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Attractions / Things To Do


Agritourism

A crop of new agritourism experiences is popping up around the Yuma area. Yuma Visitors Bureau is encouraging folks in the agriculture industry to share their stories through agriculturally-inspired experiences. To see what's sprouting - and learn more about Yuma County's number one industry - stop by the Visitor Information Center at 201 N. 4th Avenue.

Farm tours

YVB is offering two different kinds of agriculture tours for the 2011-12 season. For details, dates and ticket information, click on the tour name:

Field to Feast Agriculture Tours

Farmer to Farmer Technical Tours

All tours depart from our

Visitor Information Center
201 N. 4th Avenue
Yuma, Arizona
(928) 783-0071
(800-293-0071)

UCDRC Farm Smart program
University of California Desert Research & Extension Center
1004 E. Holton Rd.
El Centro, CA
(760) 791-0261

“Grownup” programs in January and February help support school field trips to the research farm, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Includes tour, music, lunch – and “u pick” produce to take home. Reservations required – call for 2012 prices and schedule.

Dates & treats

The date is one of the oldest cultured tree crops in the world, dating back more than 5,000 years. Medjool dates, which originated in Morocco, are naturally sweet, fat- and cholesterol-free and high in fiber and anti-oxidants. Medjools were introduced here in 1944, and this area is now the world's largest producer, thanks to a favorable microclimate along the Colorado River. Yuma County also ranks number one in Arizona for lemon, tangelo and tangerine production, and for growing watermelons and cantaloupes.

Bard Date Company
Retail outlet at Basket Creations & More
245 S. Main Street
Yuma, Arizona
(928) 341-9966

Bard Date Company, one of the largest growers in the area, has a retail outlet at Basket Creations and More downtown. The store offers all grades of Medjools and chopped, cooking and pitted dates, plus many different gift packages, souvenirs, custom gift baskets and Southwest jellies and candies. Date shakes, too. Tours of the groves are given once a month on Saturdays, sign up at the store. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Saturday all year.

Imperial Date Gardens
1517 York Road
Bard, Calif.
(760) 572-0277

At this family-owned date garden, you'll find a large assortment of gift packs, nuts, candies - and winter visitors enjoying date shakes. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday (all California time) from Sept. 15 to April 15. Tours offered for groups of 12 or more, call in advance. Take 4th Avenue across Colorado River, turn right on S-24 and follow signs for Imperial Dam; the date gardens are on west side of road.

Martha's Gardens Date Farm
9747 Avenue 9-3/4 E
Yuma, AZ
(928) 726-8833

This date farm near Arizona Western College sells a variety of products including dates, dried fruits, nuts, natural and organic gourmet foods. They also offer deli sandwiches, date shakes, ice cream and more. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday from mid-October through the end of May. Take Highway 95 east to Avenue 9E, go south to Araby-Blaisdale Road (along north side of train tracks), then east and watch for signs.

Peanut Patch
4322 E. County 13th St.
Yuma, Arizona
(928) 726-6292

The Peanut Patch is a local favorite for visitors and residents alike, with a history that dates back to a post-World War II family of homesteaders who started growing peanuts on the Yuma Mesa. Today, it offers a wide variety of homemade fudge, mixed nuts, dried fruits and other creative delicacies. Free kitchen tours are given at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays during the winter travel season (reserve two weeks ahead for groups of 10 or more). Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday from October through April, closed on major holidays.

Chocolate Crafters

11242 E. Foothills Blvd., 287-1117

No, they haven’t started growing cacao beans in Yuma – but all the hand-crafted chocolates on offer here are all made on the premises from recipes developed by owner Bob Shrader. Chocolate therapy at its best, plus five flavors of “killer” caramel corn.

Gardens

Abundant sunshine and the nation's longest growing season makes gardening a year-round pleasure. To see how locals rise to the challenge of making the desert bloom, check out these public gardens.

Moody Demonstration Garden
2200 W. 28th Street
Yuma, AZ
(928) 726-3904

The Robert J. Moody Demonstration Garden serves as a "living library" to show what plants can thrive in Yuma's desert climes. Started with seed money from the City of Yuma, Yuma County and the University of Arizona, the garden now depends on donations and volunteers to keep growing. Admission is free, and the garden is open year round during daylight hours. Tours are available by calling in advance.

