October 22 – 26, 2016 • Westin La Paloma • Tucson, Arizona
Sunny Arizona pre-FAM Itinerary for Family Travel Summit
Destinations: Chandler and Tempe
Dates: October 19-22, 2016
Limit: 10 pax
Itinerary is subject to change based on availability and weather.
Welcome to Sunny Arizona!
Minutes from Phoenix, Chandler and Tempe are hip, urban enclaves that are perfect for active visitors and families. Chandler has a lively downtown culinary scene, picturesque parks, indoor play centers for kids and sunny golf courses. Tempe is a progressive university town with family-friendly attractions, boating and Sonoran Desert hiking. Both offer easy access to fun-filled festivals, cultural events and museums, diverse dining options and shopping.
Thursday – October 19, 2016
Afternoon: Scattered Arrivals to Chandler hotel – plan to arrive by 2 p.m.
Meet and greet at host hotel with your Sunny Arizona FAM guides: Kimberly Janes and Toni Smith
3:00 p.m.: Visit Gallery of Scientific Exploration at ASU Tempe Campus
The Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV (ISTB 4), on the ASU Tempe Campus, includes the Gallery of Scientific Exploration, outfitted with kiosk-style interactive exhibits and large-format, high-definition monitors that display video from Earth-observing satellites and robotic probes of other worlds. This first floor gallery invites visitors to explore earth and space sciences through digital media, public lectures, visible laboratories and interactive displays. The Marston Exploration Theater is a venue for high-definition documentary movies with earth and space science themes and 3-D planetarium-style shows (although on a flat screen). The Gallery of Scientific Exploration also features the meteorite display on the second floor, drawn from the extensive collection of ASU’s Center for Meteorite Studies.
ASU Tempe Campus
781 E. Terrace Rd.
Tempe, AZ 85287
Phone: (480) 965-5081
4:30 p.m.: Depart for the Chandler Farmer’s Market and Walking Tour of Downtown Chandler
Take a stroll through the Chandler Farmer’s Market while enjoying a historic walk through Chandler’s original town square featuring eclectic art galleries, trendy boutiques, and a variety of award-winning local eateries. Downtown Chandler is also home to a monthly art walk and many quirky and fun events including the Chandler Indian Market, Downtown Chandler’s Rock the Block Party, The Tumbleweed Tree, The Great American Barbeque and Beer Festival, Jazz Festival, Cinco de Mayo Chihuahua Races and many more!
6:00 p.m.: Dinner in Downtown Chandler – The PERCH Pub & Brewery
Enjoy a unique dining experience at this fashionable yet inviting, craft nano-brewery located in Downtown Chandler. In addition to its upscale pub fare, locals celebrate The PERCH for its lush, exotic bird-filled garden and rooftop bar – offering unique views of Downtown Chandler.
232 S. Wall Street
Chandler, AZ 85225
Phone: (480) 773-7688
Depart for host hotel
Friday – October 20, 2016
8:00 a.m.: Depart for Breakfast at Hangar Café in Chandler
Located just off of the tarmac at Chandler Municipal Airport and nestled in the corner of a large aircraft maintenance hangar, is a hidden gem – a cozy, old-school diner serving a delicious variety of breakfast and lunch entrees with a one-of-a-kind view. Whether you opt for the huevos rancheros, breakfast burrito, omelet or the chicken-fried steak you’ll have a great view of the many general aviation planes coming in and taking off at Chandler Municipal Airport.
1725 E. Ryan Rd.
Chandler, AZ 85286
Phone: (480) 899-6965
10:00 a.m.: Visit SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Center and Tilt Studio at Arizona Mills (after a brief intro, you will be able to explore on your own)
Arizona Mills® is the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in Arizona. The center features name-brand outlets and value retailers at knockout prices plus great dining and entertainment options.
5000 S. Arizona Mills Cir.
Tempe, AZ 85282
Phone: (480) 491-7300
Dive into SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium! Discover thousands of creatures, walk through the amazing 360-degree ocean tunnel and marvel at 30 incredible displays. It’s the perfect stop for family fun!
LEGOLAND® Discovery Center is where families with children aged 3 to 10 can enjoy a world of creativity, color and building fun in the ultimate indoor LEGO playground. Get hands-on with the thousands of LEGO bricks in themed build and play areas where kids’ imaginations can run wild with the endless possibilities that LEGO offers.
Tilt Studio is a family entertainment center with a unique combination of FOOD, FUN and ‘FRESHMENTS in a safe, clean and welcoming environment. Guests will enjoy “FUN at FULL BLAST!” with a dynamic roster of 150+ interactive video and redemption games. a mouthwatering menu of American cuisine, and a full assortment of beer, wine and cocktails.
