3 Family-Friendly Activities in the Mesa, AZ Area

Whether you live in the Mesa area or are just visiting, there are several activities around town that the entire family can enjoy. Let’s discuss some of these activities and why they’re so fun. 

1. Butterfly Wonderland

Butterfly Wonderland is home to over 3,000 beautiful butterflies, making it the largest butterfly conservatory in the country. You can observe them as they flutter among tropical plants and flowers. You might even see one land long enough for you to take a perfect photograph. In the butterfly emergence gallery, you might find a butterfly emerge from a live chrysalis and make its first flight. Butterfly Wonderland also features a rainforest reptile room, home to creatures such as the Asian water dragon, tomato frog, and dwarf caiman. Other animals you might spot during your visit include centipedes, millipedes, and spiders.

Butterfly Wonderland isn’t just a sanctuary for wildlife that lives on land. In the center’s aquarium, you’ll discover African Cichlids, Amazon Pacu fish, and other tropical species. If all this discovery makes you work up an appetite, stop by the cafe for a snack. If you’re feeling especially daring, you can try chocolate-covered ants, coconut brittle mealworms, or chips made with cricket protein. These unique snacks are available for purchase at the edible insect station. Before you head home, be sure to stop by the gift shop for a T-shirt to commemorate your trip.

2. Castles N’ Coasters

For thrills and chills that parents and children alike can enjoy, head to Castles N’ Coasters, a fantastic amusement park filled with a variety of rides and games. Roller coaster enthusiasts will want to take on the challenging Desert Storm with its vertical drops, spins, and flips. The XD Dark Ride takes you through a landscape filled with monsters and zombies as you compete with your friends to fight them off. Cool off on the Splashdown as you journey through the logging town of Splash Down Falls. Just make sure to keep an eye out for water cannons. 

The littlest family members will enjoy a gentle ride on the flying bugs, the spinning tops, and the miniature Ferris wheel. The entire family can enjoy a little friendly competition on the Castles N’ Coasters mini golf course. If all this fun makes you work up an appetite, you can enjoy a pizza, hamburger, taco, and other treats from one or more of their eateries.

3. Children’s Museum of Phoenix

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix allows kids of all ages to learn through play. The museum’s area for children ages 3 and under encourages age-appropriate development. Baby zones allow younger family members to enjoy the exhibits with their older siblings. These interactive exhibits teach kids about core subjects, such as arts and culture, health and wellness, environmental awareness, and tolerance. The museum also hosts themed summer camps and a special foam party exhibit. 

These are just some of the fun family-friendly destinations in the Mesa area. No matter which one you visit, you’re sure to have a wonderful time creating special moments and memories. 


Best Date Spots in Mesa, AZ

Dating these days doesn’t seem to require any amount of thought or effort, sadly being reduced to swiping left. However, for those of you that are looking to take your date somewhere special, these locations can’t be beaten. Whether on a first date or celebrating your wedding anniversary, let the team here are a few places that we think you may enjoy in Mesa, AZ. 

Desert Belle Cruises

The Desert Belle Cruise will offer you and your date a great new experience taking you around Mesa’s Saguaro Lake.  There are three options, including a 90-minute narrated tour, a live music experience, and a wine cruise. You will not only be able to see the beauty that Arizona has to offer, but also the amazing canyon walls and wildlife.  All three offer beverages, including beer and wine, available for purchase during the excursion.

Continue reading

The 5 Best Compact Cars of 2017

2017 was a very competitive year for compact vehicles. With so many options to choose from, a new car shopper could easily become overwhelmed. The experts at Rocky’s Auto Credit can help eliminate the stress and help you find your next car. Here is our list of the 5 Best Compact Cars of 2017

1. 2017 Kia Soul

The Kia Soul ranked among the best in a very competitive class. Offering outstanding seating and ample amounts of cargo space, the Soul also earns a high reliability rating and great crash test scores. The sleek design of the Soul, as well as an average gas mileage of 28 miles per gallon, makes the Soul a great option for anyone looking for a compact car.

The interior of the Soul is upscale, comfortable, and perfect for a daily commute. With 130 horsepower, the standard, four-cylinder engine can be upgraded to either a 161 horsepower four-cylinder engine or a 201 horsepower, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine. 

2. 2017 Honda Civic 

The design of the Civic makes it look sportier than anything else in its class. With this vehicle, Honda has succeeded in providing an excellent option for potential shoppers. The Honda Civic boasts exceptional safety scores, a spacious cabin, ample cargo room, and exciting driving dynamics. 

The standard, 158 horsepower, four-cylinder engine can be upgraded to a turbocharged, 178 horsepower engine for a little extra kick. For those looking for even more power, a turbocharged 2.0 liter engine offering as much as 306 horsepower is also available.

