Spring Break 2023!

Buckle Up! This year for Spring Break we took another road trip to Arizona to see friends, hug some cacti, and enjoy hours of family time in a minivan together. Before you ask, it’s only 5 hours and 30 minutes to get from LA to Scottsdale, with no traffic, though just like last year, we broke up the trip by driving a few hours, staying the night, then getting up and driving the rest of the way in the morning. Plus, it’s a gorgeous drive.

We stopped in Palm Desert this time, and on the way, we took a detour to hit the outlet shops, which the kids loved. Zoe is a Tillys fan and can finally wear their XS clothing (so grown up). As we waited outside the dressing room, Ella tried on every pair of sunglasses in the store… Click here a fun slideshow of that.

I got to hit the Lululemon store and was there for a ‘Flash Sale’, which I’d never seen before. One of their workers got up on a desk, Kmart blue light special style, and announced a one-hour sale on all leggings. Though at first I was shocked about the blue light special moment at such a pricey store, don’t think for a second I didn’t go home with some half-off leggings.

We arrived in Scottsdale just in time to have a big family dinner at Euro Pizza in Fountain Hills with several of Bart’s aunts, uncles and cousins! I shamefully didn’t get a picture of our gathering, but it was so wonderful to see everyone. Great food, lovely setting, and most importantly, FAMILY that our kids don’t often get to see (especially not in person).

The following day we got to spend time with our friends who have recently been traveling to winter and spring in Scottsdale, bringing their two dogs, two cats and two horses across the country. I’m still not sure how we lured our children away from playing with all those animals, including watching this beautiful horse play with a ball.

They also spent a lot of time with the barn cats, one of whom will love you forever and the other who likes to keep her distance. Luckily they finally won that one over, too, because if they hadn’t, I’m pretty sure we’d still be in AZ… We also took a very windy but pretty hike on the Sears Kay Ruins Trail. Though the elevation is only 364 feet, the view from up there was lovely.

The following day we braved the Arizona Boardwalk, a kid-focused center with all sorts of fun activities, including a playground, a laser maze, a butterfly pavilion, and a museum of illusions (my favorite). Last year Bart had taken the girls to the butterflies, so this year they decided to skip the pavilion. The lasers were requested again though, and I think we’re all in the wrong business (unless you’re running a laser maze). We paid $5 per kid for 90 seconds of turning out lights… (CLICK FOR VIDEO)

There’s no “winning” or moving up to a harder challenge or anything. Just doing it. Last year they also did a mirror maze, but Zoe did not want to go back in this year. I thought she was just being dramatic, so when Ella wanted to do it, I volunteered to go with her. Let’s just say that if I never go into another mirror maze in my life, I will be OK. Very disconcerting and not awesome for folks who are claustrophobic. Even without the “walls” (they were there but looked like infinite views of other walls and people), I lost my breath more than once when I realized it really was NOT easy to get out. But we did.

Up next, we went to the Museum of Illusions, which was super fun! Think of every optical illusion and puzzle you enjoyed growing up. Pretty sure they had most of them represented in this small but awesome space. Here are just a few examples:

The following day we headed to the Desert Botanical Gardens, which is one of the nicest ones I’ve seen (and as you know, we are avid Descanso Gardens fans). The wayfinding, wide varieties of vegetation, and sweet docents around every corner made the experience even better. We even saw a hummingbird nest and tasted mesquite flour!

Following that adventure, we played our first glow-in-the-dark mini golf. I’m not going to brag, but I won. Was that bragging? We arrived a little before they opened, but thankfully there was a nail salon in the same complex. And yes, that’s why in the picture below you can see Ella still wearing her salon slippers (and they glow)! Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, playing in the dark was pretty fabulous, and both girls enjoyed “recharging” the golf balls in between the holes to keep them extra bright. If you’re ever in Scottsdale, check out Glow Putt. I’m sure they’ll remember me. Ha!

But wait, there’s more! On the way out of the Phoenix area, we had a where’s Waldo moment. Can you see it?

Clever. From Scottsdale we drove up to Flagstaff to visit more friends (and lose about 20 degrees in outdoor temperature). Our kids didn’t mind the weather change at all, since it meant that there were still piles of snow left from weeks before. SNOW! We could barely keep them off those piles, throwing snowballs but (thankfully) not eating any of the dirty bits.

Snow aside, we had a blast with our friends. Up first, we went to Lowell Observatory, where Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930. After a spirited debate about Pluto’s downgraded planet status (for the record, “dwarf planet” has the word “planet” in it), we took a day trip to Sedona. Bart and I went there once pre-kids, which feels like a million years ago, and went up in a hot air balloon. I’m pleased to share that it’s just as incredible today as it was back then, even from the ground. In fact, I think it’s pretty impossible to take a bad picture there, so I took several.

Our friends happen to be pretty brilliant. One is working on her second Mars rover mission (so cool) and the other is a volcanologist. So we got to meet Grover, “the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) that all the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 astronauts trained with in Flagstaff before they went to the Moon.”

What a wonderful trip, filled with friends, family and fun. Even better than that time I drove to Daytona Beach in college for Spring Break. Actually WAY better than that.

4 thoughts on “Spring Break 2023!

  1. Awesome!!! Not only were the pictures absolutely beautiful but Susie, your writing made me feel like I was actually there. Wish I were ! Sounds like a magnificent vacation! Would love to have been with you all and ridden that gorgeous horse❤️ most of all, I love the beautiful pictures of my magnificent grand daughters and their fantastic parents🥰 plus being with family & friends can’t be beat! Somebody really knows how to plan a trip and Susie your writing made me feel like I was actually there😘 Love your blog!

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