Halfway to Tucson, from Mesa, is a little place called Picacho Peak.
Growing up, we had some cousins who moved to Tucson for a while and our parents would often meet up at Picacho to trade kids for a few days. The girls would go to one house while the boys stayed at the other.
Our parents were so great to do that for us!!
Although, now having kids of my own, I know the break was just as needed for THEM as it was for US.
There's really only two places worth mentioning at Picacho Peak (besides the peak itself):
(The meeting point to trade kids and thus, the reason I associate every thought of that mountain with ice cream.)
My lovely sister, Shannon, who recently turned 16, wanted to initiate some of her friends into the ostrich fan club. So my family all made the trip down there together.
My dad insisted on coming in our van and sitting in the back with all the grandkids.
He was squished into a space no wider than 15 inches.
Of course he fell asleep. Doesn't he look comfortable?
I don't know how he does it.
When we got there, the monster truck tour was about to start, so we piled as many of our group on as we could and took off. There was a lot more informative driving around and not enough ditch hopping, in my opinion. But there were enough big bumps to get Shannon acting like this:
(Lots of screaming and one leg fully straddling her friend.)
The boys loved it too.
They even got to pet a rattlesnake.
(It was frozen of course.)
Also part of the tour was...........
........wait for it..........
There were long poles with a huge screw on the end of the line.
All you had to do was stab through the grapefruit skin and hang it over the edge.
The ostrich fish (?) would come up and yank the piece off and swallow it whole!
Here's the lucky group who got to go truckin' and fishin'. There wasn't room for my parents or Jeff :(
After the tour, we started our feeding frenzy. With just one type of feed, you could help the hunger of 4 different kinds of animals.
Goats in a penthouse and goats that kiss:
And ostriches, of course:
Of all the animals at the ranch, the ostriches were the most aggressive. You pretty much just throw the feed at them because they WILL steal your cup and they WILL hurt you.
A quick stop at the duck pond:
And then the Rainbow Lorikeet Forest.
This is always my favorite part.
You hold out these little containers of nectar and the lorikeets will come land on your arm, open the lid and guzzle it down.
My dad was quite the bird charmer:
These birds will even land on your head!
Last time we went, I had to wash the bird poop out of my hair with wet wipes.
I took this next picture of Shannon's friend, but found a gem in the background later on!
It's Jason, Statue-of-Liberty-style, closing his eyes, waiting for the attack on his nectar.
It was a really fun day at the farm and, of course, we got to top it all off with Dairy Queen before heading home.
Good choice for a birthday getaway Shannon!