3. 2017 Toyota Prius 

The Toyota Prius is well known for its outstanding fuel economy, excellent cargo room, comfortable interior, and high reliability rating. The interior of the Prius is fitted with cloth upholstery, but a leatherette seating option is also available which features heated seats. The interior is comfortable and offers plenty of legroom. The cabin features a plethora of soft-touch surfaces that are easy to clean. 

The standard engine of the Prius is a four-cylinder combined with two electric motors, all amounting to a combined 121 horsepower. Prioritizing fuel efficiency over power, drivers will enjoy an average of 54 miles per gallon with this vehicle. 

4. 2017 Buick Verano 

The Buick Verano is the safest option on this list, receiving exceptionally high safety and reliability scores. It also includes a vast array of extra safety features including a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. 

The interior is as exceptional as the safety scores with generously padded seats providing all-day comfort. While driving, the interior remains quiet with almost no engine noise. The standard four-cylinder engine provides 180 horsepower and averages 25 miles per gallon. 

5. 2017 Chevrolet Cruze

Available as a sedan or a hatchback, the 2017 Chevy Cruze is an ideal compact vehicle. One of 2017’s most versatile cars for teen drivers, it includes an outstanding infotainment system that drivers of any age will appreciate. Its available turbo diesel engine also features best-in-segment fuel economy with 50 highway miles per gallon. 

Whether you are looking for a reliable second vehicle or the first car for a new teen driver, any one of these compact vehicles will meet your needs. Stop into Rocky’s Auto Credit today and let us help you find the right car for you. 


3 Unique Dining Experiences in Mesa, AZ

If you’re looking for something different in your dining experiences, we’ve come up with a shortlist of restaurants in Mesa that are both unique and highly rated. We hope you’ll like what we’ve picked out.

The Grid: Games & Growlers

If you love to play games, you’ll have a good time at The Grid: Games & Growlers. You can play air hockey, Dance Dance Revolution, Skee-Ball, foosball, pinball, and VR games. Selections sometimes rotate in and out. Most arcade and console games are free to play, from the old-school Atari 2600 up to current-generation consoles. Board games are also available.

The food is reasonably priced bar fare, starting with appetizers such as pretzel bites with cheese, chicken parmesan bites, and mac and cheese bites cleverly shaped like game controllers. Entrees include a grilled pizza sandwich, tacos, a hummus plate, wings, and more. Vegan options are available upon request, or you can order vegan “wings” made of deep-fried cauliflower. For drinks, try an upscale beer on tap or a cocktail.

The Grid is at 525 S. Gilbert Road and is open daily. The restaurant plays rock music and hosts a number of events, such as gaming tournaments and karaoke.  

Meeples

If you’re mainly into board games with family and friends, head to Gilbert to Meeples, where you can choose from more than 100 games. The impressive library runs the gamut from classic to modern games. You can play every expansion of Dominion, The Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and more. It’s a great way to take your family out to try out a game before buying.

Gameplay at a table is free if you make a minimum purchase of $25. If you don’t plan to eat, you’ll pay $10 for your table. The rate goes down to $5 with purchase of an entree and $2 with a tab of $15. Tables seat a maximum of five people. Games can also be rented, and customers can buy memberships that have discounts and perks.

The food is casual comfort fare: a variety of loaded hot dogs, nachos, salads, regular and loaded fries, chili, macaroni and cheese, and other sides.

Meeples is at 3821 E Baseline Road, Suite J-140. It’s open Monday to Saturday.

Organ Stop Pizza

Enough about games. How about organ music? Organ Stop Pizza says its Wurlitzer theater organ is the largest in the world. It has more than 5,500 pipes and is powered by three turbine blowers, with a fourth on standby. The original organ was installed in the Denver Theater in 1927. It was rebuilt in 1975 and includes pieces from other Wurlitzer organs. The music begins 30 minutes after opening. Performances are 30-45 minutes long, with breaks of 10-15 minutes between sets.

We don’t often see a pizza like Organ Stop Pizza’s combination pizza, which is piled with cheese, sausage, pepperoni, ham, beef, bacon, mushrooms, black olives, green pepper, and onion. Several other specialty pizzas and build-your-own and gluten-free options are on the menu, along with pasta, sandwiches, appetizers, salad bar, and ice cream.

Organ Stop Pizza is at 1149 E. Southern Ave. and is open every day.

We hope you’ll like these three unique dining experiences in Mesa. Maybe you’ll come up with some of your own novel spots.


5 Reasons the 2017 Taurus Should Be on Your Radar

Anyone looking to buy a used vehicle should consider the 2017 Taurus. Competing with other well-known titles, the Taurus has continued to be a front runner for those purchasing sedans. Here are five reasons the 2017 Taurus should be on your radar when looking for your next used vehicle. 

