The Best Parks of #Phoenix

Don’t have a lot of money but you want to get out of the house? See nature? Have fun? Go on a walk? Have a picnic? Let’s check out the best parks in Phoenix. This city is known as the Valley of the Sun, however, there are also some gems of nature in this city and you’ll be happy to visit them all.

Papago Park

This park boasts sweeping vistas of red sandstone formations all around, making it one of the must-see parks in all of the Phoenix area. If you’re in town, you’ll definitely want to visit this park at least once for the glory of it. This park is home to the Hole in the Rock as well as Hunt’s Tomb. If you climb the sandstone, you’ll get a glorious view of the downtown Phoenix skyline, as well as take in the beauty of a desert sunset. This park also houses the Phoenix Zoo as well as the Desert Botanical Gardens. Whatever your taste for visiting the sights of Phoenix, Papago Park is your one-stop shop.

Japanese Friendship Garden

The Japanese Friendship Garden is located in downtown Phoenix. This park is deliciously peaceful for anyone who is overwhelmed with the chaos of everyday life. Dedicated to bringing the beauty of Japan to the acrid desert, this garden is lush with Japanese flora native to Japan, and also boasts Japanese art and sculptures created by various Japanese artists. Of course, they have a pond dotted with koi fish and tea ceremonies on site. If you’re looking for a tranquil and lovely day in the city of Phoenix, the Japanese Friendship Garden is the perfect choice.

South Mountain Park

This park is massive, with over 17,000 acres, making it the largest park in the entire United States. If you’re looking for an adventurous hike, Camelback Mountain and Superstition Mountain are waiting for you to conquer them. If you take the time to climb South Mountain, you’ll enjoy amazing views of the city as well as the horizon, where you can sit and watch the sunset if you so choose. Petroglyphs are located on South Mountain, carved by the Hohokam Indians hundreds of years ago, as well as stone structures they built around the mountainside. Picnic tables and BBQ grills are available everywhere you look, making South Mountain Park the perfect place for that BBQ picnic. Come on down and have a blast in this park.

Dreamy Draw Recreation Area

If you want to experience the Arizona desert in all its beauty and fullness, look no further than Dreamy Draw. With its mountain peaks and hidden valleys, Dreamy Draw is the perfect place to experience the local wildlife, such as coyotes, lizards, snakes, and all kinds of sagebrush for miles. You’ll enjoy dirt trails for hiking or biking, as well as some paved trails for the less adventurous adventurers. Here and there you’ll find quiet picnic areas where you’ll be able to enjoy the stillness and serenity of the open desert. Phoenix is dry but delightful and you won’t regret exploring all of her local parks.  

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5 Great Places to Have a Picnic in Phoenix, AZ

When the weather cooperates, we all love to get outside and explore the world around us. There is nothing more refreshing and soothing to the soul than a picnic in the sun, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Every city in the United States has incredible locations for picnicking. Below are 5 Great Places to Picnic in Phoenix.

Granada Park

Puescana Lake and Pholx Lake cover a large portion of Granada Park. Settling yourself next to them for a picnic offers lovely water views with palm trees and mountains towering in the distance. There are several picnic facilities, a playground, and tennis courts at the park as well. The majority of Granada Park is open land with trees dotted throughout for shade, making nearly every portion of the park a great place to picnic.

Papago Park

One of the largest parks near Phoenix, home to the Phoenix Zoo and Botanical Garden as well as the famous Hole in the Rock Formation. Papago is perfect for hiking and picnicking. Hiking up to the Hole in the Rock Formation can be difficult with the rocks and elevation, but the trails are well-marked and the view at the top is incredible. There are also covered picnic tables near the zoo and the bottom of several hiking trails that offer fantastic views of the Rock Formations throughout the park.

Steele Indian School Park

A well landscaped park with a large pond at the center. The Circle of Life monument, surrounded by three historic buildings from the old Phoenix Indian School, is one of the must-see sights in this park. 24 interpretive columns depict the history of the school and a poem on the water cistern at the center explains the Native American design of the park. Its picnic facilities are beautiful, nestled under ramadas. Overall, the park is stunning and carefully designed, full of rich history and rich nature.  

