"We train hard for war. We pray harder for peace." The sign in the office reflects what the owners -- all former/active military personnel -- feel about warfare. Swat City offers the perfect family outing that incorporates teamwork, exercise and good sportsmanship. Teach your children valuable leadership skills while having fun. There are 10 fields of play to choose from, with five open for night play. Whether it be the Area 51 field, the ghost town, the pirates' ship or the castle, there is bound to be fun aplenty.

The owners are a rare breed of businessmen. They proudly donate 25 percent of the profits to aid the families of fallen men and women in the U.S. armed services.

If this place is good enough for the search and rescue team of the fire department, some SWAT teams and the anti-terrorist unit of the military, it's great for your kid.

Not that we would ever condone making use of the facilities of a hotel when not a guest, because we would never do that, but should you happen to have the opportunity to take in the backyards of the more chi-chi resorts in this little resort town of ours, you'll soon find out what we did: Gainey Ranch has the best pool facilities we've ever seen.

Sitting on just under three acres, with several divided pools, a "beach" surrounded by tiki torches, a whirlpool spa, and a three-story water slide, the "water playground" is like a water park with a full bar. Sections of the pool are adults only, so you can drop off the kids in the water-slide area and sneak off to one of the many swim-up or walk-up bars. The setting is beautiful, and guests can enjoy the full-service spa. Lie back on one of the upholstered poolside couches, swim around the waterfalls, or snooze on the Arizona fake beach -- it's the perfect mini vacation without leaving the city.

You try to concentrate on work, but the e-mail you just received keeps haunting you. You could play Johnson Ranch for $10? Gold Canyon for $15? Eagle Mountain for $23? Why the hell are you still sitting at this desk? At those prices, it seems immoral not to knock off and go golf.

The e-mails come daily from Cypress Golf Solutions, the creators of www.golf602.com, a Web site that serves as a clearinghouse for hundreds of daily tee-time discounts in the Valley.

You just go to the Web site and answer several questions about where you want to play, what times you like to play and how much you're willing to pay. Then, every day, you are sent an e-mail listing the tee times and discounted prices that fit your criteria.

Once you're signed up, you get an e-mail listing of an average of 20 to 30 open tee times at numerous Valley golf courses at savings typically ranging from 50 to 70 percent.

Sundance and Bear Creek for $10. The Arizona Biltmore for $25. Phantom Horse for $15. The discounts make Phoenix-area golf once again affordable for Phoenix-area residents.

El Dorado Hot Springs is owned by Camilla Van Sickle and Bill Pennington. It's a 1,200-gallon-per-minute subterranean hot spring of odorless, tasteless mineral water, with no nasty chemicals. Just a hot tub the way nature intended it. The water has a natural pH of 8.2 and contains sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, bicarbonate, sulfate, silicates, fluoride, boron, and trace amounts of lithium, which does wonders for the hair and skin.

Soak away your hectic workweek in one of the many pools, some of which have retractable shade or misting systems. You can choose either private soaking areas, or semiprivate, and if you decide you don't want to come back to the grind right away, there is an on-site sleeping cabin called Motel California that has a full bath and linens and comes with various soaking packages. It's a steal at $50 to $65. Therapeutic massage and Tibetan Bowl Resonant Relaxation are available by appointment.

The Peak trailhead isn't the easiest to get to, involving lots of curves through north Scottsdale's exclusive Troon area. But that's one of the reasons we love to hike here -- we escape the sweaty masses clambering up Camelback Mountain and Squaw Peak. At 3.5 miles, it's not too time-consuming, just long enough to get us breathing, and elevated enough to allow for spectacular views of the Valley below. And the beauty before us is breathtaking, with floods of dramatic cactuses and artistic-shaped boulders lining the path. Now and again, we'll bring our horse, though it's difficult for him to navigate the periodically steep and slippery rock-strewn paths. We always take our dog, who leaps and bounds and pauses only to drink large amounts of the water we always pack for him (and us). We also like to bring a little picnic of nuts, fruits, juices, vegetables and Scooby snacks, leaving it in a cooler in our car. When we're through hiking, we rest at picnic tables in the ramada between the parking lot and trailhead, refill our water bottles from the fountain, and take a break in the rest room. It's definitely a day well spent.

Readers' Choice for Best City Hiking Trail: Squaw Peak

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