Updated: Mar 9
To ring in 2023, we decided to go to Scottsdale for a longer weekend.
· Airport: This was a first for TSA, I was selected for the hand swab and it came back positive. After an extensive pat-down, I was cleared. I was told it could be my lotion (apparently glycerin can be a trigger). To tire the kids out, we went to the play area and then stopped by the Delta lounge to grab snacks and fancy fruity drinks. The bartenders are very nice about making special concoctions for kids. While waiting to board, we found a passenger with a dog. That was a good 20 minutes of entertainment aside from my oldest taking over 100 selfies on my phone with him and the pup.
· Airline: We flew delta (first class) and first row, so my kids would not kick the seats in front. Just a note, delta, does not accommodate kids’ meals in first class
· Car Rental: I belong now to Hertz Rental Car President’s Circle. At the rental center, they let me pick out any vehicle I wanted from what was left. I really wanted the truck, but since rain was in the forecast, settled on a Dodge SUV
· Hotel: 30 minutes from the airport was the Westin Kierland Scottsdale. We had been upgraded to a golf view room, although quite modest in size. The hotel was decorated for the holidays. Overall, the hotel is beautiful and well-staffed. Disney channel was not complimentary with the room though which was a bit of a problem. The valets were top notch.
· Dinner: Lure was for dinner. I got my half-dozen raw oysters (who does not want Oysters in Scottsdale). They were fresh and of 3 northwest varieties. My kids got to pick items from a very creative menu themed on animals in the ocean. The bread came out quick and was my children’s favorite part of the meal. And yes, I bring a tablet, and a switch on low volume, so that my kids and I can survive dinner and all enjoy.
· Breakfast: We grabbed breakfast on the go from Bagels and Bialys. It was a cute establishment with even a dog menu and so many people options. I chose the vegetarian omelet. My children chose a strawberry bialy with strawberry cream cheese and a bagel with egg.
· Railroad Park: I have never been to a cooler park before. There was a large trained themed playground (that was shielded with sail coverings). I ate my breakfast in peace (although I apparently forgot to grab utensils, so eating omelet with your hands is not the most graceful). The park also includes a fun ride-on train and carousel ($3 per ride ticket or 8 tickets for $20). Additionally, there is a free train museum and a large room with interactive model trains. The model trains are maintained by 3 different hobbyist clubs, each running their own separate sets.
· Noon Years Eve: As part of the various hotel activities for kids, they had a noon years eve party. There were party favors, festive hats, dance competitions, games, prizes and an apple cider toast when the clock struck 12PM.
· Swimming Pool: The Kierland resort has a waterslide (42” and taller height requirement) and a larger lazy river with complimentary floats in addition to a hot-tub and pool. The waterslide and lazy river run 11am to 4 pm daily.
· Lunch: We had lunch delivered from the hotel pool bar. Chicken fingers and fries for the kids and a margarita for me.
· Flow Rider: The flow-rider was one of the trip highlights. For a one-time (lifetime per location) registration fee of $15 per child and a $45-dollar lesson, my kids had a blast body boarding on a makeshift wave. The lesson was 1 hour and the instructor was great and very encouraging
· Smores: The hotel has a 24-hour courtyard with ping pong, basketball, tables, large chess game and climbing structure. Every evening during our stay, they had a smores station from 5-7. This was pre-dinner snack as we tend to eat late.
· Dinner: For New Year’s Eve dinner we went to Sol Mexican in the Kierland Commons. We had the hotel shuttle drop us off. The margaritas were spicy and the chips came with two types of salsa. I had two shrimp tacos which were plenty filling and the kids opted for cheese quesadillas.
· Breakfast: I grabbed a coffee and the kids chose two each from Rainbow Doughnuts. They had some more creative combinations, but the kids chose vanilla and chocolate with sprinkles
· Legoland Phoenix: there are some amazing interactive displays. Then there is a ride that is pretty much a video game and suitable for all ages. There is also huge climbing structure. A build you Lego car and race it, build a building that wont break from an earthquake, and several other building stations. We went on another ride where you have to peddle and it rotates, but essentially you have to keep peddling to stay high in the air. My favorite part was the 4D movie. We had the 3D glasses, but were misted by water, felt wind, and in the end had foam fall on our head.
· Lunch: Since we were close to the science center, we walked to the Huss Brewpub. No surprise, the kids picked chicken nuggets and fries and I had a seafood stew. Convenient and fast service
· Arizona Science Center : This place was amazing and more amazing is that if you have ASTC membership, you can go to this place for free if you do not live within 50 miles. ASTC would be from a local Science Center membership. We saw a demo on ice-skating, made mini snowmen out of real snow, laid on a bed of nails, hypothesized and build aerodynamic contraptions. We especially liked the digital coding exhibit, and we stayed till closing at 4 PM
· Swimming Pool: Went back to the pool for a quick dip and then hot tub. It was raining. The pool felt warmer than ever, but the hot tub was perfection.
· Dinner: Maestro’s Ocean Club Seafood. I ordered a dozen orders of course and they tasted strange (they had been rinsed apparently). The waiter was apologetic and had them replaced. I am little surprised that this happened, but it was quickly resolved. My dinner was the lobster bisque and probably the best I have ever had. Upon entering, the kids were told that there were spies watching and if they behaved, they would get ice cream after dinner. That seemed to work.
· Swimming Pool: One last dip in the pool before packing up. It was 10am and we were the only ones in the pool. It was nice and calm and a good way to part the hotel. The hotel let me request a later check-out so we could have more pool time.
· Goldfield Ghost Town: We drove about 40 minutes from the hotel to this olden goldmining town in Apache Junction. First thing you see when you arrive is the zipline. I bought 4 tickets so I could go with each kid. We then explored the rest of the town, went to the shooting range with interactive targets. We grabbed a lunch of salad for me and chicken and French fries for the boys at the saloon. Live music was playing and it was a seat yourself establishment. After this we went to the reptile museum. Although small, it is well worth the money as the descriptions are great and the reptiles are fairly active. We lastly went to do panning for gold. Each kid wanted to have their own bag (15$ each) and we were told it took about an hour to sift through. So, I spent 2 hours panning for gold (it was fun though). There very small flecks, some fool’s gold, but several beautiful gems and rocks.
· Airport: We dropped the car off at the car rental drop off and head to the sky train. A kind police officer took my bags and helped me get on the sky train (note the pay for baggage carts refused 3 different credit cards of mine). When we go to the main area, we found a family bathroom and changed into comfortable clean clothes (assuming the kids would sleep on the plane—which they did).
All in all, a fun quick weekend!