An unusual name at the best of times, Surprise (Arizona) was christened as such by Flora Mae Statler who, in 1938, had commented ironically that she “would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much.” Well, contrary to her lack of confidence, Surprise has defied expectations and grown to a population of approximately 118,000 as of 2010. It has become the sixth fastest-growing area in all of Arizona, boasting remarkable amenities such as a 10,562 sq ft Aquatics Center and a $5.5 million 20,000 sq ft regional library, among many other surprises!
Now, as someone who find wonders in travelling, allow me to join you and let’s dive into the list of the best things to do in Surprise and uncover even more delightful surprises this town has to offer.
1. Surprise Stadium
The Surprise Stadium holds a special place in the hearts of locals, and it’s easy to see why. This stadium serves as the spring training home for both the Texas Rangers and the Kansas City Royals. Additionally, it hosts the Arizona Fall League’s Surprise Saguaros, making it a hub of baseball activity. While it was once the home of the Golden Baseball League’s Surprise Fightin’ Falcons, who unfortunately folded after their first season in 2005, the stadium itself was not to blame for their short-lived tenure.
One of the reasons the Surprise Stadium is so beloved is its convenient entrance and exit, allowing for a seamless game-day experience. Moreover, the stadium is a beautiful park in its own right. When it comes to dining options, there is a wide variety of food available, ranging from mouthwatering chicken grills to delicious Mexican and Chinese cuisine. The separate practice areas for each team ensure that the players can prepare for the game efficiently.
It’s worth mentioning that when notable teams like the AZ Diamondbacks or the Chicago Cubs come to town, it’s wise to secure your tickets in advance. The atmosphere during these games is electric, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to witness top-tier baseball in a remarkable setting.
2. Pick your own breakfast fruit straight from the tree at Justin Brothers Ranch
Imagine having a breakfast experience like no other, or any meal you desire. Every weekend from December to March, the Justin Brothers Ranch opens its doors to everyone, offering a unique opportunity for you and your family to handpick your own fruit from the trees of your choosing! The best part? All the fruit on the farm is pesticide-free, ensuring a wholesome and natural experience. With hundreds of varieties available, ranging from luscious grapefruits to juicy oranges, tangelos, lemons, and more, there’s a plethora of flavors to explore.
As the kids have a blast picking their favorite fruits, the rest of the family can mingle with other visitors on the ranch, creating unforgettable memories together. It’s even possible to run into Mr. Truman himself, the owner, who is passionate about discussing the distinctive flavors found in his extensive collection of fruit varieties.
At Justin Brothers Ranch, the joy of savoring the freshest fruit goes beyond just a delightful meal—it’s an immersive experience that brings you closer to nature and the bountiful offerings of the land. So, grab your baskets and embark on a fruitful adventure at this charming ranch.
3. Digiplex Surprise IMAX
Looking for a top-notch cinema experience in Surprise? Look no further than beloved Cineplex, renowned for its exceptional offerings. Equipped with 3D and jumbo digital screens, this cinema showcases first-run films, captivating sports events, and even mesmerizing opera productions.
When you step into Cineplex, prepare to be immersed in a world of cinematic magic. Our excellent sound system ensures that you hear every dialogue and feel every beat, while the comfortable seating allows you to relax and enjoy the show to the fullest. The staff is not only capable but also friendly, ensuring that your experience is smooth and enjoyable from start to finish.
Of course, a trip to the movies isn’t complete without some delectable treats. That’s why their food concession offers a wide range of options, from classic popcorn and chocolate to indulgent milkshakes. Treat your taste buds while you indulge in a thrilling cinematic experience.
It’s worth noting that Cineplex may receive the latest releases slightly later than other theaters. However, this means you won’t have to worry about overwhelming crowds or long lines. You can enjoy your movie in a more relaxed atmosphere, savoring every moment without feeling rushed.
For families with little ones, keep an eye out for exciting events like the kids’ summer movie passes. These special screenings and offers ensure that young moviegoers have a fantastic time, making memories that will last a lifetime.
4. Surprise Aquatic Center
As soon as you arrive at the Aquatic center, you’ll be greeted by a vibrant outdoor swimming area that offers a range of exciting features. From pools and diving boards to thrilling slides, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Even the little ones have their own special area with zero depth, ensuring their safety and allowing them to join in on the water fun.
One thing you’ll appreciate about the Aquatic Center is the high level of supervision and monitoring. The well-trained lifeguards are always on duty, providing a watchful eye and ensuring the safety of all visitors. The courteous staff is also readily available to assist you whenever you need.
While the Aquatic Center is a popular destination and can get busy, rest assured that there are ample lifeguards to ensure a safe environment. So you can relax and have peace of mind while your kids play and let off steam.
To make your experience even more enjoyable, shaded bleachers are provided, allowing you to take a break from the constant sunshine and sit comfortably as you watch the excitement unfold.
And when it’s time to refuel, head over to the snack bar, where you’ll find a variety of light meals and refreshing beverages. It’s the perfect spot to grab a quick bite and recharge before diving back into the water.
