Mesa, Arizona is fast becoming the Valley’s next urban hot spot boasting an assortment of new tourism developments with more on the horizon. Located in the Valley of the Sun just minutes from Phoenix and Scottsdale, Mesa has long been revered as a winter haven offering premier accommodations, golf and an enviable location boasting a close proximity to Tonto National Forest showcasing Arizona’s vast Sonoran Desert. Today, the state’s third-largest city is home to its own passenger traffic airport, a new 250-acre retail destination complex and Arizona’s largest art and cultural complex. Read on for more news about upcoming attractions, new hotel and shopping announcements, unique meeting venues, exclusively Mesa events and more.

HOTEL & SHOPPING UPDATES:

MESA RIVERVIEW EXPANDS AND WELCOMES FIRST HYATT PROPERTY TO CITY

Mesa Riverview, Mesa’s newest large-scale retail and tourism development, recently announced the addition of a four-story, 150-room Hyatt Place hotel. The property will compliment the 250-acre development conveniently located along the Rio Salado corridor with convenient access to Tempe, Scottsdale and Phoenix. Hyatt Place properties feature guest rooms that are 25 percent larger than typical hotel rooms, walk-in showers, granite counters, wet bars, 42-inch high-definition televisions, sofa-sleepers and high-speed Internet access. This will be the first Hyatt property in Mesa which is scheduled to open in 2009. Currently, Mesa Riverview boasts more than 1.3 million square feet of retail space anchored by Arizona’s only Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, the Valley’s first Cinemark Theatre, and an eclectic selection of specialty shops located in the Theater District. For more information, visit www.MesaRiverview.com. For media information only, contact Nicole Traynor at 480-990.0282 or nicole@mcraeagency.com.

 

MESA BOASTS NEW SHOPPING DESTINATION, PROJECT TO INCLUDE TWO HOTELS

National retail powerhouse DeBartolo Development has broken ground on Mountain Vista Marketplace in East Mesa marking the company’s Arizona debut. The first phase of the 114-acre mixed-use project will open in Summer 2009 with SuperTarget as its anchor. Additional retailers confirmed are Marshalls, Old Navy, Shoe Pavilion and Dick's Sporting Goods to name a few. The marketplace will be designed with the pedestrian in mind featuring easily accessible walkways throughout the project. The mixed-use center is proposed to connect with and compliment the nearby Mountain Vista Medical Center. Also proposed as part of the development are two limited-service hotel properties: Residence Inn by Marriott and SpringHill Suites by Marriott. For more information, visit www.debartolodevelopment.com. For media information, contact Stacy Pearson at 602-577-6888 or spearson@roseandallynpr.com.

 

UPSCALE SHOPPING VILLAGE OFFERS NEW DINING

Dana Park Village Square, Mesa’s 400,000-square-foot shopping center that is a reflection of some of Mesa's most affluent neighborhoods, is adding more dining options to its already impressive collection of high-end retailers and unique boutiques. Ra Sushi Bar is now open featuring made to order sushi and entertainment. New bistro Bar Tepo recently opened featuring new American tapas and a wide variety of entrees. Both Bar Tepo and Ra offer patio dining – a popular activity at Dana Park which features wide pedestrian walkways, fountains and palm-tree-lined driveways. Dana Park Village Square is also embarking on completing its third phase of development which, when completed this fall, will bring in Z Gallerie, Anthropologie, Victoria’s Secret and Philosophy Cosmetics. For more information on Dana Park retailers, visit www.DanaPark.com. For media information only, contact Heather Brechbill, (480) 890.0555 or Heather.Brechbill@triplefive.com.

