The capital of the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona, Phoenix is known for its warm temperatures and year-round sun. Attractions for the whole family include the Arizona Science Center, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park, the Musical Instrument Museum, and the Heard Museum.
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1.Arizona Science Center
© Arizona Science Center
Located in downtown Phoenix in the Heritage and Science Park, the Arizona Science Center is a world-renowned center and institution of learning for exploration, innovation, and collaboration of the sciences. Established in 1980, the Center has grown to become one of the city’s most popular attractions, welcoming over half a million guests annually. The Center features a variety of hands-on and interactive exhibits, displays, and exploratory experiences spread over 164,000 square feet of space for visitors of all ages, including a fantastic to-the-moon and beyond presentation in the Dorrance Planetarium. The Center also offers a range of educational and community outreach programs, classes and camps, fields trips and immersive shows in the 5-story state-of-the-art IMAX® Theater.
600 E. Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, Phone: 602-716-2000
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2.Children’s Museum of Phoenix
© Children’s Museum of Phoenix
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is a fun-filled wonderland of imagination, inspiration, creativity for children up to the age of 10. Voted as one of the top 10 children’s museums in the country, the Museum is filled with over 300 immersive, hands-on, touch-and-tell and exploratory exhibits, displays and experiences spread over three floors and 48,000 square feet of space in the historic Monroe School Building in downtown Phoenix. Designed to arouse curiosity, engage minds and muscles and encourage discovery, some of the museum’s exhibits include ‘Art Studio- Creative Expression,’ ‘Book Loft,’ ‘Building Big’ and ‘Desert Delights.’ The museum also offers a diverse range of educational programs and classes – from math and science to yoga, art, and yoga.
215 N. 7th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034, Phone: 602-253-0501
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© i.d.e.a. Museum
The i.d.e.a. Museum is an institution designed to inspire children of all ages to take an interest in the fine arts. Standing for ‘imagination, design, experience, art’ the i.d.e.a. Museum focuses on teaching, interacting and exhibiting the fine arts, along with supporting early learning, nurturing creative thinking and engaging imaginations through design in art, science, and technology. Interactive exhibits include building a new invention on Rigamajig, creating a symphony of music and lights with In Harmony, playing pretend in the ArtVille Vet Clinic, Library, Café, and Garden, building with soft blocks in ArtVille, and acting out stories in ArtVille’s Performing Arts Center, among others.
150 W Pepper Pl, Mesa, AZ 85201, Phone: 480-644-2468
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4.Arizona Museum of Natural History
© Arizona Museum of Natural History
The Arizona Museum of Natural History is dedicated to showcasing the natural and cultural history of the Southwestern United States. Established as a small museum in Mesa City Hall in 1977 with an interesting collection of artifacts from around Arizona, the museum has grown into a 74,000 square feet institution with a selection of about 60,000 objects from various genres, including anthropology, art, history and natural history. Signature exhibits include “Dinosaur Mountain” which features life-size, animated dinosaurs, a Columbian Mammoth and a saber-tooth cat against the backdrop of a continually flowing 50-foot-high indoor waterfall. The museum also features around 10,000 historical photographs and a modern research facility and is the only natural history museum in the greater Phoenix area.
53 N Macdonald Street, Mesa, AZ 85201, Phone: 480-644-2230
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5.Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park
© Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park
Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is an ancient archeological site situated in downtown Phoenix near the Sky Harbor International Airport. Left by the Hohokam culture, the site is the largest preserved archeological site in the city and is a National Historic Landmark and Phoenix Point of Pride. Located on the 1,500-year-old archeological site is the Pueblo Grande Museum, which features a variety of galleries which showcase items and artifacts from the prehistoric Hohokam archeological village site. The museum also houses exhibits on various topics from archeology, southwest cultures, and Arizona history and has an interactive gallery for children to learn about the science of archeology. The site and museum are accessible by the Sky Train and the Light Rail and is open seven days a week October through April.
4619 E. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034, Phone: 602-495-0901
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6.Valley Youth Theatre
Nestled behind the residence hall of the Downtown Phoenix campthe Valley Youth Theatre (VYT) is a community theatre that produces six mainstage shows each season. The non-profit institution was established in 1989 by Gary Lamble and Hope Ozer to help young people achieve their full potential through education in the performing arts and has launched the careers of many performers who have gone on to become Academy Award nominees such as Emma Stone. The theatre boasts a 30-foot-wide proscenium stage with an orchestra pit, rehearsal studios, scene and costume shops, and dressing rooms, and produces shows for children of all ages.