South Mountain Park and Preserve

A 16,000 acre park with fabulous trails up and down the mountain. And, it you’re looking for stunning views and a mountain top picnic, but don’t want to walk the long trails, there is a drivable road to a lookout with city views. Some of the great places to stop for a picnic and a picture are Dobbins Lookout, Holbert Lookout, and Piedras Grandes Picnic Ground. 

North Mountain Park

The crowning jewels of this park are two summit peaks that offer dramatic views of the city and wild landscape of Arizona for as far as the eye can see. At the bottom of the mountain are picnic tables and along the trails there are several benches to stop for a rest or a bite to eat. Whether you’re at the bottom of the mountain or the summit, the scenery of this park cannot be missed. 

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Fun Summer Things To Do In Phoenix, AZ

Summer is finally here!  The kids are out of school, and backyard barbecues are taking place all over the nation.  After the year we had in 2020, and most people having chosen not to take a vacation, you can almost rest assured that families will be out in full force this year.

With this in mind, we thought we would offer a few great vacation ideas to help you plan, as well as some places that would be great for just a few days away.  We all need time to recharge and some well-deserved play in the sunshine.

Here are some of the best places to check out this summer!

Heard Museum

2301 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004

The Heard Museum presents the stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective, as well as exhibitions of traditional and contemporary art by American Indian artists and artists influenced by American Indian art. The Heard Museum collaborates with American Indian artists and tribal communities on providing visitors with a distinctive perspective about the art of Native people, especially those from the Southwest. The Heard Museum’s mission is to be “the world’s preeminent museum for the presentation, interpretation, and advancement of American Indian art, emphasizing its intersection with broader artistic and cultural themes.” The central Phoenix location of the Heard Museum has been designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride.

Musical Instrument Museum

4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050

The Musical Instrument Museum is located in Phoenix, Arizona. Opened in April 2010, it is the largest museum of its type in the world. The collection of over 15,000 musical instruments and associated objects includes examples from nearly 200 countries and territories, representing every inhabited continent. Some larger countries such as the United States, Mexico, India, China, and Brazil have multiple displays with subsections for different types of ethnic, folk, and tribal music.

Camelback Mountain

Phoenix, AZ

Camelback Mountain is a mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. The English name is derived from its shape, which resembles the hump and head of a kneeling camel. The mountain, a prominent landmark of the Phoenix metropolitan area, is located in the Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area between the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix and the town of Paradise Valley. It is a popular recreation destination for hiking and rock climbing.

OdySea Aquarium

9500 East Via de Ventura Suite A-100, Scottsdale, AZ 85256

OdySea Aquarium in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a marine aquarium and the largest aquarium in the Southwest United States. It holds more than 2,000,000 US gallons of water and spans over 200,000 square feet. There are over 6,000 animals and 370 different species in over 65 exhibits. The aquarium offers educational, interactive, and entertaining experiences for guests of all ages.

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#Roadtrip Ideas from Phoenix, Arizona

There’s nothing like the Great American Road Trip! And given continued travel restrictions preventing Americans from taking their vacations abroad in many countries, more and more people are turning to road trips when they need to get away from it all.

If you’ll be in Phoenix, Arizona and are looking for scenic drives or road trips to take, read on for some fun ideas.


Taking the two-hour drive up to Sedona is rewarding both in terms of the drive and the destination. Sedona is a beautiful desert city surrounded by red rock formations, canyons, buttes, and pine forests. It also has a vibrant arts community, which means there’s plenty to see and do once you get there.

As for the drive itself, the last part of your route from Phoenix will be on SR 179, also known as the Red Rock Scenic Byway. After you turn left off of I-17 onto the byway, you’ll soon be in the Rd Rock Scenic Corridor within the Coconino National Forest. The drive is surrounded by towering, jaw-dropping rock formations with optional stop-offs at a visitors’ center (at the time of writing, it’s temporarily closed due to COVID-19), several trailheads, petroglyphs, a chapel, and a state park.

