Though taking in the sweeping desert vistas, exploring the mountains, retail centers and cultural destinations and taking selfies during the stunning sunsets should be on your must-do list when visiting the Valley of the Sun, being here in town also presents an opportunity to see and learn about some iconic brands and destinations.
The Valley is home to such headquarters as PING, Cerreta Candy Co., Shamrock Farms, Four Peaks Brewery and more—where you can get an insider’s behind-the-scenes view during a factory tour. You can also explore such known destinations as Chase Field, home of the MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks.
Cerreta Candy Co.
Who doesn’t love candy? The family-owned Cerreta Candy Co., known for its brittles, barks, fudge and chocolate bars, offers tours where guests can watch candy being made and wrapped. The free tours are offered Mo-Fr at 10 am and 1 pm. And, at the conclusion, you can choose to build your own chocolate pizza for $12.50.
Phoenix sports one of the most unique MLB facilities in the country. This behind-the-scenes tour is an opportunity to see and learn about some of its features, such as the RamTrucks.com Pool, retractable roof, dbTV (one of the largest high-def video scoreboards in MLB), various restaurants and PetSmart Patio (note: the tour does not go onto the playing field). Though tours are offered three times a day Mo-Sa year-round, there are select days when they are not available. Advance tickets are recommended as tours fill up fast. Adults: $7; children 4-6: $3 (free for 3 and under); seniors: $5.
Four Peaks Brewery
Here’s your chance for a glimpse behind the scenes of this award-winning brewery. Though Four Peaks (home of the famous flagship brew Kilt Lifter) has four pubs in the Valley, only two—the 8th Street and Wilson Street locations—offer tours. Participants must be 14 and older and accompanied by a parent or guardian, or 21-and-up. Closed-toe shoes are required—those with sandals or flip-flops will not be admitted. Days and times vary. Free; advance tickets are recommended.
There are more than 10,000 cows at this dairy, and in 60 minutes, you’ll not only see where they live, but tour the working Arizona diary farm via an open-air tram. The tram stops at the milking barn, calf nursery, welcome barn, and a 20-foot milk bottle (get those cameras ready!). Tours are usually Tu and Th at 1 pm. Adults: $9; military and seniors: $7.50; children 3-12: $6; free for those under 2. Reservations are required.
Queen Creek Olive Mill
This family-owned sustainable olive farm and mill produces Arizona’s only extra virgin olive oil. Tours, which cover the company’s history, information about olive oil, health benefits and use ideas, last 30-45 min. and are offered multiple times daily. $5; free for those under age 12. No reservations are needed for groups of 8 or less.
It makes sense that PING would have its main headquarters (and a factory) in one of the United States’ main golf destinations (there are more than 200 golf courses in the Metro Phoenix area!). Join a free group tour of the assembly areas on Tu, Wed and Thu at 9 am, with the exceptions of June, July and holidays. Reservations are required and spots sometimes fill up months in advance.
SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium
While there’s plenty to see and learn at SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium by just experiencing the locale, those who opt to add the Behind The Scenes Discovery Tour to the admission ticket will be able to tour the laboratory, animal care and kitchen areas; learn how the team cares for 5,000 sea creatures; and enjoy interactive fun. Tours are 20 minutes and are offered daily. Purchase at the admission counter on the day of visit. Space is limited. Adults: $5; children: $4.
The first stop on this 1.5-hour tour of the working dairy farm is the farm’s classroom (Moo-University, of course!). Next, a tractor-pulled hayride takes participants around the property before a stop is made to hand feed rescue animals. The tour ends with a cup of flavored milk from the company’s Milk Bar. Weekdays by appointment only; open to the public on Sa. Adults: $9; children 1-12: $7.50. Reservations are required.