Since the '90s, this west-side collective of b-boys, hip-hoppers, and mind-blowing breakdancers has preached, in its words, true "H.I.P. H.O.P." (Higher Inner Peace Helping Other People). Every Wednesday beginning at 10 p.m., you can see what they mean when they open up their practice space to the public. The group's professional dancers, DJs, models, and musicians basically throw a big family-friendly party, which, in the past, has featured former Phoenix Sun and current radio personality Cedric Ceballos spinning records.

Former UFC and WWE star Ken Shamrock has been training fighters in mixed martial arts for years at his Lion's Den dojo in Reno, Nevada. This year, Shamrock opened a location in Scottsdale, boasting 8,000 square feet of training space, including a boxing ring, a fighting cage, and a fully equipped weight room. Shamrock handpicked the instructors for the Scottsdale location, who include Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Carlos Farias, UFC fighter Edwin Dewees, kick-boxing world champion Rick Roufus, and Shamrock himself.

Members of the Lion's Den can receive instruction in a variety of martial arts, from Muay Thai kick-boxing and grappling to boxing and jiu-jitsu. Members can participate in classes or pay for special one-on-one instruction. Kids are welcome, too, as the dojo offers martial arts programs for "Cubs" (ages 4-8) and "Juniors" (ages 9-14).

Apache Junction Rodeo Grounds

We lost our rodeo virginity this past year during the 44th annual Lost Dutchman Days and we can't imagine a more perfect place to lose it. The Grand Canyon Pro Rodeo Association, based in Winslow, programs rodeos throughout the Southwest, including this three-day shindig, which headlines the Old West carnival out in AJ each President's Day weekend. The biggie events of professional rodeo are all here, such as calf roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc, and bareback riding. The majority of the cowboys and cowgirls live in Arizona (Phoenix area included) so plop your rodeo-watching behind on the new bleachers, listen to a rodeo clown tell jokes inspired by Jeff Foxworthy, drink canned domestic beer, and watch our local cowpokes giddyup.

This ain't no podunk rodeo, uhear? Never has been (the "Singing Cowboy" Gene Autry participated in 1938) and probably never will be, as long as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) continues to bring this nationally sanctioned spectacular to town. The Buckeye Chamber started Helzapoppin' Days back in nineteen of thirty-five (that's 1935 for those of you who aren't country), and it's a celebration that continues annually every March. The all-things-Western party features a parade, car show, demolition derby, and (yee-haw!) the signature event culminating in the crowning of the Miss Helzapoppin' PRCA Rodeo Queen.

Arizona Horse Lovers Park

We have friends "back east" who truly believe that we saddle up our horses every morning, jump on from the back, and giddy-up our way to work down the stagecoach trail, which we quaintly call the interstate. Truth is, a lot of people "out here" do love their horses. And we haven't found a better place than this refuge from city life near the Desert Ridge Marketplace. On any given day at this delightfully rustic, family-friendly locale, kids of all ages ride their ponies in the four equestrian arenas, trails, and just about anywhere on-site. Classes include horsemanship, roping, and barrel riding, and family events such as hayrides, trail rides and kid rodeos make for a great time, even for the most urban of parks.

Rawhide Event Center

Kitschy? Yes. Cliché? Sure. Silly? No doubt. But this most accessible of local theme spots is celebrating its 37th year in the business of "providing quality 1880s-style family entertainment" for a reason — it works. Rawhide didn't miss a beat last year when it moved across the Valley from Scottsdale to the Wild Horse Pass on the Gila River Indian Community. Though it's obviously kid-friendly, grownups are known to show up sans the little ones, most often to wolf down some meat at the sprawling steakhouse and then to check out the sights for a spell. Those sights include the faux-cowboys who stroll up and down the wooden sidewalks in full regalia (and character), the train that circumnavigates the property, a stagecoach, a petting zoo, the obligatory mechanical bull, the panning for ersatz gold, and so on. Hey, Tombstone is a good three-plus hours to southern Arizona, and after watching the tiresome "shootout" at the OK Corral, there's not a lot to do but figure out which overpriced trinket or T-shirt to take home. Rawhide is a better bet, even if we continue to scratch our heads about its presence on a darned Indian reservation.