The Apache Trail

Ready to put your driving skills to the test? About two hours east of Phoenix lies the Apache Trail, an ancient route used by the native Apaches, which then became a stagecoach route. For a while, this mostly unpaved road was considered the most dangerous road in the US! Also known as Arizona State Route 88, the road is safer now, but you’ll still be facing tight turns and steep drop-offs (the speed limit remains 15 mph).

The drive will take you 40 miles through the Superstition Mountains and Tonto National Forest. Stops include Goldfield Ghost Town, Theodore Roosevelt Dam, Canyon Lake, Tortilla Flat, Lost Dutchman State Park, Tonto National Monument, and Fish Creek Hill Viewpoint.

Desert Foothills Scenic Drive

If you have less time to devote to your road trip but still want magical scenery, there’s a great drive near Scottsdale, Arizona, which is only half an hour from Phoenix. It’s called Desert Foothills Scenic Drive and is located on the stretch of Scottsdale Road between Carefree Highway and Happy Valley Road (don’t both of those names make it sound like a relaxing place to be?).

The drive is about 6 miles long and will only take you about an hour (at a maximum) to complete while doing the stops. There are around a dozen signs posted along the road that you can stop and read for information about native vegetation and other natural features. It’s kind of like a museum you can drive through! And you’ll have great views of nearby mountains from the road.

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Things to Do for the Fourth of July in Phoenix

Everyone’s favorite summer holiday is quickly approaching! Nothing says July 4th like BBQs, pool days, parades, and fireworks! But with the country beginning to emerge from the worst of it, some celebrations are returning in the area. Read on to see what’s happening around Phoenix this Independence Day and gather up some ideas for your Fourth of July weekend.

Arizona Celebration of Freedom

Ready for some fireworks? Just half an hour from Phoenix, the town of Mesa is hosting a safe, socially distanced firework show on the evening of July 3. It’s a drive-up event and you’ll be asked to either stay in your vehicle or sit outside the passenger side of your vehicle so that everyone will have a separate area from which to watch. The parking lot will open at 7 pm and event staff will assign you a parking space when you arrive (spaces are limited, so come early). There will be no food vendors, so you’re encouraged to bring your own snacks and beverages, as well as a chair or picnic blanket if you don’t want to watch from inside your car. The firework spectacular will begin at 9 pm and is completely free.

Fourth at the Fountain

The town of Fountain Hills, about 40 minutes Northeast of Phoenix, normally shows a really fun Fourth of July celebration called Fourth at the Fountain. The event usually includes a DJ, food and beverages, giveaways and raffles, games, a bounce house, a rock-climbing wall, and fireworks. This year, it’s tentatively scheduled for July 4th from 6 to 10 pm at Fountain Park. All events are subject to postponement or cancellation due to COVID-19, so you’ll want to check back here closer to the date for more details.

South Mountain Park

A laid-back day barbequing with family and friends is one of the best ways to spend the Fourth of July, and if you’re looking for a public park to host a BBQ, check out South Mountain Park which has covered picnic ramadas with tables, grills, and bathrooms. You can either grab a smaller one on a first-come-first-served basis or reserve a large one ahead of time through the Parks and Recreation department. All are surrounded by beautiful desert scenery.

South Mountain Park is also a nature preserve and at nearly 17,000 acres it is the largest city park in the country. This means that there’s plenty for the whole family to do to stay occupied while not actively grilling or eating! You can enjoy the holiday at the park by:

·   Burning some calories biking or hiking on the 50+ miles of trail through the Ma Ha Tauk, Gila, and Guadalupe mountain ranges.

·   Horseback riding.

·   Snapping some group shots at Dobbins Lookout, a scenic point 2,330 feet up

·   Attending a nature program, birdwatching, or looking for desert wildflowers.

·   Enjoying historical artifacts like the “Mystery Castle” ruins and petroglyphs.

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Arboretums and Botanical Gardens to Visit in Phoenix

When considering a vacation, or even just a day out with the family, why not consider visiting a local arboretum or botanical garden?  You can enjoy a delightful getaway with a visit to one of these beautiful gateways to all that nature has to offer.