1. Sleek Design

This sedan’s design is a front runner when it comes to looks. Combining luxury with just enough sporty features, this car is a larger vehicle that still manages to look sleek, perfect for those who want to have the look of a luxury car without paying the price for one. The car also comes complete with a chrome finish and 18-inch aluminum wheels.  

2. Comfortable Seating 

The Taurus boasts having some of the most comfortable seating available in the industry. With spacious seating for up to five, the leather upholstery comes with heated, cooled, and massaging front seats. Not forgetting the passengers, the rear seats are also heated and cooled. The mixture of comfortable seating, spacious room, and an ample trunk space make the Taurus an excellent purchase for families or those who will be going on road trips. 

3. Plenty of Power 

A 3.5-liter V-6 engine producing 288 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque paired with a six-speed automatic transmission come standard with the 2017 Ford Taurus. 

Get slightly less power but quicker acceleration with the  2.0-liter, I-4 TurboCharged engine, generating  240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. This engine is an available option exclusively for front-wheel-drive models earning an EPA rating of 23 combined mpg. 

Finally, the high-performance SHO trim features a 3.5-liter, V-6 TurboCharged engine pumping out 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque with a combined EPA fuel economy rating of 19 mpg. 

4. Lots of Features 

The Taurus comes with a plethora of features including a power moonroof, Sync 3 multimedia system, USB connection, audio and cruise control features on the steering wheel, one-touch power windows, push-button start, and a heated steering wheel. 

Stand-alone features available for both SEL and Limited trims include a navigation system, leather upholstery, a sunroof, 20-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and heated front seats. The Driver Assist option package is available for Limited models and includes an automated parallel parking system, lane departure warning and intervention, adaptive cruise control, and a forward collision warning system. 

5. Keeps you Safe 

Safety has always been an essential aspect of the Ford Taurus, with the 2017 model sitting at the front of its class. The 2017 Taurus received a five out of five from the National Highway Safety Administration as well as five stars on both the frontal and side crash tests. Finally, it received four out of five stars on the rollover test. 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Taurus the highest score of “Good” after having it go through four crash tests.  

Whether looking for a reliable second vehicle for a daily commute, or the first car for a new teen driver, the 2017 Taurus is one to consider. Stop into Rocky’s Auto Credit today to learn more about this impressive vehicle. 


Where to Find a Hot Summer Read Near Mesa, AZ

Great Bookstores near Mesa, AZ

Summer is the ideal time to pick up a good book. With high temperatures and unrelenting sun, what could be better than spending the afternoon curled up indoors with your favorite novel? Mesa boasts plenty of terrific used bookshops where you can stock up on titles that grace your summer reading list. Here are a few places you’ll find a hot summer read.

Bookmans

Bookmans on 1056 S. Country Club Dr. is more of an adventure than a trip to the bookstore. From thousands of titles to games, music, and even artisan jewelry, this buy-and-sell shop has it all.

Plan an entire afternoon to soak up everything this gem has to offer. Don’t worry, there’s a cafe on-site that’s stocked with coffee, smoothies, and pastries when hunger sets in. Bookmans has served the valley since 1976 with six locations from Tucson to Phoenix. It’s a genuinely cool place to hang out in the summer.

Half Price Books

If you’ve ever turned on the radio in Phoenix and tuned in to KTAR, you’ve heard of Half Price Books, located on 6339 E. Southern Ave. Here, bookworms are invited to browse aisle after aisle of classics to contemporary novels and everything in between. Come in on Tuesdays for new releases hot off the presses or on the first Saturday of the month, when you can meet a featured local author. Drop off your old books, and the Half Price staff will donate them to nonprofits. They’ve contributed more than a million books to organizations so far.

Book Gallery

If you’re on the hunt for a discount bookstore, head to Book Gallery in downtown Mesa at 50 W. Main St. Get lost in this cerebral maze with your summer reading list in hand. It could take days to fully appreciate all the titles awaiting at this charming wood-shelf and wood-floor adorned shop.

Come in on a whim to find some real treasures, or ask the friendly staff to help you find specific titles. You’ll even find an assortment of vintage series, such as the 1930s Nancy Drew mysteries for young adults, comics, and more — and all at reasonable prices.

Old Town Books

Old Town Books at 518 S. Mill Ave. is not your typical Barnes & Noble-type bookshop. Plan to be captivated by the knowledgeable owners who offer personalized service that won’t interfere with your browsing enjoyment. Their excitement about books is contagious, and they know every inch of their shop.

Find hidden gems on every floor, including out-of-print books, first editions, and signed copies, all at reasonable prices. There’s even a bargain rack where you can get books for only a dollar. Old Town Books does keep odd hours, however. Call ahead so you won’t miss them.