12:30 p.m.: Lunch at Culinary Dropout
Savory nosh, crafted cocktails and the next big names in local music have found a new home in this glamorous gastro-pub located at First Street and Farmer Avenue in Downtown Tempe.
149 S. Farmer Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (480) 240-1601
2:00 p.m.: Boating at Tempe Town Lake
Tempe Town Lake, located adjacent to Downtown Tempe, provides a two-mile recreational haven for kayaking, sailing, rowing, jogging, skating or picnicking. The heart of Tempe Town Lake is historic Tempe Beach Park. The park provides five miles of pathways and ample room for festivals or events, such as Ironman Arizona, various charity walks, Oktoberfest and the July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival. At Tempe Boat Rentals, everyone in the family can enjoy recreational boating at its best. Select from a variety of watercraft: kayaks, pedal boats, electric boats, stand-up paddleboards and more.
3:15 p.m.: Return to host hotel to relax and refresh before dinner at Rawhide.
5:15 p.m.: Depart for Dinner and Town Activities at Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse
Arizona’s largest Western-themed attraction in Chandler is accessible from everywhere. Rawhide Western Town & Steakhouse at Wild Horse Pass on the Gila River Indian Community is a legendary Arizona Western frontier town complete with Main Street, gunfights, stagecoach and train rides, burro rides, mechanical bull and climbing wall, petting ranch, gold pannin’, shootin’ gallery, unique retail shops, sundown cookouts, and our new town pass.
I-10, Exit 162 Wild Horse Pass
Phone: (480) 502-5600
Depart for host hotel
Saturday – October 21, 2016
Breakfast on your own at the hotel
8:30 a.m.: Depart for Bird Walk and Solar System Walk at Veteran’s Oasis Park
Veterans Oasis Park is considered one of the premier birding spots in the Valley with its recharge basins, riparian areas, 5-acre lake and abundance of native vegetation. This 113-acre park is a natural draw to birds of many varieties from tiny Burrowing Owls to stunning Vermilion Flycatchers; over 150 species have been seen at the park! The first Saturday of the month, November through April, Desert Rivers Audubon Society leads family bird walks around the water recharge ponds at the park. Typical tours last approximately 45 minutes and loaner binoculars and bird bingo cards for the kids are provided.
4050 E. Chandler Heights Rd.
Chandler, AZ 85249
NE Corner of Chandler Heights and Lindsay Rd.
Website: www.desertriversaudubon.org/ and www.chandleraz.gov/default.aspx?pageid=682#VeteransOasisPark
10:15 a.m.: Depart for Playtopia at Tumbleweed Park
Playtopia is a free, 2.5-acre playground and picnic section of the City’s Tumbleweed Park. It features several play zones with themes based on Chandler’s heritage. Playtopia is an ideal place for endless imaginative play, and attracts families from all over town. The Playtopia parking lot is located south of Germann Rd. on Hamilton Street, one-quarter-mile west of McQueen Rd. Look for the colorful barn ramadas.
2250 S. McQueen Rd.
Chandler, AZ 85286
Phone: (480) 782-2727
11:00 a.m.: Visit Kids That Rip Family Action Sports Center in Chandler
Kids That Rip Family Action Sports Center, also known as KTR is a 60,000 square foot that is perfect for active kids and families. The facility features dedicated areas to train on parkour, ninja warrior, as well as trampolines for jumping. The facility also features an obstacle course, and a large park area for skateboarding, scooters and BMX. Kids That Rip also features a cafe with family friendly offerings and quick and easy snacks to keep you going.
1050 E. Pecos Rd.
Chandler, AZ 85225
Phone: (480) 718-5872
12:00 p.m.: Lunch at American Way Market Cafe
This gem of a restaurant is a ‘re-purposed’ addition to Merchant Square Antiques and celebrates vintage craftsmanship, antiques and great food that honors tradition. From their smokehouse favorites to their select sandwiches and handcrafted salads – you’re in for a real treat!
1509 N. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225
Phone: (480) 772-1877
1:30 p.m.: Return to hotel for free time
4:00 p.m.: “Rock the Presidents” presented by Childsplay at Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe Center for the Arts (TCA) is an iconic venue providing exceptional arts experiences to the community and region. Enjoy a diverse assortment of entertainment options including dance, music, theater, comedy, visual arts and much more.
Childsplay is Arizona’s professional theatre company for young audiences and families performing September – May in the Tempe Center for the Arts and in schools around the state. Gearing up for the election season, “Rock the Presidents” is a high-energy, multi-media rock musical takes a non-partisan look at what it means to be president!
