2018 East Valley Family Fun Summer Guide (That Won’t Break The Bank)

Local blog readers, last year I did a post that contained free or inexpensive activities around the East Valley. It was one of the more popular posts on the blog last year and I thought I would bring it back for 2018.  I have lived in this area for 27 years and I feel I have a pretty good idea of the local spots that are fun, free/inexpensive, or air conditioned to hit up during the summer months.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but this is a list of things that our kids enjoy or we think they will enjoy this summer, we enjoy doing with them, and also do not cost much money. Without further delay here is the updated list for 2018!

EAST VALLEY SPLASH PARKS

Our community has so many splash parks! Many master planned neighborhoods are featuring these in the parks surrounding new homes. I know there are probably many more that I could have included in this list.

CHANDLER

Spray pads operated by the city run 9am-7pm May through August and 10am-6pm September through October. In case you haven’t been to Desert Breeze in awhile be sure to stop by this summer to visit the newly remodeled spray pad! It is so nice!

  • Chuparosa Park spray pad has a ground spray, spray rings and a candy cane-shaped shower. 2400 S. Dobson Road. (480) 782-2750.
  • Desert Breeze Park spray pad 1 Buttercup, 1 misty mountain, 1 ground spray, 3 ants, 1 corn poppy, 1 flutter, 1 morning cross and 3 surf stones.. 660 N. Desert Breeze Blvd. (480) 893-6652.
  • Espee Park spray pad has a water tower, candy-cane-shaped showers, spray rings and ground sprays. 450 E. Knox Road. (480) 782-272.

Chandler Mall also has a splash pad that is located in the outdoor Village. It is open daily April thru September from 9am-4pm. 3111 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler. (480) 812-8488

GILBERT

Water Tower Park’s splash pad is among other water features, including a floating granite kugel ball and a water wall. 6am-10pm daily, year round. 45 W. Page Ave. (480) 503-6200

Santan Village Mall has a splash pad that opened for the season on May 6th and it will close in October. It is located in the Children’s Play Area between Build-A-Bear and Gymboree. 2218 E. Williams Field Rd., Gilbert. (480) 282-9500

MESA

The newly updated Pioneer Park has a splash pad featuring a 15-foot water wall and is located next to the public restrooms. 10am – 10pm daily, year round. 526 E. Main St, Mesa, AZ 85203

The Eastmark Community’s Great Park has a public splash pad operated by the city of Mesa. 7am-10pm daily, year round. 5100 S. Eastmark Parkway. (480) 644-2352

The city’s Riverview Park also has a splash pad with multiple water features. 9am-10pm daily, year round. 2100 W. Rio Salado Parkway. (480) 644-2352

TEMPE

City of Tempe has four parks with splash pads. There used to be a splash park at Tempe Town Lake but it is permanently closed. The brand new splash playground at Kiwanis Park is scheduled to be open this summer! For more information call (480) 350-5200.

  • Kiwanis Park. Opening this summer! 5500 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85283
  • Jaycee Park. Open April 29-October 29. 10am-7pm daily. 817 W. Fifth St.
  • Hudson Park. Open April 29-October 29. 10am-7pm daily. 1430 S. Cedar St.
  • Esquer Park. Open April 29-October 29. 10am-7pm daily. 2407 E. McArthur Drive

KIDS CLUB @ SUPERSTITION SPRINGS MALL

Free, fun & educational games and activities for kids! The Superstition Springs Center Kids Club is a great opportunity for your child to learn in a fun, interactive setting. National Geographic Kids creates activities and games that focus on discovery through play.

Details: Kids Club is hosted by Persephone (she is a singing clown) and Dewper the Prairie Dog every Thursday from 10-11am through October 26, 2017 in JCPenney Court. 6555 E Southern Ave, Mesa. (480) 832-0212

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL

Many churches offer Vacation Bible School in the summer months! Our church included. Ages 4+ will become scientists researching THINGS THAT MATTER. They will complete experiments, examine God’s Word, explore creation, and observe God’s work in our world.! Compass Christian Church is offering VBS in the evenings from June 3-June 6.

Details: Cost is $5. VBS is 6:30pm-8:30pm on June 3-June 6. Register HERE. 1825 S Alma School Rd, Chandler. (480) 963-3997

FREE SWIM @ CITY OF CHANDLER POOLS

I love public pools. I know that sounds weird but I took swim lessons at Kiwanis Wave Pool during the summer months I was in elementary school and eventually became a lifeguard at this same pool. That is how Josh and I met.

