Halloween Hullabaloos

Chilly, crisp air, the unpacking of heavy winter coats and leaves turning from their normal green to vivid shades of red, orange, and yellow usually signify that Fall is here and Halloween is right around the corner. In Arizona — where we are still seeing temperatures in the eighties and our shorts haven’t yet been replaced by jeans — the changing of the seasons is a little more insidious without those telltale ‘Fall” signs. To help get you in the Halloween/Autumn mood, I’ve compiled a list where you and your little ones can pick out a pumpkin to carve, sip apple cider, or even enjoy a leisurely hayride.

Mother Nature’s Farm

1663 E. Baseline Road

Gilbert, AZ 85233

(480) 892- 5874


Schnepf Farms Pumpkin & Chili Party

24810 S. Rittenhouse Road

Queen Creek, AZ 85242

(480) 987- 3100


Vertuccio Farms

4011 S. Power Road

Mesa, AZ 85212

(480) 650- 6606


MacDonald’s Ranch Pumpkin Patch

26540 N. Scottsdale Road

Scottsdale, AZ 85255

(480) 585- 0239


If you’re willing to travel

Apple Annie’s Orchard Farm & Pumpkin Patch

6405 W. Williams Road

Willcox, AZ 85643

(520) 384- 4685


Buckelew Farm

17000 W. Ajo Way

Tucson, AZ 85735

(520) 822- 2277


Below is a map highlighting the location of each farm for easy directions


Now, once you have picked out the perfect pumpkin, you will be ready to start carving. Before you jump in however, take a quick look at the video below for fun carving ideas and tips on how to make your pumpkin last longer (like soaking it in Clorox for a half-hour discourages bacteria from growing! Who knew?)


Way Out West

If your little cowboys and cowgirls are looking for some authentic Wild West Fun, be sure to check out Rockin’ R Ranch in Mesa. 

Open for generations, Rockin’ R Ranch is a real pioneer ranch owned by Big Jim and Sweet Mary Robson. Big Jim’s great, great-grandfather, Charles Innes Robson I, was one of the original founders of Mesa and his influence is still felt today, kept alive by Rockin’ R Ranch. 

The Ranch features live shows, including music from eclectic groups as well as a down-home feast of Dutch-oven biscuits, beef and beans. Big Jim, Sweet Mary and their children have performed countless shows and their show, “The Arizona Cowboy,” is seen weekly throughout the U.S. and Canada. 

If you’re really into the whole Wild West theme, Rockin’ R Ranch is also home to the Ponderosa Gardens and Reception Centre, purposefully built for weddings. You can have a true southwestern feel to your wedding as your surrounded by lush plants,  natural waterfalls and the pleasant sounds of ponds and streams. 

The Ranch is popular among kids and field trips, company events and bus tours are also held at the ranch. With activitites like building a tepee, having a bbq chicken dinner, witnessing a gunfight, etc., it’s easy to see why this place is such a hit with people of all ages. 

Getting There:


If You Go… 

Rockin’ R Ranch

6136 East Baseline Road

Mesa AZ, 85206

(480) 832- 1539

Bowled Over

If you’re in the mood to go bowling, but want something with a little more pizzaz, try Brunswick Zone XL in Gilbert. Besides bowling, Brunswick Zone also features six billiard tables, an arcade, a lounge and a Proshop for the serious bowler. 

Regular bowling is available all day, as well as cosmic bowling during the evening. Reservations are recommended as lanes tend to fill up pretty quickly. And while you bowl, waiters and waitresses come right to your lane so you have the convenience of eating and drinking without leaving your lane!

And if you are feeling a little tired from work or the kids, try getting a lane on the side with couches. One side of the bowling alley features plush couches to sit on, instead of the normal plastic or vinyl bench chairs.

Hours and open-bowling prices are subject to change, so make sure you give them a call before you head over.

And if you can’t get enough of the place after visiting, you can hold your child’s birthday party there or even join a short-season bowling league for a variety of reasons, including family fun, Sunday Trios, etc. Kids who enjoy bowling can also join the Transformers or Bratz Bowling Club and receive a character t-shirt as well as a bowling ball or pin!

Don’t waste another Saturday figuring out what to do–head over to Brunswick Zone XL today!

Getting There: 

If You Go…

Brunswick Zone XL 

1160 South Gilbert Road

Gilbert, AZ

(480) 813- BOWL 

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…

It’s time to ditch ordering out for pizza.

