“The atmosphere of libraries, lecture rooms and laboratories is dangerous to those who shut themselves up in them too long. It separates us from reality like a fog.” ~Alexis Carrel
Agua Linda Farm (Amado, south of Tucson)
Agua Linda Farm is a 63 acre organic vegetable farm 35 minutes south of Tucson. We have a variety of farm animals who are waiting for you to visit. Families can come to the farm with their kids during our regular hours when there is usually something to pick and our farm store is open featuring our veggies, beef and other local products. We also offer educational field trips/tours by reservation. Check our website for “Day on the Farm” events for kids which may include gardening activities or farm animal activities, organized by Laurel Loew, a certified elementary teacher with 10 years experience. She now works full time on the farm organizing events and field trips.
Apple Annie’s Orchard (Willcox)
Apple Annie’s Orchard is a family-owned fruit orchard north of Willcox. To get there, take I-10 to Willcox, exit 340. Turn West on Ft. Grant Rd., travel 5 1/2 miles to Apple Annie’s sign; turn right and follow the apple signs. Apple Annie’s specializes in tree-ripened fruit, apple cider, pies and other treats. Their cider mill is the largest in Arizona, producing thousands of gallons of freshly pressed flash-pasteurized apple cider each year. U-pick tree-ripened apples are available beginning in July. They have seasonal festivals and offer field trips and tours. It’s like spending a day in the country! Apple Annie’s baked goods and apple cider are also available at Costco stores. Did You Know…? According to Anne Holcomb of Apple Annie’s Orchard, the apple bread that they sell at Costco is the result of her son’s homeschooling project when he was 8 years old. He developed the recipe himself and did all of the baking until he was 12 and they started baking for Costco. When he realized that they would have to hire bakers and he would no longer receive all of the profits, he negotiated for a royalty on each loaf!
Auntie Anne’s (several locations)
Children can learn how pretzels are made, receive a free mini pretzel and activity sheets at this family franchise founded by Anne Beiler, an Amish-Mennonite from Lancaster County, PA. (Several locations around the Valley)
Buckelew Farm (Tucson)
Annual Pumpkin Festival, Corn Maze, and field trips for schools, scouts, and small groups. New for 2006 is the Ag Education Center, which provides information on Arizona agriculture and the history of Buckelew Farm. To further enhance your educational experience, you may wish to view sample lesson plans that were submitted by teachers in the past.
Cerreta Candy Company (Glendale)
Cerreta’s strives to create a fun, lively atmosphere where everyone can see candy magic being made. Take a special guided tour of this family-owned hometown candy factory and get free samples of sweet treats. 30-minute guided tours are offered Monday through Friday at 10am and 1pm. For groups of 30 or more, please call (623) 930-1000 and arrange for a private tour of “the sweetest place in Arizona.” Located at the corner of 54th and Glendale Ave.
Crow’s Dairy (Buckeye)
Arizona’s Original Dairy Farm Experience! In the 1990’s, thousands of schoolchildren learned about the farming lifestyle on Crow’s Dairy tours. However, the Tolleson dairy farm was sold in 2006 and Crow’s Agricultural Learning Facility was closed. The family moved to Buckeye, where they have since started a Nubian Goat Dairy producing farmstead goat cheese. They opened for retail sales at the dairy farm as of October 2, 2010.
Date Creek Ranch (north of Wickenburg)
Phil and Karin Knight are the owners of this family ranch and organic orchard near Wickenburg, Arizona. They are located about 25 miles northwest of Wickenburg on Highway 93. Turn off at milepost 177.5. In addition to Organic Early Blaze apples, they produce beef, pork, and peaches. Fruit is available for picking from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm at 50 cents per pound or at the ranch fruit stand on weekends from August through September. When you come to pick apples, you can also hike along Date Creek and have a picnic. Call them at 928-776-8877 for more information.
