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Phoenix Metropolitan Area Nature & adventure

Our most recommended Phoenix Metropolitan Area Nature & adventure

Phoenix: Phoenix ZooLights Entry Ticket

1. Phoenix: Phoenix ZooLights Entry Ticket

You’ll find adventure everywhere at the Valley’s favorite holiday tradition, ZooLights! This season promises to be bigger and brighter than ever before, with all new animal lanterns and light displays, an enhanced Santa experience and our brand-new music and light show that will take you around the world! PLUS, guest entry to ZooLights includes admission to Dinosaurs in the Desert, the not-to-be-missed dino-mite experience! Enjoy an international traveling art exhibition focused on wildlife conservation created by artist, Russell Ronat. View more than 13 beautiful art pieces that light up the habitats of the Zoo’s famous residents. Experience a 30-year-old community tradition. Stop by the Wall of Traditions, across from the Savanna to learn more about how traditions are celebrated around the world. Stroll through the Wildlife Lantern Cul-de-Sac on Africa Trail to see the new lanterns. Celebrate with a visit to the three-story Christmas Tree located at Crossroads Café. Explore the Outer Tropics Trail which has more sparkling lights than ever before. Meet Santa and his elves at Leapin’ Lagoon and take home a commemorative photo. Indulge in your favorite holiday treats like kettle corn and hot cocoa that are available for purchase. Take home a memento of your special evening from one of the various pop-up Zoo shops or the Desert Marketplace gift shop.

Phoenix Zoo: One Day General Admission Ticket

2. Phoenix Zoo: One Day General Admission Ticket

Pick up a ticket to the Phoenix Zoo, one of the largest non-profit zoos in the U.S. nestled on 125 acres within the beautiful Papago Park. Explore the home of over 3,000 animals with nearly 400 species represented, including many threatened and endangered species. Discover over 2.5 miles of walking paths, divided into Arizona, Africa, Tropics, and Children’s trails, each taking about 1 hour to complete. Admire a variety of inhabitants, including Bornean Orangutans, Asian Elephants, Sumatran Tigers, Komodo Dragons, Masai Giraffes, African Lions, and more. Learn about the threats that endanger many of the species and wildlife you encounter and discover interesting facts about Jurassic ecosystems with animatronic dinosaurs and installations.

Phoenix: Hot Air Balloon Ride with Champagne and Catering

3. Phoenix: Hot Air Balloon Ride with Champagne and Catering

Enjoy a 45-60-minute hot air balloon ride above Phoenix, Arizona. See the expansive mountain ranges and desert wildlife below as your hot air balloon reaches heights of 3000 feet. During the flight, your pilot will point out different landmarks and points of interest. See Downtown Phoenix, Camelback Mountain, Lake Pleasant, and State Farm Stadium from the air. Upon landing, enjoy a catered fare prepared by the award-winning Vincent’s on Camelback restaurant, right in the heart of the desert. A traditional balloonist’s ceremony follows with commemorative flight certificates to take home.

From Phoenix: Grand Canyon Tour with Sedona and Oak Creek

4. From Phoenix: Grand Canyon Tour with Sedona and Oak Creek

Take a trip to one of the 7 wonders of the natural world on this day tour of the Grand Canyon National Park. You will be collected from selected hotels or apartments in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, or Mesa Arizona. The journey north takes you through amazing views of the Saguaro Cactus in the Sonoran Desert. You will travel through the Ponderosa Pine Forests of Flagstaff where the Lowell Observatory is located. Stop among the Red Rocks of Sedona for time to take in the breathtaking scenery and lots of pictures. Travel through Oak Creek Canyon famous the world over for its spectacular scenery. In the afternoon be taken to the Grand Canyon National Park. Stop for pictures of the Red Rocks of Sedona. Make several stops along the South Rim for picture taking and enjoying the incredible views. See the El Tovar Lodge, a former Harvey hotel. Have the afternoon to explore the sublime park and see many of its ecological wonders and natural beauty. Your professional guide will be able to inform you of the history and stories behind this ancient wonder.

Sonoran Desert: Sunset Jeep Tour with Tonto National Forest

5. Sonoran Desert: Sunset Jeep Tour with Tonto National Forest

Experience a world-famous Arizona sunset on a low-speed, off-road sightseeing tour of the Sonoran Desert via the Tonto National Forest. Your professional tour guide, a certified off-road driver, will tell you about the Sonoran Desert flora, wildlife, Arizona history, and Native American ethnobotanical practices. Hop aboard the Jeep and cruise past the Pass by Pinnacle Peak Park, a scenic 3,169-foot granite summit located in North Scottsdale, and Reata Pass, the last standing buildings of an old western town. Hear about these locations and their significance. At sunset, stop at a panoramic lookout point that overlooks the historic Great Western Trail. Feel free to exit the Jeep and walk around the scenic lookout. Whether you're interested in a couple of group photos or a full Instagram shoot with your camera, your guides are also great photographers willing to help. Depending on cloud conditions, the sky typically changes to various shades of pink, red, orange, and purple, all within the backdrop of the stunning Sonoran Desert.

