6 Unique Cultural Attractions in Arizona That Will Make Your Jaw Drop
People who live in Arizona are used to the natural beauty of the state – there’s gorgeous sunsets, lots of desert, and so much more to explore. But if you travel to Arizona from out of state or even from another part of the country, you’ll discover that there are so many unique cultural attractions here that will leave you mesmerized and in awe. If you’re planning a trip to Arizona, make sure to include these six spots on your itinerary!
1) Petrified Forest National Park
One of the most distinctive things about Arizona is its petrified wood. Petrified Forest National Park is home to one of the largest and most impressive collections of petrified wood in the world. The park’s austere beauty is truly breathtaking, and its graphics and art are some of the most unique you’ll ever see.
Wet N’ Wild Phoenix: Don’t be fooled by this waterpark’s name; it may be called Wet N’ Wild Phoenix, but it has a lot more to offer than just waterslides. In addition to waterslides for all ages and skill levels, Wet N’ Wild Phoenix offers pools for swimming laps or lounging in the sun. Its graphics and art are also unparalleled-from comic book style murals on high up walls to brilliantly painted murals on ground level walls that provide a glimpse into what happens behind the scenes at Wet N’ Wild Phoenix.
Flagstaff, AZ: Flagstaff is home to some of Arizona’s most impressive art and graphics. Once you see what Flagstaff has to offer, you’ll never want to leave.
2) Kachina Dolls at Heard Museum
The Heard Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of kachina dolls. These dolls are used by the Hopi people to represent the spirits of nature, and each one is distinctive and intricately carved. The museum also has a beautiful outdoor sculpture garden with austere beauty. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t just any desert, it’s an oasis!
The gardens features plants from different regions of the state and different climates such as the Sonoran Desert and the Chihuahuan Desert. There’s even a tiny golf course for some scenic golfing! It’ll take you some time to explore all the exhibits at the museum, so make sure you bring your appetite. They have delicious food like a southwestern breakfast burrito or spinach tortilla soup. The best part? It’s not pricey. And if you’re looking for more, there are always deals happening that offer free admission to other attractions like the Phoenix Art Museum or Tohono Chul Park!
3) Navajo Rug Weaving
The Navajo people have a rich history of rug weaving, which is still practiced today. Rug weaving is an important part of Navajo culture and tradition, and the rugs are often used in ceremonies and as gifts. If you’re interested in seeing this fascinating process up close, there are a few places you can go. The Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona, offers demonstrations and workshops on rug weaving. The Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff also has a Navajo Rug Auction each year, where you can see some of the finest examples of Navajo rug weaving.
Red Mesa Weavers, a Navajo owned and operated business that works with about 100 weavers who all create Navajo rugs by hand, is a great place to see how much time goes into making a single rug. They take around 80 hours on average to create, so you’re bound to be impressed by just how intricate and detailed these rugs can be. If you’re in Page, Arizona, make sure to stop by for a tour – it’s truly one of those things that has to be seen to be believed!
4) Rattlesnake Roundup
Sweetwater, Texas hosts the Rattlesnake Roundup every year. It is the largest gathering of its kind in the world, and it celebrates the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Every year, people from all over come to Sweetwater to watch as rattlesnakes are caught, killed, and skinned. If you’re looking for a unique cultural experience, the Rattlesnake Roundup is definitely worth checking out.
People can participate in a variety of rattlesnake-themed events, including arts and crafts, live music, and face painting. The event also has three exciting competitions: a snakeskin-harvesting contest for adults; an archery tournament for both adults and children; and a free-for-all competition for children that encourages them to grab as many snakes as they can handle.
To add to your cultural experience, you can enjoy nightly shows at local bars. The main show takes place on Friday night, with a variety of comedians and other entertainment acts that are sure to leave you in stitches.
5) Hiking through Saguaro National Park
As a strategic outpost during the Apache Wars, Fort Bowie later became a landmark of the American-Indian Wars. The fort was home to many troops over the years, and was an important part of the territorial expansion of the United States. Today, the fort is a historic site that is open to the public. Visitors can explore the ruins of the fort, and learn about its history.
Creating your own hiking trail is also a great way to enjoy Saguaro National Park. Located outside of Tucson, Ariz., you can hike through acres of luscious cacti and breathtaking desert landscapes while enjoying stunning views of the Sonoran Desert. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, it’s easy to find a trail that will suit your experience level and provide you with an incredible hiking adventure. Just remember to bring plenty of water! If camping is more your style, there are several campgrounds available on-site as well.
6) Fort Bowie Historic Site
Located in southeastern Arizona, Fort Bowie was a 19th-century United States Army fort. Today, the fort is a National Historic Site that includes the ruins of the original fort, a visitors’ center, and a 1.5-mile hiking trail. The trail takes you through the Chiricahua Mountains and to the site of the Apache Wars.
After more than 50 years of bitter conflict with different tribes throughout Arizona, Federal troops abandoned Fort Bowie in 1877 and moved to Camp Supply. The camp lasted only one year before soldiers were reassigned. Construction of Fort Bowie began soon thereafter and was completed by January 1880. Because it was primarily an infantry fort, there were no permanent buildings constructed to house personnel or supply stores; all buildings at Fort Bowie had their wood-frame walls built from local pinyon pine trees and their roofs covered with juniper brush for waterproofing.