Some of today’s young people may not be familiar with analog clocks — you know, the ones with hands that move in a circle from 12 to 1, and so on. But those of you old enough to legally book a car rental will remember — in fact, you may prefer them! Today, most people tell you what time it is by looking at a cell phone, or maybe a digital clock in a car or on a wall. But what came before all of these technologies? That’s right — the sundial!
One of the best Big Things To See in the USA is the Carefree Sundial! It sits in the middle of “Sundial Circle” near the local town hall and post office in the town of Carefree, Arizona — a suburb of metropolitan Phoenix — and has been a famous local landmark since it was built in 1959. The sundial, made of steel and covered in copper, has a gnomon (which casts the shadow) that is 62 feet long! Its tip stands 35 feet in the air, and the flat surface of the dial (upon which you read the time) has a diameter of 90 feet!
A sundial is a device that can tell the time of day based on the position of the Sun in the sky. It works when the sun casts a shadow from the sundial’s style — a piece with a straight edge rising up from a horizontal surface. This shadow falls on a surface marked with lines that indicate the hours of the day.
If you find yourself with some free TIME, check out this gigantic free TIMEPIECE in Carefree! There’s plenty of parking spaces for your rental car and it’s a free attraction — plus, there are several local shops and restaurants nearby.
Getting There From Phoenix
So go and check your satellite-adjusted cell phone against the time on this Big Sundial. To get to this amazing landmark, simply drive your car rental north from Phoenix on Interstate 17 and use Exit 223A.
Turn right and follow Carefree Highway for just less than 12 miles, then turn left onto Tom Darlington Drive.
After 2 miles, take a right onto Cave Creek Road, and then it’s about 1500 feet to Sunshine Way on your right — leading right to the Big Sundial!
And if you want to see something else that’s Big and unusual, just a few miles northeast of the Big Sundial you can find a 39-foot-tall Kachina doll, which is believed to be the Biggest in the world!