Westworld Paintball Adventures

When asked for the best method of removing fresh paint from clothing, many homespun experts swear that fiercely scrubbing rubbing alcohol or hairspray into the stains will do the trick. If those remedies are to be believed, then your friends had better stock up on both drugstore staples, since you're gonna be covering their asses with more pigment than a Sherwin-Williams store during a heated face-off at Westworld Paintball Adventures. Oh, they can try cowering behind inflatable cylinders, plywood bunkers, or other obstacles dotting the 30,000-square-foot Xtreme Pursuit Indoor Arena, but just like the Terminator, you're going to track them down and pound them into next week. Westworld also has a 20-acre open-air Splatter Ranch course in Scottsdale where you can stage a showdown outdoors. Both venues feature fully stocked pro shops and technicians who can supply you with air guns, CO2 canisters, protective gear, and other equipment necessary to rain paint down on your buds (or any other n00b that gets in your way).

Stratum Lasertag

Your friends have really been getting on your nerves lately. If they aren't ringing you up at all hours of the day or asking to borrow some money, these so-called buds like to stop by unannounced, raid the fridge, and swipe your DVDs. Enough is enough. It's time for some payback, big-time. Invite your pals to Stratum, where you can settle the score and take out your frustrations (without getting jail time) inside the facility's 13,000-square-foot laser tag arena. Get equipped with a futuristic laser pistol and high-tech sensor vest (which keeps track of how many times you've been hit) before heading into a darkened and obstacle-laden arena lit by black lights. Then, get ready for the kill. Smoke your freeloading friends, sniper-style, from atop a 20-foot tower or sneak up behind them for a clandestine kill. Games last about 20 minutes each, which is plenty of time to seek your revenge. Rates range from $13.99 for two games to $19.99 for four games (with unlimited play for $20.99 offered from 8 p.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturdays). Hey, at least it's cheaper than therapy.

We don't admit to much these days (other than occasionally fudging on our taxes or taking an extra helping of chocolate cheesecake), but we'll gladly cop to the fact that we're totally reliving our childhood whenever we go to Big Surf. Many a hot afternoon was spent during our pre-pubescent days riding the waterslides or getting sunburned while swimming in the Tempe institution's gigantic artificial wave pool (the nation's first, by the way). A lot of things have changed since the park first opened in 1969 — slides have gotten bigger, teenage ride attendants have gotten snottier — but we still love the thrill of barreling down a watery tube at full bore. Our current favorites are the "Tornado Twisters," a pair of side-by-side slides where we can race some young punk down to the pool below, and "The Abyss," an enclosed slide that sends riders on a terrifying trip through the dark. If you've got young ones, get your significant other to take 'em to the park's kiddy-themed attractions like the "Otter Slides" and "Captain Cook's Landing" while you get in touch with your inner child.

Arizona Grand Resort

The Pointe at South Mountain wasn't too shabby, but $52 mil can buy some killer upgrades and an awful lot of water. That's why the remodeled luxury hotel, now called the Arizona Grand Resort, was a shoe-in for the best pool in town. Actually, calling the Arizona Grand's Oasis Water Park a pool is a bit like calling the Desert Botanical Garden a nice yard. There's an eight-story tower with three water slides, a huge wave pool with waterfalls, and a faux river perfect for inner tubing. Order a frozen margarita at the swim-up bar or relax in the 25-person hot tub while the little ones play beach volleyball in the kid-friendly Wild Cat Springs. The only downside is that Oasis Park is for resort guests only, so you'll have to sneak in, splurge for a romantic local getaway, or schmooze your way into a company freebie.

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