Yuma Conservation Garden
2520 E. 32nd St.
Yuma, AZ
(928) 317-1935

This 28-acre educational garden features native Sonoran Desert plants, a duck pond, antique farm machinery, desert tortoises, a botanical garden, walking paths and a 100-seat outdoor classroom. The garden and machinery display are open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays from November through April. Midweek tours can be scheduled by appointment for groups of at least 10 people. Admission free, donations welcomed. Take 32nd Street to the fairgrounds, look for garden entrance at west end of parking area.

Casinos

Cocopah Casino and Resort
15318 S. Avenue B
Somerton, AZ
(928) 726-8066, 1-800-23-SLOTS
www.cocopah-casino.com

Paradise Casino
450 Quechan Drive
Winterhaven, CA
888-777-IWIN, 888-777-4946
www.paradise-casinos.com

Quechan Casino and Resort
525 Algodones Road
Winterhaven, CA
(I-8 west, Andrade exit)
877-783-2426
www.quechancasinoresort.com

Historic Sites, Museums

Casa de Coronado Museum
233 S. 4th Ave.
Yuma, AZ
(928) 783-4453

When the Coronado Motel opened in 1938, it was the state of Arizona's first "modern-style" motel, with side-by-side rooms instead of tourist cabins. But owner John Peach's roots go even deeper - his parents started in the hotel business here in 1910, just off the boat from Czechoslovakia. You can see this collection of vintage photos and artifacts free, just call ahead to arrange a visit.

Castle Dome Mines Museum
Off Highway 95 north of Yuma
(928) 920-3062

At one time, the population of Castle Dome City far exceeded that of Yuma. But when the mining boom faded, so did the once-rowdy town. Now Allen and Stephanie Armstrong have re-created a ghostly mining town of nearly two dozen buildings in a pristine desert setting surrounded by nearly 700,000 acres of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Each building - from hotels and saloons to a blacksmith shop and general store - is pretty much a self-contained museum, filled to the rafters with authentic artifacts. In addition to the museum, there's a self-guided hiking trail through the mining district is now open, offering creative signage and beautiful desert views. Adult admission is $6 for museum, $6 for trail or $10 for both; kids 6 to 12 are $3 for museum, $3 for trail or $5 for both; kids under age 6 are free. Both the museum and the trail are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week from November through April (call ahead May through October). To get there, take Highway 95 north to Castle Dome Road (mile marker 55) and continue east for 10 miles (first three miles paved, then graded gravel; watch for signs to museum).

Museum of History in Granite And Center of the World Pyramid
Felicity, CA
(760) 572-0100

A unique attraction that welcomes visitors from Thanksgiving to Easter, the Museum of History in Granite captures the history of humanity and other subjects on 18 massive monuments that hold 3,080 linear feet of etched granite panels. The Los Angeles Times calls the work "meticulously researched and condensed" -- to read every word will take you a full six hours! There's also a bistro and gift shop, a wrought-iron staircase from the Eiffel Tower and The Church on the Hill atop the manmade Hill of Prayer. The officially designated "Center of the World" figures into a children's book authored by Felicity's mayor and founder, Jacques-Andre Istel, a French-born veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who was a pioneer of free-fall parachuting. Admission is a $3 donation, which is tax-deductible and includes a short video presentation, for an additional $2, tour the pyramid and get a certificate that you stood at Center of World. Call ahead for hours and other details. Take I-8 west to Sidewinder Road (exit 164), then follow Center of the World Drive along the north side of the highway.

Cloud Museum
1398 York Road
Bard, CA
(760) 572-0188

Taking a walk through the three acres of the Cloud Museum is literally a stroll down memory lane. Among the 115 vintage vehicles are more than 75 Model T Fords, all in running order thanks to owner Johnny Cloud. Open seven days a week except in hottest months, admission $5. From Yuma, go north on 4th Avenue across the Colorado River, turn right on S-24 and follow signs for Imperial Dam; museum is on east side of road.

Cocopah Museum and Cultural Center
County 15th & Avenue G
Somerton, AZ
(928) 627-1992

The Cocopah - the River People, in their language - have made their home along the lower Colorado River and its delta for more than 3,000 years. At the museum, you'll get a chance to learn about their ways of life and traditions. There's also a gift shop featuring original beadwork by Cocopah artists and other items. Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closes 2 p.m. on last Friday of each month), closed on weekends. Admission free (donations welcome); guided tours available by appointment.