525 N. 1st St. Phoenix, AZ 85004, Phone: 602-253-8188
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7.Phoenix Art Museum
© Phoenix Art Museum
Founded in 1959, the Phoenix Art Museum has been a favorite institution of modern art and learning for over 55 years and is the largest art museum in the Southwestern United States today. The Museum plays hosts to a variety of permanent collections across a variety of genres, including American, Asian, European and Latin American art, as well as traveling fashion and photography exhibitions. The Museums presents a range of vibrant festivals and live performances, educational programs, and art films throughout the year that aims to enlighten, inspire and stimulate an interest in the arts, and is home to an interactive children’s gallery for future artists. Relax in the beautifully landscaped Dorrance Sculpture Garden, dine at the Museum's fine dining restaurant Palette or shop at the Modern Museum Store.
1625 N. Central Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85004, Phone: 602-257-1880
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8.Musical Instrument Museum
© Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is the world’s only global musical instrument museum, featuring more than 15,000 musical instruments and artifacts from around the world. Instruments are displayed in high-end displays that are enhanced by state-of-the-art audio and video technologies that allow visitors to see, hear and observe the instruments being played in their original contexts. Instruments from iconic musicians such as Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and Carlos Santana be viewed at the Artists Gallery, as well as multiple displays for different types of ethnic, folk, and tribal music. The Museum also features an interactive ‘Experience Gallery,’ where visitors can play a variety of instruments from around the world and experience the magic of music themselves.
4725 East Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix, AZ 85050, Phone: 480-478-6000
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9.Desert Botanical Garden
Dating back 70 years, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona has been conserving and protecting Sonoran Desert Plants, as well as desert plants from around the world. Home to more than 50,000 plant displays showcased in beautiful outdoor exhibits, as well as a range of events and presentations throughout the year. Enjoy ‘Dinner on the Desert’, a unique evening where you can savor sumptuous cuisine under the stars as you as bid on distinctive plants, pots and garden art, and unusual and exciting experiences, while ‘Music in the Garden’ promises wonderful starlit music shows in Spring. The Desert Botanical Garden offers a range of tours and activities with knowledgeable guides introduce you and teach you about the incredible diversity of the landscape, as well as continuing education programs on offer, and there are three lovely restaurants in the garden for light snacks and meals.
1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008, Phone: 480-941-1225
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Butterfly Wonderland is a fantastic, one-of-a-kind family experience for visitors of all ages. Located in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale, Butterfly Wonderland is the largest indoor butterfly pavilion in the United States and offers visitors the opportunity to experience the magical world of butterflies in their natural environment. Butterfly Wonderland features state-of-the-art facilities, including a magnificent glass atrium that provides an ideal tropical rainforest habitat where more than 3,000 butterflies fly freely, interactive nature exhibits for children, a modern 3D movie theater featuring the educational film “Flight of the Butterflies,” a gift shop and a family-friendly café.
9500 E. Via de Ventura Scottsdale, AZ 85256, Phone: 480-800-3000
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© Heard Museum
Founded in 1929 by Dwight and Maie Heard, the Heard Museum aims to educate and promote greater understanding of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, particularly American Indian tribes and other cultures of the Southwest, focusing on their arts, heritage, and way of life. The Museum uses their extensive range of unrivaled collections, innovative programs, world-class exhibitions, and vibrant festivals to sensitively and accurately portray Native arts and cultures and showcase personal perspectives of this ancient and historical culture. A visit to the Heard Museum includes a journey through 12 exhibition galleries, a beautifully manicured outdoor sculpture garden, a contemporary art gallery, and trading-post style shopping store, a vibrant café and free guided tours.
2301 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004, Phone: 602-252-8840
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Home to roaring Sumatran tigers, awe-inspiring Asian elephants, and towering Savannah giraffes, the Phoenix Zoo is one of the city’s most popular attractions. One of the nation’s largest privately-owned zoos, the animal park features over 1400 animals, including more than 30 different endangered species from around the world, as well as some breeding programs for various species. Fascinating habitats and exhibits include the Africa Trail, which boasts African wild dogs, African lions, white rhino, and Arabian Oryx, while the Tropics Trail is packed with Asian elephants, giant tortoises, iguanas, and ring-tailed lemurs. Enjoy daily animals encounters in the Monkey Village or the Red Barn, get soaked at the Leapin’ Lagoon or experience the wild in 4-D in the state-of-the-art theater.