Tempe Center for the Arts
700 W. Rio Salado Pkwy.
Tempe, AZ, 85281
Phone: (480) 350-2822 (box office)
Website: www.tempe.gov/tca or www.childsplayaz.org
5:30 p.m.: Return to the hotel for free time before dinner
7:00 p.m.: Depart for dinner at Thirsty Lion Gastropub at Tempe Marketplace
Tempe Marketplace is a vibrant open air, pedestrian friendly shopping center with over 100 retail, dining and entertainment offerings. Enjoy unique water features, outdoor fireplaces, live music every Friday and Saturday night, bright lights and more as you shop, dine, party and play.
Dinner will be at Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill
Thirsty Lion combines the traditional values of European and American pubs to create a place where friends and family can celebrate life and enjoy handcrafted food, beers and cocktails.
2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy.
Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (480) 966-9338
Website: www.tempemarketplace.com and
Depart for host hotel
Sunday – October 22, 2016
Breakfast at host hotel
9:30 a.m.: Transfer to Westin La Paloma in Tucson for the Family Travel Summit
Tucson post-FAM tour for Family Travel Summit
Destination: Tucson and surrounding areas in Southern Arizona
Dates: October 26-28 or 29, 2016
Limit: 20 pax, both Travel Trade professionals and Media are invited (limited to 10 media)
Deadline to register: September 15, 2016. Itinerary is subject to change based on availability and weather.
Get Outdoors and Out-of-this-World in Tucson!
Join Visit Tucson for a whirlwind tour will take participants to the most unique outdoor, fun, and trailblazing attractions in Southern Arizona.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
12:30 p.m.: Check out of Westin La Paloma and meet in the lobby
1:00 p.m.: Depart from Westin La Paloma for a tour of BioSphere 2
There’s only one Biosphere 2! “One of the 50 must-see wonders of the world!” Visitors from around the world journey here to explore Earth’s largest living research center studying the environment and the future of our planet. A uniquely built indoor trail system allows visitors to explore the tropical rainforest, savanna, coastal fog desert and million-gallon ocean — all within Biosphere 2’s 6500 panels of glass! Knowledgeable tour guides take you on this adventure and present the history, current programs, research and unprecedented vision using this engineering marvel. Also, don’t miss our feature films, multimedia displays, bookstore and cafe.
4:00 p.m.: Depart for evening trail ride
Horseback riding is an authentic way to explore Tucson’s Old West heritage and is as much a part of the American West as sunsets and saguaros. In Tucson and Southern Arizona, we will saddle up to experience a beautiful glimpse of the Sonoran Desert landscape during a sunset ride.
6:00 p.m.: Check into Host Hotel
7:00 p.m.: Dinner at host hotel
Thursday, October 27, 2016
8:00 a.m.: Breakfast at host hotel
9:00 a.m.: Depart to Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The quintessential Sonoran Desert experience … an unforgettable fusion zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, aquarium and art gallery. Recently named TripAdvisor’s #5 U.S. Garden! Walking paths meander through various Sonoran Desert habitats showcasing 230 animals, 16 individual gardens, 1,200 plant species, and 56,000 plants. Highlights include the hummingbird aviary, Reptile, Amphibian, and Invertebrate Hall, Warden Aquarium and several live animal presentations including Raptor Free Flight where native birds of prey fly so close you can feel the brush of feathers.
12:00 p.m.: Lunch at the Desert Museum
1:00 p.m.: Depart to Old Tucson
Old Tucson, Where the Spirit of the Old West Comes Alive, is southern Arizona’s premier venue for Western family fun! This venerated film location features historic tours, live stunt shows, saloon musicals, living history presentations, trail rides and more. Great food, shopping, games and rides for the kids.
2:30 p.m.: Depart to Caris Mirror Lab
Have you ever seen a telescope mirror that is three-stories in diameter? Experience how they make the largest and most challenging giant telescope mirrors in the world, right on the University of Arizona campus, on the eastside of the UA Football stadium. Learn how innovative engineering, pioneering optical technology and unparalleled manufacturing techniques are used to produce the next-generation of monolithic honeycomb mirrors that will be revolutionizing astronomy and exploring deep into outer space to produce cutting-edge scientific research.
5:00 p.m.: Tour of downtown Tucson
Downtown Tucson has been a focus of history for centuries. It lies directly on the longest continuously inhabited site in the U.S. The earliest documented residents are the mysterious Hohokam, a tribe that vanished hundreds of years ago. The area has seen Spanish Conquistadors and missionaries, Mexican and U.S. armies, Wild West legends, and modern heroes and villains. Come explore the centuries concentrated in Downtown Tucson.
