Pioneer Living History Village used to be called the Pioneer Living History Museum -- and sometimes still is. I think the term 'village' is more appropriate in this case. The premise here is that you can "Step Back in Time" and experience territorial Arizona through a walk around a town, comprised of buildings that are representative of that era, all of which are authentic and have been moved to this location from other places in Arizona.
The Pioneer Arizona Foundation arose out of a concern for the number of historical buildings in the state that were being destroyed to make way for new construction. This village was created to capture Arizona's history, primarily between the years 1870 to 1890. The Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum officially opened in 1969. The village houses 30 historic buildings from the 1880s to the turn of the century on a 90-acre property.
Wear your comfortable walking shoes!
Location, Hours, Fees
While the Pioneer Living History Village is in Phoenix, it is pretty far north, and, from some locations, it might take more than an hour to get there. Make a day trip out of it! Keep in mind that there is no restaurant here (there is one planned to open in October 2012), so plan to stop on your way or on your return if a meal is on your schedule. The office staff can tell you about restaurants in the area. When I was there, I stopped at Desert Ridge Marketplace after my visit where there are several casual dining options.
Pioneer Living History Village Hours
Pioneer Living History Village is open Wednesdays through Sundays, September through May from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the summer it opens earlier and closes earlier, Wednesdays through Sundays, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Admission for is $10 per person, veterans and seniors (60+) are $8 each, children under 18 are $8 each. Groups of 15 or more (scheduled through the office) are $8 per person. Children under are free. (January 2018)
Candy, snack foods, water and soft drinks may be purchased at the Mercantile, right near the main entrance. While there used to be a restaurant here, it isn't open any longer. Visitors are invited to bring their own food and picnic on the grounds.
The village is located about 28 miles north of downtown Phoenix, AZ. There is no public transportation to this location, so you'll have to drive. See a map with directions to Pioneer Living History Village.
Do you have more questions? You can contact them by visiting Pioneer Living History Village online.
All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.
Before You Go
Pioneer Living History Village has had financial issues, which it is hoped have been resolved since the City of Phoenix purchased the land on which it sits, granting the nonprofit organization a reasonable lease plus structural improvements. It still appears to have challenges that only money and volunteers can resolve. Sidewalks that have been put in place look great. It's a worthwhile opportunity for school and homeschooling fields trips, and for family outings with small children.
- Wear comfortable, flat shoes. Unpaved areas, starting with the parking lot, can be uneven and rocky.
- If you watch a gunfight and stop at just about every building at Pioneer Living History Village, it will take you about 2 hours to see all the exhibits.
- While there is a short description on each building on the grounds, there is no in-depth information here unless you have a guided tour or happen upon a knowledgeable docent.
- Gunfights and re-enactments are all performed by volunteers, so on any particular day a performance is not guaranteed.
- The village is closed on rainy days. The parking lot and the ground have a lot of unpaved dirt and it would be too muddy to visit on those days.
- You can walk into some of the exhibits, but generally, you'll be peering into a building from the outside. Most of the buildings are one room, so you can see the entire exhibit in this way. On hot days, don't expect a lot of shade as you wander around the village. It will be dusty in the summer.
- This is the desert. Stay on paths to avoid meeting up with any critters that slither and bite.
- Even though it is outside, smoking is not permitted on the property. If you want to bring a pet, call first.
- Check the calendar online for special event days -- dinner theatre, reenactments, trolley rides, competitions and holiday events.
- Pioneer Living History Village will either seem quaint or boring -- it depends on you and your mood on the day you visit!