Kids Day every day on Phoenix adventure tours

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • March 23, 2023

“My wife setup the hike -- Laurel made it easy. We met with our guide at the trailhead. Matt, our guide, was excellent. He was very knowledgeable. Taught my family a lot about the geology, vegetation, etc., while keeping it fun. He engaged well with our teenagers and kept them very interested during the hike. Highly recommended.” – Ken on Tripadvisor, Jan. 2020

A family of four pauses to pose in front of the trademark of the old Southwest, a majestic Saguaro Cactus, during a Phoenix mountain bike tour with the Wild Bunch Desert Guides.
(TOP) A family of four pauses to pose in front of the trademark of the old Southwest, a majestic Saguaro Cactus, during a Phoenix mountain bike tour with the Wild Bunch Desert Guides. (COVER) With a picturesque backdrop, including one of Arizona's memorable sunsets, a family of four takes a memorable vacation photo during a Scottsdale mountain bike tour with the Wild Bunch. 


If I had a dollar for every time I hear the refrain, I would be sitting on a beach somewhere sipping a fruity cocktail enjoying early retirement on my own private tropical island.

“Oh, I wish the kids could be here to enjoy this!” I overhear mothers or fathers comment to their significant others while enjoying guided Phoenix adventure tours with my Wild Bunch Desert Guides.

Truly, my heart breaks when I think of the countless children left behind at their family’s resort of choice for a morning or afternoon of “Kids Club” activities.

Especially so because NOBODY has to do that when it comes to my mom-and-pop specialty shop’s guided Phoenix hiking tours or guided Scottsdale mountain bike tours.

As our five-star reviews show, the Wild Bunch offers unforgettably memorable fun for the whole family!

And unlike amusement parks with long lines – or the cattle-call experiences with the big retail companies – the Wild Bunch outings are totally private and completely customizable.

Only you and your family or travel party is included in your Wild Bunch adventure. You will never be asked to join a group with Kevin from Kalamazoo, his girlfriend Donna from Dearborn and six frat buddies from a Big Ten college.

At the Wild Bunch, we also take the time to find out how to best fit your wants and needs on your exclusive excursion, as well as place you on a trail with a guide to meet your fitness and skills.

Are you celebrating a birthday, anniversary or another special event? Let us know!

Is there a diverse range of ages and skills in your group? Tell us about it!

And avoid feeling grandparents with mobility challenges -- or anyone with a disability -- is unable to enjoy one of our adventures! We have handicap accessible ADA Hiking Trails in Phoenix at our disposal (READ PAST BLOG BY CLICKING HERE).

A family of six hikes up a hill with a mountainous backdrop behind them during a Wild Bunch adventure.
A family of six hikes up a hill with a mountainous backdrop behind them during a Wild Bunch adventure.

 
Kids Day on Phoenix adventure tours
Here are tips to include your children in your Wild Bunch Desert Guides experience:
  1. Please understand this is not a babysitting service. In the Phoenix adventure tours industry, all children must be accompanied by an adult for a commonsense reason – while the Wild Bunch guides are medically trained, if for some reason somebody needs to make a major decision in a medical emergency, a parent needs to be the person doing that. Because of those and other legal liability issues, Wild Bunch is not able to take children younger than 16 alone on an outing. If a child is 16 or over, we can allow them to go with a guide of the same gender. However, older brothers and sisters under 18 are not appropriate adult supervision for younger siblings. So, for instance, we would not allow a 17- and 12-year-old to go alone with a guide. Nor will we allow four 16-year-olds to go together in a group. Wild Bunch would still require a parent the entire time at the trail.
  2. For guided Scottsdale mountain biking tours, your child has to be able to ride a bike intermittently for over an hour without training wheels. There is no age minimum; and neither kids nor adults need to have any mountain biking experience. Instead, simple bike-riding ability is the biggest requirement and greatest obstacle families have for enjoying the experience.
  3. There is no age minimum for guided Phoenix hiking tours, either. Wild Bunch has taken kids as young as 2 years old on a hike with their parents. If the younger children want to walk a little and then be carried by a parent, that is up to the parents what they and their children can manage, and we talk at length about that during the booking process. Also keep in mind our access to handicap accessible ADA hiking trails in Phoenix when considering groups with anything from strollers to electronic wheelchairs.
  4. The fee for guided Scottsdale hiking tours is the same for all ages. However, for guided Phoenix mountain bike tours, special discounted kid’s rates are offered. Wild Bunch has special kids-sized gloves, helmets, backpacks, and bikes, too. So, children are outfitted exactly the same as adults. Tip: If you have kids under 10, the best mountain biking adventure is going to be the hour-and-a-half version, but there are exceptions to that rule because we have kids coming in all the time from places such as Colorado, for instance, who are extremely experienced and regularly ride for three hours. So, just keep the skills and abilities of your kids in mind when booking.
  5. During questions in the booking process, be totally honest and completely forthcoming. Wild Bunch wants to make sure to match your family with the best experience. There are some trails that allow us to adjust an adventure on the fly – and shift to a more or less challenging stretch -- but remember it is always better to start slow and look to speed up. Wild Bunch wants all guests to have a safe and successful Phoenix adventure tour so they can enjoy themselves as a family and not find everything is a chore.
  6. Understand the scenery and surroundings change every day in the desert. So, you never know when you will see a win-the-lottery Gila Monster or Rattlesnake. There are native Arizonans who have never seen either creature – and, unfortunately, neither answers our cellphone calls to schedule their appearances. Instead, this is a real-life thrill ride full of surprises in far-from-typical surroundings in a unique part of the country. Where else are you going to see Cactus, for instance? Any exotic surprises are why these are the kinds of adventures you remember for a lifetime.
A father trails his smiling son during a Phoenix mountain bike tour with the Wild Bunch Desert Guides. 
With the Sonoran Desert's flora on full display, a father trails his smiling son during a Phoenix mountain bike tour with the Wild Bunch Desert Guides.


