How to Have the Perfect Wild West Adventure! {7 tips for a Successful Trip to Rawhide}

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Tips for a Western Cowboy Party

Having grown up in this town, I have vivid memories of going to “Rawhide” for birthday parties, field trips, and family outings with visitng East-Coast relatives looking for a Wild West Adventure!

Today’s AZ may be very different from the one in which I grew up, (Case in point, the old Rawhide location is now developed land and the desert we used to drive through to get there is now a thriving community of neighborhoods!)  Still, some things stay the same, and that little cowboy or cowgirl inside every Arizona kiddo still exists. So, when my son requested a cowboy adventure for his 6th birthday, my husband and I saw it as the perfect chance to re-live our own childhood memories and take him and a handful of his friends out to Rawhide.

So, if you decide to saddle up and head out to Rawhide, here are my top 7 tips to make your time a success!

Rawhide dinner.jpg1. Make a game plan for meal time before you get there

There are a few different options for dining at Rawhide. The size of your party and the ages of the children with you will influence where you choose to eat. If we had been with an older or more patient crowd, I would have loved to have a nice dinner at the Steakhouse. Instead, our group of busy little boys opted for tacos and quesadillas at “Tres Amigos”. It was fast, inexpensive, delicious — and it got the kiddos fed and right back out for more western adventures. (Yes, mom and dad, they had Cervezas, Margaritas, and Chips & Guac!)

2. Wear cowboy clothes!

Dressing western is certainly not mandatory (or frankly, even common) but our little crew came decked out in our boots, hats, and bandanas, which really added to the fun and help put us in the “Old West” mindset before we even arrived.

3. Take in a show (but be sure to give a “pep-talk” to younger/more sensitive kiddos before it begins)

The live show was great! It impressed the 6 & 7 year olds in our group and held the attention of the 3 & 4 year old siblings. Just be aware that the most “exciting” parts of the show– dramatic jumps between roof-tops, elaborate falls from buildings, and of course, gunfights between outlaws- may give pause to more timid or younger children. Be sure to let them know before the show starts that it’s all pretend and that the show will have some loud “bangs”.

Panning for Gold.jpg

 4. Leave yourself plenty of drive-time

Rawhide is located just off the I-1o and is open from noon-10pm on the weekends and from 5pm- 10pm  Wednesday thru Friday. If you’re planning on an evening visit, this can means HEAVY TRAFFIC! Don’t forget to factor in rush hour crowds on the road. Also, be sure to look up the exact location and find directions based on the address. Several of us drove out there in different cars, with different I-phone models and we all got the inaccurate directions from our phones.

A successful Rawhide trip.jpg

5. Have a “Western Tall-Tale” ready to go

A stagecoach ride is a must! Once you and your party are out on the range (it’s about a 5 minute ride) you’ll need something to discuss. This is the perfect time for an old western campfire story. Anything about a stagecoach robbery will surely be a hit.

 

6. Buy the all-access Townpass wristband  for children (and maybe for adults)

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Admission to the “Town of Rawhide” is free, but most of the attractions require tickets. For children, the “Townpass” ($15)  is clearly the way to go. With all things your kids will want to do at Rawhide, the pass pays for itself.  However, if all the adults in your party don’t  need/want to take part in as many activities, it may be smarter to just purchase a few tickets for the things in which they’ll want to participate.  (for example, grownups will want to see the show, but may not need to pan for gold or ride a burro)

7. Don’t forget a camera!

Arizona is hardly the frontier it was in the 1880’s. If your child is riding a horse, panning for gold, or flying off a mechanical bull,  you’ll want to remember it! Even here  in “The West’s Most Western Town”, that sort of thing doesn’t happen everyday!

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