Spring training in Arizona: Top 10 things to do when you're not at a Cactus League game

Spring training 2022 is in full swing, and if you’ve come to metro Phoenix to watch your favorite MLB team find its groove, have you considered how you'll spend the hours when you're not at the ballpark?

The weather this time of year is not just perfect for baseball, but for all kinds of outdoor activities. Whether you want to hike, soak up some history or grab a bite to eat at a popular Phoenix restaurant, The Arizona Republic has got you covered.

Spring training games will be played through April 5, so you have plenty of time to plan your outings.

Here are 10 things Cactus League fans can do while visiting Arizona.

Spring training in Arizona: What fans can expect at all 10 Cactus League stadiums

Stroll through a botanical garden

Connect with nature and learn about desert plants at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, the state’s oldest and largest botanical garden. The Wallace Desert Garden at the arboretum is home to more than 800 varieties of cactus. The arboretum is 55 miles east of central Phoenix.

Want to keep closer to your next ballgame? The Japanese Friendship Garden in downtown Phoenix is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city. There are serene walkways, shady spots and ponds with koi fish swimming about.

More: Botanical gardens in Phoenix and beyond

Drive the Apache Trail to Tortilla Flat

Looking for an easy day trip from Phoenix? Visit Tortilla Flat. This historic former stagecoach stop offers a scenic escape from the city and an authentic taste of the Old West.

About 53 miles east of central Phoenix on the southern edge of Tonto National Forest, the area that is now Tortilla Flat has served as a way station in the rugged Superstition Mountains for over 1,000 years.

With food, live music, vintage buildings including a post office and museum, souvenirs, lots of Southwest history and famous prickly pear gelato, it's easy to see why Tortilla Flat is a fun place to spend an afternoon. Here's everything you can do in Tortilla Flat.

'We are the curators of history': Meet the owners preserving Tortilla Flat's heritage

Go play in a park

Arizona is famous for its national and state parks, and there are so many of them to choose from. But you don't have to plan a road trip to enjoy the outdoors. There are dozens of parks, mountain preserves and recreation areas throughout Phoenix.

Whether you are looking to swim; play basketball; let your kids run around; picnic; jog; or just lounge on the grass, there are numerous options to choose from. These are five of the best-loved parks in Phoenix. If you've ever wanted to visit a park with peacocks wandering about, Sahuaro Ranch Park in Glendale is the place to go.

Visit Frank Lloyd Wright's desert laboratory

Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and National Historic Landmark in the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale. You can tour the desert laboratory — reservations are recommended — or attend one of its upcoming events.

Sunsets and Sips, a happy hour for guests to “linger and mingle with a drink on our famous Prow,” will take place 5-7 p.m. March 23 and 30. Tickets cost $35 and include one drink ticket. There is also a Saturday Night Salon ($50 admission) from 6:30-8 p.m. March 26, which will host a discussion on "The Architecture of Music."

While you're at Taliesin West, you'll also find renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihuly and his team's glass "masterpieces" on exhibit.

Dale Chihuly: His love of the desert, Frank Lloyd Wright and new exhibitions

The venue isn't far for fans going to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and Scottsdale Stadium.

Details: 12621 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale. 480-860-2700, https://franklloydwright.org/taliesin-west.

Rent a donut boat, paddleboard or kayak

Why, yes, you can go boating in the Sonoran Desert.

Tempe Town Lake is an easy drive from Diablo Stadium and Sloan Park. Here you'll find places that rent surrey bikes, pedal boats, kayaks, electric pontoon boats and even donut boats. If you prefer to stay off the water, there's a 7-mile loop around the lake for walkers, runners and bikers. Tempe Beach Park is at 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway.

Here are two places that rent watercraft and other gear:

See exotic and endangered animals

If your team's ballpark is in the West Valley — including Surprise Stadium, Peoria Sports Complex, Camelback Ranch-Glendale and Goodyear Ballpark — and you need a place to take the family, check out Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park.

The park says it has "Arizona’s largest collection of exotic and endangered animals, with more than 600 separate species, rides, a petting zoo and daily shows." Don't forget to check out the baby animal nursery.

Details: 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park. 602-321-5478, https://wildlifeworld.com.

Spring training 2022: Where to eat near every baseball stadium in metro Phoenix

Head out on a wildflower walk

Arizona won't have a wildflower superbloom in 2022, but you’ll see brittlebush, desert marigold and lupines in parks and trails all across the desert enveloping metro Phoenix. So head out and visit some of these reliable spots to spot wildflowers around town. If you find only a few dozen flowers instead of thousands, remember this: At least you didn’t spend the day shoveling snow.

Arizona wildflowers: These are the blooms you're most likely to spot

Sample some of Arizona's best wines, beers and cheeses

The Verde Valley, which encompasses Sedona, Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Jerome and Camp Verde, sits nearly dead center in the scenic middle of the state.

The volcanic soil and a diversity of elevations have made it an ideal place to grow wine grapes, and the enterprising vineyards of the Valley are going beyond Old World techniques to create distinctive bottles.

Winemakers aren't the only ones shaking things up in the region. Artisan food producers and craft brewers have set up shop in the historic downtown areas. These places to eat and drink are worth the drive to the Verde Valley.

More: This Arizona wine region just got major national recognition.

Sip the best beers in Flagstaff

Heavy hitters like Mother Road and Lumberyard are well worth a stop on your visit to Flagstaff in northern Arizona.

But don't skip over some of the smaller spots, like Historic Brewing Co., which churns out seasonal pie-flavored porters and Dark Sky Brewing Co., which happens to sling some of the best pizza in the state.

Here's your guide to the best places to drink craft beer in downtown Flagstaff.

Tucson: Saguaro National Park and much more

Tucson is an easy drive from Phoenix, but don't assume the Old Pueblo is just a smaller sibling to the bigger state capital. Tucson is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the Southwest and it wears its heritage proudly.

Whether you go for a day, a weekend or longer, you can drive through dense stands of saguaro cactus, sightsee on the way up 9,157-foot Mount Lemmon, explore historic neighborhoods and eat Sonoran-style Mexican food at local-favorite restaurants.

Here are the best things to do when you visit Tucson.

Hiking in Tucson: Where to see waterfalls, mountains and a rare crested saguaro

You can connect with Arizona Republic Culture and Outdoors Reporter Shanti Lerner through email at shanti.lerner@gannett.com or you can also follow her on Twitter.

Reach Entertainment Reporter KiMi Robinson at kimi.robinson@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @kimirobin and Instagram @ReporterKiMi.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Best things to do during spring training in Arizona