Here is a list of things in Gilbert you’ll want to add to your bucket list.
Cosmo Dog Park
The pooch paradise that is Cosmo Dog Park is worth visiting even if you don’t have a dog. One of the most popular parks in Gilbert, these 17 acres offer a lake for dogs to launch themselves in and four, fenced acres along with doggie drinking fountains, wash stations, an obstacle course, tables, benches and walkways.
DETAILS: gilbertaz.gov. 2502 E. Ray Road. 480-503-6200.
Everyone loves a parade but if you haven’t experienced the rest of the town’s signature Western heritage celebration, then it’s time to pony up to Gilbert Days. The November week-long celebration of all things cowboy begins with a Pony Express ride. Riders leave from a local post office and stop in neighboring towns to invite people to a celebration that includes barrel racing, a rodeo, a dance and a parade with a royal court. A Saturday festival includes two stages of music and family entertainment and food vendors.
The city’s popular Freestone Park offers 65 breezy acres with a lake, baseball fields, basketball courts, playgrounds and a miniature train. The park offers enough attractions that you can turn an hour into an all-day affair. There’s also a skate park, picnic ramadas, a carousel, a mini Ferris wheel, waterless wave runners, concessions, and so many picturesque, secluded spots that it’s ideal for family photos.
DETAILS: gilbertaz.gov. 1045 E. Juniper Ave. 480-503-6200.
Big League Dreams park
Are you seeing the iconic ballparks of Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field on your bucket list? If you haven’t yet crossed those locations off the list, why not start with Big League Dreams park? The eight-diamond baseball facility features scaled-down renditions of both parks. Athletes and spectators alike can take in outdoor youth baseball and softball games. The complex is open year-round and features a 20,000-square-foot indoor soccer pavilion, flag-football fields, batting cages and the Stadium Club restaurant.
DETAILS: gilbert.bigleaguedreams.com. 4536 E. Elliot Road. 480-813-1270.
Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch
Escape the bustle of the cities and suburbs at Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch. The preserve is composed of man-made lakes pumped full of recycled water that attracts more than 200 species of birds with new ones appearing all the time. Birders and wildlife watchers can navigate the trails amid the desert foliage feeling a world away from traffic, to-do lists and noise pollution. Ramada and campsites can be reserved for a fee. Tours are offered, often by naturalists or Audubon chapter volunteers.
DETAILS: gilbertaz.gov. 2757 E. Guadalupe Road. 480-503-6200.
Gilbert Historical Museum
Go back in time inside the original Gilbert Elementary School built in 1913, that is now the Gilbert Historical Museum. The museum, operating for 30 years, is now on the National Register of Historic Places and offers a slice-of-life look at the town’s rich history. Nine exhibit rooms guide visitors through 100-plus years of life in an old schoolroom, the Old West and the city’s occupations.
DETAILS: gilberthistoricalmuseum.org. 10 S. Gilbert Road. 480-926-1577.
Take out-of-town guests through Gilbert’s Heritage District where history meets entertainment and modern restaurants and breweries are a stone’s throw from any corner. The historic area is in the midst of a surge of economic development with new restaurants opening or expanding including Liberty Market, which started as a grocery store in 1935, Postino East, Joyride Taco Company, Joe’s Real BBQ and the Farmhouse Restaurant. The cultural attractions include Hale Centre Theatre and Art Intersection, which offers art and photography classes and exhibitions.
DETAILS: gilbertaz.gov. Gilbert Road and Page Avenue. 480-503-6750.
Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory
Stargaze at the Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory. Inexpensive and managed by the Riparian Institute and East Valley Astronomy Club volunteers, the observatory provides heavenly nighttime views. The 16-inch-diameter telescope features Friday and Saturday night views of the moon, Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn with its rings. The observatory also is open for special astronomical events.
DETAILS: grcoonline.org. 2757 E. Guadalupe Road. 480-503-6231.
The village-like Agritopia features more than 400 charming homes with front porches and short fences along tree-lined, narrow streets mixed with open swaths of landscaped greenery and playgrounds. In the works is a “downtown” center with shops, restaurants and lofts. One of the highlights is the community garden, which grows produce for Joe’s Farm Grill, a favorite with the Food Network for its organic and local produce, pancakes and locally-raised beef burgers.
DETAILS: agritopia.com. Higley and Ray roads. 480-988-1238.
Hale Center Theatre
Take in a show at the longest running, privately owned theater company in America — Hale Centre Theatre. Since 1947, the theater has performed full-scale shows from classic dramas to musicals, comedies and youth productions. The theater has racked up more than 30 AriZoni awards for its technical and creative accomplishments.
DETAILS: haletheatrearizona.com. 50 W. Page Ave. 480-497-1181.