Kids Day on Phoenix mountain bike tours
The Wild Bunch Desert Guides fully embrace the awesome responsibility that we are the first-ever experience on a mountain bike for most kids.

So, the pressure is on to make sure we do everything we can to help kids love a healthy, life-long activity and spark an interest in the sport.

Throughout my time as a guide -- even prior to founding the Wild Bunch – I have seen many of our pre-teen first-timers become state mountain biking champions through their high school programs back home.

It is so heartwarming to have past guests stay in touch by sending me photos of their children standing on place-winning race podiums because our staff played a part in their incredible journey.

Wild Bunch takes pride in being able to teach good riding habits, offer a little coaching, help the kids over their natural fears and send them home with some new-found skills.

When parents call about Phoenix mountain bike tours with us, chances are the kids have ridden bikes before, so we are already in a conversation about ages, sizes, and skill levels -- so we can match their kids with the correct equipment and perfect adventure.

But riding bikes on the desert floor is a lot different than your sidewalk, neighborhood street or local bike path. There is a lot of uneven terrain, rocky scenery, and unfamiliar surroundings.

So, the first thing I talk to parents about is what to expect for themselves as well as their children.

For starters, there is cactus on the side of trails, and there are wild animals that live in the desert.

So, the kids AND adults need to know to follow the guide and be focused. There is no room to get crazy and go off trail, because that is when bad things can happen -- and that is what your Wild Bunch guide is trying to prevent.

Another thing we are known for and really good at is handling a minor crash if one should happen.

Wild Bunch gets the kids back up on the bike to finish the adventure.

Of course, we dust them off, check them out medically, and allow their parents to step in to help dry tears and offer encouragement.

However, after any accident, Wild Bunch also makes a point to take the bike back to that rough spot and have the kids ride over that challenging area again to diminish any mental trauma and let them conquer their fear. We let them feel brave and become the hero of their experience.

Wild Bunch works hard to ensure kids have an awesome time on a mountain bike, and if you read the bios of our guides, you will see we boast some of the most-experienced teachers and best-trained safety experts in the guiding business.

Three generations of a family -- grandma, grandchild and parents -- marvel at the incredible palette of colors in the sky thanks to another breathtaking Arizona sunset witness during a Wild Bunch hiking tour in Scottsdale.

Three generations of a family -- grandma, grandchild and parents -- marvel at the incredible palette of colors in the sky thanks to another breathtaking Arizona sunset witness during a Wild Bunch hiking tour in Scottsdale.?
 

Kids Day on Phoenix hiking tours
For families, guided Phoenix mountain bike tours are actually preferable to guided Scottsdale hiking tours.

Here is why: The bike rides are very active and about learning skills the kids can carry forward. The hikes are more educational about the flora, the fauna, and the survival skills of the desert.

So, during Scottsdale mountain bike tours, the Wild Bunch Desert Guides naturally have an easier time keeping shorter attention spans – because everybody is moving -- and so parents actually have an exponentially easier job supervising their children.

With kids on a hike, the most difficult job is making sure the children understand to STAY ON THE TRAIL -- the biggest rule of any Phoenix adventure tours.

Children are naturally curious but straying off trail and exploring away from a tight-knit group can be a dangerous prospect. Kids seemingly want to touch everything you tell them not to touch.

However, nobody wants to have to delay their adventure by having their guide remove cactus needles from their body with a pair of pliers.

