Guest Program

Guest Program

Penrose Guest Hospitality Suite

Hours: Sun.–Wed., 22–25 Sept., 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

We warmly welcome all members of the GSA community to Phoenix! As part of that welcome, we offer registered guests and Penrose Circle Invitees a comfortable hospitality suite for rest and relaxation while technical sessions are happening. As a registered guest, you are welcome to attend your companion’s technical session(s), and you will have admittance to the Exhibit Hall. Activities in the suite include complimentary refreshments, entertaining and complimentary seminars, and local experts ready to answer your questions about the area. Local tours and activities will also be offered for an additional fee. We hope you take advantage of the tours to learn about the area from one of the knowledgeable guides.

Local Tours

The following tours are open to all registered meeting attendees and guests – simply sign up during the registration process online or via paper form.

CANCELED – Heard Museum

Sun., 22 Sept., 9:30 a.m.–1 p.m. US$59; 20-person minimum.

We’re off to the Heard Museum, which reigns as the leading exhibitor of the heritage and history and arts and crafts of the Native American people. You’ll trace the development of the culture of the Southwestern Indians through the many art displays, including Kachina carvings, silver-smithing, rug weavings, pottery, and basketry, to name a few. Look in on a Southwestern Indian craftsman as they create an original work of art, and browse through the gift shop, offering one of the finest selections of original Indian crafts available in the Valley. We’ll also include a tour of the surrounding neighborhood to familiarize you with the downtown convention center area.

Desert Botanical Garden

Mon., 23 Sept., 8 a.m.–noon. US$64; 20-person minimum.

Most of the world’s 20,000 varieties of cacti and desert plants are displayed in this 145-acre living museum, along with succulents, trees, wild flowers, and shrubs from arid regions of Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Temporary art exhibits rotate throughout the year, and guests will enjoy the creations of both national and local artists with colorful and monumental exhibitions, which can be found throughout the garden. Our guide will be available during the self-guided tour to answer any questions. You won’t want to miss “Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert,” a three-acre trail through a saguaro cactus forest, a mesquite thicket, a desert stream environment, and an upland chaparral habitat that explores the many uses of desert plants for food, construction, tools, basket making, and more. As we travel through the city to the gardens, our guide will showcase various points of interest along the route.

CANCELED – Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s School of Architecture, and Carefree

Tues., 24 Sept., 8 a.m.–noon. US$81; 20-person minimum.

Follow us to the foothills of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, the architectural school and foundation of the legendary master. You’ll look in on his architects of tomorrow and their blueprints for the future and view a slide show highlighting the past works created by Mr. Wright. During this 90-minute tour, you’ll visit the Wright’s private living quarters, the gracious Taliesin West “garden room,” the drafting studio, music pavilion, the cabaret cinema, and more while you enjoy a walking tour around the terraces and walkways with an experienced guide who will explain the history and importance of the architecture. From there, we’ll head on to Carefree, a resort community north of the city, nestled in the Foothills, and offering a rugged Western yet upscale vibe. We’ll stop at some of the boutique shops and galleries and include plenty of sightseeing along the way.

CANCELED – Hello Phoenix, Hello Scottsdale

Wed., 25 Sept., 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. US$42; 20-person minimum.

Join us for an introduction and overview to the 5th largest city in America, Phoenix, Arizona. Our experienced guide will keep you entertained and informed during our tour around the historic, financial, and entertainment districts surrounding the convention center and beyond. From past to present, you’ll learn about our vibrant city, including a drive past the capitol building, the sports arena, and several historic Phoenix landmarks. We’ll also travel to the Old Town/5th Ave. area of Scottsdale, where you’ll have time to explore the unique Southwestern shops, boutiques, and galleries that make Scottsdale “The West’s Most Western Town.”


Southwest Wildlife Exhibit

Sun., 22 Sept., 10–11 a.m.

Enjoy an up-close-and-personal look at the creatures that call the Southwest desert home. A sample of our native Sonoran reptiles, birds, and/or mammals will be available, along with their handler, for a brief presentation on life in the Arizona wild.

Edible Gardening

Mon., 23 Sept., 10–11 a.m.

Often confined to the backyard, edible gardens are about to make their front-yard debut. A certified garden expert will introduce the concept of incorporating traditional landscape plants with edible plants to create a visually appealing and functional garden. Selecting the right plants and incorporating design into your garden will provide food season after season by using eco-friendly solutions to create an environment for them to flourish. The resulting productive crop of seasonal herbs and vegetables can become a part of your family’s health and well-being as you learn where and how your food is produced.

Desert Hacks & Facts

Tues., 24 Sept., 10–11 a.m.

Learn a potpourri of skills, techniques, tricks, and facts that make a walk in the desert enjoyable, interesting, and survivable. Want to enjoy that hike in the desert a bit more? Want answers to questions such as: “How do I find my direction when my GPS and cell phone don’t work?” “Can I really start a campfire with a soda can?” “How do I know what type of animal track I am looking at?” “What is a glochid?” “How does a saguaro thrive?” “Where can I find pierogi?” This 60-minute stomp through unusual desert trivia will prepare you to fake being a desert denizen and impress your family and friends.