Dobson Museum
Tacna, AZ
(928) 785-4013 or (928) 503-0168

Spread over 10 acres, Wendy Dobson's 40-year collection of antiques is arranged as a miniature old town, complete with working blacksmith shop, barber shop, school room and house. Dobson opens by appointment any day except Sunday and requests a donation, call to set time and get directions.

First flight / Yuma Landing
195 S. 4th Ave.
Yuma, AZ
(928) 782-7427

The first plane to land on Arizona soil touched down in Yuma on October 25, 1911. Robert G. "Bob" Fowler was flying a biplane with an engine rented from the Wright brothers from California to Miami. A state monument marks the spot, along with a new statue of Fowler that was dedicated in spring of 2010. Don't miss the Landing's photo collection highlighting Yuma aviation history.

Gadsden Museum
18765 Highway 95
Gadsden, AZ
(928) 627-2159

Want to know more about the little town of Gadsden? Check out the home museum created by Luis Gradias - historic photos and artifacts, a little Southwestern town, and a small petting zoo. Hours are irregular, so call ahead; donations are welcome. To get there, take Highway 95 south from Yuma, look for signs.

Gold Rock Ranch Museum
2401 Gold Rock Ranch Road
Winterhaven, CA
(928) 920-0603

This museum includes outdoor story boards that describe the Tumco gold mine, plus indoor exhibits about local history and mining, the desert and Gen. George Patton's World War II training sites. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., no admission. Take Interstate 8 west to Ogilby Road, then north nine miles to Gold Rock Ranch Road, turn left and go 1-1/4 miles west.

Pivot Point Interpretative Plaza
Madison Avenue at Colorado River
(928) 373-5198

Learn more about the historic Yuma Crossing at the spot where the first railroad train entered Arizona in 1877. The new plaza incorporates the original concrete pivot that allowed Yuma's railroad bridge to swing open for passing steamboats and features an authentic 1907 Baldwin locomotive. Don't miss the "ghost train" audio installation that re-creates the arrival of a steam locomotive and the lasers that after dark trace the path of the tracks across the original bridge.

Sanguinetti House Museum
240 S. Madison Ave.
Yuma, AZ
(928)782.1841

This onetime home of a Yuma pioneer and entrepreneur, E.F. Sanguinetti, is one of downtown Yuma's oldest and most historic buildings. Now headquarters for the Rio Colorado Division of the Arizona Historical Society, it's a museum showcasing Yuma's earliest days, with rose gardens and an aviary. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Free for children 11 and younger; $2 for those ages 12-18 and 60 and older; $3 for everyone else. Free admission for everyone the first Saturday of every month.

Quechan Tribal Museum Gift Shop
350 Picacho Road
Winterhaven, CA
(760) 572-0661

Because their home territory included the Yuma crossing, the Quechan tribe has always been at the crossroads. The museum that details the tribe's history is closed indefinitely due to structural concerns, but a gift shop featuring items made by tribal members is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to noon, and from 1 to 5 p.m. The gift shop is on Mission Hill, cross the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge from Yuma and look for signs.

St. Thomas Indian Mission
350 Picacho Road
Winterhaven, CA
(760) 572-0283

The present-day church was built in 1922 on the grounds of the original Mission founded by Father Garces in 1780, but is not open for tours. The church is part of the diocese of San Diego, call for schedule of masses, other parish activities.

Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park
201 N. 4th Avenue
Yuma, AZ
(928) 329-0471

For nearly 20 years beginning in 1864, all the military posts in the Southwest traced their lifelines to the Yuma Quartermaster Depot. Here on the high ground above the Colorado River, the U.S. Army's warehouses held a six-month supply of clothing, food, ammunition and other goods for forts in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas. This beautiful 10-acre park also includes exhibits describing the amazing engineering feats that brought irrigation water to the Yuma Valley - under the Colorado River - in 1912. Open 9-5 daily Sept. 1 - May 31, closed Sundays June 1 - Aug. 31, admission free.

Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center
Yuma Proving Ground
(928) 328-3394

The Army opened the Yuma Test Branch in 1943 because the Colorado River's flow could be controlled, making this an ideal location to try out bridging equipment. This museum also has exhibits on General George S. Patton's Desert Training Center and recently became the permanent home of an exhibit about the Holocaust. Open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., admission free. Entrance onto the base requires a picture ID, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Take Highway 95 north to "big guns," turn left to Main Post entrance on right.

Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
Giss Parkway and Prison Hill Road
(928)783.4771

The Yuma Territorial Prison only operated for 33 years - but that was long enough to etch a fearsome reputation into the history of the Old West, a legacy that lives on in movies like "3:10 to Yuma." Authorized in 1875 with a construction budget of $25,000, the prison opened in July of 1876 when the first seven prisoners were locked into cells they'd hacked out of the granite of Prison Hill with their own hands. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily Sept. 1 - May 31 (summer hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Thurs.-Monday, closed Tues. & Wed.). Admission is $5 for ages 14 & older, $2 for 7-13, age 6 and under free.

One Of A Kind

The Camel Farm
15672 S. Avenue 1E
Yuma, AZ
(928) 627-7511

A working breeding farm that specializes in exotic animals, this family-run business features a herd of dromedary camels - that's the one-humped variety from the Middle East - along with more than 200 animals representing more than 25 other species. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays) except during the hottest months. Call about scheduling groups, late arrivals. Admission is $4, $3 for seniors, children under three free. Take Avenue 3E south to County 16th Street, then right (west) to Avenue 1E; enter just north of intersection.

Cocopah Wild River Family Entertainment Center
15136 S. Avenue B
Somerton, AZ
(928) 627-0980

Bowling (24 lanes) and laser tag in a 40,000 square-foot facility adjacent to the casino and hotel - perfect for parties, corporate meetings and group events. Plus, there's a fun-filled video game arcade, complete food and beverage service, a sports lounge featuring large screen TVs and billiards tables and fully equipped meeting rooms.

Roxaboxen
8th Street & 2nd Avenue
Yuma, AZ

In 2000, the city of Yuma dedicated as a natural "desert park" the hillside site where author Alice McLerran's mother, her sisters and friends created their own world of imagination, as described in the children's book, "Roxaboxen." The city celebrates a Roxaboxen festival annually, call the Yuma Art Center, 373-5202, for info.

Yuma Art Center / Historic Yuma Theatre
254 S. Main Street
Yuma, AZ
(928) 373-5202

Restored to its 1936 ambience, the Historic Yuma Theatre serves as the centerpiece of the Yuma Art Center. The theatre, originally built in 1911, was a vaudeville theater before it was a movie house. It now hosts a variety of musical and theatrical productions, a film series and more. Don't miss the beautiful Art Deco murals in the theater and cast plaster bas-relief in the lobby, which date from the 1936 redesign. The Art Center also offers classes for children, youth and adults, and provides space and support for a number of arts and cultural organizations. A donation is requested for gallery admission.

Yuma Civic Center
1440 W. Desert Hills Drive
Yuma, AZ
(928) 373-5040

Owned and operated by the City of Yuma, the Civic Center offers a variety of activities and events for visitors and residents. Lots of local groups also meet or host events at the civic center. The Yuma Civic Center is located within the James Deyo Recreation Complex, adjacent to Desert Sun Stadium. To get there, take Avenue A to 36th Street (called Desert Hills Drive west of Avenue A).

Military Sites

Armed Forces Park
281 S. Gila Street
Yuma, AZ

The Park, dedicated in December 2000, is sponsored by the Military Affairs Committee of the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce. The only park of its type in Arizona, it has been designed to honor all military veterans, living or deceased, from all branches of service.

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma
Avenue 3E south of 32nd St.
Yuma, AZ
(928) 269-2275 or (928) 269-5590

MCAS Yuma, which shares runways and other facilities with the Yuma International Airport, is the busiest air field in the Marine Corps and the third-busiest in the U.S. Navy. It hosts a popular air show (set for March 26 in 2011) and also offers special group tours - for 10 or more - as training and military necessity allow. To sign up for a regular tour (second Tuesday of the month November, January and March), call the number above.

Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center
Yuma Proving Ground
(928) 328-3394

The Army opened the Yuma Test Branch in 1943 because the Colorado River's flow could be controlled, making this an ideal location to try out bridging equipment. This museum also has exhibits on General George S. Patton's Desert Training Center and recently became the permanent home of an exhibit about the Holocaust. Open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., admission free. Entrance onto the base requires a picture ID, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Take Highway 95 north to "big guns," turn left to Main Post entrance on right.