455 North Galvin Parkway Phoenix, AZ 85008, Phone: 602-286-3800
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13.Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium
The Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium is a 215-acre animal sanctuary and aquarium that specializes in African and South American animals and is home to the state’s most extensive collection of exotic animals. Features at the park include a 15-acre safari park that houses an African lion habitat, a variety of African animals such as spotted hyena, ostrich, springbok, spider monkeys, and warthogs, as well as African birds; Dragon World, which features large ectotherms, such as alligators, crocodile, reticulated pythons, iguanas, and Gila monsters; a baby animal nursery, a Lory parrot feeding exhibit; and an aquarium with fresh and salt-water marine species, including penguins and sea lions. Other attractions in the park include a ridable miniature railway around the park, a historic carousel and merry-go-round, and two children's playgrounds.
16501 W Northern Ave, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340, Phone: 623-935-9453
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14.The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
© The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
Located in Scottsdale and operated by the city of Scottsdale’s Parks & Recreation Department, the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a 40-acre railroad park that features a railroad museum and a variety of amazing exhibits, including a Magma Arizona Railroad locomotive. The 30-acre park boasts several attractions and rides, including the centerpiece Paradise & Pacific Railroad, which was built to replicate a Colorado narrow gauge railroad with three steam locomotives, two diesel engines, an electric engine, several scale model cars, and a 32 x 200 train shed. The park is also home to the beautifully carved and meticulously restored Scottsdale Charros Carousel with 30 horses and two wheelchair chariots. There are also a variety of shops and a museum that explores the history of the railroad in Scottsdale and Arizona.
7301 E Indian Bend Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250
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15.Enchanted Island Amusement Park at Encanto Park
© Enchanted Island Amusement Park at Encanto Park
The Enchanted Island Amusement Park at Encanto Park is a family-friendly vintage theme park with a cartoony medieval theme that features themed rides, arcade games, a historic carousel, pedal boats on the lake, a train ride and a splash pad for hot summer days. Situated in the heart of Phoenix’s picturesque Encanto Park, the park also features a variety of fun activities for all ages, such as bumper boats, a tiny coaster, a choo-choo train, paddle boats and canoes, urban fishing, picnicking, and the water-themed Castle Clash, with targets, water guns, and water cannons.
1202 W Encanto Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85007, Phone: 602-254-1200
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16.Goldfield Ghost Town
© Goldfield Ghost Town
The Goldfield Ghost Town is a beautifully reconstructed gold mining town that dates back to the late 1800s that dates back to the 1890s and features a history museum, a narrow-gauge train, Old West gunfights, and guided gold-mine tours. Set around the historic Mammoth Gold Mine, the town’s main street is lined with old buildings, including three saloons, a general store, a boarding house, a meat market, a blacksmith’s shop, and a schoolhouse. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of the town and the mine, take a ride on Arizona’s only narrow-gauge train, pan for gold and witness an old west gunfight performed by the famous Goldfield Gunfighters.
4650 N Mammoth Mine Rd, Apache Junction, AZ 85119, Phone: 480-983-0333
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17.Out of Africa Wildlife Park
Out of Africa Wildlife Park is a wildlife park in Camp Verde, Arizona that provides an opportunity for visitors to see exotic animals from all over the world in natural, spacious habitats. The park was established by Dean Harrison to create to provide a sanctuary for wild animals in their natural habitats, promote conservation awareness and action, practice exemplary animal care, and vide and inspire the public about the wonderful world of wildlife through education and learning experiences. The park features an array of experiences from up-close animal encounters, feeding times, animals shows, zip-line runs, behind-the-scenes tours, animal rescue, and campouts. Out of Africa Wildlife Park is open daily, year-round.