My degree is Recreation Management with an emphasis on community and urban recreation. I previously worked as a Recreation Coordinator for the City of Chandler and I absolutely love all the amazing programs Chandler offers to the community!

Every summer Chandler Aquatics has free swim hours at each of it’s pools. Here is a list of this years schedule. To my knowledge they are the only city in the east valley that offers this. Be sure to check out free swim this summer during the months of June and July.

  • Arrowhead Pool: Saturdays 11am-1pm. 1475 W. Erie St. (480) 732-1064
  • Desert Oasis Aquatic Center: Wednesdays 3-5pm. 1400 W. Summit Place. (480) 732-1062
  • Folley Pool: Fridays 3-5pm. 600 E. Fairview. (480) 732-1063
  • Hamilton Aquatic Center: Tuesdays 6-8pm. 3838 S. Arizona Ave. (480) 782-2630
  • Nozomi Aquatic Center: Sundays 4-6pm. 250 S. Kyrene Rd. (480) 783-8261
  • Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center: Fridays 6-8pm. 5901 S. Hillcrest Dr. (480) 782-2635

ARIZONA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 

Explore the history of the Southwest, from dinosaurs to explorers, at the Arizona Museum of Natural History. Pan for gold, search for dinosaur bones, and much more! If you go in the morning be sure to head down to the basement level to see if the activity center is open for your little ones to color, read books, work on puzzles and play games.

This is one of the most expensive places on this list but if you purchase a year membership it is so much cheaper! Last year we visited at least twice each month and it paid for itself in two visits.

It is the perfect size museum for little kids and the new dinosaur play area with slide and tunnel makes it even more perfect for the hot summer months! We enjoy this place over the IDEA Museum which is right down the street.

Details: Cost is $12 for adults, $7 for ages 3-12, and is free for children 2 and under. 53 N. MacDonald. (480) 644-2230

SUMMER READING PROGRAMS

We love going to the library! I have since I was little. Does anyone else remember  Book It? Loved earning pizza by reading books :).

Sign your kids up for the reading program at the library this summer. They may not earn pizza but establishing the love of literature in your child is a gift that will last forever. Here are several of our favorite libraries in the east valley:

SWEETIES

Located in Chandler Sweeties is what little kids dreams are made of! Aisles and aisles of candy. So much candy! You can buy it prepackaged or make your own little bag of all your favorites. Sozo Coffee and the .99 cent store is in the same shopping center if you want to make a full morning or afternoon adventure of it!

Details: 1986 North Alma School Road. (480) 899-4245

BRUNSWICK BOWLING (FOR FREE)

Kids 15 and under can score 3 FREE games of bowling this summer at Brunswick through September.  Shoe rental is not included. Simply register HERE and coupons will arrive via email.

BASS PRO

The Mesa Bass Pro Shops has fun things planned for kids on Tuesdays!  Every Tuesday participate in their Kids Night event where they will have crafts, games, archery, and food for everyone! Events run from 5-8 p.m. (602) 606-5600

WIGGLE WORM ADVENTURES, GILBERT

Located at the McQueen Park Activity Center, take your kids 5 and under (max of 4) for play. Come play indoors with mats, hoops, balls, tunnels, ride on toys, music, and more!

Details: Cost is $1.50 for Gilbert Residents and $2 for Non-Gilbert Residents. Adults are FREE! Drop in between 9-11am on M,W,F from May 1 – August 11, 2017. 510 N. Horne St., Gilbert. (480) 503-6294

STORY TIME ADVENTURE WITH BEAR, GILBERT

Located at the McQueen Park Activity Center,grab your best stuffed friend and come for a classic children’s story. Each month set out on a new adventure through the pages of our books and create a story inspired craft!

Details: FREE. Held 2nd Friday of every month at 10am or 10:30am. No registration needed. 510 N. Horne St., Gilbert. (480) 503-6294

TUMBLEWEED TOTS, CHANDLER

Much like Wiggle Worm Adventures this is also a community sponsored preschool playtime held at Tumbleweed Recreation Center. Drop in and play in the air-conditioned gymnasium. This is a fun, safe, and clean area with plenty of toys and equipment to keep the kids entertained.