From Phoenix: Apache Trail & Dolly Steamboat Day Trip

6. From Phoenix: Apache Trail & Dolly Steamboat Day Trip

Come join us on an adventurous tour along the Apache Trail and into the Sonora desert, then take a cruise on Dolly Steamboat through Canyon Lake. Driving into the Superstition Mountains, you will visit Tortilla Flat, a quaint Arizona town with a population of 6! Next, relax on a 90-minute cruise over picturesque Canyon Lake, with its magnificent desert surroundings. Don't forget your camera, as this is the ideal platform from which to snap postcard-perfect landscape photos. Your guide will then lead you into the desert for an explanation of the local flora, including the majestic Saguaro cactus and Arizona's state tree, the Palo Verde.

From Phoenix: Sonoran Desert Guided ATV Training & Riding

7. From Phoenix: Sonoran Desert Guided ATV Training & Riding

Discover the beauty of the Sonoran Desert while learning how to drive an ATV with a professional instructor and certified guide in New River. Learn key safety operations and driving tips while understanding more about off-roading, desert survival techniques, and the history of the area. Your experience begins with a safety operations briefing, including the use of your helmet, gloves, and safety goggles. Once you're prepped, it's time to drive your ATV through a test course located in the surreal Sonoran Desert.  Full of turns, bumps, and hills, your certified guide will help you maneuver through your off-roading adventure. Marvel at the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, and learn more about the desert's wildlife and history.

From Scottsdale: Sonoran Desert & Tonto National Forest Trip

8. From Scottsdale: Sonoran Desert & Tonto National Forest Trip

Take a break from the streets of Scottsdale and get out of the city to discover the Sonoran Desert. Drive by jeep to the Pinnacle Peak neighborhood and see an old stagecoach station. Meet wild horses by the Verde River after walking through Tonto National Forest. Make your way to the Village at Pinnacle Peak to meet your friendly guide and group for the day. Jump in the jeep and admire the picturesque Arizonan landscape as you head towards the desert. Learn about local wildlife as your guide points out the different species you come across. Enter the Sonoran Desert and pass by a stagecoach station as you stroll around in the arid landscape with growing cacti and distant mountain peaks. Continue to the Tonto National Forest and begin walking along the winding tree-lined path. Find your way to the roaring Verde River to have the chance of watching wild horses playing on the riverbanks, before returning to Scottsdale.

Scottsdale: Camelback Mountain Private Hiking Tour

9. Scottsdale: Camelback Mountain Private Hiking Tour

Hike the iconic Camelback Mountain with a knowledgeable guide on this private tour. Challenge yourself with trails ascending 1,420 feet to a summit resembling the hump of a camel's back. Be rewarded with 360-degree views of the surrounding city. This is a very tough hike and is not for beginner hikers, those who are not in good hiking shape, or young children. Part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, Camelback gets its name from its two rock formations that resemble the head and back of a kneeling camel. This hike takes 2.5 to 3 hours to get to the summit and return to the parking lot. The views are breathtaking and serve as a great opportunity for a photo op. Choose either to get picked up from your location in the Phoenix or Scottsdale area, or meet your guide at the trailhead. The transportation option is available for groups of 6 or more.

Sonoran Desert: Guided 2-Hour UTV Adventure

10. Sonoran Desert: Guided 2-Hour UTV Adventure

Hop in, buckle up, turn the switch, and hit the trail in the toughest vehicle the Sonoran Desert has ever seen. The 4-seat UTV can be filled to capacity and can still climb trails, crawl boulders, and zip all over the desert without breaking a sweat. Whether you're craving adventure or simply want to enjoy some sightseeing at your own pace, this UTV is dialed in to deliver. With electric power steering, a thrilling V-Twin engine, and towing capacity to take everything with you, this exhilarating drive handles like a dream. 

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Other Sightseeing Options in Phoenix Metropolitan Area

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What people are saying about Phoenix Metropolitan Area

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 33 reviews

Beautiful lights, the new dinosaur exhibit was amazing and truly lifelike. They have added so many more lights and features it is a great activity to walk around and enjoy with the family. Phoenix Zoo has done a top notch job with the Christmas lights experience. Soooo many lights in so many different ways.

Excellent showing again this year. I arrived with a group on a bus from a retirement center and we all went our separate ways for a two hour tour. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

I have always loved Christmas lights so this was perfect for me! The lights were so cheerful and creative.

Gorgeous lights choreographed to music. Light displays of animals were enjoyed by all.

We planned this as a family event and it was delightful!