Thursday, November 11, 2010

5 Things to Do and See in Phoenix, Arizona

Home of Phoenix International Raceway
A lot of NASCAR fans tend to get caught up in raceday excitement and forget that there are other things to do around the tracks. Sometimes, race fans don't always want to just hang around the track. I have not been to or visited all of these places but many of these have been suggested by fans or natives of the towns and states or even by folks in the NASCAR industry themselves! Others have come from websites or the chambers of commerce. So sit back and take an armchair road trip with me across the circuit...
Arizona Challenger Space Center
NASA shuttle tire, NASCAR race car tire, and replica land rover tire.
Distance from track: 28.2 miles, approximately a 41 minute drive. View map
A great place for all ages, the Arizona Challenger Space Center does tend to focus a little more on schoolchildren. They offer simulated space missions which encourage teamwork and reading comprehension, summer space camps, and a variety of unique exhibits and artifacts. So if you have a little (or big) wannabe space cadet in your family, this is the place to be!

Check out their website for hours of operation, admission and other details.

Castles ~n~ Coasters
Distance from track: 29.2 miles, approximately a 43 minute drive, 1 hour, 10 minutes in traffic. View map
Castles ~n~ Coasters is a family fun park which features lots of fantastic rides and games. From a full arcade to bumper boats to rides and a mini kart track called Naskarts, you’re sure to find something to do for everyone. You can also host birthday parties and other events there! Be sure to view their website for admission information and hours of operation.

Fighter Combat International
Distance from track: 60.3 miles, approximately a 1 hour, 13 minute drive, 2 hours in traffic. View map
Aeronautics has long been a part of Arizona history. In Phoenix there is Luke Air Force Base and down in Tucson is Davis Monthan. In addition to those, there are quite a few air parks and museums.
Possibly the most unique among all of these, however, is the Fighter Combat International training center. Why is it so unique, you ask? These guys will train you, humble civilians, in air combat. You can either do a hands-on or ride with the pros. And it is all real! According to their description, the only thing that is simulated are the bullets.
If you’re in the mood for the experience of a lifetime, and can put forth the cash, you might want to head out to Fighter Combat International for a white knuckle adventure.
Check out their website for pricing.

Bondurant School of High Performance Driving
Distance from track: 41.7 miles, approximately a 52 minute drive, 1 hour, 20 minutes in traffic. View map
It may be the most easily recognized name in driving schools. Bondurant School of High Performance Driving has had some very high profile clients. They are some of the most high profile names in the entire realm of motorsports. They range from IndyCar to NASCAR to to Formula 1 to NHRA. To say the very least, the school boasts a highly impressive resume.
The school offers a vast assortment of courses at four different race tracks. All the tracks are located at Firebird International Raceway.
While the price tag on, say, grand prix training is a little out of budget for most folks, they do provide some courses that are affordable for most. Check out their website for more details.

Bizarre: Roadside Attractions in Phoenix
Distance from track- view individual attractions for information. map
Every state and many towns have them. You’ve seen them. You probably wondered “what the #*%^@?” while driving past them. Yeah, I’m talking about roadside attractions.
In 1947, a UFO crashed near the Dreamy Draw Dam, or so they say. These days, it is just a humble looking dam, so it appears. Or maybe it’s a government cover-up?
It has been reported that in the Arizona desert, near Goodyear, lingers an enormous baby. No, it is not a tribute to poor early 90s filmmaking. No one really knows what the purpose of a giant playing baby in the midst of the desert really is.
Out in Chandler, if you have the time to be completely unimpressed, you can stop by and view the Tribute to a Tumbleweed. No, it has no apparent purpose other than to glorify a thorny brown shrub but hey, not everyone can say they’ve seen a giant tumble weed!
If you have time, try and weed through the strange and obscure world of Phoenix and surrounding areas on!


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