5. Tennis & Racquet Complex
Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, a haven for all tennis and racquet enthusiasts like myself. This award-winning facility, recognized with the prestigious 2008 USTA Outstanding Facility award, offers everything you need to indulge in your passion. With 25 courts at your disposal, including 17 beautifully lit ones, you can enjoy the game you love any day of the week.
But it’s not just tennis that makes this complex special. It also features two racquetball courts, providing a variety of options for racquet sports enthusiasts. And if you’re in the mood for some friendly competition off the courts, you’ll be delighted to know that they offer free use of table tennis tables complete with paddles and balls.
Stepping inside the 2,500-seat arena, you’ll be immersed in an atmosphere of excitement and sporting prowess. The Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex is renowned for hosting up-and-coming world tennis players, as well as university-level tournaments. So, you never know who you might see showcasing their skills on these courts.
What sets this complex apart is its commitment to fostering a love for the sport among the younger generation. Kids are more than welcome to join in on the action, and there are even junior lessons available to nurture the potential future John McEnroes or Serena Williamses of your family.
6. Uptown Alley
If you’re looking for a place that guarantees endless fun and excitement for both family and friends, look no further than Uptown Alley. As a bowling fan, I can confidently say that this venue is a paradise for anyone who loves to hit the lanes.
With a staggering 40 lanes of state-of-the-art bowling, Uptown Alley offers an unparalleled bowling experience. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, you’ll appreciate the top-notch facilities and friendly atmosphere. And if bowling isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry! Uptown Alley has so much more to offer.
Step into their sports theater and catch your favorite game on the big screen. Challenge your friends to a game of billiards or engage in an epic laser tag battle. The excitement continues with a mind-boggling selection of 80 video games that will keep you entertained for hours on end. From classic arcade games to cutting-edge virtual reality experiences, there’s something to satisfy every gamer’s appetite.
As the fun and laughter fill the air, you can recharge and refuel at the clean and casual full-service restaurant. Indulge in a delicious meal that caters to all tastes and preferences. Whether you’re craving a juicy burger, a flavorful pizza, or a refreshing salad, Uptown Alley’s menu has you covered. And to complement your experience, they have two high-energy bars where you can kick back, relax, and enjoy your favorite drink.
One of the best things about Uptown Alley is that it offers something for everyone. While some family members enjoy a friendly competition on the bowling lanes, the kids can have a blast in the large game room nearby. Filled with an array of exciting video games and interactive activities, they’ll be entertained for hours.
7. Wildlife World Zoo Litchfield Park
A short drive from Sunrise, just under 10 miles away, lies the remarkable Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park. As someone who have a soft spot for animals, I can’t recommend this place enough. Spanning across 95 acres, this zoo is home to a staggering 3,000 captivating animals, representing an astounding 600 different species. Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey through the animal kingdom!
One of the unique features of the Wildlife World Zoo is its specialization in South American and African animals. As you explore the zoo, you’ll encounter a multitude of exotic creatures that will leave you in awe. From majestic African Lions to graceful Springboks, from towering Ostriches to playful African Warthogs, the diversity of wildlife is simply breathtaking. Don’t miss the opportunity to observe Olive Baboons and listen to the distinct calls of the Spotted Hyenas.
But that’s not all. The zoo has even more surprises in store for you. Enter Dragon World, a fascinating section that houses incredible reptiles. Get up close and personal with Sail Fin Dragons, marvel at the Gila Monsters, witness the power of the Green Anacondas, and admire the unique beauty of the Bearded Dragon. It’s an experience that will ignite your sense of wonder and leave you with lasting memories.
Now, here’s something truly special that sets the Wildlife World Zoo apart. Where else in the Phoenix area can you have the opportunity to feed a Lory Parrot by hand or receive a friendly lick from a giraffe? Yes, you read that right! This zoo offers unforgettable interactive experiences that allow you to connect with these magnificent creatures in a personal way. It’s an extraordinary opportunity that both kids and adults will cherish.
As you plan your visit, keep in mind that the zoo only accepts cash payments. So be sure to have some cash on hand to fully enjoy all the incredible encounters and attractions.
8. Granite Falls Golf Club
As an avid golfer, I highly recommend paying a visit to this fantastic venue, especially since the addition of the South Course in 2000. If you find yourself in Surprise, it’s a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts like myself. Allow me to share some of the highlights you can expect.
The golf club boasts a well-deserved reputation for its popularity. With the addition of the South Course, the venue has become even more enticing for golfers of all skill levels. The fairways are more than generous, offering ample room to showcase your skills. What truly sets this course apart are the sprawling 10,000 square foot greens, which are meticulously maintained and revered by golfers.
For those who wish to avoid the scorching midday sun, fear not! The golf club has introduced a “Super Twilight” option, available for play after 3:00 pm. Not only does this provide relief from the heat, but it also comes with reduced prices, making it an excellent opportunity to enjoy a round of golf at a more affordable rate.
