It’s time for another Things To Do With Kids post! This time we are focusing on Phoenix, Arizona! I have been to Phoenix once, and I fell in love on the spot. I didn’t expect to find the American west so breathtakingly beautiful, but it absolutely stole my heart. I often joke about moving out there one day.
My friend Jodi Grundig volunteered to share her insights into visiting Phoenix with kids. I’ll hand it over to her!
Things To Do With Kids in Phoenix
Although I live in the Boston area, Phoenix feels like my second home. Our family loves traveling there, especially in the winter, when the gorgeous weather is a welcome change from the New England winters. There’s so much to see and do in the Greater Phoenix area – here are a few of our favorites.
1. Explore the Desert:
The Desert Botanical Garden features 145 acres, including 65 acres under cultivation with gorgeous dessert plant life. There are loads of kid-friendly exhibits, including the seasonal butterfly garden. Visit in the morning to avoid the hottest part of the day. If visiting with kids, expect to spend about 2 hours touring the gardens.
2. See animals:
Adjacent to the Desert Botanical Garden is the Phoenix Zoo, one of my favorite zoos of all time. It features loads of exhibits, family activities, and kids’ programs. If you are traveling with young kids, strollers are available for rent based upon availability. The zoo offers a petting zoo, as well as more than 1,400 animals (including 30 endangered/threatened species).
3. Spring training baseball games:
If you visit the Greater Phoenix area during the early spring, you can watch Major League Games up close, and at a great price. All of the Cactus League teams now play right in the Greater Phoenix area, so baseball fans can watch several different teams during a family vacation.
4. Play outside.
If you have a child who loves trains, you’ll have to check out the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale. There’s a playground, train, carousel, and lots of open space. Rather spend some time on the water? Visit theTempe Town Lake to rent a paddle boats. Other boat types are available and if you don’t want to take a boat out, you can just sit and enjoy the view, or rent a bike and travel on the adjacent paths. For more space, and bird watching once a month, visit Veterans Oasis Park in Chandler. Once a month, the local Audubon hosts a free bird watching event for families – kids and adults are loaned binoculars, while the guide brings along a high-quality telescope. Guests can also walk through the park at their own pace, picking up a bird checklist at the onsite Environmental Education Center.
5. Hot Air Ballooning.
Nothing promotes family bonding like a trip up high in the ski! Head out on an early trip on a hot air balloon, and you’ll never forget it! There are plenty of companies in the Greater Phoenix area – just don’t forget your camera!
6. Musical Instrument Museum
The kid-friendly Musical Instrument Museum showcases musical instruments and music as a part of different culture. Wearing headphones provided by the museum, you’ll hear the music of a culture as you approach each gallery. There’s also a hands-on experience room, which is great for kids, as well as the Artist’s Gallery, featuring musical instruments from popular musicians.
7. Go Indoors
In the excessive heat or rare rainstorm, head indoors to SEA LIFE Arizona – a great place to visit with young children. It’s located in the Arizona Mills mall, along with a Rainforest Cafe, movie theater, and Gameworks arcade. For some afternoon entertainment, visit the Tempe Center for the Arts. Childsplay, a professional theater company, offers kid-friendly productions year round. Everyone has a great seat in the small theater, and the actors often interact with the audience after the show.
8. Explore the Wild, Wild, West
Want to experience the Wild West? Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse in Chandler is a must-visit for families. Admission to Rawhide is free (except for special events), but you’ll need to buy tickets for the individual attractions and shows. A wristband, which offers unlimited attractions and shows (with some exclusions), currently sells for $14.95. It’s a good option if you think you’ll do a few of the activities and see at least one show.
If you are visiting Phoenix on a family vacation, many of the hotels and resorts offer extensive pool areas and kids’ activities, so be sure to save some time for exploring your hotel!
Disclosure: I experienced some of these attractions at no cost for review.
Jodi Grundig started blogging in 2007 on her popular review site Mom’s Favorite Stuff, and after doing quite a bit of travel blogging, she decided to launch her own travel site, Family Travel Magazine. She resides in Massachusetts with her husband, seven-year old son, nine-year old daughter, and Havanese dog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
For more family travel, see all of my Things To Do With Kids posts.