Monthly Archives: December 2011

Jan. 21: Didgeridoo Workshop & Australia Day Events at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

didgeridooHOME_3448:30 am. Experience a taste of The Land Down Under — the plants and culture of Australia are as close as Boyce Thompson Arboretum SP. Sign up soon for the two-day class where participants will build their own didgeridoo from a dried agave stalk, and learn to play the growling, howling, haunting aboriginal instrument using the hard-to-master technique known as circular breathing (didge class pre-registration is $180, call 520-689-2723 to prepay). Visitors will have a chance for guided walk-a-bout tours of the Australian plant collections, and after 1:30 pm the eucalyptus forest will echo with stories of life in the Outback, and the droning call of the didgeridoo played during a 90-minute storytelling session, concert and didge-jam.

Watch highlights of last year’s event in a video by Volunteer Mike Rolfe.

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Chandler, AZ Spotlight on Special Events


Reptile Round-Up!reptile on hat

  • Thursday, January 5, 2012, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Environmental Education Center (NE corner of Lindsay Rd and Chandler Heights Rd)

Discover the wonder of desert creatures in this new interactive program featuring Wildman Phil! This fun and unique program cost is $6-9 (fee is for adults and children; kids under 2 are free). Featured animals may include tortoises, snakes, lizards, arachnids and other peculiar desert-dwellers! Children will learn about animal defenses, life-cycles, and respect for wildlife and the environment. Pre-registration is required and space is limited. Contact the EEC at 480-782-2890 or for more information.


birdwalkMonthly Family Birdwalks

  • Saturday, January 7, 2012, from 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Environmental Education Center (NE corner of Lindsay Rd and Chandler Heights Rd)

Members of Desert Rivers Audubon will lead free, guided birdwalks through Veterans Oasis Park. The one-hour walks begin every 30 minutes starting at 8 am. Participants should come prepared for the outdoors with sun protection, closed-toe footwear and ample drinking water. Walks are designed for all ages and are not fast-paced. Pre-registration is not required. Contact the EEC at 480-782-2890 or for more information.


17th Annual Chandler Multicultural Festival

  • Saturday, January 14, 2012, from 11a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Downtown Chandler Library Plaza

Join the City of Chandler, the Human Relations Commission and our proud sponsor Intel, as we celebrate the diverse culture of America. Experience music, dance, art on stage, in exhibits and booths throughout the day. Food and beverages will be on sale as we showcase cultures from around the world. Visit  for more information on the event schedule and parking.

 Star Partystar telescope   

  • Saturday, January 28, 2012, from 5:30-9 p.m.
  • Environmental Education Center (NE corner of Lindsay Rd and Chandler Heights Rd)

Veterans Oasis Park and the Environmental Education Center will host their annual Star Party! During this free event, members of the East Valley Astronomy Club will bring their telescopes to Veterans Oasis Park for visitors of all ages to explore Arizona’s amazing night sky! Inside the EEC from 5:30-6:30 pm there will be a presentation on a special astronomy topic. An optional $5 donation is suggested for the indoor presentation. Telescope viewing takes place outside from 6:30-9 pm at the east end of the parking lot. Pre-registration NOT required for either portion of the event. Contact the EEC at 782-2890 or for more information.  


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Jan. 14 & 15: Gathering of the Gunfighters at Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park

EacYUPR_Gun_335h January, Old West reenactment groups ride into Yuma, Arizona for the Annual Gathering of the Gunfighters at Yuma Territorial Prison SHP.Once their dust settles, the Southwest Ghostriders, Arizona Ghostriders, Pistols & Petticoats and the WesTroupe acting groups begin their skits, set in the time period between 1876 to 1909, for coveted prizes. The event draws thousands from around the Southwest to experience the old west lore in this historic territorial prison setting.

The quiet streets of Yuma will once again be filled with the anguished wails of innocent citizenry crying out: “They robbed the bank!” A host of individual and group competitors from nasty outlaws, rough and ready cowboys, audacious saloon gals, to some just plain ol’ low-down dirty, rotten characters will assemble for a day of fun, competition and mayhem.

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Jan. 14: Bird Walk at Roper Lake SP

ROLA_3427 am. Enjoy a Bird Walk at Roper Lake SP hosted by Michael McCarthy. Michael has taught classes about birds (Birds of the Gila Valley) through Eastern Arizona College for many years. He has been department chair of biology for over a decade. This will be an opportunity for amateurs and advanced bird watchers to enjoy a morning of fun and leisure.

Winter is the best time of the year to observe waterfowl. We can expect to see ducks and hawks that have migrated in for the winter. Michael will also discuss the amazing adaptation in birds that allow them to fly. Please bring bincolars. Download Walk Information (527 KB PDF) Cactus Wren Photo by Mark Wagner.

