Discovering more of the Arizona Grand ResortAugust 23, 2010 1 Comment
Day 3 of our Arizona Grand Resort vacation
On Monday August 23rd, my family was enjoying the third day of our family vacation at the Arizona Grand Resort. Our 10 month old son Christian was adjusting quite well to his new home away from home. He was in discovery mode, where everything that could be grabbed or pried loose with his hands or mouth was a target to be thoroughly analyzed. We were staying in a very spacious and luxurious Villa with all the conveniences of home, including a full kitchen with all new stainless steel appliances, large living room, master bedroom and bathroom. It was like living in a one bedroom luxury condo with a wonderful view of the putting green and first tee box at the Arizona Grand Golf Course.
After Christian woke up from his late morning nap, my wife decided to bring him along to the local Mills Mall where my mother and sister were out shopping. I stayed behind in order to catch up on some work, and later joined my dad, brother-in-law and his two children at the Oasis Grand Resort pool. We were all thrilled to see the water park almost deserted! The weekend crowds were gone, and there was plenty of seating available. Arizona schools start their Fall season earlier than most other states because of the heat, which explains why there were so few people left at the resort come Monday. It felt like we had the whole place to ourselves including our own private waitress!
It was just about lunch time, so I ordered a veggie burger with fries, and treated myself to an extra spicy Bloody Mary. The veggie patty had the consistency of mashed potatoes. It tasted alright, but the truth is I don’t usually eat veggie burgers so I don’t really have much to compare it with. The Bloody Mary was terrific. It didn’t take me long to suck it down even though it had a good and spicy kick to it! I was tempted to order another but the water slides were due to close soon so we didn’t have much time. Apparently on weekdays, the Oasis water park closes the water slides on an alternating hourly schedule so that they could transfer all the life guards from the slides to the lazy river and back. I guess it’s too costly to maintain the same number of life guards on weekdays as they do on weekends when it’s really busy.
My wife and son were out of the picture for a while, so I took advantage of my small window of freedom and headed for the water slides with my niece, nephew and brother-in-law! It was a short walk from our poolside camp, and my dad stayed behind to keep an eye on our belongings. The ground was hot, so I gave my 6 year old nephew a piggy back ride to save his feet from the scorching heat. Everyone else had sandals on, including my brother-in-law and niece.
My excitement started building as we climbed each flight of stairs towards the top of the slide tower. We reached the first water slide opening half way up, but did not stop. This was the lower and less intimidating slide which had all the twists and turns. I had every intention of trying it, but my sights were set on the top. As we continued to climb I started to get that familiar feeling of acrophobia (fear of heights), but I pushed ahead and did my best to dismiss it. As we reached the pinnacle I regretted not having that second Bloody Mary! There was a female life guard posted in between each of the two slide’s launching pads. It was a beautiful view from up there, but I was more focused on how much higher it seemed to be from this vantage point. Don’t get me wrong, I was also very excited and couldn’t wait to give it a whirl!
The experience was exhilarating! It felt as though I was free falling once my body slid over the edge. It’s a straight shot down a very steep slide, and all I kept thinking on the way down was how do I put on the brakes! Unlike the lower slide, this one does not empty out into a pool. Instead, the slide levels off into a long landing, filled high with water. The lifeguard at the top had told me to cross my arms and legs, but I guess I didn’t listen very carefully because after the experience it felt as if I had been kicked in the groin! My arms were crossed the whole way down, and although I tried my best to keep my feet together, the force of the impact against the sitting water caused them to spread open just enough to cause some damage. This didn’t discourage me from going back up and doing it again. This time I made sure to cross both my arms and legs, and it was a much more pleasant experience!
Later in the day we left the Oasis water park and went to a pool we discovered at the Grand Resort’s Camel Back building. The pool was located in a court yard area surrounded by a wrought iron fence only one building over from our Villa. It was a normal size swimming pool, similar to the one at my Grandparent’s place, except that the deepest part was only 5 feet. We had the whole area to ourselves, so we played Marco Polo for at least an hour, something you can’t usually do in a public pool because of all the strangers!
It was after 2pm, and one of the sides of the Camel Back building cast a shadow across half the courtyard and pool, making it the perfect time of day to visit. There was no one else in sight, so I broke out my bluetooth external speaker and cranked up some Frank Sinatra tunes from my phone! The Oasis water park does not allow smoking, but there were no signs posted at the Camel Back pool so we lit up and enjoyed our great tasting Perdomo cigars. There were no lifeguards or waitresses, but there was a house phone posted just a few feet from our lawn chairs with a sign encouraging folks to call and order food or drinks. We didn’t use it, but it’s nice to know it’s there!
When my wife returned later in the day, she told me about her time at the Mills Mall located just a few minutes driving distance from the Arizona Grand Resort. The enormous Mall is shaped like a race track, and the structure stretches around in a loop for about 1.5 miles. They spent several hours visiting one shop after another before making it all the way around to where they started. My wife said she was tempted to stop at one of the many Wetzel Pretzel and Auntie Anne’s locations they passed along the way, but she held back.
She said there was a fun play house for kids in one section of the mall where children were playing and climbing in and out of a jungle gym like structure. Perhaps the most impressive attraction at the Arizona Mills Mall is their massive 160,000 gallon ocean aquarium, filled with a myriad of sea creatures and ocean plant life. If we had known about it ahead of time we would definitely have visited this exhibit with the entire family.
For dinner we all took a hotel shuttle to Aunt Chilladas just minutes from our hotel room. It was a very charming and appealing restaurant. There was a large outdoor garden area with tables and chairs, but it appeared to be closed because of the heat. Once inside, we were seated within a couple of minutes. The restaurant provided us with a high chair for Christian which was waiting for us when we arrived at our table. The chips and salsa they brought were outstanding. I’m a salsa connoisseur and it definitely ranks in the top 5 of best Mexican restaurant salsas. I thought their “queso” dip was very good too, but my wife who lived in Texas for eight years (the queso capital of the world) thought otherwise. For dinner I had two shredded beef tacos. They were good, but only after I poured a bunch of that wonderful salsa on the tacos. My wife didn’t really care for her fajitas, but I loved them, so I’m attributing her critical judgment of food on her pregnancy. Like the food or not, we all enjoyed each other’s company in what was a great conclusion to a wonderful day