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We’ve had a blast with these family activities in Phoenix; now it’s your turn to enjoy them!

As a parent, I’ve learned that keeping kids entertained during a family trip is a bit like trying to keep a herd of cats focused. Phoenix, with its blazing sun and endless activities, seemed like the ultimate challenge.

But guess what? We found the perfect blend of excitement and relaxation with a variety of fun family activities in Phoenix. From splashing around at water parks to exploring interactive museums, our days were packed with laughter and discovery.

If you’re ready to make unforgettable memories with your family, keep reading for the best things to do with family in Phoenix!

1. Meet the animals at the Phoenix Zoo

Address: 455 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008


Contact Details: +1 602-286-3800, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Saturday: 7 AM–1 PM, Sunday: 6 AM–1 PM

Visiting the Phoenix Zoo is one of the best things to do with family in Phoenix. With more than 3,000 animals, the zoo offers diverse habitat themes, including Africa, Arizona, and the tropics.

The zoo’s features, including Bornean orangutans, Asian elephants, and Komodo dragons, make it a must-see attraction. With outdoor cafés, shops, gardens, and water landscapes, it’s a memorable experience for the entire family.

The children’s section of the zoo is a highlight for young visitors. Kids can get close to small animals on the children’s trail and meet mellow farm animals at Harmony Farm.

Unique activities add to the excitement, so having some cash on hand is beneficial. Feeding lettuce to giraffes, riding a camel, and giving snacks to rays at Stingray Bay are experiences that create lasting memories.

Since 1962, the Phoenix Zoo has inspired visitors to care for the natural world. Located on 125 acres in Papago Park, it offers a unique blend of adventure and discovery.

Pro tip:
Taking advantage of the zoo’s educational programs can enhance your visit. There are often talks and demonstrations that provide fascinating insights into the animals and their habitats.

2. Discover American Indian culture at the Heard Museum

Address: 2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Contact Details: +1 602-252-8840, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday-Sunday: 10 AM–4 PM

Located on Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix, the Heard Museum attracts 200,000 visitors a year. It is internationally acclaimed for its dedication to showcasing the myriad cultures and art of American Indians of the Southwest.

The exhibits at the museum include Pueblo pottery, Navajo woven textiles, Hopi katsina dolls, and intricate jewelry pieces. Each installation shares the stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective, offering an insight into their lives.

One of the most impactful exhibits is the Away From Home exhibit, which examines the haunting experiences of 19th-century children who were separated from their families. This powerful display provides a profound understanding of American Indian history.

The museum also highlights the ongoing challenges and inequalities that tribal communities face today. Learning about these issues can inspire your family to become allies and support the preservation and celebration of American Indian cultures.

The Heard Museum Shop offers an array of authentic Native art, while the Berlin Gallery showcases outstanding contemporary fine art for purchase. For a break, the Café serves delicious Southwest-inspired salads, sandwiches, and soups.

Pro tip:
The museum offers guided tours, which are well worth it. The docents are incredibly knowledgeable and can provide deeper insights and answer questions that you might have.

3. Unleash fun at Castles N’ Coasters

Address: 9445 N Metro Pkwy E, Phoenix, AZ 85051


Contact Details: +1 602-997-7575, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10 AM–10 PM

Castles N’ Coasters is a 14-acre amusement park and family entertainment center. It offers a variety of activities that cater to all ages, making it an ideal spot for a day of excitement and bonding.

The park features four outdoor 18-hole miniature golf courses, each with its unique theme. These courses provide a fun and challenging experience for both kids and adults, perfect for some friendly family competition.

With over 20 rides and attractions, there is something for everyone. Roller coasters like Patriot and Desert Storm provide thrilling experiences, while the log ride and obstacle course add to the adventure.

Younger children have plenty of options with rides designed specifically for them. Height and weight requirements are posted for safety, and it’s best to avoid flip-flop shoes on most rides to ensure comfort and safety.

With additional attractions like go-karts, bumper boats, and a retro arcade, Castles N’ Coasters promises a memorable day of fun for the whole family. These diverse activities add to the park’s unique and immersive atmosphere.

Pro tip:
You may consider purchasing an all-day ride pass. It might seem like a splurge, but if you plan to enjoy multiple rides and attractions, it can save you money in the long run compared to paying for individual tickets.

4. Enjoy learning through play at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix

Address: 215 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034


Contact Details: +1 602-253-0501, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9 AM–4 PM

If you’re looking for a family-friendly activity in Phoenix, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is a great option. Its colorful indoor and outdoor exhibits are fully interactive, promoting hands-on creativity, games, crafting, and exploration for kids of all ages.

This wonderland of fun offers both indoor and outdoor interactive exhibits that engage the minds and imaginations of children and adults alike. Also, the museum regularly hosts special events like magic shows and craft projects.

The museum caters to children under 10, with specific areas for toddlers and babies. It also provides inclusive resources to support visitors with autism, anxiety, and other learning difficulties, ensuring that everyone can fully enjoy the experience.

