Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park
Pueblo Grande Museum and Archeological Park gives you a good idea of how the oldest-recorded indigenous residents of the Valley of the Sun lived. The houses, canals and tools of a long-lost Native American Indian tribe date back about 1,500 years ago. Walk the same grounds as they did by following interpretive trails past excavated sites and enter the museum to learn more about their culture and objects.
The historic cultural park focuses on the people who populated the area from 1450 B.C. to the year 450: the Hohokam. Why they left the area, or what name they were originally called, is unknown. The name “Hohokam” was chosen by Pima Indians for their prehistoric predecessors and translates as “the people who vanished” or “went away.” Nobody knows the fate of the Hohokam, but what is known is that the village had a population of up to 2,500 people who cultivated cotton and crops on about 10,000 acres (over 4,000 hectares) of land. They also fished and hunted, and traded with communities from surrounding regions.
The trails take you past ruins such as the ball court, a community sports ground. Step inside a dwelling that was recreated with the same materials the Hohokam used. The pottery, tools and jewelry paint the picture of how this ancient civilization lived and are on display in three galleries on site. You’ll also discover how the Hohokam manually built a complex canal system to irrigate their land with Salt River water. Their digging formed the blueprint for present-day canals.
Young explorers should visit the special children’s gallery to become archeologists, or build a mini Hohokam village. Check which events and workshops are on during your stay to get the most out of your visit.
The park on East Washington Street is a 15-minute drive from downtown Phoenix. It is open daily. The entry fee is low and children under 17 enter for free on Sunday afternoons. Note that the park is closed Mondays and Sundays from May through September.