Best Hidden Treasure - 2009
Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park
Tucked away behind State Route 143, near Sky Harbor airport, Pueblo Grande isn't easy to find — but it sure is worth the search. This half-museum, half-archeological park transports visitors back nearly 1,500 years to the crumbling capital of the ancient Hohokam civilization.
We suggest starting with the 10-minute video introduction to the prehistoric ruins before grabbing one of the museum's giant umbrellas and heading outside. Follow the winding red path to see what remains of the ancient Hohokam village, the mysterious "platform mount," irrigation system, preserved adobe compounds, pithouses, garden, and ball court.
The air-conditioned museum is a welcome respite from the hot sun and offers an overview of what it may have been like to live as a Hohokam in the Salt River Valley centuries ago. Interested in archeology? Here, you can learn some of the basics. Whether you're an ancient-history geek or just looking for a way to spend a hot summer's day, it's definitely worth the $6 entry fee.