Desert Diversions Heat Up Summer Trips

by  Molly Fergus | Apr 30, 2010
Museum of Musical Instruments
Museum of Musical Instruments / Photo courtesy of the property

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It’s almost high season in the desert – both for tourists and temps – and a host of new distractions in Nevada and Arizona promise to liven summer travels. Whether you’re casino or canyon-bound, we found three Southwestern attractions to tack onto your next vacation.

Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix
The 3,000 pieces currently on display at Phoenix’s new Museum of Musical Instruments range from the iconic (John Lennon’s piano) to the wacky (a 27-foot-wide mechanical jazz orchestra from 1930s Antwerp) to the intricate (a meticulously detailed bowed lute from the Uighurs in Central Asia). Conceived by the former chairman of Target Corporation Robert J. Ulrich, the 190,000-square-foot property opened April 24 and already boasts 12,000 instruments in its collection. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for kids.

SkyJump, Las Vegas
As if Vegas’ nonstop cocktail of gambling, glitz, and libations weren’t thrilling enough, SkyJump launched a bungee jump from the top of Stratosphere Tower, Sin City’s tallest building. At 829 feet, the leap holds the title for world’s highest “commercial decelerator,” according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Jump packages start at $99.99.

Bicycle Rentals, Grand Canyon
Give those weary feet a rest this summer and consider pedaling around the Grand Canyon.  For the first time, the national park is offering on-site bike rentals (including wheeled trailers for the littlest cyclists). Don’t expect to speed down any steep drops, as the canyon’s inner trails are off-limits, but riders do get to circle the rim, from now until fall. Adult rentals, through Bright Angel Bicycle Rentals, start at $10 for the first hour and top out at a $30 for all-day access.


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