Details: Cost is $2 for Chandler Residents and $3 for Non-Chandler Residents. Drop in between 12:30pm-2:30pm on M,W,F. 745 E. Germann Rd., Chandler. (480) 782-2900

TEMPE HISTORY MUSEUM

If you are heading to Tempe Public Library at all this summer you might want to make a stop here as well. The museum is within walking distance of the library and while it isn’t geared towards children specifically it does have an area called Kids’ Place where children can play in a miniature Sun Devil Stadium, climb on a police motorcycle and hear music from bygone eras. There is no cost to enter.

Details: Free. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; 1-5 p.m. Sundays. 809 E. Southern Avenue. Free admission, donations accepted. (480) 350-5100, tempe.gov/museum.

READY, SET, PLAY – INDOOR PLAYGROUND, GILBERT

I recently took the kids here for a playdate. It was fun, safe, entertaining, and beyond clean for an indoor playground. Adults must stay while their children play. You can even bring snacks from home to eat. They offer complimentary coffee, magazines and free WiFi access.

Details: Kids 1- 6 years $10, Siblings $8, 6 months – 12 months $8, Adults FREE. 10am – 7:30pm Monday – Friday. Call on the weekends before coming to check on open play hours. 2270 E. Williams Field Rd., Gilbert. (480) 855-7998, readysetplayaz.com

POLLACK TEMPE CINEMAS SUMMER MOVIE CLUB, TEMPE

For $5, you can get a season ticket that is good for all ten movies. Limit to one show per person. Each movie shows Monday through Friday at 10am! Tickets on sale now at the box office!

Detailspollacktempecinemas.com

KIDS EAT FREE

Here is a small list of several restaurants that your kids can eat at FREE!

RUSTLERS ROOSTE STEAKHOUSE

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, kids eat free everyday. Kids menu includes burgers, ribs, top sirloin and chicken fingers. Restrictions: Ages 10 & younger. rustlersrooste.com

 JASONS DELI, CHANDLER

On Tuesday nights this location off of Ray and I-10 offer two free kids meals with every adult meal purchased. Restrictions: Tuesday nights only between 5pm-8pm. jasonsdeli.com

IKEA, TEMPE

Get up to two kids meals with purchase of one adult entree. Kids 12 and under. Restrictions: Tuesday’s only. ikea.com

GRUBSTAK, GILBERT

One free kids meal for every adult meal purchased. Good on Tuesday’s only. Restrictions: Tuesday’s only. grubstak.com 

DILLY’S DELI (MULTIPLE LOCATIONS)

One free kids meal for each adult meal purchased for $6 or more. Good on Saturday and Sunday only. Cannot be combined with any other offer. This sandwich shop offers one free kids meal for with each adult meal purchased on Saturdays and Sundays. Kids menu features half grill cheese or pbj sandwiches, chips, cookie and a small drink. Restrictions: Saturday and Sunday only. dillysdeli.com

CHOMPIES (MULTIPLE LOCATIONS)

Kids, 10 and under, choose from 18 items on their award-winning kids menu, FREE! Restrictions: Tuesday’s only. chompies.com

There you have it! I am sure I am forgetting something and I am sure there are many amazing things in our local community I don’t know about but should. Let me know what I can add to this list? Would love to hear from other locals!

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Burn Boot Camp Review

I recently discovered there is a Burn Boot Camp 10 minutes away from my house. I might have even squealed a little bit as I drove by and noticed the sign on the building. When you have taught group fitness classes and are also a personal trainer/nutrition coach this is what gets you giddy. I immediately came home, went online, and discovered they were offering a 30 day Groupon for $33. With the Groupon purchased I made plans to redeem my voucher the following week.

Burn Boot Camp had been on my radar for years thanks to Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers and also friends in Tennessee who are members. The location that is so close to my house opened last year and once I started my Groupon discovered that several of my friends are members. I am pretty sure this never came up in conversation because I had just had my third baby and exercising was the furthest thing from my mind.

I am on the last days of my Groupon and ready to give my honest review on Burn Boot Camp.

THE WORKOUTS

Burn Boot Camp is a fun and friendly community style gym that offers multiple camp times throughout the week! No workout is ever the same and all fitness levels will easily feel welcomed and encouraged. To give you an idea on what times the classes are held here is the schedule for the Burn Boot Camp I attended in Gilbert, AZ during the duration of my Groupon.

