The Whole Wide World

Tourists and residents alike enjoy the desert experiences in scenic South Mountain Park

Sometimes I wonder what exactly I do all day. Then I remember, oh yeah, the Internet. As a child I loved to look things up in the collection of encyclopedias that rested on the bookshelf so orderly and full of authority. How things have changed. I guess those encyclopedia companies have gone out of business, but I’ll resist looking that up just now.
Lately I discovered the Arizona Office of Tourism website. On page 14 of a PDF document titled Arizona 2010 Tourism Facts is a table of information designated Top Arizona Attractions by Visitation.
There are two lists, one for natural attractions and one for private. The natural list is topped of course by the Grand Canyon, which entertained 4.3 million people in that one year. I don’t think you’d ever guess which natural area came in second. It was South Mountain Park, with 2 million visitors. Glen Canyon, Lake Mead and Canyon de Chelly filled out the top five places to see.
Again, I was surprised by the number one ranking for private attractions. Tempe Town Lake won that distinction with 2.8 million visitors. Who would’ve thought damming up a pool of water in the Salt’s dry riverbed would create such a hot spot? The London Bridge, Chase Field, Phoenix Zoo (1.4 million) and Arena were runners up for the state’s most popular private attractions. Desert Botanical Gardens came in eighth. Lots of tourists go to sporting events and find entertainment at places like the Science Center, West World and Tombstone. They visit museums, ride railroads and check out the smaller zoos.
So much to learn, so little time.


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