FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
WF awards

Autism-Friendly Mesa, Arizona

by Teresa Bitler

Feb 8, 2020

Mesa Arizona First Autism Certified City in the United States. Photo: Visit Mesa

Travel Tips

Traveling with autism isn’t easy. Unfamiliar environments can be overwhelming, some attractions can be overstimulating and businesses may not be able to accommodate someone on the spectrum. As a result, according to Autismtravel.com, 87 percent of families with autism don’t travel.


First Autism-Certified City

However, that could change soon, thanks to Mesa, Arizona. The Phoenix suburb recently became the first in the United States to become an Autism Certified City, a designation given by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. Now, families can plan an autism-friendly vacation to Mesa where staff at nearly 60 attractions, hotels, restaurants, and businesses have undergone autism certification training.


Training involves learning to understand what autism is (and isn’t), how individuals with autism experience the world and how to empathize and communicate better with them. Staff is also taught to be aware of common sensitivities and concerns in a recreational environment.


In addition to hospitality-related businesses, more than 500 Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities employees and 1,200-plus Mesa Police Department public safety and law enforcement officers are undergoing autism certification training. Neighboring Queen Creek’s fire department and parks and recreation department are following suit with other communities exploring autism certification.

Saguaro Lake Ranch Autism Family Travel. Photo: Visit Mesa.


Things to Do in Mesa

Families with autism can visit the Arizona Museum of Natural History to learn about dinosaurs, geology and ancient civilizations or make art at the i.d.e.a. Museum. Other memory-making activities include yoga with goats at AZ Goat Yoga, playing laser tag and other games at Jake’s Unlimited and trying to escape at Escape Rooms Mesa.


Outdoorsy families can hike at nearby regional parks or explore the Sonoran desert’s waterways with Riverbound Sports Paddle Co. Or, they can try geocaching, an outdoor treasure hunt game, by downloading the Geocaching app, searching for Visit Mesa Autism Travel GeoTour and picking a geocache. Mesa also has several autism-friendly parks younger kids will love.


The parks and several of the attractions offer online sensory guides indicating levels of sensory stimulation (touch, taste, sound, smell and sight) so parents can better plan their visit.


Two of the Phoenix metropolitan area’s most popular family attractions, OdySea Aquarium and Butterfly Wonderland, are also autism-friendly. Watch for more attractions in the metro area to get certification soon as well.


For more complete list of companies — including hotels, restaurants and attractions — in Mesa that completed or committed to autism training, click here. View the Visit Mesa Autism Travel Guide online here.


Insta Feed
Jun 29, 2020

LGBTQ+ Rights Sites and Memorials to Visit Around the World

As Pride Month comes to an end and following the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which marked a crucial turning point in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, we’ve compiled a list of important LGBTQ+ sites and memorials around the world.

A New Outdoor Bonding Experience

With technology advancing faster than ever, children globally are becoming attached to devices. Adults too. Our Netflix queue and ever-expanding inbox call our names even when we’re on vacation. We carry distractions with us everywhere, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to truly connect with your loved ones.

Multigenerational Rafting Experiences on the Colorado River

Multigenerational travel is a growing trend for good reason. When different generations of a family can come together, share common experiences and have fun, lasting memories are made.

Destinations / North America
Jun 25, 2020

Martha’s Vineyard for Families

Easy to reach from either the Boston or New York areas, Martha’s Vineyard is a laid-back island with beaches, historic attractions and lots of outdoor activities for families. Walk, bike, paddle or sail here for an active, stress-free vacation, but with culture and fine dining just as available.

Destinations / Mexico
Jun 19, 2020

5 Cities Tequila Lovers Should Visit in the State of Jalisco in Mexico

Jalisco, Mexico’s most emblematic region, is the birthplace of many of the country’s cultural offerings, including Tequila; the state is rich with the drink’s history and the culture that surrounds it. Tequila fans looking for a fun tour of Jalisco, check out  Viva Tequila Festival’s Mexico Experience Tour, which brings guests on a luxurious tour to five cities to explore Jalisco’s Mexican spirit and provide a deeper understanding of the different regions that cultivate agave.