From riding trikes to exploring the Noodle Forest and climbing in the Climber, there’s something for every child’s interest. The child-sized Market, Garden, and art studio add to the excitement, fostering learning through play.

Pro tip:
If you plan to visit the museum frequently, consider getting a membership. It often pays for itself after just a few visits and comes with perks like discounts and special member-only events.

5. Journey to the Wild West at the Pioneer Living History Museum

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Address: 3901 W Pioneer Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85086


Contact Details: +1 623-465-1052, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday & Tuesday: Closed, Wednesday-Sunday: 9 AM–4 PM

Visiting the Pioneer Living History Museum is a hands-on way to learn about and appreciate the history of the Wild West right in Phoenix. This sprawling 90-acre open-air museum offers a step back in time to 1863-1912 Territorial Arizona.

In Pioneer Village, you’ll find original historic buildings and reconstructions like a blacksmith shop, carpenter shop, and dress shop. The Sheriff’s Office even houses an old-style jailhouse, adding to the authentic Wild West experience.

Your admission includes access to the Telephone History Museum, providing a fun opportunity to show younger kids how rotary phones used to work. The village is a unique experience for kids in Phoenix, offering a glimpse into a bygone era.

As you wander along paved pathways, you’ll encounter twenty historic 19th-century buildings that make up Pioneer Village. These include the original homes of those who helped shape the Wild West.

One highlight is the charming log cabin where the first senator of Arizona grew up. You can also peer through the rifle ports of the “Flying V,” once home to John Tewksbury, a figure from the historic Pleasant Valley War.

Pro tip:
Consider purchasing souvenirs or donating to the museum to support their efforts in preserving and showcasing the history of the Wild West. Your support helps ensure that future generations can also enjoy this immersive experience.

6. Ignite curiosity at the Arizona Science Center

Address: 600 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Contact Details: +1 602-716-2000

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10:30 AM–4 PM

Nestled in Heritage and Science Park, Arizona Science Center is a unique landmark designed by architect Antoine Predock. It provides exploration, education, and entertainment for all ages.

The Science Center offers multiple floors of interactive exhibits designed for aspiring young scientists. With a combination of ramps, galleries, and terraces spread across its 140,000-square-foot building, it creates an environment of investigation and discovery.

Inside, you’ll find four levels of hands-on exhibits, a state-of-the-art planetarium, and a 5-story high giant-screen theater. These attractions are designed to educate and entertain kids from pre-K to adults.

In the Flight Zone exhibit, you can climb into an airplane fuselage, while the Get Charged Up lab allows you to explore electricity and energy. The Immersion Theater offers experiences with powerful forces of nature like tornadoes and volcanic eruptions.

The planetarium is a highlight, offering immersive experiences in both art and science. Additionally, the giant 3D film theater provides an extra dimension of entertainment with its captivating films.

Pro tip:
When you arrive, consider starting your exploration from the top floor and working your way down. This way, you’ll end your visit with the ground floor exhibits, which often have the most popular attractions.

7. Revel in fun at the Arizona Boardwalk

Address: 9500 East Vía de Ventura, Scottsdale, AZ 85256


Contact Details: +1 480-951-2100, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9 AM–7 PM

The Arizona Boardwalk is a fantastic destination for families, offering a variety of attractions all in one convenient location. From the captivating OdySea Aquarium to the enchanting Butterfly Wonderland, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

One of the highlights here is Surprise Your Eyes, where you can take unique and artistic photos with your family for social media. Even if you’re not into gaming, trying one of the virtual-reality games at VR Extreme can be a mind-blowing experience.

In addition to the exciting attractions, the boardwalk also offers dining and shopping options. With nine marquee attractions, including a UFO exhibition, a maze of mirrors, a museum of illusions, and an enormous aquarium, there’s plenty to explore and discover.

For those seeking a more relaxing experience, the boardwalk hosts Candlelight concerts in the open-air. One of the best parts about visiting the Arizona Boardwalk is that there’s no admission fee, and on-site parking is completely free as well.

Pro tip:
Many times, you can find discounted tickets or special promotions for the attractions at the boardwalk. Look online or check with local tourism offices for any current deals.

8. Engage with ocean creatures at the SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium

Address: 5000 S Arizona Mills Cir Suite 145, Tempe, AZ 85282


Contact Details: +1 480-565-7072, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 11 AM–5 PM, Saturday & Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM

With so much to see and do, SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium offers an unforgettable outing for families looking to dive into the wonders of the ocean. SEA LIFE Arizona aims to ignite a passion for ocean creatures among its guests.

The aquarium features thousands of fascinating marine animals and a 360-degree ocean tunnel. Designed with kids in mind, the child-level viewing bubbles and interactive scavenger hunt make it a particularly engaging experience for younger visitors.

A new attraction, the Colorado River Adventure, allows kids to twist, turn, and control the water path from the Rocky Mountains to the Sea of Cortez. This unique outdoor exhibit educates families on how landlocked desert cities like Phoenix impact the ocean.

