Depending on how motivated you are during these dog days of summer, the more than 14 hours of daylight on June 20 could either be nice and relaxing or full of different Valley activities.
The Summer Solstice is on Wednesday and beats out Thursday, June 21, as longest day of the year by about one second. On both days, the sun will rise at 5:19 a.m. and set at 7:41 p.m., giving residents more than 14 hours and 22 minutes of daylight. On both days, the solar noon — the highest the sun will be in the sky all year — is at 12:30 p.m., according to the website, www.timeanddate.com.
The Summer Solstice is marked as the day when the earth’s tilt toward the sun is at its maximum, which leads to the fact that the sun will be at the its northern most point in the sky. And, as the name implies, it is also the first day of summer.
Now, if you have the option to go anywhere in the world to experience this event, I would recommend Stonehenge in England. Every year thousands of people gather at the prehistoric monument to watch the sun rise through the massive stones. You may not be able to uncover exactly what the structure was used for in prehistoric days, but the party and view is probably a once in a lifetime experience.
However, if you are like me and for one reason or another you can’t book a trip to the U.K. on a whim, there are still plenty of events in the Valley of the Sun that can fill up time blocks during your 14-plus hours of sunlight.
It may be no Stonehenge but a website claims a magnificent view of the sunrise can be seen from the Mormon Trail in South Mountain Park. Ahwatukee Foothills residents may have to venture to the other side of the mountain to view it, but the website, www.zullophoto.com/summer_solstice.html, claims the sun rises between the summits of Four Peaks off to the east. The writer says he watched it from the bottom of Mormon Trail.
From there, the options are virtually limitless. For those of us who prefer to stay in doors, as the high temperature for Wednesday is predicted at 112 degrees, there is the traveling exhibit, “Beyond Geronimo: The Apache Experience” at the Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix. The exhibit will showcase some of Geronimo’s personal possessions, which includes some items that have never been seen by the public before.
The morning stint at the Heard Museum could be followed by an afternoon of baseball as the Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Seattle Mariners at 12:40 p.m. To entice residents out to the ballpark for the afternoon games, the organization offers “matinee pricing” on select seats. Tickets in the club reserve, baseline reserve and infield reserve are $7 off.
That leaves about three hours of sunlight left should the game start and end on average time. If your cultural appetite hasn’t been satisfied, you can always stop into the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave., which is open until 9 p.m. on Wednesday. Also between 3 and 9 p.m. they operate under free/voluntary donation for entrance.
The last remaining minutes of the day can be taken in at one of the many fine restaurants in Ahwatukee Foothills. You could grab some frozen yogurt at Yoasis, 1304 E. Chandler Blvd., and watch as the sun sets over South Mountain, marking the end of the longest day of the year. And then you can do it all again on Thursday, and just have one second less to squeeze everything in.
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