Arboretums and botanical gardens work to promote common respect and educate with a drive towards an appreciation of the world of gardening and the insects that work to pollinate our plants and flowers. 

These nature monuments are just waiting to be discovered and welcome all visitors for a day of tranquility, enjoying their peaceful beauty.  Make sure to check out one of the arboretums or botanical gardens listed below.

Desert Botanical Garden

1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008

On our trails, you’ll experience the unique and beautiful plants that thrive in some of the hottest and driest parts of the world. Walk one or all of these Sonoran Desert nature paths and hiking trails in Phoenix, and you’ll see why we’re so passionate about desert plants.

Butterfly Wonderland

9500 E Via De Ventura, Scottsdale, AZ 85256

The conservatory is a rainforest paradise filled with thousands of butterflies that have traveled (via express post) from all over the world to greet our guests each day. Watch as up to 70 different species meet for the first time, sip nectar from beautiful flowers, bask in the brilliant Arizona sunshine, and dance the day away. Our tropical paradise is also home to dozens of colorful Koi fish, some tiny tropical finches, and two amusing chickens.

Fountain Hills Desert Botanic Garden

11300 N Fountain Hills Blvd, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268

The Garden is 8 acres with elevation from 1696 to 1800 feet.  Twenty-nine Sonoran Desert plants are identified along the half-mile meandering trail that has been constructed on the desert slopes. The trail allows for interesting views of rock formations, desert flora, animal life, and an abandoned P-Bar Ranch campsite next to the April 25, 1941, constructed dam wall.

The Rose Garden At Mesa Community College

1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202

The Rose Garden at Mesa Community College is not only a Mesa landmark but a centerpiece for the community, education, and innovative economic initiatives in the East Valley. Students, kindergarten through high school and community college through university, use the Rose Garden as botanical laboratories and study areas.  The Rose Garden’s nearly 9,000 rose bushes demonstrate the tremendous number of vibrant colors, flower forms, and growth habits that are available for everyone to enjoy from roses, whether at The Rose Garden at MCC or to provide ideas for their own gardens.

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Things to Do for Mother’s Day in Phoenix

Mother’s Day is coming up next month! The moms in our lives work so hard and give so much, so it’s important to take a day to make them feel special. Whether you’re celebrating your own mother, a step-mother, the mother of your children, or a friend who is a mom, here are some ideas of wonderful things to do with her.

Original Breakfast House

Since Mother’s Day always falls on a Sunday, it’s traditional for many people to take their mom out for brunch. This is always a winning idea, and in Phoenix, there’s no better place for brunch than Original Breakfast House. The restaurant serves up unique twists on classic American comfort food and with its extensive menu, both you and mom are sure to find something delicious to eat.

Granada Park

May is the beginning of picnic season! The weather is warming up, trees and flowers are blooming, and outdoor celebrations are a safe option during COVID-19. A great place to take your mom for a picnic locally is Granada Park. This lovely urban green space features a lagoon and a sculpture. There are plenty of shady spots where you can lay down a picnic blanket and enjoy the view of Piestewa Peak, as well as picnic tables and grills to prepare your feast.

Sunshine Craft Co.

If you want something unique to do with your mom, head to Sunshine Craft Co., a woman-owned craft room and DIY studio! While they’re not open for public crafting workshops during the pandemic, with a minimum of 7 people, you can book the studio for a private event. So, gather your siblings or your mom’s friends, choose from a range of projects, and they’ll provide the materials and the instruction. Or, if you prefer a virtual Mother’s Day crafting night, they can also prep the kits for you and provide virtual instruction over Zoom.

Desert Botanical Garden

A lot of people get their mom flowers for Mother’s Day – but how about taking her to see thousands of blooming flowers? The Desert Botanical Garden is a lovely place to spend Mother’s Day with your special someone. While you may think of the desert as barren sand, it’s actually home to plenty of diverse and beautiful life! The Garden is 55 acres chock full of highly photogenic cactus, trees, and flowers from all around the world.

