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Before you decide to move to Anthem, don't. We did it for you. We experienced the Summer and the dangerous Freeway 17, and we say- stop!!!!
That said, if you already live in Arizona, Anthem is a great place to go to spend some time. My favorite part of Anthem is the community park. Here, a manmade lake, some gorgeous desert landscaping, and a mini-train you can ride on surround a huge playground. You've never seen a playground quite like this one! Wow! The enclosed slides are massive. They are so much fun! Weeeeee! You go round and round! Watch out for the tallest slide- it can give you quite an elbow burn at the end! The playground is enclosed in mesh so your kids are safe as they climb, climb, climb! It's an amazing place!
Adjacent to the huge playground is a splash pad. From May to October, fresh clean water sprays out from the dolphins, elephants, and other animals. I like this splash pad better than the others in Phoenix because it is not chlorinated. Kids love to get wet here. Periodically, the spray stops and your kids get to touch the outline of a hand on a post to start it again. It's a lot of fun! The sprays sometimes surprise you and come from nowhere! During the endless months (May until end of October) of hideous weather, it's the ONLY place to play without dying of heat exposure! Alright, our summer in Arizona was a little traumatic....Come early, because by 10am it's too hot even at the splash pad. At night, unfortunately, it's closed. That's a shame, since it dips down to 109 degrees at night and it might be more pleasant then. I'm not kidding about the temperature, by the way!
At the Community Park, there are steam train rides you can take around the extensive park with its lake and ball fields. The steam train costs $2.50 each. I found the train to be a bit fumey, but fun to do once.
Further down Anthem way, on Freedom Way, is the Community Center. Here, there is a games room, workout equipment, an olympic-sized pool, and an awesome waterpark! If you aren't a resident, you can pay a fee to enter but you must find a friend who lives in Anthem to take you as their guest. The waterpark has two huge slides. You ascend stairs up high and then slide down. The enclosed slide is a wilder ride than the open-air one. You can take blowup tubes from the foot of the stairs up with you and slide down the open-air slide on them. Below the huge slides is an area that is sort of like a playground in water. Kids can shoot waterguns, run under fountains, and climb up a playground. There's a massive bucket that drops a heavy wall of water down every few minutes, to kids' screaming delight! Around the playground, it's shallow and you can sit in the water under an umbrella as if you're at the beach. The chlorine is very strong here- it dyed black swimmers to a pale grey almost instantly, so don't keep babies in it for long.
There are bike trails in Anthem that take you through natural desert washes. Washes are the areas where the desert naturally drains and forms rivers during heavy rains. You can bike past saguaro cactus, teddy bear chollas, flowering yellow, orange, and purple bushes. Watch for the cute little white bushy-tailed desert bunnies. They are everywhere! You can also see woodpeckers perched in holes high up in the cactus. In Spring it's particularly lovely to walk or bike in the washes in Anthem. In Summer, there are hundreds of biting ants so skip biking in Summer. Also, there really are daisies in Spring covering Daisy Mountain above. The mountains in Anthem are very pretty.
On weekend evenings in May, there are live concerts at the outdoor amphitheater at the Community Park. The amphitheatre is to the right as you face the Adventure Playground from the parking lot, near the lake. Kids have a blast running around in the warm night air. Vendors sell glow sticks. It's a lot of fun!
If you're hungry, head over to the Anthem Country Club. You can eat there looking out the huge windows on gorgeous saguaro cactus and desert below. The view from the bar is best and you can order the same food from there. I like the quesadillas, but overall, the food is too salty and not very consistent. Also, men need to wear a collar shirt to get in.
So, you say, why not move to Anthem? After all, housing is crazy expensive in California. Well, for one, the heat has more ramifications than you just having to be in AC during the day. At night, it's still hot. At midnight it's still 115 degrees! And the Summer heat continues from May until Halloween! Getting into your car during the day can be excruciating. And there's no covered parking most places, even at the mall- this is craziness! Also, everyone's garbage smells REALLY bad after being outside in the 117 degree heat all day and night, so from June to October there's no such thing as a breath of fresh air. Add to that the ash from all the wildfires that blows at you in wild dust storms. Lightning storms don't include rain in Arizona, so that forecast of lightning that looks so promising is actually not a break from the heat. It's just a dust storm blowing around ash, and some heavy lightning strikes that start fires that spread wildly over the mountain right above your home. I must say, though, that the lightning storms in Summer are incredibly beautiful and alarming. They are a wonderful spectacle!
To continue with the reality check that I offer you Californians that are sick of not being able to afford a real home and have seen Anthem voted as the best place to raise a family: There's the problem of the i-17 freeway. Because of the heat, everyone's tires pop, and there are broken down cars all along the highway. With just two lanes, and people going 85 miles an hour, this leads to accidents. When you try to leave Anthem to get some culture in Phoenix, you risk your life! Notice all the white crosses along the road? I never heard of so many fatal car accidents- at least one a month- until I moved to Anthem. So, because the i-17 is so unsafe and congested, you're stuck in pleasantville with all the other stepford families, with nothing to do but listen to the dim hum of your AC unit, and stare at the stark brown wall that separates your home from the home next door that looks exactly the same as yours.
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To get to the Community Park with huge playground and splash pad, take Freeway 17 north from Phoenix. Exit at Anthem Way. Turn right. Continue past the nice waterfall entrance area. Turn right on Gavilan Peak Pkwy. Turn left into the first parking area for the park.
To get to the waterpark, exit at Anthem Way. Turn right. Turn right on Freedom Way. Park in the parking lot to your right.
To get to a nice, small playground, exit at Daisy Mountain. Turn right. Turn right on Hastings Way. Turn left on Copper Basin Trail. Park along the road on your left when you see the playground.
To get to a bike trail, exit at Daisy Mountain. Turn right. Turn right on Hastings and park. The trail begins back on Daisy Mountain Rd, just after Hastings. It goes up to the Copper Creek playground.
Another set of trails begin at a playground off of Patagonia Way. Exit at Daisy Mountain. Turn right onto Hastings. Turn right onto Tangle Ridge Way. It curves to the left and becomes Lewis and Clark trail. Turn right on Patagonia Way. Turn left into the first dead end where there is a playground. A paved bike trail leads to the right from the playground.
To get to the Country Club, exit at Anthem Way. Turn right. Turn left on Country Club Dr. Stop at the booth and tell them you've come to have lunch. Follow the road up and follow the signs to the Country Club. Notice the gorgeous landscaping along the way.
Cost to enter the waterpark is $6 per person, children 6 and under are free. But you must be accompanied by an Anthem resident. The waterpark is open until 8pm in the Summer, until 6pm on Sundays. Call (623) 879-3000.
Entrance to the Community Park with Adventure Playground is free. There are restrooms and drinking fountains.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating:
|Bautiful cacti, beautiful country club.|
|boring little burb, nothing really compelling about it. The parks are okay, definitely better than others throughout Phx.|
Jake and Karen
|Late evening today, while walking the wash, the sky turned an orange-pink on blue that I had never seen before, rabbits skittering by, birds, ants, very nice|