Desert Sweet Shrimp Farm (Gila Bend)
Desert Sweet Shrimp invites you to come see our miracle of aquaculture! Tours are held by appointment. If you would like to visit, please call 623-393-0136 and leave a message. Remember, Arizona shrimp farming is seasonal: the ponds are dry in the winter with most of the shrimp farming activity taking place in the summer. An old saying in the shrimp business is that “shrimp farmers don’t raise shrimp, they raise algae.” The art of growing shrimp in the Arizona desert gives us a tremendous head start in the commercial production of biofuels. This process will allow algae farming to displace liquid fossil fuels, ending America’s dependence on foreign oil. The Desert Sweet Biofuels test facility is located on over 390 acres of land, with over 50 Aquaculture ponds.
Dugan’s Dairy Farm CLOSED
Dugan’s farm at 2471 S. Dobson Road, a piece of Chandler’s history that showed what life was like on a real working farm, conducted its last tour on May 13, 2006. Richard Dugan decided to scale down the farm business and cancel the public tours after having to undergo continued treatment for head injuries after a car accident in 1997.
Duncan Family Farm (Goodyear) CLOSED
Arnott and Kathleen Duncan designed Duncan Family Farm to educate children and other visitors about food production and the environment. For more than 10 years the Duncan Family Farm attracted visitors to its organic u-pick vegetables, sweet corn and melons. But then they were told that the farm is in a dangerous fly zone due to its proximity to Luke Air Force Base, and they had to discontinue the festivals, school trips, and u-pick fields. Duncan Farm is now closed.
Fairytale Brownie Factory (Phoenix)
Childhood friends, Eileen Spitalny and David Kravetz, have been baking their secret family brownie recipe since 1992. In October 2006, the pair moved their bakery to a new 26,000-square-foot facility at 4610 E Cotton Center Blvd. in Phoenix. Tour the factory, watch a short video of the brownie making process, and enjoy yummy brownie samples. Public tours run January through August at 11:00 am on Fridays. Private tours for groups of 10 – 25 people are available Monday through Thursday between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Reservations required for all tours.
The Farm at South Mountain (Phoenix)
A 12-acre organic oasis and lush pecan grove where families can view the beautiful gardens, browse a farmer’s market for freshly baked bread and organic vegetables, shop for antiques, and eat in one of three on-site restaurants. (Located at 6106 S. 32nd Street, just south of Southern Avenue on the west side of 32nd Street)
Fry’s Store Tour (several locations)
Why not visit your neighborhood Fry’s Store for an interesting class outing? As a community service, Fry’s offers educational tours to elementary schoolchildren. Depending on the individual store, you may be able to visit their produce department and receive lessons in nutrition, go behind the meat dept. to see how meat is stored and prepared, in the dairy case, and/or in the back where stock is unloaded and stored. Often you are given cookies or other treats. Call 1-800-942-7753 for info.
Hickman’s Egg Ranch (Buckeye)
Hickman’s Egg Ranch has provided fresh eggs since 1944 and is Arizona’s only source for fresh, locally produced eggs. Nearly every restaurant and institutional kitchen gets their eggs from Hickman’s, said Clint Hickman, the family-owned company’s vice president of sales and marketing. “You have to go to great extremes to not eat a Hickman’s egg,” he added. Hickman’s Egg Ranch is committed to enriching the community in a variety of ways, including educational presentations.
Holsum Bakery (Phoenix)
Holsum Bakery is Arizona’s oldest family-owned business and is a world-class bakery. They supply local stores, restaurants, and institutional kitchens with bread, rolls, and buns. A tour of Holsum Bakery is a fun and educational addition to any curriculum! They welcome tour groups of between ten and thirty-five people. Our tour schedule is Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. For the best dates, please call as soon as possible. The tour consists of a brief history of Holsum Bakery and a tour of our Tolleson facility located at 9600 West Buckeye Road. Students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade are eligible to take the tour, which lasts approximately one hour. Participants will be given a goody bag to take home. Jewelry is not permitted while touring the plant due to safety reasons. This includes earrings, necklaces, rings, and watches. Additionally, all participants must wear closed toe, non-skid shoes (e.g., tennis shoes). No gum or candy is allowed in the bakery. Hairnets are required and will be provided to all participants prior to entering the bakery.