Monday-Friday: 5am, 5:30am, 6:15am, 8:30am, 9:30am, 4:15pm, 5:30pm (COED), 6:15pm (COED)

Saturday: 7am, 8am (COED), 9am (COED)

The majority of the camps are female only but they do offer several class times that are open to men as well. All classes are 45 minutes long except for 5am which is 30 minutes.

Each week the workout schedule rotates so that you are always surprised and challenged. For example here is what two different weeks looked like during my Groupon.

The workouts are either focusing on specific muscle groups or style of workout and paired with one of the numerous protocols or formats that Burn Boot Camp uses. For example, let’s say you show up and it is leg day. The protocol could be anything from a partner workout to self-paced, timed or rep-based, and either circuit, dropset, HITT, or tabata. There is always a warm-up before and finisher after your workout.

Here are a two of the workouts that I have done over the last 30 days. The first workout shown is a Cardio/Speed/Agility Protocol and was self paced. The next one is a Deadlift/Pull-up/Burpee Dropset Workout that was partner based and we rotated through each set until we had both finished before moving on to the next exercise.

WHAT MAKES BURN BOOT CAMP UNIQUE

Community is a huge part of what makes Burn unique. High fives are encouraged during the workout as you are sweating next to your neighbor. I really love the gym rules that are posted on the walls.

Focus Meetings entail you and a trainer sitting down talking about your goals and nutrition. These 15 minute meetings can be scheduled weekly with one of the trainers . I am not really sure how in detail the focus meetings get because I only had two and I am already very mindful of they types of food I put into my body. I think it is a great addition to their membership but can’t speak on the specifics of this feature. At each focus meeting I was weighed and my BMI and measurements were taken. In case you are curious, over the course of the 30 days my weight stayed the same but my BMI went down slightly.

They sell their own brand of protein, which I do not use, but have sampled their energy balls which were amazing! For reference in case you are curious I use this, this, and this brand. Even my kids liked them! The trainers provide the recipes on a white board for members and also post on Instagram and Facebook.

Speaking of the kids, Burn Boot Camp does include childcare with it’s membership. Childcare is only offered for specific classes and you do not need to sign up your child in advance. The childcare room is a separate space off the main workout area. I didn’t get any pictures but it was clean, the environment was safe, and there were plenty of toys. My kids came with me several times and didn’t complain at all. They also knew several of the other kids in the childcare room so that helped.

There are a few things that make Burn Boot Camp special in my opinion. The floor. I know this seems like a weird thing to like but Burn Boot Camp has a floating floor made up of 4 ¼ inches of foam. I really did feel that the floor made a huge difference on how much impact my joints were taking on during the more higher intensity exercise. They also do an amazing job at building a positive and encouraging community. Even a newbie to exercising would feel welcome here! The staff does a phenomenal job encouraging and motivating during the workouts and praising you for your efforts. The variety of workouts and equipment makes coming here fun and the 45 minutes are over before you know it. It would be hard to become bored here.

MY THOUGHTS FROM A PERSONAL TRAINERS PERSPECTIVE

As a personal trainer there are just a few things that I want to provide as constructive feedback and also what to be mindful of if you are thinking about trying out Burn Boot Camp. Having had three babies I would personally not recommend trying out Burn until you are 6 months postpartum. Here is one of the core conditioning workouts that I did.

Exercises like the ones shown above will create more internal pressure on your abdominal wall which can cause you to still look pregnant even months or years after given birth. I would recommend making sure that you are fully healed before resuming any exercise program. Abdominal separation can be reduced regardless of how long it has been since you have given birth. You can read my review on the program I used HERE.

During the course of my 30 days they started a FREE month long transformation program to celebrate new ownership, which is awesome! I love when gym’s do this! The class size went from 5-10 to upwards of 25. Again this is great! The only problem I noticed was sometimes the class size was larger then what was conducive to how the warm up, workout, or finisher was designed. In the scheme of things this is not a big deal just something I know I had to take into consideration when teaching larger size classes.

This last one is totally my own preference. I have the TRX Suspension Trainer certification and while the suspension trainers at Burn are made by a different company the height they are mounted at feels so off to me. The floating floor shortens the distance from where the suspension trainer is mounted to your feet and doesn’t put your body in a position that allows for a natural progression of the exercises to be made easier or more challenging. I observed so many girls doing the suspension trainer exercises incorrectly. It took everything within me not to want to go and make suggestions on how to correct.

