Get a Jump on Summer at Free YMCA Family Event

Area families are invited to have fun and gear up for summer at the Desert Foothills YMCA’s (Y) Healthy Kids Day event, Saturday, April 27, 9am–noon. Healthy Kids Day is a national Y initiative to improve the health and well-being of children. During this free event, families can enjoy games and giveaways, as well as discounts on programs like camp, swim and sports and one-day-only membership offers at the Y.

The day’s activities will include water safety demonstrations, Foothills Animal Rescue adoptions, face-painting, a bounce house, a visit from the Phoenix Herpetological Society, Family Fitness Hour at 10am and more.

The Desert Foothills YMCA is a part of the Black Mountain Campus — a partnership with Paradise Valley Community College and the Foothills Community Foundation. This Y opened its doors in October 2009 as a true multi-generational facility, with offerings and services for the entire community — from the youngest member at 3 months and their siblings to adults and active seniors in their 90s. In addition to the health and fitness offerings (including equipment, group fitness classes and personal training), the facility has a heated outdoor pool with zero-depth entry, gender specific and family locker rooms, separate spaces and programs for youth and teens, racquetball courts and a gymnasium. It also offers a dedicated teen center and associated programs, many of which are free to the community, and boasts the largest Teen Leaders Club in the association.

Desert Foothills Family YMCA is located at 34250 North 60th Street in North Scottsdale. For additional information, call 480.596.9622 or visit

For The Procrastinators: Last Minute Gift Ideas

Yes, we know how you feel. The hectic pace of the holiday season just kicked into high gear and there are still a lot of items unchecked on that seemingly never-ending list of to-do’s. If you are still looking for that special, unique, perfect, unusual gift idea or holiday experience, here are some gifts to consider, places to shop and events to check out – this season and well into the New Year.

Götz Doll Collection at Pottery Barn KidsHearkening Back To Christmas’ Past

While electronics seem to dominate many wish lists, it is heartening to see that there are still plenty of “old-school” toys that will spark a child’s imagination. One such toy that came across our editorial desk was “Marianne” from the Götz Doll Collection, made exclusively for Pottery Barn Kids. These dolls will become an instant favorite with any little girl on your list. The 18” high dolls are lovely, with blushing cheeks, long hair that can be washed styled and brushed, eyes that close and arms and legs that can be moved up and down. Each doll comes dressed casually in a blouse, sweater, jeans, shoes and purse (the color varies depending on the doll), but can be dressed up in outfits ranging from a ballet tutu to party dress, (sold separately along with other accessories).

The detailing on Marianne is wonderful, from her cross-body shoulder bag and canvas sneakers to her soft eyes and delicate little fingers (see more here). This doll is ready for any adventure with her new owner.

Remote Control Wooden Utility Vehicle at Pottery Barn KidsAlso from Pottery Barn Kids is the Remote Control Wooden Utility Vehicle. This retro inspired vehicle is made of solid wood with a natural finish, and comes fully assembled along with an easy to use remote control (cleverly designed as a gas can). There are two styles available: a Jeep, which was received as a tester, and a motorcycle. While this toy may not have the tricky moves that some remote-control toys come with these days, the delight here is in the retro look and feel of the toy, and it drew oohs and ahhs when taken out of the box. It looks like a 3-D wooden puzzle, except it is a fully functioning remote-control vehicle complete with engine sounds. Older kids will enjoy this toy – especially those who enjoy constructing wooden puzzles – as much as the younger ones will. Overall, it’s a great gift that is modern, yet with an old-fashioned Christmas appeal.

Visit Pottery Barn Kids online at or in-store. There are two Valley locations: in Scottsdale at Scottsdale Fashion Square,7014 East Camelback Road (480.423.3813); and in Chandler at Chandler Fashion Center,3111 West Chandler Boulevard (480.899.7155).

Hit The Ice

Cityscape in Downtown Phoenix brought back its outdoor NRG Ice Rink this year. It’s a great way to get outdoors with the kids over winter break. The rink is open now through January 11, but if you go from December 26-31, $1 from each skate rental will be donated to the Phoenix Parks Foundation. ( Admission is $10 and includes skate rental. For more information, call 602.772.3900 or visit the website.

Keeping It LocalPhoestivus Market at Phoenix Public Market

Phoenix Public Market has teamed up with Get Your Phx to present something a little different this season; the Second Annual Phoestivus Market. Head to Downtown Phoenix on December 21 for a holiday market with an all-local focus; shop for unique gifts, drinks and locally grown and produced food in a festive atmosphere that will include the Phoestivus Pole, Feats of Strength, Airing of Grievances, plenty of food truck fare and holiday carollers. The event runs from 4-8:30pm. For more information, visit the Market’s website.

Treat The Foodie On Your List

The Devoured Culinary Classic returns to the Phoenix Art Museum March 10-11. The event featuresArizona’s finest local restaurants, chefs, wineries and industry purveyors, all set in the Museums beautiful Dorrance Sculpture Garden. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet Arizona culinary talents, taste and discover a variety of chef creations, enjoy cooking demonstrations and learn more aboutArizona’s pioneering wine makers. As a special incentive to get tickets early, now through January 1, the price for a daily ticket is only $59.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 602.257.2124 or visit

Bears at Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

Two of the three young Black Bears who reside at Southwest Wildlife’s Nature Center can often been seen at play.

Go A Little Wild

Two North Scottsdale sanctuaries for native Southwest and other wildlife are offering an opportunity to get a close-up view of the wildlife they house and learn more about their various roles in Western ecosystems.

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center rescues, rehabilitates and releases injured, displaced and orphaned wildlife, and provides homes for animals that cannot be released. The sanctuary is the only facility in the Southwest that is capable of handling large mammals, and also serves as a holding facility for the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program. The Center is home to coyotes, foxes, raccoons, wolves, mountain lions, javelina, mule deer, bobcats, bears and other species.

Tour Details: December 28-31; 10am-12pm each day; $10 for adults, $7 for children ages three through 15. Send an e-mail to or call 480.471.3621.

Black Mamba at Phoenix Herpetological Society

Visitors to the Phoenix Herpetological Society can get a good look at the Black Mamba, one of the world’s most lethal snakes, thanks to a state-of-the art “venom room”.

Phoenix Herpetological Society is home to more than 1,400 native and non-native reptiles, some of them endangered. Animals include snakes, lizards such as green iguanas and Asian monitors, alligators, crocodiles, Desert and Galapagos tortoises, turtles and more. A glass-enclosed venom room houses one of the largest collections of venomous snakes in the western United States, with 82 species and subspecies.

Tour Details: December 26-31 and January 2-7; tours start at 1pm each day; $20 for adults, $15 for children ages three through 18; children younger than 3 are admitted free. Call 480.513.4377, and select option 4, or send an e-mail to

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