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Active families with a love of adventure will enjoy Mesa, a low-key base for exploring the mountains and deserts of greater Phoenix. A few highlights? Roaring dinosaurs, rootin’ tootin’ Old West towns, a legendary gold mine and a lazy river perfect for a Saturday inner tube ride.
At the Museum of Natural History in downtown Mesa, dinosaurs, mammoths and one enormous prehistoric bird wow (and sometimes scare) the kiddies. This amazing place is chock-full of exhibits about Arizona’s history, geology and native peoples. Across the street, Humpty Dumpty sits on the wall – one of 38 public art pieces.
Treasure maps cover the wall at the Superstition Mountain Museum in nearby Apache Junction. Come here to learn the legend of the Lost Dutchman gold mine – supposedly “lost” nearby. Up the road, wildflowers are the prize at Lost Dutchman State Park. Wannabe cowpokes practice their quick draw at Goldfield Ghost Town in Apache Junction or at Rawhide Western Town in Gilbert. End with an easy inner tube ride on the Salt River.