Family Fun: A Day in Gilbert
Family Fun: A Day in Gilbert
This Discover Gilbert itinerary for families on the go features a bike ride to lively breakfast spots, lunch at a farm and agricultural hub, a family-friendly street festival, some stargazing and an interactive family game night.
Morning: Bike to Breakfast
Perhaps it’s the 60 miles of marked bike trails along Gilbert’s canals. Or maybe it’s the four trail systems that bisect the area. Or maybe it’s the leafy pocket parks that allow lots of opportunities for water breaks. Whatever it is, Gilbert is well deserving of its designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community.
Load up the family’s cruisers or rent cycles for the day at AZ Wholesale Bikes, then prepare to explore this easily bikeable town. The Heritage Trail, Santan Vista Trail and Marathon Trail run north-south, while the Western Powerline Trail runs east-west. All are clearly marked and connect to Gilbert’s impressive parks system.
And even though sometimes life is all about the journey, it helps to have a destination in mind. Plan to pedal to one of Gilbert’s many family-friendly restaurants for a hearty breakfast. A couple of suggestions? The Farmhouse serves up big portions of traditional American breakfast dishes in a warm, homey setting. Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles is a high-energy, Southern soul food restaurant with all-day breakfast that features kid-approved options like caramel-banana hotcakes.
Lunch: Eat on a Farm
Considered to be one of the country’s first “agrihoods” (as noted by The New York Times, among other national media outlets), Agritopia is more than just a farm. It’s a neighborhood and community gathering spot, farmers’ market, restaurant hub, maker space, brewery and winery. It’s a place to live and play and grow.
A visit to Agritopia could last a full day, but if you only have an hour, make time for lunch at Joe’s Farm Grill. Why it’s perfect for the kiddos: Food they’ll love plus a giant lawn with a giant tree for shade. The fast-casual eatery sits inside what was once the mid-century home of Agritopia’s founding family. The expansive backyard is dotted with picnic tables at which you and your brood can nosh. Let the kids play in between bites of grilled cheese, pepperoni pizza or hand-breaded chicken tenders. You’ll enjoy the ahi tuna sandwich or any of the fresh-as-can-be salads. Most of the ingredients that grace the menu were grown on the 12-acre urban farm of Agritopia — you’ll taste the goodness in the juicy, sweet tomatoes and crisp greens.
Afternoon: Find an Event
No matter what time of year you decide to schedule your trip to Gilbert, you’re sure to find a festival that everyone in your clan will love.
Mother Nature’s Farm hosts seasonal events, from a pumpkin patch in the fall to a Christmas tree farm and snow fun during the winter. Gilbert Days pays homage to the town’s heritage with a parade and rodeo. The family- and pet-friendly Art Walk takes place year-round, as does the Gilbert Farmers Market. And we can’t forget about BARKtoberfest, the Gilbert Feastival and the Water Tower Lighting and Concert. With so much going on all 12 months of the year, you might just decide to make a Gilbert excursion a recurring family activity.
In town on the second Friday of the month? Perfect. Just as the sun begins its descent, the East Valley Astronomy Club hosts a Sky Party at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch. What it is: A fascinating look at seasonal astronomical events as seen through club members’ telescopes.
Not in town on the second Friday of the month? No worries. Every Friday and Saturday at sunset, the preserve’s Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory opens its doors to let curious viewers peek through the lens of the observatory’s 16-inch-diameter telescope. All sky-viewing events take place year-round, weather permitting. Bonus: They’re free.
Evening: Play a Game
The entire family can get in on the action at Main Event or FatCats. The ways are seemingly endless. Break into teams for a friendly bowling competition or go for laser tag. Test your skills in the arcade as you play for prizes. Aim for a hole-in-one at Glow Golf — a miniature golf course themed with a pirate adventure at FatCats. Or settle into the recliners at the movie theater to catch the latest blockbuster. A food menu of pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and salads rounds out the offerings.
For the family seeking an intellectual challenge, book time at Puzzle Effect Gilbert. This immersive and interactive “puzzle” calls on your group to work as a team to find your way out of what appears to be an ordinary room. Uncover hidden objects and piece together the clues to solve the puzzle — and earn your freedom! No food served here, so post-escape, pick up a quick bite to eat at Topo — where the menu is small but the burritos are delicious and the ice cream is Prickly Pear flavored. Good news for hungry puzzle masters.
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