Native American Culture

Cocopah Museum and Cultural Center
14533 Veterans Drive, Somerton
(928) 627-1992

The Cocopah - the River People, in their language - have made their home along the lower Colorado River and its delta for more than 3,000 years. At the museum, you'll get a chance to learn about their ways of life and traditions. There's also a gift shop featuring original beadwork by Cocopah artists and other items. Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closes 2 p.m. on last Friday of each month), closed on weekends. Admission free (donations welcome); guided tours available by appointment.

Quechan Tribal Museum Gift Shop
350 Picacho Road
Winterhaven, CA
(760) 572-0661

Because their home territory included the Yuma crossing, the Quechan tribe has always been at the crossroads. The museum that details the tribe's history is closed indefinitely due to structural concerns, but a gift shop featuring items made by tribal members is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to noon, and from 1 to 5 p.m. The gift shop is on Mission Hill, cross the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge from Yuma and look for signs.

Rentals

ATV, Sand Toys
JetRent
(928) 314-4345

Boats By Hour
Martinez Lake Resort
(928) 783-9589
(pontoon boats, fishing boats, canoes, kayaks)

Jetski/Personal Watercraft
JetRent
(928) 314-4345.

Tubing, Canoe & Kayak Day Trips
Yuma River Tubing, (928) 750-0247
City of Yuma Parks & Recreation, (982) 373-5243

Canoe, Kayak Multi-Day Charters
Yuma River Tours, (928) 783-4400
Martinez Lake Resort, (928) 783-9589

Fishing Guide
Dave Wilhide, Goin' Fishin', (928) 782-2621

Kayak Instruction
Yuma Kayaks, (928) 503-0537

Tours & Trips

Charter trips in and around area:

Buffalo Bus Tours, Inc.
342.0015

Tour West America
783-8888

Farm tours
See information under "Agritourism" heading

Goin' Fishin'
(928) 782-2621

Want to wet a hook in the Colorado River but don't know where to go or how to begin? Dave Wilhide provides professional fishing guide services by the day or half-day.

Running Boy Tours
(928) 581-8202

Enjoy the beauty of the desert and mountains while learning more about our fascinating history. Steve Thornburg will tailor a guided tour by Jeep and ATV for groups of two or more. Handicapped people need to be able to transfer from a wheelchair or walker into a high-clearance Jeep and/or an all-terrain ATV. Cost (includes water, snacks and optional helmet) is $35 per hour per person, most tours will run two to three hours.

Balloons Over Yuma
(928) 343-2218

Experience the tranquility of drifting over farm fields and desert landscapes as the sun rises over the Gila Mountains. Chief pilot Colin Graham appreciates such beauty, having flown more than five thousand passengers in thirty states and five countries over the past fifteen years. Graham and the staff of Endeavor Ballooning invite you to fly Yuma during their winter season from October through May. For reservations, please call or visit www.balloonsoveryuma.com

Magical History Tours
(928) 247-9338

Enjoy a narrated walking tour of Yuma’s historic downtown and riverfront area – with four leisurely stops for appetizers and “adult beverages” at locations that may include Yuma’s Main Squeeze, Old Town Wine Cellar, Carla Renee’s, Da Boyz, Das Bratwurst Haus, Yuma Territorial Prison, Pivot Point Interpretive Plaza or others. All tours begin at Yuma’s Main Squeeze and participants must be able to walk approximately one mile. Cost is $48/person and prepaid reservations are required with a 24-hour cancellation policy.

Yuma River Tubing
At West Wetlands Park, 750-0247

Floating down the Colorado has never been this easy -- and close to home! Custom kayak and float tube rentals and shuttle service daily in season at West Wetlands Park (1st Street to 12th Avenue, turn north). Rentals include a ride upriver for you and your gear, “flexible” time afloat and a life vest. Reservations required, more info at www.yumarivertubing.biz .

Yuma River Tours
Launches from Fisher’s Landing, Martinez Lake, (928) 783-4400

Imagine spending the day traveling the cool waters of one of the world's great rivers while viewing the natural wonders of one of its great deserts. Yuma River Tours offers both jet boat tours or daytime or evening trips aboard its one-of-a-kind Colorado King paddleboat, a 15-ton double-decked sternwheeler that's 57 feet long and 18 feet wide, yet draws only 12 inches of water when fully loaded. Either way, advance planning is a must - because the launch location is off the beaten path, there's no fixed schedule, and the various trips are available by reservation only. Take Highway 95 north (past "big guns" at Yuma Proving Ground, just past milepost 46), turn left on Martinez Lake Road, drive about 10 miles west, follow signs to Fisher's Landing.

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