Spend your relaxing summer days by the pool with a book. Now that you know where to find a hot summer read near Mesa, get your list together and head out on a treasure hunt.


5 Can’t-Miss Summer Festivals in Phoenix, AZ

Summer Festivals in Phoenix, AZ

Arizona is a prime destination for fun, particularly during the summer. Why not get out there and discover the variety of events hosted each year, right here in the valley? Here are five of the best summer festivals in the Phoenix area.

1. Suds and Slides

Head out to Mesa’s Riverview Park on June 22 for Suds and Slides. It’s like summer camp, but for grown-ups. This festival is the perfect time for adults over 21 to grab a cold beer, indulge in delicious bites, and play summer-camp-themed games. There will be waterslides, a dunk tank, mini-golf, and beer pong. The fun starts at 2:00 p.m. Advance tickets are just $15 per person, or get a four-pack for $50.

2. Elevate Music Festival

Elevate your mood and enjoy a variety of live performances at this 7th annual Christian music festival. Catch three nights of live performances, June 21 through 23. Held indoors at the Grand Canyon University Arena on 3300 W. Camelback Rd., the lineup includes Carrollton, Lincoln Brewster, Danny Gokey, and many more. Single day tickets start at $24.50, and free parking is available.

3. Hell City Tattoo Festival

Celebrate the incredibly creative art of tattooing at this unique festival Aug. 23 through 25. Hell City Tattoo Festival Phoenix is a world-class convention packed with hundreds of brilliant artists from all over the world. This is the perfect venue at which to engage with skilled industry professionals under one roof and learn more about other forms of body modification. Enjoy a wide range of entertainment all weekend while you experience the fine art of tattooing on a new level at the Arizona Biltmore. Doors open each day at 9:00 a.m.

4. Glow Nation

The country’s latest blacklight water and dance festival takes over Phoenix this summer on July 6, starting at 3:00 p.m. This glow-in-the-dark traveling festival promotes a fun and active lifestyle featuring top DJs that spin the latest hits. Join the Glow Nation fun at Margaret T. Hance Park on 67 W. Culver St. Tickets start at $20 and include glow accessories and a full-on light show.

5. Real Wild and Woody Beer Festival

Join your fellow beer lovers at the Phoenix Convention Center at 100 N. Third St. on July 27 for the Real Wild and Woody Beer Festival. Celebrate 30 years of local craft brewing with 75 or more of the Southwest’s best brewers as they introduce their fresh, new flavors and seasonal specialties.

With more than 350 craft beers from barrel-aged brews to specialty casks, there’s something for everyone to pour at this festival. The indoor summer event is the perfect chance to sample a new distillation, enjoy live music, and devour complimentary snacks provided by top local restaurants. Tickets are $60 for general admission and are available from the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild.

Phoenix always has an event in the works, and this summer is no different. With so many great festivals, the hardest part is deciding which one to attend.

Some rights reserved by QuinnDombrowski


How to Get Your Used Car Ready for a Summer Roadtrip

How to get your car summer road-trip readyNothing says summer like a road trip. As the weather warms, Americans start making plans for their next cross-country excursions. It’s a great way to see the sights and create lasting memories with loved ones. Hitting the highway, however, can be a grand adventure or an epic headache. Get your used car ready for a summer road trip, and ensure safe, comfortable travels when you follow these tips.

Check the Tires

To say that everything’s riding on your tires is a fact. Correctly inflated tires matter, especially in the summer. An underinflated tire will run hotter and reduce your overall fuel efficiency. Combine that with sunbaked roads and a heavily loaded car, and you could be at risk of a dangerous blowout as you’re cruising down the highway. Continue reading


The 2016 Challenger Can Still Complete With New Muscle

2016 Dodge Challenger | Rocky's Auto CreditLong known as a serious muscle car, the Dodge Challenger is a performance car enthusiast’s dream. While the 2019 models feature improved form and power, the 2016 models can still win at the races. Regardless of which model year you choose, the Dodge Challenger is packed with power that will get your adrenaline pumping.

Design

The Dodge Challenger design shares the architecture of the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans. Because of this large-car architecture, both the 2016 and 2019 models have more space in the back seat for passengers. The interior is luxurious and sporty, making for a comfortable ride on the road or the racetrack. Continue reading


2019’s Top Water Parks near Phoenix

Top Water Parks in Phoenix, AZ | Rocky's Auto CreditWhen the summer rolls around, head to one of these top water parks in and around Mesa, Arizona, to spend the day cooling off and feeling the rush of adrenaline.

Golfland SunSplash

Head to Golfland SunSplash for fun in the sun and water. Combining thrilling rides, waterslides, and miniature golf, the destination is a hot spot for families. Continue reading