Feeling hungry after a few holes? The snack bar on-site is clean and well-stocked, offering a variety of options to satisfy your cravings. From delicious hot dogs to other tasty snacks, there’s something to suit every golfer’s appetite. And the best part? The prices are incredibly reasonable, ensuring you can refuel without breaking the bank. Pair your meal with a refreshing beer, glass of wine, or soft drink for a truly enjoyable golfing experience.
So, whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner looking to improve your swing, make sure to include this venue on your itinerary when you’re in Surprise. The combination of well-designed courses, accommodating tee times, and a welcoming snack bar make it an ideal destination for golf enthusiasts like myself. Get ready to tee off and create lasting memories on the greens.
9. Massage Envy Spa
For a truly indulgent experience, I highly recommend visiting the Massage Envy Spa. Trust me, it’s a treat you won’t want to miss. As someone who values relaxation and self-care, this spa has become a personal favorite. Allow me to share some of the highlights and services they offer.
When you step into the spa, prepare to leave your worries at the door. The skilled experts at Massage Envy Spa are here to take care of all your aches and pains, ensuring you leave feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Whether you’re seeking relief from chronic pain or simply looking to pamper yourself with an invigorating facial, they have you covered.
One of their standout services is the Murad Healthy Skin facials. These facials are designed to give your skin a real boost, leaving you with a radiant and revitalized complexion. After just one session, you’ll notice a visible difference in your skin’s appearance and texture. It’s a wonderful way to treat yourself and enhance your natural beauty.
If massage therapy is more your style, don’t hesitate to discuss your preferences with the knowledgeable staff. They will guide you in choosing the perfect massage technique that suits your specific needs. If you’re seeking relief from chronic pain, Trigger Point Therapy is an excellent option. This specialized technique targets the source of your pain, providing long-lasting relief and promoting overall well-being.
Other massage choices include Sports massages, which are great for athletes or those with specific muscle concerns, and Deep Tissue massages that focus on targeting knots and tension. If you’re simply looking to relax and unwind, a Swedish massage is the perfect choice. It helps increase oxygen levels in your blood, leaving you feeling completely rejuvenated from head to toe.
At Massage Envy Spa, your well-being is their top priority. From the moment you step through their doors, you’ll be greeted by a tranquil and serene atmosphere. The skilled therapists and aestheticians are dedicated to providing the highest level of care and ensuring your experience is nothing short of exceptional.
10. Pitchfork Farmers Market
As a lover of fresh produce and delicious culinary delights, I couldn’t help but share my excitement about the fantastic farmers market that has recently graced our city. This vibrant market is a haven for those who appreciate the taste and quality of locally sourced fruits and vegetables, all available at reasonable prices.
The mastermind behind this marvelous market is none other than Ms. Shaw, a culinary virtuoso with a passion for confectionary, pastry, and the vibrant flavors of Cajun and Creole cuisine. Drawing from her Louisiana roots, Ms. Shaw has infused the market with a unique charm, bringing the lively “vibe” of farmers markets to Surprise.
When you step into this market, be prepared to be dazzled by the incredible variety of goods on display. From the freshest seasonal fruits and vegetables to health and wellbeing products, you’ll find an abundance of choices that cater to diverse tastes and preferences. It’s a paradise for food enthusiasts and health-conscious individuals alike.
But that’s not all. The market is a treasure trove of sweet treats and baked goods that will tempt your taste buds and satisfy your cravings. Indulge in delectable pastries, artisanal bread, and other delightful creations crafted by talented local bakers. It’s a true haven for those with a sweet tooth.
What sets this farmers market apart is the commitment to quality and supporting local producers. Ms. Shaw has carefully curated a selection of vendors who share her passion for excellence. Each item you find at the market has been carefully sourced and lovingly crafted, ensuring that you receive the finest products available.
11. The Irish Wolfhound Restaurant & Pub
Whether you’re seeking a taste of Ireland, a lively night of music, or simply a cozy pub to unwind with loved ones, I wholeheartedly recommend this Irish gem. Stepping through the doors, you’ll be greeted by the genuine charm of the pub’s interior, adorned with traditional Irish decor that transports you to the Emerald Isle. As you settle into a cozy corner, the experienced and friendly staff will be at your service, ensuring that your pint is poured to perfection.
To accompany your pint, indulge in the pub’s enticing traditional Irish menu. From hearty stews to mouthwatering fish and chips, each dish is crafted with care, capturing the authentic flavors of Ireland. Prepare your taste buds for a culinary journey that will leave you craving more.
If you happen to visit on a Friday or Saturday evening, you’re in for a special treat. The pub comes alive with the sound of laughter and music, offering an unforgettable night of entertainment. Whether it’s the rousing tunes of live bands or the infectious energy of karaoke, there’s something for everyone. From rock and roll to blues to traditional Celtic melodies, the pub’s musical lineup will have you tapping your feet and joining in the revelry.
But it’s not just the music and libations that make this pub special. It’s the sense of community and shared joy, known as the “Craic,” that fills the air. Gather your family and friends, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere. Strike up conversations with fellow patrons, exchange stories, and create memories that will be cherished for years to come.