3505 W State Route 260, Camp Verde, AZ 86322, Phone: 928-567-2840
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© Mariusz Blach/stock.adobe.com
Superstition Farm is a working dairy farm in Mesa that offers a host of fun-filled and family-friendly activities such as farm tours, a petting zoo, a farmer’s market, harvest days, and more. The petting zoo is home to a variety of animals that visitors can interact with, including goats, sheep, potbelly pigs, rabbits, miniature donkeys, chickens, cows and tortoises, and guided farm tours explore the farm and all that it has to offer. Superstition Farm also offers full day farm camps for little farmers which provide the opportunity for kids to learn more about farming and what it takes to be a farmer, along with educational field trips, arts and crafts and more.
3440 S Hawes Rd, Mesa, AZ 85212, Phone: 602-432-6865
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19.Welcome Chicken and Donuts
© Welcome Chicken and Donuts
Welcome Chicken + Donuts is a delightful Phoenix eatery serving up delicious premium doughnuts prepared with Montana wheat flour. The restaurant, which was opened in 2014, is helmed by the Welcome Hospitality group, responsible for Phoenix and Tucson favorite Welcome Diner. Doughnuts are available in singles, by the half dozen, or by the dozen, topped and stuffed with rotating seasonal ingredients. Signature doughnut flavors include favorites like maple bacon and chocolate rose pistachio. Fried chicken is also served up in combos and sandwiches, available tossed in Korean chili, Japanese barbecue, or Vietnamese herb sauce. All chicken entrees are prepared with free-range chicken, served with sides like cucumber salad, Thai-style coleslaw, and seasoned fried potatoes.
1535 E Buckeye Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85034, Phone: 602-258-1655
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20.SEA LIFE Arizona
Located at the Arizona Mills in Tempe, Sea Life Arizona is a 26,000-square foot interactive aquarium that is home to thousands of aquatic and marine creatures in a variety of habitats. The family-friendly park features state-of-the-art attractions such as a 360° ocean tunnel where visitors can see sharks, rays and turtles glide past and over them, an interactive scavenger hunt, and several interactive touch pools where sea creatures can be touched. The first-of-its-kind, outdoor Colorado River Adventure attraction allows kids to twist, turn and control the water path of the Colorado River from the Rocky Mountains to the Sea of Cortez and learn how land-locked desert cities affect the ocean.
5000 S Arizona Mills Cir #145, Tempe, AZ 85285, Phone: 855-450-0559
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21.Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix
© Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix
One of seven water parks operating under the Wet'n'Wild global brand, Wet'n'Wild Phoenix is a family-friendly water park that features more than 30 thrilling themed rides, slides and attractions for visitors of all ages, including the world’s first Maximum Velocity – Dueling H2O Coasters. Other signature rides include Monsoon Bay, where visitors ride four-foot high swells in a tube; Desert Racers, which takes visitors into an enclosed tube on a racing mat before looping into a six-lane downhill speedway; and Mammoth Falls, which drops 57 feet and take riders on a vertical drop before shooting up a wall, then falling back to experience weightlessness. Barefootin' Bay is a 4,700 square-foot interactive play structure and splash pool for kids. Food concessions include the Point Break Café, Sharky's Subs & Subs, Surfer's Sweets & Ice Cream, and several foods and beverage carts.
4243 W Pinnacle Peak Rd, Glendale, AZ 85310, Phone: 623-201-2000
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© The Teapot
The Teapot is a charming coffee and pastry shop set in a beautifully restored 1906 cottage in the Roosevelt neighborhood of downtown Phoenix that features a lovely front and back garden for families with children. The quaint eatery serves simple, healthy foods with a British twist for breakfast and lunch Thursday through Sunday from May through September and offers freshly brewed coffee, imported loose leaf, and bag tea and other hot drinks, along with freshly baked pastries, and other sweet treats. The historic property is ideal for private functions and parties and has a lovely back garden in which children can safely play.
818 N 5th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003, Phone: 623-522-6027
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23.Mary Coyle Ol' Fashion Ice Cream
© Mary Coyle Ol' Fashion Ice Cream
Mary Coyle Ol' Fashion Ice Cream is a long-standing dessert shop with retro décor that serves a range of sweet treats and desserts such as banana splits, milkshakes, waffle cones, and homemade ice cream. The venerable 64-year-old Phoenix favorite serves homemade ice-cream in a variety of flavors, including seasonal flavors such as peach, pumpkin pie, and eggnog, along with sundaes, floats, milkshakes, showboats, and specialties of the house like The Hill – four pounds of ice cream, whipped cream, cherries, and two toppings of choice; and the Mountain – seven pounds of ice cream, whipped cream, cherries, and four toppings of choice.