Kai Restaurant

If your mom is more of the traditional type, you might want to treat her to a classy night out. Consider Kai Restaurant. It’s the only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star restaurant in Arizona and was also a 2020 James Beard award nominee for outstanding hospitality. Located in Wild Horse Pass, it serves elite interpretations of traditional Native American food made from ingredients grown by the Gila River Indian Community. Eating here is a true luxury experience, so you’ll need to be prepared to pay higher-end prices.

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Best Car Washes in Phoenix, Arizona

If you’re looking for a place to wash your car and get the best service for your money, we have a few great suggestions for you in the city of Phoenix, Arizona. It doesn’t matter if it’s your own car or a rental car, clean or dirty, old or new, whether you’re on vacation or close to home, these car washes and detailers are guaranteed to make your vehicle look like a million bucks. These guys have seen it all. Don’t be afraid to show up with your cookie crumbs, your beach sand, or your toddler’s fast-food mess into the shop. You’ll be amazed at your car’s transformation! Let’s take a closer look at what car washes Phoenix has to offer.

First, we recommend MobileWash. Not able to bring your car into the shop? No problem! This company specializes in coming to you. These detailing experts will show up wherever you happen to be and give your car a full wash by hand. Not only that, but you’ll enjoy interior detailing, a hand wax, clay bar, water spot removal, paste wax, conditioning of your upholstery, and many more different services. Download the app today and book your car wash and detailing whenever and wherever you like. It’s that simple!

Second, we suggest Phoenix Car Detailing. This shop isn’t afraid to give any kind of vehicle their 5-star detail. From cars, trucks, vans and SUV’s, to motorcycles, boats, RV’s, and even airplanes! They’re so confident in their work, your car will shine like the day you drove it off the showroom floor. Not only that, but they’ll come to you! Can’t make it into the shop? Only available at the office? That’s okay! They’ll be more than happy to meet you where you are. Services include exterior wax, swirl mark removal, engine cleaning, and wheel cleaning. Call or go online to book your appointment.

Finally, Cobblestone Auto Spa & Car Wash might just be what you’re looking for. Cobblestone Auto Spa is a full-service shop, and they aren’t lying. Need a car wash? A detail? An oil change? A full tank of gas? A snack? Come on down and give your car a spa day! Several packages are available depending on how much work you’d like to be done on your car. Their services include wheel polishes, engine cleans, restoring cloudy headlights, and ceramic coating. Go online to get yourself some coupons, gift certificates, or to join their rewards club to earn free services! You don’t want to miss the perks of the Cobblestone Auto Spa!

If you’re on a time crunch and looking for a quick drive through car wash in Atlanta, you’ll find what you’re looking for at the Splash N Dash Car Wash on N. 24th St., Weiss Guys Express on N. 40th St., or Quick N Clean Car Wash on N. 7th St. In a pinch, these drive through car washes will help keep you looking good until you can get that detailing done.

Wherever you decide to go, your car will be well taken care of. In the great city of Phoenix, Arizona, you’ll find detailers who truly care about their work and, most importantly, your car. With our recommendations, you’ll be in excellent hands.

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Pet-Friendly Hotels Around Phoenix

Those of us with pets know it can be hard to travel. You have to arrange for a pet sitter, spend extra money paying them, stock up on food and supplies before you leave, and deal with guilt for leaving your furry friend behind.

One solution that works well for easy-going or adventurous is bringing them along with you! So, if you’re planning a trip to Phoenix and want to (or have to) bring your fur baby along for the ride, you’ll need accommodations that are pet-friendly. To give you a jumpstart, we’ve analyzed a few of the very best hotels and B&Bs in Phoenix that accept pets. All are highly rated and we’ve included a variety of options from budget-friendly to luxurious. Read on and choose the one that best serves your needs!