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Kartchner Caverns Cave Tour Information – Park is Open

To make Cave Tour Reservations and Book Tickets: Reserve online Online Reservations (24-hours) or call (520) 586-2283. You can call 7 days a week, from 8 am to 5 pm MST. To make same day Cave Tour reservations (based on availability) please call (520) 586-2283. Promo/Agent codes may only be redeemed online. Cave Tour tickets must be picked up at the park within 1 hour before your reserved tour time or risk forfeiture.

Kartchner Caverns
Cave Tour Prices
Cavern Tour Adults 14+ Youth 7–13 Children under 7
Rotunda/Throne Tour
Big Room Tour
Note: Big Room Tours are not available for children under 7 years of age.

Rotunda/Throne TourRotunda/Throne Tour

Length: ½ mile.  Time: 1½ hours.
(This tour is currently closed. It will re-open December 15th, 2011. You can book tickets for dates after December 15th.)

This tour has been open since 1999! It is half of a mile in length and takes approximately an hour and a half to complete, 50 minutes of which is underground. Discover the role that water plays in creating the caverns. You will see the discoverers’ original trail, 45,000-year-old bat guano, delicate formations and “Kubla Khan,” the largest column formation in Arizona. Reserve online Online Reservations (24-hours)

BIg Toom TourBig Room Tour

Length: ½ mile.  Time: 1¾ hours.
(This tour is currently open and will remain open until April 15, 2012. You can book tickets for any date until April 15th, 2012.)

This tour has been open since 2003. Tours are available from mid-October to mid-April and are scheduled throughout the day. It is half of a mile long and takes an hour and 45 minutes to complete, one hour of which is underground. The Kartchner Cavern story is about amazing discoveries past, present and future. Marvel at the many strange and colorful formations. Learn about the cave fauna, both living and ancient. Experience the wonder of the cave’s discovery and learn about new scientific research and discoveries as ongoing studies continue. Note: Big Room Tours are not available for children under 7 years of age. Reserve online Online Reservations (24-hours)

General Tour Information

All tours are led by a trained guide, no self-guided tours are available. Various tours are scheduled daily. It is recommended that tours be booked as far in advance as possible to ensure availability. No items (bags, purses, packs, bottled water, etc) are allowed into the cave while on tour; however lockers are available at the park to store these items. It is imperative to arrive within 1 hour before your tour time. We also request that you familiarize yourself with our very important Cave Tour Rules and Reservation & Cancellation Policies.

The cave has an average temperature of 72° Fahrenheit (22° Celsius) and 99% humidity year-round, so it will feel very warm and steamy. Most areas are dimly lit and some passages may pass through narrow or enclosed areas. This may be difficult for persons with mobility, respiratory or claustrophobia issues. See our Accessibility Information for more details.

Tickets & Reservations

Electric TramReserve online Online Reservations (24-hours) or call (520) 586-2283 between 8 am and 5 pm (Mountain Standard Time) any day of the week. Reservations are highly recommended for all tours. You will need to pick up your tickets at the park on the day of your tour; we do not mail out tour tickets. Bring your reservation receipt with you to the park. Cave Tour tickets must be picked up at the park within 1 hour before your reserved tour time or risk forfeiture.

Any tickets not reserved in advance will be sold at the park on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the tour. These tickets generally sell out early and quickly. There is no guarantee there will be any first-come, first-served, unreserved tickets available on any given day. Don’t risk not seeing the cave, make advanced reservations. (To make same day Cave Tour reservations (based on availability) please call (520) 586-2283.) In the event a tour has 4 or less people on it, the tour will be rescheduled for the next available tour.

 Information for Parents

It is not uncommon for young children, six years and under, to become frightened or uncomfortable in the cave environment. In these instances, the child and parent will be allowed to leave the cave tour for their well being and safety. Please inquire upon check-in if you have any concerns.

Strollers and backpack carriers are not permitted on the tour. For very young children (birth to one year) soft slings or pouches with the child on the front of the mother or father are recommended. Most infants do not tolerate the cave environment very well so prepare accordingly when planning your visit to the park.

Booking Both Tours on the Same Day

If you are buying tickets for both tours on the same day make sure to leave at least a 2-hour window between tour start times. If you take a longer break between tours you may enjoy a picnic lunch or enjoy lunch at the Bat Cave Cafe.