Jordan Historic Park/Sedona Heritage Museum (Sedona)
Located at 735 Jordan Road in Uptown Sedona, this park and museum focuses on Sedona’s first industry – raising apples. Drive across the bridge on Mormon Wash and park in the lot; then take one of the scenic pathways through the fruit orchard and past vintage farm implements to the museum. Expect to spend at least an hour or as many as three hours looking at the exhibits and touring the historic buildings. The 4000-square-foot Apple Barn houses a 40-foot-long apple sorting machine from the 1940’s. The museum opens daily at 11:00 am, admission is $3.00, and the last tour of the day begins at 3:00 pm.
Joy Cone Factory (Flagstaff)
Joy Cone Co., a private company established in 1918 by the George family, is the largest ice cream cone manufacturer in the United States and Canada. Company headquarters are located in Hermitage, PA and they also have an ice cream cone factory located at the Pulliam Airport Office Park in Flagstaff (2843 W. Shamrell Blvd.). Joy Cone bakes more than 1 billion cones per year. The company supplies all of the cones sold by McDonald’s, and also sells to chains such as Dairy Queen and Safeway. Factory tours are given during the months of September, October, November, December, January, and February for parties up to 15. Please contact the factory at (928)774-0225 to book a tour.
Kings Victory Farms (Surprise)
In the Spring of 2008, Alice Andrews formally opened this family-friendly equestrian farm facility to share her passion for horses with her own children and grandchildren, as well as other children and adults in the community. Alice offers Horseback Riding Lessons, Horse Camp, Lil Tyke Rides, Birthday Parties, Trail Rides, a Horse Fitness Program, and Boarding. She keeps the costs down to make the programs and activities accessible for children and their parents, particularly those faced with special needs. (Special needs children can participate at no cost or at a reduced fee depending on their situation.) What money is made from the programs and activities goes right back into the horses for their care. The farm is private, quiet, safe and clean with irrigated pastures along with pine, fruit and shade trees nestled in the foothills of the White Tank Mountains. Children, teens, and adults of all ages will enjoy a day in the country on their equestrian adventures – whether they’re simply riding around the pasture or venturing out on the trail!
Marana Farm (Marana)
The Marana Farm at the Marana Heritage Park is a 10-acre farm dedicated to raising high quality vegetable and fruit crops as well as heritage plants from southern Arizona. The Farm is a partnership between the Community Food Bank’s Community Food Resource Center, the Town of Marana Parks & Recreation Department, and dedicated community members. The farm uses organic production methods and offers the community and visitors a place to access healthy locally grown produce, learn about the important role that agriculture plays in the history and future of Marana and southern Arizona, and learn to grow food in the Sonoran Desert through workshops and events for youth and adults. Produce grown on the farm is sold each Monday at the Marana Farm Stand, other Community Food Bank Farmers’ Markets, and around Marana and Tucson. It is also supplied to the Marana Food Bank and other Community Food Bank programs. Individuals and families are welcome to volunteer as regular or one-time volunteers. Volunteers can help with planting, weeding, harvesting, in the greenhouse and with other special projects – no experience needed! Youth groups, school groups, civic groups or company groups larger than 3 must call in advance and schedule to volunteer. Recently, the Marana Farm increased educational programming with the development of a Kids’ Farm. On 1/3-acre, kids from surrounding schools visit the farm to design, plant, harvest, and eat food they grow. A pizza garden grows wheat, tomatoes, garlic, basil, and other vegetables so kids can grow and see the food that goes into a pizza, then bake their pizza in a cob oven. A farm apprenticeship program also teaches kids about food production and food systems.
Morton Salt Mine (Glendale)
It still remains a little known fact that there is a working salt mine here in Arizona. The Morton Salt, Glendale Facility is located at Glendale Ave and Dysart Rd. Beneath the ground in every direction of the facility lies a vast salt deposit known as the Luke Salt Body. The salt deposit is estimated to contain at least 15 cubic miles of salt. Salt production at the Glendale facility began in 1969 by the Southwest Salt Company. Morton Salt purchased the facility from Southwest Salt in 1985. When visiting the Glendale facility, don’t expect to see a mine shaft protruding upwards from the ground. Solar Salt is produced at Glendale using the solution mining method. I’ve been told that they don’t give tours anymore, but you can still drive by and see a big pile of salt.
