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Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.
Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the hotel meeting room to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. All lectures will be led, as indicated, by either local experts or our Group Leader. Exploration of museums and other sites on field trips will be led by experienced docents or our Group Leader. Transportation to off-site locations will be provided primarily by motorcoach, unless otherwise specified. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may be changed due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Dinner: In the hotel restaurant, we will have plated meals featuring a rotating choice of entrees, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.
Activity note: Driving approximately 20 miles; about 1 hour total, with stops for field trips. Walking up to 2 miles total throughout the day; flat, paved terrain at a slow pace.
Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant, enjoy a breakfast buffet, plus coffee, tea, juice, water.
Morning: We’ll pull out our maps and become acquainted with the Phoenix Metropolitan Area – nicknamed the Valley of the Sun – pinpointing our destinations over the upcoming days and getting a sense of the Valley’s extent. Still at the hotel, we’ll learn about water in the west through a presentation given by a representative of the Salt River Project, the utility and water provider for much of central Arizona. After boarding the motorcoach, we’ll transfer to the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG), for a docent-led exploration. A valuable community resource, the garden aims to educate and conserve the wonders of the desert with a focus on plants of the Southwest. Since a Swedish botanist planted a sign “Save the desert” in his yard in the 1930s, community members came together to create, develop, and expand the garden as the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society.
Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like at either of the two eateries on the Garden grounds.
Afternoon: Continue to explore the DBG on your own wandering through the garden’s 50 acres in search of the 139 rare, endangered, or threatened species of plants from across the globe. Before returning to Scottsdale, we will take time to explore the Arizona Biltmore, designed by Albert Chase McArthur, a former student of Frank Lloyd Wright who served as consulting architect on the project. Opened in 1929, the Biltmore was immediately crowned the “Jewel of the Desert” and has been a preferred resort for celebrities, heads of state, and business scions. After a brief orientation to the Biltmore by our group leader, we will have the opportunity to explore the grounds on our own.
Dinner: At one of Scottsdale’s restaurants, we’ll choose plated meals from a select menu. Coffee, iced tea, and water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: After returning to the hotel, we’ll learn about those that came before -- the Hohokam and their legacy of canals in the Phoenix area. Our Native American speaker will describe the contemporary Native American tribes in the greater Phoenix region.
Activity note: Drive approximately 45 miles throughout the day; about 1.5 hours total, with stops for field trips. Walking approx. 1.5 miles total for the day; ramps and elevators available.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: Our day will begin with a field trip to Taliesin West (pronounced TALLY EHSSEN), Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, studio, and architectural campus. Wright began building this masterpiece in 1937 and lived here until 1959. It is located on 600 acres of Sonoran Desert in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains in northeast Scottsdale. An expert on Wright and his work will assist in our exploration of this unique architectural wonder. Wright and his apprentices gathered rocks from the desert floor, and sand from the washes to build this great desert masterpiece. From the beginning, this remarkable set of buildings astounded architectural critics with its beauty and unusual form. Today, it is the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Next, we’ll then transfer to the Musical Instrument Museum for lunch.
Lunch: At the Musical Instrument Museum, we’ll order from a select menu of salads and sandwiches, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: At the Musical Instrument Museum, we’ll engage in this one-of-a-kind experience for music lovers of any stripe. Opened in 2010, the museum allows the visitor to view video and hear music from around the world in galleries organized by continent and country. Every visitor receives headphones with which to listen and learn about music from all genres. Enjoy an exploration of some of the museum's acquisitions with knowledgeable docents, many who are themselves trained musicians. Among the many instruments of note displayed in the MIM is the piano on which John Lennon wrote “Imagine.” There is also a room devoted to instruments that you can play. We’ll return to the hotel in late afternoon.
Dinner: Hotel plated meal.
Evening: We’ll be joined by a local expert for a presentation on a topic of local interest. Our topic will vary by week and feature a local author, artist, or regional expert.
Activity note: Driving approx. 30 miles throughout the day; approximately 1 hour total. Walking up to 2 miles total throughout the day; some periods of standing in each museum with stairs; elevators available.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: Continuing our exploration of the vibrant art and culture in Phoenix, we’ll go on a field trip to the Phoenix Art Museum (PAM) where we will be led by a docent, followed by time to explore individually. The museum is one of the largest art museums in the Southwest, and within its labyrinth of halls and galleries is an impressive collection of works that span the major artistic movements from the Renaissance to the present. Changing exhibits may cover decorative arts, historic fashions, Spanish-colonial furnishings, religious art, and of course, works by members of the Cowboy Artists of America.
Lunch: At the Phoenix Art Museum, we’ll choose a plated meal from a select menu of salads and sandwiches, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: After travelling a short distance from the PAM, we’ll head to the internationally acclaimed Heard Museum where a docent will introduce us to the many exhibits followed by time to explore independently. The Heard is one of the best places to experience the myriad cultures and art of Native Americans of the Southwest. The museum's 11 spacious exhibition galleries and beautiful outdoor courtyards feature outstanding traditional and contemporary Native American art. Since its founding by Dwight and Maie Bartlett Heard in 1929 as a small museum in a small Southwestern town, the Heard has grown in size and stature. A living museum giving voice to truly American people, the Heard is now recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, educational programming, and festivals. We’ll then return to our hotel in late afternoon.
Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. There is a free trolley that runs through the area until 9:00 p.m.
Evening: At leisure. You may wish to enjoy a stroll on your own through the streets, shops and art galleries in Old Town Scottsdale, just a short distance from the hotel. A list of nearby restaurants as well as walking maps and Old Town's free shuttle schedule are available at the hotel front desk.
