Located at the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza near the State Capitol in Phoenix, the 9/11 Memorial in Arizona was unveiled on Sept. 11, 2006. The memorial is often — and perhaps best — described as a circular plan with a flat inclined metal ring. The memorial opened to some controversy. The controversy centered on a number of quotes engraved into the ring, including “Congress Questions Why CIA and FBI Didn’t Prevent Attacks” and “You Don’t Win Battles of Terrorism With More Battles.”
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Inside the Arizona State Capitol building, which was built in 1901 and predates Arizona’s 1912 entry into the Union as a state, the story of The Grand Canyon State comes to life. Displays include the silver and copper punchbowl service from the USS Arizona, said to be the only one of its kind. it is composed of etched copper panels depicting desert scenes set into a silver bowl ornamented with mermaids, dolphins, waves, and other nautical themes. In addition, the museum also displays a collection of gifts received by Arizona as part of the Merci Train sent by France to the United States following World War II. Outside, the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza on the Phoenix state capitol grounds are filled with an impressive collection of monuments, including one to the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II.
Since 1983, the Arizona Railway Museum has been dedicated to preserving and interpreting the state’s railroad history. The museum moved to its current location at the southwestern edge of Tumbleweed Park since 2006. Two items in its collection are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. They are Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive No. SP 2562 (and Tender No. 8365) and Railroad Steam Wrecking Crane and Tool Car.
The 98-acre Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is home to more than 230 animal species and 1,200 varieties of plants. The museum was founded in 1952 and interprets the natural history of the Sonoran Desert and nearby ecosystems. There are two miles of walking paths that cover 21 acres of desert landscape.
Tombstone, AZ 85638
The Bird Cage Theatre was a combination theater, saloon, gambling parlor and brothel that operated from 1881 to 1889 during the height of the silver boom. Stepping into this old theater really is like stepping back in time. When the establishment shuttered in 1889, its doors were sealed until 1934 when new owners opened the building and found a literal window to the back.
Tombstone, AZ 85638
Between 1879 and 1884, this was the town cemetery. Its permanent residents include Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury, the three men gunned down during the now-infamous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. By the 1920s, the cemetery was in dire need of restoration. Now restored, the cemetery is one of the city’s main tourist destinations, in part because of its sometimes humorous epitaphs.
Phoenix, AZ 85008
The 140-acre Desert Botanical Garden was established in 1939 and is home to more than 21,000 flowers. Plants are on display along five thematic trails that cover a range of topics, including conservation, desert living and people of the Sonoran Desert.
Tombstone, AZ 85638
As Ed Schieffelin started prospecting for valuable minerals in southern Arizona during the latter half of the 1870s, his friends insisted he would only find his tombstone. They were wrong. During its mining history, mines in Tombstone produced $85 million in silver. Schieffelin died in 1897. This 25-foot-tall monument stands near the spot of his original claim
El Tiradito is a popular shrine in the Old Barrio section of Tucson, Ariz. The shrine is said to be the only Catholic shrine in the country that is “dedicated to a sinner buried in unconsecrated ground.” According to one version of the legend, the shrine is dedicated to Juan Oliveras, an 18-year-old ranch hand who apparently had an affair with his mother-in-law. His father-in-law apparently later killed Oliveras. The original shrine dates to 1870, but the current version was apparently built in the 1920s. The shrine was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
50 E Civic Center Dr., Gilbert, AZ 85296
The Gilbert 9/11 Memorial features an 8-foot steel girder beam that once held up the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Gilbert Fire Chief Collin DeWitt and Assistant Fire Chief Jim Jobusch drove to New York City to personally collect the beam, then gave it the same honorable and respectful ride home they would give to a fallen soldier. Before it was installed at the memorial, the beam traveled through town so residents could see, touch and learn about it. The memorial was designed and built in four months. It also features four granite walls with the names of those lost in the attacks.
In 2004, the hometown of “Mr. Conservative” Barry Goldwater unveiled a statue of its most famous resident. Sculpted by Arizona artist Joe Beeler, the statue stands one-and-a-half times taller than Goldwater did in life. Located on a busy corner in the heart of Paradize Valley, Ariz., Goldwater’s likeness stands in the shadow of his former home. The monument is surrounded by neatly landscaped terrain featuring a plethora of local flora. An avid ham radio operator, Goldwater is perhaps best remembered for helping rekindle the conservative movement during the 1960s, publishing the acclaimed “The Conscience of a Conservative” in 1960.
Phoenix, AZ 85008
The National Historical Fire Foundation is better know as the Hall of Flame. The museum is dedicated to preserving firefighting equipment used in Arizona and around the world. The museum has five exhibit bays and the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes gallery. The equipment is grouped as: Hand & Horse Drawn (1725–1908); Motorized Apparatus (1897–1948); Motorized Apparatus (1918–1968); Motorized Apparatus (1919–1950) and Wildland Firefighting. It has also have a large collection of Fire Department arm patches.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
The story of Arizona would be far from complete without the Native American perspective. While it is at times a difficult story to tell and a difficult story to hear, the Heard Museum does a magnificent job brining the Native American Experience to life. Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard founded the museum in 1929 to house their personal art collection. Today, the 130,000-square-foot museum features more than 40,000 items in its collection, including the Barry Goldwater collection of Hopi kachina dolls.