Mother Nature’s Farm (Gilbert)
Bring your class, or your whole school for a fun farm experience. We have a package of fun waiting for you and your students. It includes a small pumpkin, decorating your pumpkin, the straw bounce, a hayride, the air bounce, feeding the farm animals and Alexander’s Adventure Maze. There are also many photo opportunities. If you book a tour of 20 children or more the cost is $5.00 per child and $2.00 per adult, otherwise the cost is $7.00 per child and $3.00 per adult. Be prepared to bring the extra $2 per child and $1 per adult if there are not enough children. Located at 1663 E. Baseline Road, Gilbert, AZ 85233; 480-892-5874.
The Peanut Patch (Yuma)
The Peanut Patch has become a rich tradition in Southwest Arizona. A trip to or through Yuma simply would not be complete without stopping by for a visit. You will be a welcome guest of the George family. The Peanut Patch gives free tours of their facilities every Tuesday and Friday at 10:00 am, in the months of January, February, March and November. They are open Monday – Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, October 1 – April 30th. The Peanut Patch tour will teach you how peanuts are processed and stored. The tour is free and handicapped accessible. Located at 4322 E. County 13th Street, Yuma AZ 85365; 1-800-USA-PNUT.
Petco (several locations)
Petco’s “Fur, Feathers & Fins” program allows children to learn about the characteristics and habitats of fish, reptiles, birds, and small animals as they develop a respect for animals. The field trips are 60-90 minutes in length and are limited to group sizes of 10-30 participants. Contact your local Petco for details.
Peter Piper Pizza (several locations)
Good Student Awards, Reading for Pepperoni certificates, Perfect Attendance Pizzas, and Pizza Tours for teachers and school groups; contact your local Peter Piper Pizza for details.
Rooster Cogburn’s Ostrich Ranch (Picacho)
Rooster Cogburn’s Ostrich Ranch in Picacho, Arizona, is the largest ostrich ranch in the United States. In fact, it’s the largest privately-owned ostrich ranch in the world outside South Africa. It’s quite a sight to see nearly a thousand African black ostriches roaming around 600 acres. The ranch owner, D.C. “Rooster” Cogburn himself, is usually there to greet visitors and tell them all about ostriches and how to feed one. The ostriches stand over six feet tall and weigh 300 lbs, plus they can bite and deliver a powerful kick, so be careful! Five dollars gets you a cup of food to feed ostriches, deer, and small mules through a fence, and includes admission to a walk-in cage full of rainbow-colored Australian birds called Lorikeets. They also offer a Monster Truck tour around the ranch property. The Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch is pretty easy to find since it’s right off Interstate 10 at Exit 219, about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson.
Schnepf Farms (Queen Creek)
300-acre u-pick organic garden (apricots, peaches, plums, sweet corn and other vegetables) in addition to a country store with local honey, nuts, dried fruit, specialty foods, crafts, and bakery. Petting corral, park, school and group tours, birthday parties. RV hook up and camping. Special Events: Pumpkin Festival, American Heritage Festival.
Shamrock Farms Tour (Stanfield)
With interactive displays, games, a tram ride, and a focus on family fun, this isn’t just a tour – it’s an adventure! Shamrock Farm tours are available throughout the year, except during the summer. The tour is given in an open-air tram that takes you around the farm. Please plan on arriving 15 minutes before your tram tour time – it helps us keep the herd all together! The farm is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 3 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm. Tuesday and Thursday morning tours are reserved for school field trips; all other times are open for everyone. Starting in November they will be offering tours on Wednesdays too. See their website for details. Tour reservations are highly recommended. Tours last approximately 60 minutes. Extra time can be added if you want to bring your own picnic lunch inside the Welcome Center Barn, visiting the Gift Shop, purchasing ice cream and other activities. 40034 W. Clayton, Stanfield AZ 85272 (off Maricopa/Casa Grande Hwy.)