So, we really rely on parents to be especially mindful of their children on Phoenix hiking tours.

If your adventure comes across an edible cactus? Our expert guides have no problem making it safe for the kids to taste!

The Wild Bunch also knows of many cacti that are showing their age and have lost their needles at the base -- so our expert guides are able to allow children to hug a cactus -- and that makes for another amazingly memorable experience, too.

Not many zoos can match the natural splendor found minutes from your hotel or resort in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area.

Wild Bunch Desert Guides wants kids to love the outdoors as much as we do – and so we put in the extra effort to make them go home raving about their experience.

With a beautiful Arizona sunset as the backdrop, a smiling son and his beaming parents pose in front of a Saguaro Cactus after a memorable mountain bike tour in Phoenix with the Wild Bunch.

With a beautiful Arizona sunset as the backdrop, a smiling son and his beaming parents pose in front of a
Saguaro Cactus after a memorable mountain bike tour in Phoenix with the Wild Bunch.


 
Phoenix adventure tours Kids Day checklist
Here is a list of things families can do to be sure to have a great time on Phoenix adventure tours:
  1. I know on vacation the tendency is to jam in as much as you can. However, trust my experience when I say flying in and chasing fun the same day with kids is not a good idea because it is hard on the children (and adults). So, avoid booking guided Phoenix adventure tours on the day of your arrival. Instead, give yourself some time to:
  • Settle in at your hotel or resort;
  • Adjust to both the elevation change and warm, dry climate;
  • Make sure to eat and drink and get hydrated;
  • Enjoy the time to unwind from your travel (catching a swim in the pool is a great way to relax).
  1. Another piece of travel advice I share with guests is to book the “human-powered activities” at the front of the vacation. So, look to do those guided Phoenix hiking tours or Scottsdale mountain bike tours before your family gets understandably tired and worn out Save the less physically demanding activities for the back end of your trip – such as off-roading in the desert in an all-terrain vehicle with Stellar Adventures -- or taking a balloon ride above the desert with Hot Air Expeditions.
  2. Plans change and last-minute bookings happen all of the time. However, if you have not booked weeks or days in advance, please call to consult with Wild Bunch as soon as you can. For guided Phoenix mountain bike tours, it is especially important for us to have the correct details about your children so we can make sure to have the correct-sized bikes. Their age, height and weight have to be exact so we can get every detail absolutely right for your adventure.
  3. Before your adventure tour, make sure the kids (and adults) are lathered up in sunblock. Wild Bunch also provides sunscreen before and during every journey just in case. We do not want anyone to ruin their vacation and get sunburned during Phoenix adventure tours in the sunny Sonoran Desert.
  4. Also make sure the kids (and adults) are properly hydrated. I know kids are sometimes not fond of water, so that is a challenge to get them to drink enough, but in Arizona’s dry heat, hydrating before an outdoor activity is a safety essential. Wild Bunch also brings plenty of water out on the trail. We absolutely do not want anyone getting dehydrated during their experience.
  5. Be sure and dress for the conditions! For instance, if it is chilly? Bring a jacket. You can always shed layers. Also, for Phoenix hiking tours or Scottsdale mountain bike tours, tennis shoes certainly work. However, sandals and flip-flops are not appropriate.
  6. Be forewarned: This is not the resort’s kids club for parents to sneak away for some private play time. This is an adventure tour and physical activity that requires parental supervision for all sorts of reasons.
The bottom line is the reason why you book with the Wild Bunch Desert Guides. We help you navigate the unfamiliar by taking away all the worries – the logistics and other details – so you can focus on having much-deserved family fun together.

About the Author

Laurel Darren is the founding owner of the Wild Bunch Desert Guides, a 5-star rated adventure tour company that offers guided hiking tours and guided mountain biking tours in Arizona’s picturesque Sonoran Desert in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Arriving in the legendary “Valley of the Sun” in 2012 -- from the home of John Deere in the Quad Cities of Eastern Iowa/Western Illinois -- this corn-fed Midwest girl brought 30 years of athletic chops under her chaps. A 3-sport high school standout and former college softball player – who won her conference’s Athlete of the Year award as a prep senior – Darren has graduated to competing in many races as an adult, from road running and cycling, to cyclo-cross and Mountain Bikes, and even Duathlon and Triathlon “Ironman” competitions. Darren was a popular, top-rated senior mountain bike guide at Arizona’s Outback Adventures before branching out to start her own small adventure business in 2016. To book a guided mountain bike tour or guided hiking trip – or a combination of the two adventures – please visit the home page www.wildbunchdesertguides.com or call 602-663-0842.



 

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