Built at a cost of $49 million — or $821 million with inflation — the Hoover Dam stops the Colorado River to create Lake Mead, itself a popular attraction. It has been open to visitors since 1937, and today, roughly 1 million people visit annually; the busy season falls between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Located roughly 35 miles east of Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam is an easy — and worthwhile — day trip from Sin City. A number of tour groups offer sightseeing excursions from Vegas hotels for those travelers who don’t have access to a vehicle.
Apache Junction, AZ 85120
Jacob Waltz could be called the ultimate wanderlust. According to legend, he discovered a great gold mine somewhere in the hills around Apache Junction, but the precise location was lost to history after he died in 1891. A monument in Apache Junction helps keep his story and the legend of the Lost Dutchman alive.
Apache Junction, AZ 85119
The 320-acre Lost Dutchman State Park is located near the Superstition Mountains about 40 miles east of Phoenix. The park was first developed as a day use recreation area by the Bureau of Land Management in 1972 and is named for the famed lost gold mine.
Mission San Xavier del Bac was built between 1783-1797 in what was then New Spain. San Xavier Mission was established in 1692 by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, founder of the chain of Spanish missions in the Sonoran Desert. A Jesuit of Italian descent, he often visited and preached in the area, then the Pimería Alta colonial territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The mission is an absolutely magnificent example of Spanish Colonial architecture.
Phoenix, AZ 85050
This 200,000-square-foot, $250 million museum museum opened in April 2010. Its collection is astounding, bringing together more than 15,000 instruments from 200-plus countries under one roof. But, these are not just static displays. To bring the instruments to life, the museum uses a combination of wireless technology and high-resolution videos. When a museum guest approaches a video screen, they can listen to and watch the instruments in action, played by true artisans who can bring them to life.
The O.K. Corral was a livery and horse corral in Tombstone, Ariz., that operated from 1879 until about 1888. While it is associated with the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the showdown went down in a lot on Fremont Street. Still, that doesn’t stop hordes of tourists from converging on the OK Corral for reenactments.
Old Tucson is half movie studio, half theme park that is located near the western portion of Saguaro National Park. The studio was built in 1938 by Columbia Pictures to serve as a replica of 1860s Tucson for the movie Arizona. Over the years, dozens of movies have been filmed at the studio, including 1993’s Tombstone. Today, guests can walk the studio’s streets, ride on a miniature train, watch shows and see how gunfights are filmed.
Phoenix, AZ 85003
The Museum traces its origins to October 1993. The original small museum in the city’s historic city hall has today blossomed to a more robust museum located in the same building. Open to the public without charge, the museum features a number of exhibits that interpret the city’s law enforcement history. One of the more unique exhibits is the jail rock with leg shackles attached to it. Dating to the 1860s, the jail rock was used to detain lawbreakers in the days before the city had a proper jail. Another particularly poignant display is the Memorial Room. The memorial honors the Phoenix police officers killed in the line of duty.
The Pima Air & Space Museum is one of the world’s largest aerospace museums. The museum is home to roughly 300 aircraft displayed across more than 80 acres.
Silver Strike Winery and Tasting Room almost seems out of place in the rough-and-tumble town of Tombstone, Ariz. The winery is located on Allen Street mere steps from the famous OK Corral. The winery features wines made with Mediterranean grape varietals originating in Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Portugal that are grown at vineyards located 50 miles east and west of Tombstone.
Scottsdale, AZ 85259
By the 1930s, when Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship began trekking west for the winter, Wright was an established architect. Taliesin West served as the winter home and school for Wright from 1937 until his death in 1959 at the age of 91. The complex drew its name from Taliesin, in Spring Green, Wisc., which served as a summer home for Wright.
Tombstone, AZ 85638
Perhaps the most important institution in Tombstone, Arizona, is The Tombstone Epitaph. Founded in 1880, this famous newspaper is today the oldest continuously published newspaper in the Grand Canyon State. In 1881, the newspaper reported on the now-infamous Shootout at the OK Corral and has since been transformed into a monthly journal of western history and museum. While the newspaper office is no longer working newsroom, it is home to a rather interesting museum dedicated to telling the story about newspapers.
Tombstone, AZ 85638
For anyone especially interested in learning the full story of Tombstone, a visit to the Tombstone Courthouse is an absolute must. Built in 1882, this building served administrators of the then-newly created Cochise County until 1929 when the county seat was relocated to Bisbee. At one point, a hotel was planned for the structure, but today the courthouse houses a museum dedicated to telling the historically accurate story of Tombstone.
Tucson, AZ 85701
The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block’s mission is Connecting Art to Life. The Museum was founded 1924 in the El Presidio Historic District of downtown Tucson. It is Southern Arizona’s premier presenter of fine art and art education programs. The Museum features permanent and traveling exhibitions of Modern and Contemporary, Native American, American West, Latin American, and Asian art. The 74,000 square foot Museum offers tours of exhibits, public education programs, and studio art classes. The main Museum occupies a contemporary building. The Museum’s Historic Block of 19th and 20th C. adobe and Mission Revival-style buildings, encompassing an entire four-acre city block, includes the John K. Goodman Pavilion of Western Art, which displays the Museum’s notable art of the American West collection, the Museum restaurant Café a la C’Art, and other exhibition and studio spaces.