 

TOURISM INDUSTRY UPDATES:

 

ALLEGIANT AIRLINES ENTERS PHOENIX MARKET VIA MESA GATEWAY AIRPORT

Starting last October, low-cost airline, Allegiant Air, LLC began non-stop service from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport to several of America’s small cities.  With the launch of this new service, the low-fare airline provides the only non-stop, low-cost service to the following cities from the state of Arizona: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Sioux Falls, S.D., Missoula, Mont., Bellingham, Wash., Fargo, N.D., Billings, Mont., and Rapid City, S.D.  Additional markets will be announced for both year-round and seasonal service in the fall. Phoenix-Mesa serves as the fourth base for the Las Vegas-based airline which also serves McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas), Orlando Sanford International Airport and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.  As a full-service travel company, Allegiant provides even greater savings to customers by offering complete, low-cost vacation packages. Allegiant has partnered with more than 20 area hotels including hotels in the Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Tucson and Sedona areas. Reservations may be made through the company’s website at www.allegiantair.com, the airline’s Reservations Center at 702-505-8888 or professional travel agents. For media information on Allegiant Airlines, contact Tyri Squyres, 702-851-7370 or tsquyres@allegiantair.com.

 

PHOENIX-MESA GATEWAY AIRPORT PROVIDES EASY ACCESS TO EAST VALLEY CITIES

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport continues to serve as a dynamic reliever airport to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. The airport provides a convenient alternative for passengers flying in and out of Phoenix and serves as a gateway to East Valley communities including Mesa, Gilbert, Gila River Indian Community, Queen Creek and Apache Junction. The airport, which began offering non-stop passenger service in October last year, offers three expansive runways, a newly remodeled passenger terminal, convenient parking and on-site rental car service. Currently, the airport hosts Allegiant Airlines (see above) and will resume service with Vision Airlines offering seasonal flights to north Las Vegas in the summer. For more information and current flight schedules, visit www.phxmesagateway.org. For media information only, contact Brian Sexton at 480-988-7618 or bsexton@phxmesagateway.org.

 

ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES:

 

FLYING DINOSAURS? FOSSILS ON LOAN FROM CHINA AT NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
The Arizona Museum of Natural History is showcasing Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origin of Flight, an exhibition that presents exciting evidence from fossils that are bringing new answers to the on-going debate about the relationship between dinosaurs and birds, as well as how they evolved the ability to fly. The collection of fossils are on loan from the People’s Republic of China. Also on display are many life-size recreations that demonstrate startling changes in how dinosaurs have been portrayed over the years. The exhibition will run through September 28. For more information visit, www.ArizonaMuseumofNaturalHistory.org. For media information, contact Kathy Eastman at  480-644-5662 or Kathy.Eastman@cityofmesa.org.

 

ARIZONA’S FIRST DOUBLE-DECKER CAROUSEL AT SUPERSTITION SPRINGS CENTER

The newest addition at Superstition Springs Center, Mesa’s largest indoor mall, is a colorful two level carousel that seats 40 guests. The double-decker carousel features an assortment of 24 animals, a spinning tea pot, and a chariot on the ground level. The new Victorian carousel is 45,000 pounds, 25 feet tall and 36 feet in diameter and is part of a partnership between Westcor , the mall’s developer, and HQ Entertainment. Additional amenities at Superstition Springs Center include an indoor children’s play area, outdoor amphitheater and a free weekly Kids Club program.  The outdoor amphitheater is a popular entertainment venue, which hosts a weekly summer concert series as well as various other events.  Free concerts begin Memorial Day weekend and run every Saturday from 7-9 p.m. until Labor Day weekend.  Hundreds of loyal fans – residents and visitors alike - come out each week to the outdoor amphitheater to hear their favorite bands. Music lovers can enjoy country, rock and roll, jazz, reggae, blues, and R&B.  For more information visit, www.westcor.com. For media information only, contact Melissa Buxton at 480-924-5050 or melissa.buxton@westcor.com.

 

DOLLY STEAMBOAT CRUISES RE-OPEN ON CANYON LAKE

After four months in dry dock, the Dolly Steamboat has re-opened at Canyon Lake. Just minutes away from Mesa, for more than 20 years The Dolly Steamboat cruise has been voted as one of Arizona’s most popular attractions for tourists and locals alike.  A replica of a classic American sternwheeler, cruises take passengers to secluded inner waterways and the carved canyon walls of the lake accessible only by boat. Throughout the year, guests can capture Arizona wildlife in the landscapes surrounding the water including coyote, deer, bobcats, and mountain lion. The Dolly Steamboat operates year-round and is available for a variety of open cruises specializing in group tours. Nature Cruises, one of the most requested offerings, depart Tuesday through Sunday at Noon and 2:00 p.m. For more information visit, www.DollySteamboat.com.