6:30 p.m.: Mexican dinner at El Charro
Established in 1922, El Charro Café of Tucson, Arizona is The Nation’s Oldest Mexican Restaurant in continuous operation by the same family. Featuring traditional Northern Mexico-Sonoran style and innovative Tucson-style Mexican Food, El Charro Café is truly as Gourmet Magazine wrote: “A Taste Explosion”
8 p.m.: Return to host hotel
Friday, October 28
Plan for departure from Tucson Airport after 2pm on Friday to participate in the first part of the day. Plan for one more night and departure from Tucson Airport on Saturday October 29 to participate in the full day of activities.
7:30 a.m.: Breakfast at the host hotel
8:30 a.m.: Depart to Sabino Canyon National Recreation Area
Experience the beauty of one of the most unique Southwestern desert canyons on a Sabino Canyon tram ride. Sabino Canyon is a natural desert oasis located in Tucson’s Coronado National Forest and is home to spectacular desert landscapes and abundant wildlife. During the winter and summer rainy seasons, pools of water form in rocky outcroppings that wind up among hillsides resplendent with palo verde trees, cholla and prickly pear cactus and graceful groves of ocotillo.A narrated, educational 45-minute, 3.8 mile tour into the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
10 a.m.: Depart to Pima Air & Space Museum
(12 p.m.: Airport drop-off for afternoon departures)
12:30 p.m.: depart to Kartchner Caverns State Park
Kartchner is a rare cavern that offers visitors a look at the entire family of cave formations: stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, cave popcorn, shields, columns, totems, drapery, bacon and the massive 58-foot-tall Kublai Khan column in the Rotunda Room.
3:00 p.m.: depart to Tombstone
About 70 miles southeast of Tucson is the “town too tough to die,” where Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp fought the Clantons at the famous OK Corral. Fuel up at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon or Longhorn Restaurant, and pop in to some of the town’s quaint shops and galleries, including The Shady Lady’s Closet for Western attire and Arlene’s for Native American jewelry, pottery, and rugs. Relive the exciting times of the Old West with historical tours, shoot-outs, reenactments, and a walk through Boothill Graveyard
7:00 p.m.: dinner and night at host hotel
Saturday, October 29
Scattered departures from Tucson International Airport
Sustainability, accessibility, education—Il Viaggio Travel does it all. While based in Costa Rica, “Il Viaggio” is actually Italian for “travel,” inspired by co-founder Stephanie Sheehy’s family and heritage. The initial hope was to drawContinue Reading Story
Just outside of Atlanta, Georgia lies a haven for family travel. North of the downtown area, Discover DeKalb—a new FTA member—represents a group of cities and towns with a hugely diverse selection of travel offerings. Michael Vescio, Director ofContinue Reading Story
Every few weeks, the Family Travel Association is hosting a 30-minute virtual Lunch & Learn with suppliers, industry experts and panel discussions. Being an FTA member, you can not just attend these webinars, but also access the recordings at anyContinue Reading Story
Would you know how to call for an emergency responder in Italy? Could you find a pharmacist in Egypt that speaks English? What about the latest health guidelines in Costa Rica? Even if you’re a seasoned traveler, you can’t account for every situaContinue Reading Story
Nancy Schretter is the President of Beacon Group Holdings, Inc. As an award-winning editor and travel journalist, Schretter’s articles, quotes and insights on travel have been featured in dozens of leading print and online media outlets, includinContinue Reading Story
Every two weeks, the Family Travel Association is hosting a virtual Lunch & Learn, just a half hour on Wednesdays to learn from suppliers, panel discussions and industry experts. Being an FTA member, you can not just attend these webinars, but alContinue Reading Story
For more than three decades, the UK-based Journeysmiths has been creating unique and unforgettable experiences in wildlife and wild places. While they began with a focus on Africa, the company is expanding its unique approach across the globe, and thContinue Reading Story
A Family Travel Association member’s son is now the youngest American to ever visit all seven continents. Travel expert Lesley Carter of Bucket List Publications has been traveling her entire life, visiting nearly 100 countries at this point. WhileContinue Reading Story
Big Five Tours & Expeditions began in Kenya in 1973 as a safari company for East Africa. This year, the family business celebrates 50 years of offering travel all around the world. Started by Mahen Sanghrajka after he discovered a love of travel,Continue Reading Story
The new year is already seeing changes in the travel industry, including the formation of a new holding company for community tourism pioneer and small-group adventure operator G Adventures. The new holding company will bring existing and new brand aContinue Reading Story
Traveling with USA Guided Tours means a personalized approach to sightseeing, led by locals with a passion for their city. The company was started nearly a decade ago by Rauf Shakir and partners. He had years of experience in DC hospitality, workingContinue Reading Story
New York – September 19, 2022 – The Family Travel Association (FTA) has formed its first partnership with a consortia: Signature Travel Network, a member-owned community of leading travel agencies, representing more than 10,000 travel advisorContinue Reading Story