Scottsdale keeps the spirit of the Old West alive, with dude ranches and Western-themed museums, but there are a few attractions that you’ll be surprised to find in Scottsdale. For instance, the largest butterfly conservatory in America is in this Arizona, as well as Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home. Read ahead for five great things to do while visiting Scottsdale.
Butterfly Wonderland is America’s largest butterfly conservatory! Step out of the desert and into the rainforest as you explore the conservatory. There is a large 3D movie theater playing films explaining the life cycle of butterflies, so that when you enter the conservatory itself you know what’s going on! Butterfly Wonderland also features special exhibits including a Honey Bee Extravaganza, where you can watch the bees make their own honey.
Butterfly Wonderland, 9500 East Vía de Ventura, Scottsdale, AZ 85256 (480) 800-3000
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a hiking area with almost 150 miles of trail, so don’t expect to cover the whole park in one day. Regardless of which trail you choose, you’ll find beautiful desert flowers and perhaps stumble upon some of the many animals and insects that populate Arizona’s deserts.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve, 18333 N Thompson Peak Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ 85255 (480) 312-7013
Western Spirit isn’t necessarily a museum dedicated to cowboys and their wild stories, but is rather, a history of the old and the new west. Exhibits feature the journey of Lewis and Clark, collections of classic western objects like spurs and badges, as well as exhibits that meditate on the history of white settlers’ interactions with Native Americans.
Western Spirit, 3830 N Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 (480) 686-9539
Architecture and Art buffs will be thrilled to walk through Frank Lloyd Wright’s beautiful winter home. Taliesin is home to Frank Lloyd Wright’s School of Architecture, but it is also open for tours and visits. Take the Insights tour, where you will be led into Wright’s private quarters and the expertly designed gardens.
Taliesin West, 12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259 (480) 627-5340
For those of you who do want to feel like a cowboy, head on down to MacDonald’s Ranch. You can take a ride on an old style horse-drawn coach, or join a group and ride a horse of your own. After the ride, the guides will setup a down-home cowboy cookout. The barbecued food will be the perfect end to a day in the life as a cowboy. Consider taking a moonlight ride with that special someone — nothing is more romantic than looking up at the clear desert sky while riding a horse with the one you love.
MacDonald’s Ranch, 26540 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85255 (480) 585-0239