Attention, snowbirds: fall is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to start thinking about your next jaunt to the Sun Belt. Below are eight spots in Mesa-Apache Junction, Arizona, to include your upcoming snowbird plans.
Mesa and Apache Junction sit not far from Phoenix in the immense Arizona Desert. In these adjacent towns, you’ll find great museums, beautiful desert landscapes and plenty of chances to learn about—and celebrate—the history and culture of the Wild West. Mesa and Apache Junction are also ideal for art lovers, with over 200 outdoor sculptures scattered across public areas.
The Arizona Museum of Natural History
This Mesa museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in paleontology and features the largest dinosaur exhibit west of the Mississippi. Highlights include an animatronic exhibit — Dinosaur Mountain — complete with a three-story indoor waterfall and moving replicas of creatures that lived throughout the various periods of the Mesozoic Era. There’s also a hands-on Paleo Dig Pit for kids who want to play fossil hunter for the day, as well as real jail cells that date to Arizona’s early days as a U.S. territory. If you’re interested in indigenous culture, the Southwest Gallery is definitely worth checking out. It features a solid collection of indigenous art and artifacts from the region as well as replica dwellings of the Hohokam people, who lived in the area thousands of years ago.
Arizona Museum of Natural History. Photo:
Mesa Arts Center
Fans of the performing arts may end up finding themselves at the Mesa Arts Center, a gargantuan complex that’s home to four theaters, 14 classrooms, and the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum (MCA). The MCA is divided into four galleries: one hosting paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects from the permanent collection, a second exhibiting the works of Arizona artists, and two others that are used for everything from installations to curated exhibitions.