Activity note: Driving approximately 40 miles throughout the day; less than 1 hour total. Walking up to 1.5 miles during the day; some periods of standing in the museum with stairs; elevators available.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: Setting out from the hotel, we’ll walk through Scottsdale's Old Town and Art District to one of Scottsdale's newest museum offerings, Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West. Transportation will be provided for those who require it. For our morning field trip, we’ll enjoy a docent-led exploration as well as time for independent exploration. The museum offers high-quality exhibitions, educational programs, and community outreach addressing regional history, particularly as reflected by the arts and the dynamic cultural exchanges that have marked the transition of the Old West into the New West. Changing exhibitions keep this museum experience fresh and dynamic. Afterwards, we’ll walk back to the hotel.
Lunch: At the hotel restaurant, we’ll have a make-your-own salad and sandwich bar with coffee, iced tea, and water; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Dinner: In the late afternoon, we'lll depart for a BBQ cookout and campfire as the sun sets amidst towering saguaro cacti, icon of the west. Choose from chicken, ribs or veggie burgers, fresh off the grill, along with some traditional BBQ sides including fruit and garden salads,cowboy beans, homemade biscuits and an assortment of fruit pies for dessert. Lemonade and water will be provided; participants may bring other beverages. Don’t forget your jacket, as desert nights cool off quickly. If you plan to take photographs, be mindful of the cactus and uneven ground. Cowboy boots are optional!
Evening: Watching the sun set we'll see the stars emerge as the campfire crackles. Then sing a song or two under the western sky. This will wrap up the week's experiences in the Valley of the Sun -- Scottsdale and Phoenix. After returning to the hotel, we’ll reconvene for a brief program wrap-up and farewells.Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.
Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!
We just took our first Road Scholar trip - Signature Cities, Phoenix. At least 4 of the "highlights" would have almost justified the trip alone. I came away realizing that there are so many places I could visit, enjoy, and learn from with Road Scholar.
I've been coming to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area for years to visit family, and had previously visited some of the locations on the itinerary. However, the opportunity to see recently opened museums and have docent conducted tours made the experience much more valuable. Don't miss the Musical Instrument Museum!!
It was fun to see many new facilities in Phoenix and Scottsdale. If you haven’t been there for a few years, consider this trip. The Musical Instrument Museum, organized by the countries of the world, is especially impressive.
This was ;my first experience with Road Scholar. I will definitely be looking for my next trip. For tailored to individual/group interest, convenience, affordability and overall value, I highly recommend this service.
This was my first Road Scholar. Went to Scottsdale, Az. I enjoyed it very much. Very organized, enjoyed the museums. Very nice hotel, nice people and great food. We had a cookout in the dessert which was great fun.
The Signature City Phoenix-Scottsdale is an outstanding program! I loved the Musical Instrument Museum, the Desert Botanical Garden, the Phoenix Art Museum and the week ended with a BBQ campfire in the middle of the desert. Who knew that Phoenix had so much to offer?
Outside of the awesome Grand Canyon we were not familiar with either Phoenix or Scottsdale. Phoenix has a superb and innovative art museum with a Kusama lighted art exhibit. The new-ish Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) will knock your socks off! The site of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West in the desert is absolutely superb. You'll love the guided tour of the desert gardens as well; and walk away with an appreciation for the varieties of cacti as never before. The Western Spirit museum in Scottsdale is a delight with handsome art, pottery, as well as a superb collection of old western movie posters. Go West young (or old) man/woman!! We couldn't believe our luck when we Easterners did the trip in early Feb leaving the cold behind us--80-degree temps and sunny!!!
I loved this experience! The landscape, the people, the cultures we explored and the fellow travelers we traveled with all made for an enriching and memorable experience. Thank you so much for memories that will make me smile always.
The Phoenix Scottsdale program was very interesting with a variety of activities, places and people employed to give us a taste of the Valley of the Sun. Even though I had once lived in this area I learned and saw many new things and especially enjoyed the final barbeque and campfire at the ranch and the camaraderie of the group. Our leader Bob and bus driver were both excellent.
This program is a cultural feast of art, architecture, history, and music. Definitely a "wonder-full" mid-winter adventure in the "Valley of the Sun." Christine Susany
I enjoyed this trip very much. Bob was a very good leader, well organized, friendly, and helped the group develop a sense of community. The places we visited were very interesting, especially the Musical Instrument Museum, Taliesin, and the Museum of the West. The docents that led our tours were all top notch. Our hotel was located in a convenient location and was very nice. We were blessed with beautiful weather. I highly recommend this program.
This trip was very enjoyable and I found it very interesting and stimulating. Enjoyed meeting other group participants, most were welcoming and very interesting. Bob did a great job as group leader and the docents at each place visited were excellent. I learned a lot during this program and definitely recommend it.
If you love the art of the southwest, and are looking for a warm place to get out of the winter snow, this program is idea. Our group leader Bob was excellent, and very knowledgeable of the Phoenix area. A very rewarding trip!
I very much enjoyed the Signature City Phoenix-Scottsdale program! Our group leader, Bob, was great - warm, friendly, organized, and wonderful at developing group cohesion. All the instructors were informative and engaging. The field trips and museums covered the major highlights of the area. It was so nice to be in the warm climate at this time of year. I also enjoyed meeting fellow participants from all over the country. The hotel was comfortable, although I thought the hotel-provided lunch and dinners were good enough but could be improved.
Very enjoyable, well-organized, fun, nice blend of nature and art...very reasonably priced....met alot of people I liked....felt far away from the rest of the world while here which is something I like about travel will definitely be taking many more RS trips, including foreign exploration
Very Unfriendly and needs improvement
A great way to learn about Arizona white enjoying the sun, The well-organized program has lots of variety, something for everyone. A good value.