Kartchner Caverns State Park
Time of Tours Calculator
Taking Rotunda/Throne Room Tour First
Rotunda/Throne Room Tour First Purchase Big Room Tour Tickets for this time or later
8:20 am 10:15 am
8:40 am 10:45 am
9:00 am 11:45 am
9:20 am 11:45 am
9:40 am 11:45 am
10:00 am 12:15 pm
10:20 am 12:15 pm
10:40 am 12:15 pm
11:00 am 1:15 pm
11:20 am 1:15 pm
11:40 am 1:45 pm
Noon 2:15 pm
12:20 pm 2:15 pm
12:40 pm 2:45 pm
1:00 pm 3:15 pm
1:20 pm 3:15 pm
2:00 pm 4:15 pm
Kartchner Caverns State Park
Time of Tours Calculator
Taking Big Room Tour First
Big Room Tour First Purchase Rotunda/Throne Room Tour Tickets
for this time or later
8:15 am 10:40 am
8:45 am 11:00 am
9:15 am 11:40 am
9:45 am Noon
10:15 am 12:40 pm
10:45 am 1:00 pm
11:45 am 2:00 pm
12:15 pm 2:40 pm
12:45 pm 3:00 pm
1:15 pm 3:40 pm

Eco-Science Trek:
Try the Eco-Science Trek and learn about the conservation techniques used to preserve the cave’s fragile ecosystem during construction and continued visitation. It follows the same path as the Rotunda/Throne Room tour.

–>Reserve Online Online Reservations

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Polenta Perfection: A Scottsdale chef’s take on the Italian staple

Chef Peter DeRuvo knows that the key to authentic Italian polenta lies in high-quality ground corn and classic technique. At his modern Italian restaurant, Cuoco Pazzo, the Scottsdale chef proves that ingredients and method matter. DeRuvo enhances his slow-cooked polenta with creamy mascarpone, sweet corn and a scattering of fresh herbs. On top, a pile of wild mushrooms and A drizzle of aromatic white-truffle oil punctuate the polenta’s smooth texture and demure flavor.

Mascarpone Polenta with Wild Mushrooms
Recipe adapted from Peter DeRuvo, Cuoco Pazzo, Scottsdale, AZ

Yield: 4 servings

Cook Time: 20 minutes


1½ cups polenta or ground corn

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

½ cup fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels

2 tablespoons mascarpone

Kosher salt

White pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

5 cups thinly sliced mixed mushrooms (such as chanterelles, cremini, shiitake, beech and oyster)

1 small shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

½ tablespoon finely chopped chives

½ tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

White truffle oil

2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan

DIRECTIONS1. In a large saucepot, bring 5 cups of salted water to a boil. Slowly add the polenta and whisk constantly until tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the butter, corn and mascarpone. Season with salt and white pepper. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet set over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until they soften slightly, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until translucent. Season with salt.

3. Stir the herbs into the polenta and spread the polenta onto a serving platter. Spoon the mushrooms onto the center of the polenta and drizzle lightly with truffle oil. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

About The Chef

Peter DeRuvo has worked at a number of fine-dining restaurants in the Phoenix area including Prado at the Montelucia Resort & Spa and Sassi. He recently cooked at the James Beard House and, in 2011, opened the modern Italian restaurant Cuoco Pazzo in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Cuoco Pazzo, 4175 N. Goldwater Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ; 480-265-9814 or


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$25 – ‘The Nutcracker’ by Ballet Arizona, Reg. $49

To get this offer click here:

$49 Value / 50% Discount / $24.50 Savings

Travelzoo Local Deal $24.50

Time left to buy:
6 Days, 9 Hours, 40 Minutes

Questions about a Travelzoo Local Deal?


Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. CT

Ballet Arizona

Symphony Hall
75th N Second Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85004

  • See “The Nutcracker” on select dates Dec. 20-24
  • Get tickets to see this holiday favorite for $24.50-$61, regularly $49-121
  • Hear the sounds of one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous scores at Symphony Hall

The Fine Print

To book, click “Buy Now.” Select “Find Tickets” next to a valid performance. Enter code travelnut in the promo code box. Select your seat(s) and click “Checkout.” Fees of $7.50-$9.30 per ticket and $2.85 per order will be additional.Not valid on past orders of “The Nutcracker.” Subject to availability.

The Deal

Enter a holiday dream land filled with sugar plums, sweets and more with Ballet Arizona’s “The Nutcracker” at Symphony Hall. With this Local Deal, save 50% on tickets to see the show.

Orchestra seating in Price Levels 1-4 is $24.50-$61 (reg. $49-$121) for the following performances:

• Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.
• Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
• Thursday, Dec. 22 at 2 p.m.
• Friday, Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Dec. 24 at 2 p.m.

Hear the sounds of one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous scores performed live by The Phoenix Symphony while taking in the beautiful costumes, sets and choreography.

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