Don't dismiss Casa Grande as just a halfway point between Phoenix and Tucson. Stray from I-10 and stretch your legs—there's more than meets the eye from the highway. Find history, agriculture, family fun and outdoor adventures in this small town that makes a big impression.
Downtown Casa Grande
Stroll through historic downtown Casa Grande, one of Arizona's charming Main Street communities, with more than 40 buildings in national and local historic registers. It's a prideful part of town, where both the window displays and the architecture have lots of character. If you happen to be downtown after dark, check out the Casa Grande Neon Sign Park, an outdoor museum with more than a dozen glowing signs that were salvaged and restored from historic sites in and around the town. Plaques explain more about each sign's history.
Several golf courses are dotted around Casa Grande, including the highly ranked Dave White Municipal Golf Course. For family-friendly things to do, check out Palm Island Family Aquatic Park, a huge facility with water attractions from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Zoom down the 150-foot water slide, play water basketball, run beneath a rainbow of water showers at the splash pad, and see if you can get to the bottom of the 12-foot dive tank. Annual events are a highlight, such as the Doggie Dive-In, which includes a contest for the best doggie bathing suit. Quick note: The city of Casa Grande is not home to Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. That historic attraction is near Coolidge, about 30 minutes away and well worth the drive.
Caywood Farms is a family-run farm that's produced cotton for more than 90 years. A fifth-generation family member leads interactive 45-minute tours during which participants pick lint from cotton seeds, compare Pima and Upland cotton and see farm equipment. Nearly a century of family history is on full display. Learn about the history of cotton in the state, including how the process has been modernized, as well as current water conservation issues. Tours end with a half-hour hayride around the property, pulled by an antique tractor.
The Museum of Casa Grande
Don't let its size fool you—the intimate Museum of Casa Grande is jam-packed with information on the region's history. Collections document the families, individuals, landscapes and structures of the Casa Grande region with artifacts, archives and photos—lots of photos. There are more than 30,000 images that show Casa Grande's growth from its early pioneer settlement days to today. Fifty-thousand artifacts include prehistoric, archaeological, historic and contemporary items. Listen to the experience of locals in the oral history collections. Do note that the museum opens from September to April, annually, and generally is closed for all other seasons.
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