you can dip your hands into for that chance encounter. However, don't make the same mistake I did. Kaden was so excited to pet the stingrays (that was his favorite part of Seaworld when we visited) so I mentioned the exhibit to him before we got to the zoo only to find out it is only open from Oct.-April. Its even too hot for them in the summer!!! Second runner up is Monkey Village with no barriers b/w you and the monkeys...just don't touch the ropes. Apparently the monkeys like to soil them.
Of course a vacation isn't a vacation if you don't indulge! These are my recommendations for places to eat:
Rustler's Roose located at 7777 S. Pointe Pkwy in Phoenix at the Arizona Grand Resort. This place has a ton of character! Valet parking where you are greeted by a live bull is just the beginning. When escorted to your seat you can go down the steps to the dining hall or go down the tin slide, which Keith and Kaden did. There is also a live country band and a dance floor where Kaden and I spent our evening. My parents enjoyed the balloon artist more than the kids did! Get the appetizer sampler and then choose from one of the numerous steaks. Pitcher of beer is also fitting here. Not much room for dessert! The view is awesome too.
Tortilla Factory located at 6910 East Main Street in Scottsdale. Great tortillas as the name suggests and patio seating w/ fountains and lights to keep the kids entertained so you can try out the Millionaire's Margarita! If the weather permits I would do lunch here and then check out the galleries up and down Main Street and Fifth Ave.
District American Kitchen and Wine Bar located at 320 N. 3rd Street in the Sheraton downtown. This place does have an uppity downtown vibe but the food is kind of down home w/ flare! Cool off after a day of sight seeing with an Apple Mojito. The shrimp poboy sliders are not to miss. The smaller meal will allow room for a very fitting banana split. Live Music near the bar. It does have a good kids menu. My son loved his grilled cheese and pizza soup (tomato soup that is)! Reservations may be a good idea; we waited about 30 mins for a table.
We tried out two locations for our stay here. First, the Hilton Suites located at 10 East Thomas. We liked the larger rooms with separate living and sleeping areas and the bathroom had extra shelving and drawers for all the kids stuff. A nice to indoor pool. The breakfast was also good w/ made to order crepes and omelets...sit near the koi pond. We didn't like the lack of staff. I made the mistake of paying for valet parking only to have to go to the front desk to have one of them go get my car each time. Has more of an Embassy Suites feel than that of a full service Hilton.
Once Keith finished his convention we checked into the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa for a couple of days of R&R before returning home. Located at 2400 E. Missouri Ave. only 15 mins straight up 24th Street from the airport. Good location b/w Phoenix and Scottsdale. The hotel is infamous and has been in business for 80 years. We liked the 8 different pools; although we spent most our time at the main pool as it offered the water slide. The gardens are beautiful. Views are speechless. Covered Playground. Golf (including a putting course), Tennis, Day Spa, etc. There are a couple of good boutiques on site including the Pink Saguaro, which carries more Lilly Pulitzer than I have ever seen before. I found myself and Kaden the cutest bathing suits and got Kendall an adorable sun dress. Rooms are on the pricey side; we had a suite, which offered more space and a great corner balcony w/ views of the pool, resort and mountains. We didn't like the parking charges...$27 a day to valet or $12 to self park. Constant extras, as with many resorts you are always having to tip someone. The wing we stayed in could use some updating as far as the furniture and carpeting. A bad storm came through on Monday evening and the glass doors to the balcony were shaking! The main lobby is not as impressive as I had expected, but all in all the place is a landmark and worth checking out. If nothing else plan to go for High Tea and a mani/pedi with the girls while the boys play golf.