If you and your family are used to chowing down on Rosatti’s or Domino’s, it’s about time you visit Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa. No other pizza joint in the East Valley combines atmosphere and food as well as they do. Orginally opened in Phoenix in 1972, visitors to the establishment munch on pizza while listening to the restaurant’s pipe organ, The Mighty Wurlitzer

The wurlitzer is the largest in the world and requires so much air to keep it running that four huge turbine blowers (visible from outside) are needed to keep it going. As of 2006, the wurlitzer boasts nearly 6000 pipes, a set of 32′ wood diaphones and numerous percussions such as drums, glockenspiels, xylophones, etc. 

The restaurant was designed around The Mighty Wurlitzer, so there is no bad seat in the house. No matter where you sit, you and your family will be treated to lively, entertaining music to keep the good times coming. 

Besides great acoustics and an unmatched atmosphere, Organ Stop also features a staff of world-renowned musicians from all over the United States. Each brings their own unique style to the Wurlitzer so no matter who you hear, you know you are in for a treat. 

And for any finicky eaters in the family, Organ Stop also features pastas, salads, appetizers and desserts besides pizza. 

Reservations are available for parties of 20 or more and  though usually closed during daytime hours, they can be contacted to possibly open for a private luncheon. 

Gift certificates are also available for a unique and fun gift for that special person in your life!

Here is musician Lew Williams playing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” on The Mighty Wurlitzer:


If You Go…

Organ Stop Pizza

1149 East Southern Avenue

Mesa, AZ 85204

(480) 813- 5700

Drive-in dreams

Nowadays, drive-in movies seem like a thing of the past. Kids today are used to movie theaters that show 20 or more different movies at a time. Most of the time, they all look similar as well. So who knew there was such a hidden gem in Scottsdale?

That’s right, Scottsdale is home to the Scottsdale 6 Drive-In. Open since February 7, 1977, the drive-in features six screens as well as bathrooms and a refreshment center selling candy, soda and of course, buttery popcorn. 

Movies start around 7 or 8 pm and with the purchase of a ticket, you can usually see a second movie right after. The drive-in is a big fan of the double-feature so you get more bang for your buck. Showtimes are available on moviefone, as well as by calling the drive-in itself. The drive is a little far, but a relaxing night under the stars, watching a movie from the comfort of your own car seems more than worth it. 

To get your kids in the mood for a drive-in movie, show them some of these old-time drive-in commercials from the fifties and sixties:


If You Go…

Scottsdale 6 Drive-In

8101 East McKellips Road

Scottsdale AZ 85256

(480) 949- 9451

Bird’s eye view

If you want to do something fun–but also educational–with your family, visiting the Riparian Institute in Gilbert is perfect. 

This 110-acre preserve is covered with wetlands and is home to birds, lizards and other desert critters. For those interested, guided bird walks are given by the Desert Rivers Audubon and people have reported seeing three or four different species during one walk. Every Saturday morning, guided tours are given of the preserve and from October through April, ranger-led walks are held. 

For those interested in Astronomy, don’t miss the Preserve after dark. Every Friday and Saturday during nightfall the observatory is open and you can scan the night sky with ease. And to further your astronomical education, be sure to check out Skywatch, a presentation of current astronomical events that takes place every 2nd Friday of the month. 

The Preserve also offers school and public programs as well as memberships for families, individuals, sponsors, etc. An application for membership can be downloaded and filled out and is available at the Riparian Institute’s web site.

The institute is a busy place and there is always something going on; checking the upcoming events calendar regularly is a must if you don’t want to miss a particular event. 

To keep the spirit of the preserve alive, check out the video below to help your kids make their own origami birds! 



If You Go…

The Riparian Institute

50 E. Civic Center Drive

Gilbert, AZ 85296

(480) 503- 6744

Amazing food, amazing deals, Amazing Jake’s.

If you’re tired of the whole dinner-and-a-movie schtick, how about dinner, bowling, an arcade and laser tag?

If this sounds like more your speed, head over to Amazing Jake’s for a change of pace; it’s 95,000 square feet of fun! Besides an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring pizza, pasta, salad, soups and dessert, kids can get lost in a world of fun featuring everything from go karts to laser tag. 

If your little ones like games, cosmic bowling and an arcade are available. For a little thrill, kids can ride the new mini coaster, a recent addition. 

A buffet pass is required to purchase for entry and adult passes are $21. Passes for children 4-10 are $18.99 per guest. Amazing Jake’s also offers value packages and specials to make saving money and having fun easier than ever. 

And if you and your family can’t get enough of the place, Amazing Jake’s also hosts birthday parties so your little ones can share the fun with their friends.

If You Go…

Amazing Jake’s

1830 East Baseline Rd

Mesa, AZ 85204

(480) 926-Pizza