BEST UNKNOWN TOURIST ATTRACTION Phoenix 2003 - Buffalo Museum of America
If you're stuck with relatives or friends in town, especially in the warmer months, it's tough to find inexpensive and "unique to Phoenix" things to do that don't include shopping. But this gem of a museum, dedicated (yes, we're serious) to the American buffalo, is nestled in the strip mall at the southeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard. Hardly a stuffy museum, the Buffalo Museum of America is more than just paintings and drawings of buffalo (though there are many of those). We're actually not sure what the exact mission of the place is, we just really like it. There are taxidermied buffalo and wax figures of Wild West legends like Jesse James (you can take photos with them to send to family and friends who don't believe you). Glass cases house Gemmie E. Baker's amazing personal collection of Wild West memorabilia. The Buffalo Bill Room has some of Bill's personal possessions, including one of his original hunting rifles. The best part by far is the animatronic buffalo families, and the prop buffalo that co-starred with Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves. There is, of course, a gift shop, with all the usual suspects, but this is a place you won't get tired of going to, if nothing else just to watch your friends experience it for the first time.
Readers' Choice for Best Tourist Trap: Rawhide Western Town