HOW TO TRY BURN BOOT CAMP AND MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION

Overall I had a very positive experience at the Gilbert Burn Boot Camp and would recommend it if you are looking for motivation and a variety of workouts. I would not recommend if you are in the last trimester of pregnancy or are not at least 6 months postpartum. Be sure to speak up and ask for modifications if you need them because they will be given. With a larger size camp it might be hard for the trainer to spot you right away if an exercise isn’t working for your body so be sure to call them over.

If you are interested in trying Burn Boot Camp here are several ways to get started inexpensively. Right now you can sign up for 30 days for $30. Which is an amazing deal! I am not sure how much longer that deal will be going on so you may want to act fast! If you are a new client there is a FREE 14 day trial that is always available and the childcare is included in the trial. Or you could go the route I did and sign up for the Groupon.

There is a 6 month, 12 month, or 18 month option when signing up for a membership contract. The price ranges from $145 to $125 a month depending on the length of your contract. The longer your contract the less you pay monthly. Burn Boot Camp offers FREE Saturday Camps at 8am and 9am every week and also has a $15 drop in if you want to catch a class once your trial is over. If you have a membership you can go to any Burn Boot Camp nationwide.

There is currently a Burn Boot Camp in Gilbert with locations coming soon in South Chandler and Surprise, AZ. Thanks for reading! Have you ever tried Burn Boot Camp?

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Mint Body Review + Two 30 Minute Workouts

I love reading reviews on different fitness studios and trainers and find it especially helpful when deciding if it would be worth my time and money to plan a visit. I have been trying to motivate myself to workout after giving birth to Jesse and one of my favorite ways to do this is to try new workouts! So you might be seeing more of these types of reviews on the blog. This review was not sponsored.

MINT BODY GILBERT

Mint Body is a small studio fitness facility that offers personal training and open gym memberships in a welcoming and friendly environment.  I had been following their Instagram page and discovered that they had recently started offering an open gym style membership, Mint Body Express. I drive by the Gilbert location all the time and was immediately intrigued.

Minty member express is an open gym style membership that includes their exclusive minty weekly workouts posted daily. This membership is perfect for people that want to come at their own pace, but still have access to the workouts that are created by the trainers. They have a wide range of equipment, bathroom (no shower), and storage area for your belongings.

With Josh’s work schedule and the kids starting preschool soon I knew that I would be able to get in at least a few workouts a week for the month. So I decided to sign up for a monthly contract knowing I would cancel within the month because of our schedule. What really sold me was the open gym concept, trainer supervision, and provided workouts. Plus being able to bring the kids if needed was an added bonus.

IS THERE CHILDCARE?

While Mint Body does not offer childcare they are a child friendly facility. This means that children are welcome but you are required to watch them as there is no dedicated childcare staff. I did bring all three of the kids with me twice and they loved it. I on the other hand not so much. It is hard to keep 3 kids aged 5 and under entertained and safe while trying to squeeze in a 30 minute workout. I will say that if you have an infant it would be the perfect environment for a mama with a newborn.

THE WORKOUTS

Each week there are 4 new workouts posted: Lower Body, Upper Body, Core, and HITT. I really loved the variety of the workouts! I also appreciated how often the trainers would check in and see if I had any questions and offer suggestions or modifications as needed. Thanks to trainers Adrian, Whitnee, and Mican!

And because it has been forever since I have actually posted a workout I have done on this blog, here are two that are inspired from my month at Mint Body! You will complete each superset of exercises 3 times before moving on to the next set. The workouts will take around 30 minutes to finish. They are short and sweaty!

Most of these exercises are very common but I had never heard of rainbow glutes. To perform this exercise start in a plank and with your right leg draw a rainbow with your heel, tap the toes on the floor and return to plank. Repeat 10 times on your right side before switching to the left leg.

OVERALL THOUGHTS AND COST

This gym would be perfect for someone just starting out or returning to the gym looking for guidance in a friendly and non-intimidating environment. The trainers that I did meet were very friendly and I truly felt that they wanted their clients to succeed in their goals.

I paid $150 for a monthly membership. If I could have gone more frequently it would have been more  cost effective. At 12 workouts for the month it equaled out to $12.50 a visit.

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