If you’re like us, you’re ready for the cold of winter to end, which has us thinking ahead to the 29th International Symposium on Human Identification, which will be held in Phoenix, Arizona! If you’ve never been to Phoenix, think of red rocks, blue sky, desert landscape, and golden sunshine.
Written by: Tara Luther, Promega Corporation
Phoenix is the capital, and the largest city, of Arizona, and is also known as the Valley of the Sun, due to its location in the Salt River Valley. The city is surrounded on all sides by saguaro cactus studded low mountain ranges. Phoenix was first inhabited by the Hohokam people in 1450 A.D. They created the first major urban civilization in the Salt River Valley and developed a canal system that is still used today. In 1865, the United States Government established Fort McDowell, and settlers began farming the land. The city of Phoenix was officially established in 1868. Phoenix has a rich cultural history, and while you’re in Phoenix, history buffs are encouraged to visit the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park or the Heard Museum.
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, no visit to Phoenix would be complete without a trip to the Sonoran Desert, home to the saguaro cactus. Found in no other desert in the world, these cacti can grow as tall as 50 feet and live as long as 200 years! Those who like to bike or hike will feel right at home, but there are other ways to see the desert, such as by horse, Jeep, or even the basket of a hot-air balloon! Another great way to appreciate the unique Phoenix landscape is to visit the Desert Botanical Garden – home to more than 50,000 arid-landscape plants from around the world.
If you have a bit more time, the Grand Canyon National Park is just a three and a half hour drive away. Considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the park covers 1,217,262 acres of the Grand Canyon. Valued for its combination of size, depth, and exposed layers of colorful rocks dating back to Precambrian times, the canyon was created by the incision of the Colorado River and its tributaries after the Colorado Plateau was uplifted.
Are you an animal lover? If so, consider a trip to the Phoenix Zoo, home to native Phoenix dwellers, such as desert-dwelling snakes, javelinas, and coyotes. They also recently unveiled the new Isle of the Tiger Exhibit! To see more exotic animals, visit Out of Africa Wildlife Park, where exotic animals from around the world roam in spacious habitats. A safari tour gives you the chance to see these beautiful creatures and their natural behavior up close!
If you’ve attended past ISHI’s, you’ll know that we’re no stranger to Phoenix, but this time we’ll be downtown in the heart of the city in the Phoenix Convention Center! Inspired by the hues of the Sonoran Desert and the cool tones of the Arizona sky, the convention center welcomes visitors with natural light streaming in from dramatic architecture reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. Downtown’s Roosevelt Row was named one of the 10 Best City Arts Districts by USA Today, and the convention center is mere steps from a variety of urban eateries, live music, professional sports, and art museums. Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport is only four miles from the convention center, and offers nonstop service from 80 US and 20 International destinations.