Anthem is fortunate enough to have an abundance of nearby attractions that offer a wide array of activities for people of all ages and interests. As the “Gateway to the Arizona High Country,” Anthem sits at the base of the foothills leading to all points north, but is also within easy reach of attractions in all directions. There is so much to see and do within reach. The following list of day trips and excursions are within 30 minutes of Anthem to a little more than two hours drive from the community.
Anthem Veterans Memorial
The Anthem Veterans Memorial, a project of the Anthem Community Council and volunteers of the Memorial Planning Committee, is a tribute to our veterans and will be dedicated November 11, 2011. Designed by resident Renee Palmer-Jones, the five marble pillars represent the five branches of the United States military. They are staggered in size and ordered in accordance with the Department of Defense prescribed precedence, ranging from the United States Army, the United States Marine Corp, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force and the United States Coast Guard.
Anthem resident and chief engineer, Jim Martin, aligned the five pillars so that at precisely 11:11 a.m. on Veterans Day (November 11), the sun’s rays will pass through each of the five pillars’ elliptical openings to illuminate a glass mosaic medallion of the Great Seat of the United States.
The project’s costs are offset by donations and commemorative pavers. If you would like to learn more about the Memorial or donate to the project, go to www.onlineatanthem.com/anthem-veterans-memorial
Outlets at Anthem
Outlets at Anthem is located just 15 minutes north of the Loop 101 off Interstate 17 at the Anthem Way exit 229. The center offers 65 brand name stores with men’s and women’s designer apparel, kids clothing, accessories, bath products, electronics, and gourmet and specialty foods, among other merchandise. www.outletsanthem.com.
The K-9 Korral at Jack Ass Acres
Built by Anthem Pets as the first all- green solar park in the USA, this park is the fun place for all North Valley dogs and their human parents. Located off 1-17 on the frontage road between Anthem and New River, it is a members-only park and all pets using the park must have shots and medical records on file. The park won the Best Dog Park in the USA from Dog Fancy Magazine in 2008, 2009, and 2010 and the Best of Arizona in 2008 and 2009. www.anthempets.com/park.html.
For an authentic glimpse of life in the Old West, be sure to visit Pioneer Village, just five miles south of Anthem on Interstate 17. Visitors can explore original buildings, witness gunfighter shootouts, and occasional reenactments of Civil War battles. There is a restaurant on site, as well as shops offering souvenirs and antiques for sale. www.pioneeraz.org
Ben Avery Shooting Facility
Have a budding Buffalo Bill in the family? The Ben Avery range offers marksmanship programs for both juniors and adults, and all equipment is provided. Ben Avery is just south of Anthem at Carefree Highway. www.basfaz.com
The Shops at Norterra
After visiting our own Anthem Outlets, you may also wish to explore the beautiful Shops at Norterra, a short distance south on Interstate 17. The center has a full complement of retail stores, specialty shops, and fine restaurants, as well as a Harkins Theater. www.norterrashopping.com
Happy Valley Towne Center
Right across the street from The Shops at Norterra is the Happy Valley Towne Shopping Center. Here you can find everything from super stores to specialty shops, as well as casual dining at one of the many fine restaurants. www.shophvtc.com
Deer Valley Rock Art Center
The largest concentration of Native American rock art in the Valley can be found at this museum, nature preserve and archaeological site. It is approximately 20 minutes south of Anthem. You can walk the trails where ancient people marked boulders with more than 1,500 special symbols called petroglyphs. Enjoy the botanical garden and picnic among beautiful wildflower blooms. www.dvrac.asu.edu
Wet ‘n’ Wild
Wet 'n' Wild Phoenix is the largest theme park in Arizona set on more than 35 acres in North Phoenix. The Wet ‘n’ Wild water park features Maximum Velocity – the world’s first gravity-defying, dueling Master Blaster water coaster in addition to more than 30 other exhilarating slides and attractions.
