Best Indoor Skate Park 2001 | SDG Indoor Park | Sports & Recreation | Phoenix
From the makers of the Chandler and Gilbert skate parks comes what Valley skaters desperately need: a nice, clean, cool indoor place to skateboard. This isn't a rink where you do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around. It's a 21,000-square-foot state-of-the-art training site offering a street plaza, vertical ramps, bowls, decks, rails -- all the cool features at parks across the country that have been designed by SDG. This park also offers lessons and camps and hosts special events. Unlike its outdoor counterparts, it has an admission fee and designated open skating times. But, hey, that keeps the crowds down. And you can consider it insurance against heat exhaustion and lightning strikes during the desert's cruelest skating months.

We are duffers, every last one of us, and, as such, we deeply appreciate what club pros inevitably tell the media about their respective courses: "It's a tough-but-fair test of golf." We go for the fair part, which is why we love Encanto, a little gem of a track tucked away a few miles north of the State Capitol. We especially like the ninth hole, a longish par-4 with a fenced-in driving range to the left and a residential neighborhood to the right. Sand traps guard the hole on each side, and if you hit over the green, Godspeed to you. But if you do hit the little white ball long and straight twice (yeah, sure), you've got a chance for a par, depending on the pin placement. Every now and again, the evil groundskeeper will stick the hole on a ridge, where an ill-conceived stroke can lead to a four-putt. Now that's one place we've all been.

The fastest way to lose weight is to sweat it out in 100-plus-degree weather, while bouncing up and down on hot asphalt. Torture? Yes, but you can psych yourself out if you run fast and let yourself be distracted by the view on the scenic incline of the Dreamy Draw Recreation Area. The mile-and-a-half bike path winds through shaded areas dotted with boulders where you can stop to catch your breath. Heat stroke and dehydration aren't concerns: Drinking fountains appear at frequent intervals. Dreamy Draw, open from 5 a.m. 'til 10 every night, is your shortest and most visually pleasing route to cardiovascular success.

It's so hard to meet new friends, especially when you're hairy as a bear, with a wet nose and a predilection for sniffing butts. What's a dog to do?

Thank goodness for Chaparral Park, with its fenced, 1.3 acres of lush grass, trees and, on any given day, as many as 150 pets with people. Here's where our pampered pooches come to mix, mingle and, yes, sniff butts, with fellow canines enjoying a taste of off-leash freedom. The park's open until 9 p.m. daily, and it's usually packed around 7:30 p.m. Our pup's been socialized, so he knows how to behave with his new buds (no fighting, no biting).

And if we're lucky, we just might find a new friend of our own, too. Someone who loves pets as much as we do -- but no butt sniffers need apply.

Okay, so this isn't the "Best of Eloy" issue -- but there's no zoning for dropping pedestrians from the sky in our fair city. Anyway, Eloy isn't that far away (halfway to Tucson), and it's got what it claims is the "world's largest skydiving center," with nearly 200,000 annual jumps. Skydive Arizona is also the favorite hangout for Valley skydivers for one particular reason: It has a bar. Not to mention a swimming pool, air-conditioned packing area, skydiving school, three landing areas, gear shop, restaurant, $5-per-night bunkhouse and volleyball court. To get there, take Interstate 10 east to Exit 198, turn left, drive seven miles, then go left on Tumbleweed Road. The uninitiated can take a tandem jump for $140, while lifts for the certified (or is that certifiable?) start at $17. Just chute me!

With 35,000 square feet of rails, decks and bowls, this park offers something for skaters of all levels. We've seen high-flying skateboard veterans, intermediate in-liners and even toddlers on Barbie skates having fun here. Considered one of the top skate parks in the country, Snedigar is a busy concrete island in a large, relaxing park setting. What sets it apart from the growing list of Valley skate parks? Extra amenities like well-placed benches, a picnic ramada, a nearby Bark Park for doggies and a kiddy swing along the fence so little ones (and whoever's pushing them) can watch the skaters show their stuff.

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