Spark 2016, the HSI International Conference, is taking place in Phoenix, October 24-26, 2016. While we’re going to fill those three days with lots of informative breakout sessions and networking opportunities, you’ll want to make yourself some time to check out what this vibrant southwestern city has to offer you and your family.
Here are 10 suggestions from the AZ Central website to consider as you plan your conference experience:
Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix
Enjoy a tea ceremony at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix. The 3.5-acre park features 1,500 tons of hand-selected rock and more than 50 varieties of plants and a koi pond with more than 300 fish. Taking a respite at the teahouse where a formally trained tea master offers a taste of spiritual refreshment is a way to live in the moment.
Kayaking with Fort McDowell Adventures
Rent a kayak from Fort McDowell Adventures for a few hours and float down the Salt River so you can see the cows and wild horses. Just about every possible desert flora and fauna can be viewed along the way.
Heard Museum in Phoenix
Since its founding by Dwight and Maie Heard in 1929, the Heard Museum has grown in size and stature to become recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, its educational programming and its festivals. Dedicated to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native arts and cultures, the Heard is an institution that successfully combines the stories of American Indian people from a personal perspective with the beauty of art.
Carolina's in Phoenix
Savor the taste of an authentic tortilla at Carolina's in Phoenix. Large, thin and chewy, the tortillas have been turned out at this institution for 50 years. Never has a simple mix of flour, water, lard, baking powder and salt been so satisfying.
Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix
Tour the Wrigley Mansion. William Wrigley Jr., known for his chewing gum and the Chicago Cubs, bought the Arizona Biltmore hotel in the '20s and had the nearby mansion built as a 50th-anniversary gift for his wife. Built in 1932, the grand home that sits atop a knoll in Phoenix is as historic as the Valley gets, with a salute to Mediterranean, California Mission and Spanish architecture.
Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix
The Desert Botanical Garden offers the world’s finest collection of arid-land plants from deserts around the world in a unique outdoor setting. The Garden has more than 50,000 accessioned plants throughout its five thematic trails, which illustrate topics such as conservation, desert living, plants and people of the Sonoran Desert and desert wildflowers. The Garden offers a variety of lectures and workshops on desert landscaping and horticulture, botanical art and illustration, nature art and photography, and health and wellness. Visit the Garden and enjoy specialized tours, special events, seasonal exhibits, concerts, family activities, dining options and the Garden’s gift and plant shop.
"Bat Cave" in Phoenix
Brave the depths of your fears and dare to witness as many as 20,000 bats journey out to their nighttime feeding. The "bat cave" is on the north bank of the Arizona Canal, several hundred yards west of 40th Street, north of Camelback Road. Position yourself at a specially built deck at that location at dusk.
Challenger Space Center in Peoria
Experience the exhilaration and disorientation of spaceflight on a two-hour simulated space mission at Challenger Space Center of Arizona in Peoria. The center's flight deck features more than $1 million in technology, including a Mission Control room designed after the one at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The gift shop carries one of the Valley's best selections of science games and books.
Rosson House in Phoenix
Spook yourself with a candlelit Halloween tour of the Rosson House in downtown Phoenix. Built in 1895, its Gothic features provide the perfect backdrop for stories of unexplained footsteps, turning keys and creepy sensations. If no ghosts are spotted at least you can see the Victorian residence's antique furnishings, tin ceilings, and parquet floors of oak, walnut and mahogany.
Goldfield Ghost Town near Apache Junction
Watch a gunfight at Goldfield Ghost Town near Apache Junction. This resurrected mining camp got its start in 1892 but was abandoned a few years later when the gold ran out. It was later reborn as one of the last vestiges of the Old West with a mining tunnel, a photo shop and a chance to pan for gold. You can keep any gold slivers you find.
To learn more about Spark 2016 and to register for the conference, check out our blog post from March 15 here.