Experience the brilliant beauty of the Sonoran Desert with a trip to nearby Cave Creek. Here you can find cowboy cookouts, horseback riding, rodeos, country and western dancing, hiking and biking, old mining tours, as well as museums, art exhibits, fine restaurants, parks, and nature preserves. www.cavecreek.org
The largest lake in the greater Phoenix area, Lake Pleasant is just a 30-minute drive from Anthem. The lake is a water-lover’s paradise, featuring camping, boating, picnicking, water skiing, jet skiing and fishing along 50 miles of shoreline, and is open all year round. Some modest fees may apply. www.maricopa.gov/parks/lakepleasant
Just a 45-minute drive from Anthem, Scottsdale features some of the most magnificent golf courses in America, including TPC Scottsdale, home of the PGA Tour’s FBR Open. Depending on the time of year, it is also home to the Arabian Horse Show, Classic Car Auctions, and other major events. Unparalleled shopping, art centers and museums draw numerous visitors all year round, as does the city’s casinos, where the more venturesome may wish to try their luck. www.scottsdaleaz.gov
Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium
Located in Litchfield Park, approximately 40 minutes from Anthem, the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium is home to Arizona’s largest collection of exotic animals, featuring nearly 600 different species, and is the only public aquarium between Albuquerque and San Diego. Great for both kids and adults, it includes an African Safari Train, Log Flume Ride, Australian Boat and Sky-Ride, all of which is integrated into the live animal exhibits. www.wildlifeworld.com
The Phoenix Zoo not only houses more than 1,300 animals, but breeds and maintains 37 endangered species, as well. The zoo offers a series of family and youth group programs, including field trips, camps, and special needs programs. If you like, you may even plan your own event there, and it’s just a 40-minute drive from Anthem. www.phoenixzoo.org
Outdoor enthusiasts frequent Bartlett Lake for a variety of recreational opportunities, including shoreline camping in Arizona's natural desert terrain. While in this part of the Tonto National Forest, visitors may see mule deer, bald eagles, javelina, coyotes, and many indigenous desert plants, including the majestic saguaro, mesquite trees and blooming ocotillo. Boating, water skiing and jet skiing are popular at Bartlett Lake. A 45-minute drive to Bartlett Lake offers the best of both worlds: gently sloping beaches on the west side and mountains that break the wind on the east. www.bartlettlake.com
Luke Air Force Base
Located just 20 miles west of Glendale, Luke AFB is the largest fighter training base in the United States, and home to the Air Force’s 56th Fighter Wing. Since 1941, Luke AFB has produced more than 50,000 pilots for America’s military. Be sure to visit the Aviation Museum located on the base. www.luke.af.mil
An hour north of Anthem is the historic city of Prescott, Arizona’s first territorial capital. Visit Prescott’s many museums of Arizona history and native cultures. For outdoor types, more than 450 miles of recreational trails wind through Prescott National Forest. A walking tour of downtown Prescott is like a journey back in time. www.cityofprescott.net
Clarkdale is a 60-minute drive north of Anthem. Its Verde Canyon Railroad will take you on a four-hour round-trip train ride through Verde Canyon, where you will see grand vistas and perhaps even a glimpse of an eagle in its towering cliffs. www.verdecanyonrr.com
Out of Africa Wildlife Park
One of several outstanding animal parks in Arizona, this one is just an hour north of Anthem at Camp Verde. Here you can see hundreds of animals from all over the world. Take the African Bush Safari Tour, see the Giant Snake Show, or watch the Predator Feed. A great learning experience for all. www.outofafricapark.com
Just 50 miles north of Anthem on Interstate 17 sits the town of Jerome, home of a wide variety of tourist attractions. Take a tour of the old Jerome Winery, or visit the historic Gold King Mine and Ghost Town where you can walk into an authentic mine shaft. There are several restaurants and art galleries to visit and Cliff Castle Casino offers gambling, fine dining, bowling, and lots of entertainment for the kids. www.azjerome.com
If you enjoy spectacular scenery and spiritualism, you can find it all in Sedona. With its red-rock monoliths adjacent to the stunning Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Located 80 miles north of Anthem, it is an excellent destination for a day trip. Be sure to visit the magnificent Chapel of the Holy Cross nestled high in a thousand-foot rock wall. Sedona also features world class hotels and restaurants. www.visitsedona.com
