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As the temperatures rise in Phoenix, you might be tempted to hibernate indoors. If you want to get out for a bit, however, consider one of the Valley’s many incredible museum exhibits. Not only will you find personal enrichment, museums keep their buildings precisely climate controlled.

To that end, here are five summer exhibits going on in Valley museums right now that you don’t want to miss.

Dragons and Vines

Dragons and Vines

The Musical Instrument Museum already offers one of the most unique museum experiences in the Valley. Nowhere else can you spend hours examining and hearing instruments from every country in the world.

Fans of guitars and intricate art get another reason to visit, courtesy of the ongoing Dragons and Vines exhibit. The exhibit follows the history of guitar inlay from its early roots to the masterpieces being made today.

You can get up-close with each guitar to really appreciate the stunning details. In fact, the museum provides you a flashlight to illuminate the works from all angles.

If you don’t feel like going through the entire museum, this special exhibit can be purchased and entered separately.

Where: Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix
When: Through Sept. 4
Cost: $7 with paid museum admission, $10 for exhibition only
More info: mim.org

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Exhibit

The Heard Museum presents the only North American showing of the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit. It showcases 33 pieces from the monumental 20th century artists.

Works include “Self Portrait with Monkeys,” “Diego on My Mind,” “Calla Lily Vendor” and “Sunflowers.” In addition to the paintings, examine a collection of photos of the pair, as well as clothing and jewelry of the style Frida Kahlo wore.

Where: Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
When: Through Aug. 20
Cost: $7 in addition to regular admission ($18 adults, $13.50 seniors, $7.50 students and ages 6-17). Buy tickets online to select the date and time of your visit.
More info: heard.org

Get Animated!

Get Animated!

Go behind the scenes and learn how animation works at Arizona Science Center. This exhibit explores the history and methods of traditional hand-drawn animation, plus stop motion and computer animation. In addition, see original cartoons from classic animators and maquettes from Clokey Studios (“Gumby”).

Interactive stations allow you to create your own storyboards and movies. Learn about voice acting from the voice of Goofy, play with colors and plenty more fun activities.

The exhibit includes material and support from major animation studios including Warner Brothers (“Looney Tunes”), Aardman Animations (“Wallace and Gromit”), Laika (“Kubo and the Two Strings,” “The Boxtrolls”) and more. Of course, you can also see the rest of the awesome museum as well.

Where: Arizona Science Center, 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix
When: June 16-Sept. 4
Cost: $18 adult, $13 ages 3-17, Free for 2 and under.
More info: www.azscience.org

Longer Ways to Go: Photographs of the American Road

Roger Minick, Airstream at Monument Valley, Arizona, 1979. Collection Center for Creative Photography ©Roger Minick (1979)
Roger Minick, Airstream at Monument Valley, Arizona, 1979. Collection Center for Creative Photography ©Roger Minick (1979)

This special exhibit from Phoenix Art Museum and the Center for Creative Photography explores the concept of the open American Road. It includes works from the Depression era through the present day, including Google’s Street View.

Photos are divided into themes, such as views from the car window or “the cult of the automobile.” The famed Route 66 gets special attention thanks to a large collection of photos from Japanese photographer Kozo Miyoshi.

Where: Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
When: Through Oct. 15
Cost: Included in museum admission ($18 adults, $15 senior citizens, $13 students, $9 ages 6-17)
More info: www.phxart.org

My Favorite Monster

Cthulhu by John Schwegel
Cthulhu by John Schwegel

The i.d.e.a. Museum always comes up with creative concepts, and its newest exhibit is no exception. Called My Favorite Monster, it offers “a whimsical look at fantastical creatures.”

Explore art that portrays a wide range of monsters like the Abominable Snowman and vampires to a cute Cthulhu. In addition to art, kids can go hands-on and make monster art and a movie, dress up, play games, build monsters and plenty more.

Where: i.d.e.a. Museum, 150 W. Pepper Place, Mesa
When: June 16-Sept. 10
Cost: $8, Free for under age 1
More info: www.ideamuseum.org

– Justin Ferris, Phoenix.org

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