5823 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85014, Phone: 602-626-5996
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24.Lucky Strike Lanes
© Lucky Strike Lanes
Located in the bustling oasis of Downtown Phoenix’s CityScape, Lucky Strike Lanes is a modern bowling arena with 12 bowling lanes, billiards tables, arcade games, a gastropub and lounge, a full-service bar serving handcrafted cocktails, a gypsy bar, private rooms for functions, and semi-private suites. Visitors can enjoy premium bowling, excellent cuisine, and signature cocktails, and a variety of entertainment from DJs to dancing in a casual and relaxed setting. Adults can enjoy an interactive nightlife experience at the Gypsy Bar, which is situated next to Lucky Strike and offers over 10,000 square feet of one-of-a-kind entertainment, including a three-sided island bar, contemporary lounge sofa sectionals, and 4.0 mega-sized arcade games in an adult-oriented environment.
50 W Jefferson St #240, Phoenix, AZ 85003, Phone: 602-732-5490
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25.Cerreta Candy Company
© Cerreta Candy Company
The Cerreta Candy Company is a classic sweet shop that produces and sells a variety of traditional candy and sweets, along with assortments for gifts and celebrations. Founded more than 40 years ago, Cerreta Candy Company is a family-owned and operated company that produces thousands of pieces of candy a day and sells them in their store on West Glendale Avenue in Phoenix. Using traditional recipes passed down through the generations, sweets, and treats include barks, brittles, and toffee, fudge, chocolate bars, nuts, sugar-free chocolates, gift baskets, and specialized gifts.
5345 W Glendale Ave, Glendale, AZ 85301, Phone: 623-930-9000
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25 Best Things to Do in Phoenix with Kids
- Arizona Science Center, Photo: Arizona Science Center
- Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Photo: Children’s Museum of Phoenix
- i.d.e.a. Museum, Photo: i.d.e.a. Museum
- Arizona Museum of Natural History, Photo: Arizona Museum of Natural History
- Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park, Photo: Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park
- Valley Youth Theatre, Photo: hobaa/stock.adobe.com
- Phoenix Art Museum, Photo: Phoenix Art Museum
- Musical Instrument Museum, Photo: Musical Instrument Museum
- Desert Botanical Garden, Photo: antonsov85/stock.adobe.com
- Butterfly Wonderland, Photo: dhayes/stock.adobe.com
- Heard Museum, Photo: Heard Museum
- Phoenix Zoo, Photo: Bob/stock.adobe.com
- Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium, Photo: fmcginn/stock.adobe.com
- The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, Photo: The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
- Enchanted Island Amusement Park at Encanto Park, Photo: Enchanted Island Amusement Park at Encanto Park
- Goldfield Ghost Town, Photo: Goldfield Ghost Town
- Out of Africa Wildlife Park, Photo: babenkolev/stock.adobe.com
- Superstition Farm, Photo: Mariusz Blach/stock.adobe.com
- Welcome Chicken and Donuts, Photo: Welcome Chicken and Donuts
- SEA LIFE Arizona, Photo: nd3000/stock.adobe.com
- Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix, Photo: Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix
- The Teapot, Photo: The Teapot
- Mary Coyle Ol' Fashion Ice Cream, Photo: Mary Coyle Ol' Fashion Ice Cream
- Lucky Strike Lanes, Photo: Lucky Strike Lanes
- Cerreta Candy Company, Photo: Cerreta Candy Company
- Cover Photo: gnagel/stock.adobe.com
Located in the charming town of Queen Creek just east of Mesa, Schnepf Farms is a fourth-generation family farm and the largest organic peach grower in Arizona. The one-of-a-kind farm offers a range of experiences for visitors from peach-picking and vegetable picking in the exclusive ‘u-pick garden’ to enjoying an antique craft fair, a classic car show, a historical re-enactment, or a fireworks display. Seasonal events include the Peach Blossom Festival in February, Easter Egg-excitement at Easter time, Dinner Down the Orchard in Spring, a 4th of July Fireworks Celebration, the Pumpkin & Chili Party in October, and Winter Wonderland in December.
24610 E Rittenhouse Rd, Queen Creek, AZ 85142, Phone: 480-987-3100