Off to see the birds... at Veterans Oasis Park, Chandler Arizona.   photo by: Andrea Guthmann

Off to see the birds… at Veterans Oasis Park, Chandler, Arizona.
Photo credit: Andrea Guthmann / Midwest TravelingMom


We’ve all heard that the best things in life are free. Sure, it’s a cliche, but most of us can agree that it’s true. But what about when we’re on vacation? How do we look past the souvenir shops and tourist spots, and remember to treasure the real beauty of a place – without spending a cent?

Being a scenery-starved city girl, my top vacation priority is always to get out into the wilderness. Lucky for me, it’s free! Another priority for me as a Chicagoan? Seeing the sun in the winter. My destination of choice? The Phoenix Valley of Arizona, otherwise known as the Valley of the Sun.


Blue heron at 1:00! photo by Andrea Guthmann

Blue heron at one o’clock! Photo credit: Andrea Guthmann / Midwest TravelingMom


Spotting Birds in Chandler’s Veterans Oasis Park

On my last trip I learned about the town of Chandler’s phenomenal birding spot, Veterans Oasis Park. On the first Saturday of each month from November through April, the Desert Rivers Audubon Society offers free Family Bird Walks from 8am-noon. They even provide the binoculars! Give my 5-year-old a pair of binoculars and she’s guaranteed to have a good time! Give me a desert in bloom, and I’m in my happy place as well.

photo by Andrea Guthmann

Photo credit: Andrea Guthmann / Midwest TravelingMom

Our Audubon volunteer guide even gave us a complimentary Birds of Phoenix guide. In it you’ll find out all you need to know about birds that vary from the Great Blue Heron to the Common Yellowthroat.Want to learn more? Download the Desert Rivers Audubon Society’s app, Guide to 101 Birding Sites in Phoenix, for $9.99. So go ahead… take it outside!