Into early American archaeology? You’ll find a prime example at Montezuma Castle in Camp Verde, where the Sinagua people, predecessors of the Hohokam Indians, dug a 20-room mansion into a towering limestone cliff more than 1,000 years ago. It is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. www.nps.gov/moca
As a result of its 7,000-foot altitude, the city of Flagstaff has a four-season climate. With more than 100 inches of snow annually, Flagstaff is a winter wonderland in November, December and January for lovers of ice skating, skiing, and sledding. Summers are generally cool, seldom reaching 90 degrees. Visit the Flagstaff Arboretum or explore the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest in Coconino National Park. www.flagstaffarizona.org
Interested in astronomy? Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff is the place to go. With its huge 4.2-meter telescope peering through the clear Arizona skies, the observatory offers spectacular views of the moon, the planets, and the stars. Both day and night tours are available. www.lowell.edu
Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Arizona. The base elevation of the facility sits at 9,200 feet and the resort receives an average snowfall of 260 inches. It boasts a 2,300-foot drop – the largest in Arizona – and has four lifts servicing the mountain. Two lodges, Hart Prairie Lodge and Agassiz Lodge, are located at the ski area. www.arizonasnowbowl.com
For true fans of the Old West, Tombstone is a must-see. Just two hours from Anthem, visitors can watch a re-enactment of Wyatt Earp’s clash with the Clanton Gang at the OK Corral, take a night-time Ghost and Murder Tour on the Tombstone Trolley, visit Boot Hill and the haunted Bird Cage Theater, step into the office of the famous Tombstone Epitaph, or even catch a ride on the old Butterfield Stage Coach. www.cityoftombstone.com
The Grand Canyon
What trip to Arizona would be complete without a visit to the majestic Grand Canyon? Possibly the most famous natural attraction in the United States, the Canyon provides first-time visitors with a never-to-be-forgotten view. Take a helicopter tour, or, for the more experienced, try hiking or riding a pack mule into the huge crevasse. Brave souls may venture out onto the glass Skywalk (if they dare) and gaze down at the canyon floor 5,000-feet below! www.nps.gov/grca
Other Fun Things to Do…
The purpose of the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Program is to promote safe, ethical and responsible OHV use while emphasizing protection of environmental resources. The Department recognizes the use of off-highway vehicles as a legitimate source of recreation, however, it is the Department's mission to recognize and minimize OHV impacts on wildlife and their habitat. The Arizona Game and Fish Department's website has quite a bit of information regarding the use of OHVs, including places to ride, rules and regulations and training and safety. www.azgfd.gov/outdoor_recreation/off_highway.shtml
The diverse climate and terrain found in Arizona offers of wide variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including: boating on a nearby lake, shooting stationary or clay targets, watching wildlife in its natural habitat on horseback or hiking with a friend. www.azgfd.gov/outdoor_recreation/outdoor_recreation.shtml
Phoenix Sports Teams
Phoenix is well-represented by several professional sports teams. The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals play at the University of Phoenix Stadium (www.azcardinals.com), Chase Field is home to Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks (www.diamondbacks.mlb.com), the Phoenix Suns of the NBA play in the US Airways Center (www.nba.com/suns), and the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes take to the ice at Jobing.com Arena (www.coyotes.nhl.com). There is a full slate of major college sports as well, and nearby towns host the all-important spring training for several professional baseball teams, all within less than an hour’s drive from Anthem.
Viva Las Vegas
Las Vegas, an ever-changing fantasy-land of a city, has seen unbelievable expansion since it emerged from the desert just over 100 years ago. The sights and sounds of Las Vegas are enjoyed by more than 37.5 million visitors every year. They stay in some of the most glamorous, unique hotels in the world. They eat at five-star restaurants and expansive buffets. They play at casinos, pools, health spas and golf courses. Sometimes (many times, actually) they even marry each other. They even drive there from Anthem because it only takes about four hours to get there. www.visitlasvegas.com.