The Clarendon Hotel and Spa

If you’re a dog-owner looking for the cool factor, look no further than The Clarendon Hotel and Spa. The rooms are hip, featuring artwork that adds bright pops of color to the walls. The hotel takes traditional amenities and gives them a cool twist. For example, the pool is surrounded by colorful, stylish tile and cabanas for rent. There’s also an exclusive Skydeck where you can enjoy rooftop views of both the city skyline and the nearby mountains. Other perks that will take your stay to the next level are the Lazy Bee Spa and the on-site New Resident Restaurant. Dogs must be under 50 lbs. and there is a $25 pet fee/night.

Airbnb – Dog-Friendly Retreat

Traveling to Phoenix for a bachelor(ette) party or family reunion? If you need to host a large group of people and pets, book this full house in neighboring Scottsdale on Airbnb. This modern and spacious property has 4 bedrooms and can sleep up to 8 guests. There are two bathrooms, a full kitchen, and Wi-Fi is included. To make your stay extra fun, the backyard has a private, in-ground pool and a patio.

Airbnb – The Jewelbox

If you need a budget-friendly place to crash while passing through the city, this studio will exceed your expectations. For a small space, it packs a lot in – like a basic kitchenette, a desk, a tiny bar with stools, a large flat-screen TV, and a picnic table outside! Not only that, but the place is impeccably decorated in a glam style. Superhost Nora has earned an impressive 4.92 rating for the property due to her attention to detail as a host.

Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

For a more luxurious stay, check yourself into the Arizona Biltmore. Located on 39-acres overlooking gardens and peaks, this high-end resort hotel boasts five pools, two golf courses, a spa, and four on-site restaurants. You can choose from a variety of rooms and suites – some even come with a patio and firepit. Pets are welcomed at the resort and will even receive a pet food menu to browse! There is a $100 non-refundable deposit and your pet’s weight must not exceed 50 lbs.

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What to do in Phoenix, Arizona

What is there to do in Phoenix, Arizona? Whether you’re here for vacation, for business, or if you’re a local, we have a few recommendations to have yourself a fun day while you’re in town. We’re sure if you’re here by yourself or you’ve got the whole family, you’ll have a great time during your stay in Phoenix. Let’s take a look at what this city has to offer.

First, we recommend the beauty of the Desert Botanical Garden. Not only will you learn and discover all about plants, flowers, and fauna that thrive in the desert, you will be able to enjoy large-scale plant and floral sculptures by local artists. Go on a walk through several of their scenic trails and be immersed in the full glory of the Arizona desert. This garden aims to prove that the desert is not merely a dry and arid land, but a land of color and splendor. Come and see for yourself.

Next, Old Town Scottsdale is perfect for those who love to shop or want to find that perfect souvenir. Shops are open day and night for that ideal shopping. It’s here where you can purchase Native American jewelry or eat at one of their renowned restaurants. Rent a bike, have a spa day, admire the local art, eat the local fare. Whatever you can imagine is here in Old Town. You won’t want to miss it. Just a short drive from Phoenix, not far at all.

The Heard Museum is a fantastic choice as well, as their mission is to advance the art of Native Americans. They specialize in art from Native Americans of the Southwest but also collaborate with artists and tribal communities all over the country to bring you one of the largest and most cohesive collections of Native American art in the country. Not only does this museum showcase breathtaking native art, they also include personal stories from a first-person perspective. They have both contemporary and traditional artwork on display. The mission of this museum is to be the premier museum for American Indian art, and we daresay they are well on their way.

Finally, the Arizona Science Center is sure to knock your socks off. Bring the whole family or go by yourself, this science center is fun for all ages. Their exhibits include All About Me, learning how our bodies work, Flight Zone, where you’ll learn about the science of flight together with Arizona’s flight history, and Forces of Nature, which allows you to experience a hurricane, a tornado, or a wildfire, all within their Immersion Theater! One thing’s for sure, you sure won’t be bored when you visit the Arizona Science Center!

While in Phoenix, come on down and check out one of these amazing recommendations for a fabulous day. For the nature lover, the shopper, the art lover, or the science lover, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy! 


On Air Parking (PHX) –

Desert Botanical Garden –

Old Town Scottsdale –

The Heard Museum –

Arizona Science Center –

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