Stout’s Cider Mill (Willcox)
A favorite stop for travelers just off Interstate 10 in Willcox, Stout’s Cider Mill specializes in fresh, homemade products using no preservatives. Their apple cider, apple butters, apple-nut cakes, and apple pies are all made from apples grown in their Arizona apple orchard. Stout’s Cider Mill has over 10,000 apple trees of 18 different varieties. Willcox is approximately 75 miles east of Tucson and about one hour west of the New Mexico border. Take exit 340 (Rex Allen Drive) and head north (a left turn over the overpass if you’re east bound, a right turn if you’re west bound). Then make an immediate right onto Circle I Road. Follow Circle I Road just a few hundred feet, and you can’t miss the Cider Mill.
Superstition Farm (Mesa)
Superstition Farm in East Mesa, a working dairy farm owned and operated by the Stechnij family, all native Arizonians, has recently opened its doors for public tours. The Stechnij family will personally take guests for a hayride tour of the 28-acre dairy and provide an educational lesson in the Resource Center, showing children the tools of the farm trade and the process of getting milk from the cow to their breakfast table. Guests will also be given the chance to pet farm animals at the Animal Expo. Children of all ages will enjoy running through the “HayMazing” haymaze. Superstition Farm allows guests to “Gather their Senses” by SEEING the day to day work on the farm, HEARING the sounds of the farm life, TOUCHING the animals, TASTING the food on the farm, and SMELLING that fresh country air. Picnic tables are available for guests that want to bring their lunch.
Tolleson Dairy Plant (Tolleson)
See how milk and juice are processed once received from the dairy and packaged to sell to the public. Also, see an orange crushing machine. 99th Ave./Lower Buckeye Rd. Free; call 623-936-2363 (but I’m not sure if they still offer this tour).
Tolmachoff Farms (Glendale)
Garden tour, u-pick area (each child will be allowed to harvest produce to take home, bags will be provided) classroom in the corn, corn maze, train ride, farm animals, picnic area, ice cream, pumpkin patch (each child will be allowed to take 1 small pumpkin home). All tours are by appointment only and must have a group of 20 or more to schedule a tour. Approximate time of guided tour is 45 minutes, (add 1 hour extra for fall tours if group goes through whole corn maze).
Vertuccio Farms (Mesa)
Make a trip to Vertuccio’s Farm and check out our “Pizza Farm.” The “Pizza Farm” is a one-half acre circular garden (like a giant pizza) that is divided into eight pie shaped “slices” (like a pizza) and grows or grazes all the ingredients needed to make a farm fresh pizza! You will learn how farmers grow wheat for the crust, tomatoes for the sauce…dairy cows or goats that give milk to make cheese, pigs for pepperoni, and much more. All field trips are by appointment only. Allow 2 hours to complete field trip. All visitors, including students, siblings (3 yrs or younger excluded), parents, chaperones, escorts, etc. will be charged the visitor admission fee (1 teacher free / 20 students). All paid visitors are welcome to enjoy all activities in the field trip experience including mazes and special treats!
Wild Oats (several locations)
At your local Wild Oats, an interactive field trip geared toward K-8 students explains the importance of natural and organic food choices for health and wellness.
Young’s Farm CLOSED
Young’s Farm is located in Dewey, AZ which is southeast of the junction of Highways 69 and 169 near the rapidly growing communities of Prescott Valley and Prescott, and within a short drive from the greater Phoenix area. The farm offers educational opportunities for school children that demonstrate the practice and importance of agriculture, and numerous social activities and festivals are held throughout the year. Young’s Farm began in 1946. For the next sixty years, through three generations, they have been growing sweet corn, pumpkins, barley, hay, and a variety of vegetables. Young’s Farm also produces chickens and the only fresh turkeys in Arizona. Young’s Farm will be open to the public through the end of 2006, but then they will be relocating to central Oregon.
Do you know of another good field trip destination not listed here?