Back when we lived in the bay area, San Francisco was never more than a drive away. Unfortunately, it seemed to be a long enough drive that we never did it as often as we wanted.
Lucky for us, Phoenix is a much more accessible city. With about a 25 minute drive into downtown, with no traffic (at least on the weekends), and fairly easy parking, it's a great place to go visit. Granted, it's not quite as exciting or awe inspiring as SF (what city is?) but it is a great place for a weekend afternoon or evening.
So, since I just celebrated a birthday (I am in fact 27 now - a very grown up age), we decided that visiting our new city would be a great idea as a birthday celebration. And 2 weeks of celebration is even better than one, so that's just what we did.
Last weekend, the Science Center, in conjunction with ASU, had an event just for teachers, so Ed signed us up and off we went!
The first part was visiting a bunch of booths that had info about field trips and other resources for teachers from different places around the valley. Ed had fun getting his name out there, and meeting some people he might be able to work with, and I got some go ideas. We also both got free passes to the science center for the year! I then attended a few lectures, one on using a digital newspaper website, and one on the "Ask a Biologist" website. Next year, I'll want to come earlier to attend even more!
The evening finished with a tasty barbecue prepared for us in the science center.
Then, the best part! We got free range of the main floor exhibits. You know how when you visit science centers with all the fun displays, but you can't play because you can't steal a spot from all the little kids? Well, imagine being pretty much the only ones there.
So. Much. Fun!
We learned about strokes while shooting basketballs (mostly that I can't shoot them even with my full functions, while Ed does fine, limitations or not).
We had a battle of the relaxing brains, where our hard hats actually read our brain waves, and the more relaxed person was able to propel a little ball on a track toward the other person's side. We were about pretty evenly matched on this one, surprisingly!
This one was part creepy and party funny. It let us sort of combine our features. Hopefully any future children won't look like this!!
One of the most "unfairly" balanced games was the wheel chair racing. Obviously, Ed won this one :).
This would be a great one for kids to get an idea of calories. When you pedal the bike, the effort lifts this soccer ball up into a chute. Next to it, it shows at what level the ball has to be kept at for an hour to burn off the food listed on the sign. Burning off that burger and fries? That's a lot of work.
Finally, we visited the lego exhibit, and were excited to see S.F. represented!
It was a really fun afternoon/evening and a fun way to "celebrate" my birthday.
However, we wanted to do something else a bit more "non-work" to celebrate, so Ed decided to get us tickets to the symphony! For the first concert back from the summer, they were featuring the "Wicked Divas" a show that featured two great singers singing "diva songs" from musicals and regular music (called this because the two singers both sang the main roles in Wicked on Broadway and touring).
(Ed was excited to see the "Dr." in front of his name)
I had a long day of training, plus some report card work (can't believe the 1st quarter is over!!), I was more than ready for a night on the town. We went to a bar across from the theater to start our evening. I had my new regular drink - prickly pear margarita.
We had the perfect amount of time before the show started, and then got settled into our seats.
We were surprised that the hall wasn't that big, and happy that we'd actually have a pretty good view. The show was very fun - a casual, candid atmosphere with good music! It really made me want to go see more musicals. It was a little unfair to the symphony that we'd just seen the SF symphony and were therefore comparing them. There really just isn't any comparing. the SF symphony is like going to one of those once in a lifetime meals - something that you can't really afford with any regularity, but which is a sublime treat. The Phoenix symphony is like a regular date night restaurant. It's fun, enjoyable, and hits all the right notes, and is something that you can afford on a somewhat regular basis. So, it wasn't a sublime experience, but it was a wonderful one.
They symphony ended around 10pm (and I stayed awake the whole time! This wouldn't seem like such an accomplishment, except I fell asleep when we went to the opera, and Shakespeare at Santa Cruz, both because they were evening shows. I've apparently fallen asleep in darkened rooms in evening hours since I was a little kid, and haven't quite broken the habit). But, I was still energized as the show ended, so we decided to wander around for some dessert.
We found not only a coldstone, but also this beautiful outdoor area, where we could sit and relax. It was just beautiful with the lights, the water, and the trees. Even better, it was about 88 degrees, which felt absolutely perfect. These are the kinds of evenings we're excited about experiencing in the months to come.
I'm sure we'll have many visits to Phoenix in the future, and look forward to having this whole city to explore!