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Things to Do: A brief rundown of the dynamic museum ecosystem of the Valley

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A fully accessible two-third mile trail takes you through a prehistoric Hohokam archaeological site with a platform mound, ball court, and replicated houses. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress)
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Family in town? Looking to entertain your kids? How about a cure for boredom with things to do meant to enrich your day — maybe even change your perspective on the world around you?

The Arizona Digital Free Press offers a brief rundown of unique and interesting museums in the Phoenix metropolitan area:

Phoenix S’edav Va’aki Museum

Phoenix has moved to rebrand the Pueblo Grande Museum as the S’edav Va’aki Museum to better illustrate the heritage of the Native American communities who originally settled in the area. Those Native Americans hail from the Hohokam culture and the site on which the S’edav Va’aki Museum stands is a National Historic Landmark. Phoenix Parks and Recreation officials say the key focus of the museum is to “foster understanding, appreciation, and respect” for the heritage of the Valley of the Sun.

A fully accessible two-third mile trail takes you through a prehistoric Hohokam archaeological site with a platform mound, ball court, and replicated houses. Three galleries display artifacts and information on the Hohokam and village site and a hands-on children’s gallery. Purchase Native American gifts, art and jewelry at the Museum Store.

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West offers rotating exhibitions featuring hundreds of Western artworks, rare historical objects, and cultural treasures on loan from some of the world’s foremost collectors and institutions. Here is a rundown of upcoming events:

  • Sunday Family Day – From Dec. 1, 2023, to April 30, 2024, Western Spirit will be open all day on Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm to families who can enjoy the museum with a special rate of $45 for up to 5 family members.
  • Artwalk Thursdays – The museum will be open on Thursday evenings from 5 pm to 9 pm from Nov. 1, 2023, through May 31, 2024. Admission is complimentary to all Scottsdale residents with valid ID.
  • Museum Mondays – From Jan. 1, 2024, to April 30, 2024, the museum will now be open on Mondays. Regular admission rates will apply.

Museum of Illusions Scottsdale

Enter the wonderful world of illusions where you can truly experience the impossible! Illusions challenge us to see things differently and they reveal a lot about how the brain interprets reality. The Museum of Illusions Scottsdale will be permanently situated alongside OdySea Aquarium and Butterfly Wonderland in the Arizona Boardwalk, the area’s premier entertainment destination. The Scottsdale location is the latest installment of the Museum of Illusions’ global presence, with more than 35 locations worldwide.

Phoenix Art Museum

Found in Phoenix’s Central Corridor, the museum is a vibrant destination for the visual arts and the leading art museum in the southwestern United States. Each year, more than 300,000 guests engage with critically acclaimed national and international exhibitions and the museum’s collection of more than 20,000 works of American and Western American, Asian, European, Latin American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design.

Since 1959, Phoenix Art Museum has provided millions of guests with access to world-class art and experiences in an effort to ignite imaginations, create meaningful connections, and serve as a brave space for all people who wish to experience the transformative power of art.

A rundown of the dynamic museum ecosystem of the Valley of the Sun

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

SMoCA was named “Best Art Museum” by the Phoenix New Times in the 2023 Best of Phoenix awards and is open Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Admission is $10–$12 for non-members; $7–$9 for students, seniors (65+) and veterans; and free for Scottsdale Arts ONE Members, healthcare workers, first responders, and patrons 18 and younger. Admission to the museum is pay-what-you-wish every Thursday and every second Saturday of the month.

Children’s Museum of Phoenix

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is a wondrous place of imagination, inspiration, creativity and just plain fun! Designed for children ages birth to 10, this is not your typical museum — here museum officials want you to touch everything! And with over 48,000 square feet of space, there’s plenty to touch.

The museum offers more than 300 play experiences, spread throughout three floors in the magnificent and historic Monroe School Building.

Phoenix Heard Museum

Since its founding in 1929, the Heard Museum, a private nonprofit organization, has grown in size and stature to become recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, world class exhibitions,educational programming and unmatched festivals. Dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art, the Heard successfully presents the stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective as well as exhibitions that showcase the beauty and vitality of traditional and contemporary art.

Arizona Science Center

The Arizona Science Center features more than 300 hands-on exhibits, a state-of-the-art planetarium, a five-story giant-screen theater, live demonstrations, traveling exhibitions, and exciting science programs. The center offers programs for all ages, including Science on Wheels, CAMP INNOVATION, Teen programs, Professional Development, and Adults’ Night Out: Science With A Twist. Whether onsite or at your location–get ready to embark on a hands-on STEM learning journey you’ll never forget.

Arcosanti in the Town of Paradise Valley

Founded in 1970, Arcosanti is a project of The Cosanti Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire a reimagined urbanism that builds resilient and equitable communities sustainably integrated with the natural world. At Arcosanti, we pursue this mission through experimentation and application of the principles of arcology, a combination of the words architecture and ecology that offers an alternative to urban sprawl.

Arcosanti is only an hour’s drive from Phoenix, Flagstaff, Prescott, and Sedona—an easy day trip or a convenient stopping point on any road trip. You can visit us in person almost every day of the year, enjoying guided tours, hiking trails, and a café where you can enjoy breakfast and lunch much of the week.

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