 

BROADWAY PALM DINNER THEATRE ANNOUNCES NEW SEASON

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, Mesa’s popular dining and theatrical experience, will feature both classic hits and exciting new shows. The new season begins in October and includes: All Shook Up, Oct. 2 – Nov. 15, featuring the greatest hits of Elvis Presley rolled up in a charming story about love and the power of rock and roll; Holly Jolly Christmas, Nov. 20 – Dec. 25, an annual festive holiday revue; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Jan. 1 – Feb. 14; Singin’ in the Rain, Feb. 19 – April 11, splashing its way across the stage; Ring of Fire, April 16 – May 30, featuring the songs of legendary Johnny Cash; Disney’s High School Musical, June 4 – Aug. 1, just in time for summer break. The eighth season will close with Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical, Aug. 6 – Sept. 26, offering a satirical look at midlife. For more information and tickets visit  www.broadwaypalmwest.com or call (480) 325-6700.  For media information, contact Leslie Jabara, Manager of Marketing and PR at leslie@broadwaypalmwest.com or 480-325-6700 x106. 

 

BOYCE THOMPSON ARBORETUM OPENS NEW INTERACTIVE CHILDREN’S GARDEN

After two years of construction, the newly completed Children’s Garden at Boyce Thompson Arboretum is now open to the public offering kids a full-sensory desert experience. The garden features four interactive stations focusing on touch, texture, color, sound and scent as well as a human sundial and maze. Each interactive area allows children to strengthen their senses. For example, kids rely on sense of touch to feel their way through dark caves and mysterious forests in the Texture Garden; learn about the color spectrum and see how rainbows are formed in the Color Garden; hear a variety of animal sounds and chimes that warn of danger and hidden treasures in the Sound Garden; use their noses to discover plant aromas in the Scent Garden; and test their explorer skills in the Maze. Animal tracks and designated characters including Dani Deer, Reggie Roadrunner, Suzy Skunk, Frankie Fox and Javi Javalina lead kids from one activity area to another.  For more information and hours of operation, call 520-689-2723 or visit www.BTArboretum.org. For media information only, contact Rick Elder at rick.americaneagle@yahoo.com.com.

 

NEW GALLERIES, CONCERT SERIES AND FLASHLIGHT TOURS AT BOTANICAL GARDEN

The always-popular Desert Botanical Garden has unveiled their new display, the Sybil B. Harrington Cactus and Succulent Galleries. This diverse form of texture and color features an array of cactus and a diverse group of plants from around the world. The new presentation is carefully designed to create a memorable experience for the visitor and enables the Garden to tell a more complete story about its collection and the evolution of desert plants. Designed by landscape architect, Steve Martino, FASLA, the galleries feature steel mesh as the arching canopy to provide shade for the plants, support columns painted in a desert-hued red to accentuate the color and textures of the plants, and the design takes advantage of the vistas that are so distinctly a part of the Desert Botanical Garden experience. 

 

Every Friday evening from 7-9 p.m. through June, guests can enjoy the sounds of jazz as part of the Garden’s Jazz in the Garden Concert Series. Cost is admission with an additional charge for a picnic dinner and free wine tasting. Must be 21 or older to attend the concert series.

 

Another popular treat for summertime guests to the Garden are Flashlight Tours offered Thursdays and Saturdays from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., May through August. Free with admission, flashlight tours are perfect for little ones letting them experience the desert environment at night complete with desert wildlife including nighthawks, tortoises, insects and night-blooming flowers. Guests must come equipped with their own flashlight for the guided tours. For more information visit www.dbg.org, or call 480-941-1225. For media information only, contact 

John Sallot, 480-481-8101, or