As you explore, you’ll encounter strange and beautiful creatures, including sea stars, sharks, rays, octopuses, and a rescued green sea turtle. The aquarium’s 30 displays and interactive touch tanks offer close-up views and hands-on experiences.

The SEA LIFE Arizona experience is further enriched by educational talks, feeding demonstrations, and the incredible ocean tunnel.

Pro tip:
You’ll probably want to capture the amazing sights at SEA LIFE, but remember that flash photography can disturb the animals. Most tanks have enough light for great pictures without the flash.

9. Marvel at musical diversity at the Musical Instrument Museum

Address: 4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050


Contact Details: +1 480-478-6000, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9 AM–5 PM

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) showcases cultural music items from around the world. It features instruments played by legendary artists like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Pablo Casals.

MIM’s STEM Gallery educates visitors about the science of music. In the Experience Gallery, families can try out different instruments from various cultures, making music or simply enjoying the noise they create.

With a collection of over 7,500 instruments from more than 200 countries and territories, MIM reflects the rich diversity and history of global cultures. The galleries emphasize that music is a universal language, showcasing how it connects us all.

The museum is a great place to cool off in the afternoon, especially when it’s less crowded. Families typically spend about three hours exploring the exhibits.

Meanwhile, the MIM Music Theater offers an intimate, 300-seat venue for enjoying live performances year-round. The theater hosts renowned and emerging artists from around the world, providing a unique musical experience.

Pro tip:
You can take advantage of the museum’s free audio guides. They add a lot of context to the exhibits, and the kids enjoyed listening to the different musical clips associated with each display.

10. Savor innovative ice cream at Creamistry

Address: 15345 N Scottsdale Rd K1-130, Scottsdale, AZ 85255


Contact Details: +1 480-912-5100, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 12:30–10 PM, Friday & Saturday: 12:30–11 PM

Creamistry is a unique dessert spot that offers a scientific twist on your favorite frozen treat. Their build-your-own format lets customers play “mad scientists” and craft the ice cream of their dreams.

Here, “creamologists” use liquid nitrogen at minus -321 degrees to create ultra-creamy, premium ice cream. With this, it promises to delight the whole family with a fun and educational outing, blending the joy of dessert with the wonder of science.

The experience starts with choosing your base—options include premium, organic, sorbet, and vegan. Next, pick from an array of flavors, from classic chocolate to exotic matcha green tea, ensuring there’s something to suit every palate.

Toppings are where the fun really begins, with choices like candy, fresh fruit, and even unicorn dust to truly customize your dessert. For an added touch, you can upgrade your creation with a waffle or brownie bowl, making it a complete indulgence.

Despite the high-tech process, the end product is simply delectable ice cream. Creamistry proves that good ice cream is a result of hard science, not magic or alchemy.

Pro tip:
They often have seasonal or limited-time flavors that are unique and delicious. Don’t stick to the basics – trying something new can be a pleasant surprise.

11. Explore McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Address: 7301 E Indian Bend Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250


Contact Details: +1 480-312-2312, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 8 AM–1 PM

With its blend of fun rides, historical exhibits, and relaxing picnic spots, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a family-friendly destination not to be missed. It’s a train-lover’s haven that offers a variety of fun and educational experiences for all ages.

The park features train and carousel rides, perfect for bringing out the inner child in everyone. The Paradise & Pacific Railroad, a fully functional 15-gauge railroad, is the park’s centerpiece, offering scenic rides on scale steam and diesel locomotives.

Children and adults alike will enjoy the free playground, an ideal spot for kids to burn off some energy. The model train display and the Scottsdale Railroad Museum, which is free for kids under 13 with a paying adult, provide insights into Arizona’s railroad history.

Meanwhile, a ride on the 1950-vintage Allan Hershell carousel is a must-do, with its beautifully restored details providing a nostalgic touch. For refreshments, Hartley’s General Store offers hand-dipped ice cream, snacks, and Thomas the Tank toys.

The park also hosts popular events throughout the year, ensuring there’s always something new and exciting to experience.

Pro tip:
Picnic spots are abundant and perfect for a family lunch. Packing a picnic can save money and give you a relaxing break between activities. Plus, the kids can run around while you unwind.

12. Delight in a customized burger at In-N-Out

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Address: 4840 N 20th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016


Contact Details: +1 800-786-1000

Operating Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 10:30 AM–1 AM, Friday & Saturday: 10:30 AM–1:30 AM

Having a customized burger at In-N-Out is one of the best family activities in Phoenix. The simple yet delicious menu includes made-to-order burgers, cheeseburgers, fries, and milkshakes, making it a hit with all ages.

In-N-Out’s burgers are crafted from 100 percent American beef, ground by their own butchers. Each burger comes with fresh lettuce, juicy tomatoes, onions, and a special spread that makes every bite flavorful.

Fries are a highlight too, hand-cut from whole potatoes right on site. This commitment to freshness ensures that every fry is crispy and delicious, cooked in 100% pure, cholesterol-free vegetable oil.

The milkshakes are a must-try, made from real ice cream for a creamy and satisfying treat. Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry are classic choices that perfectly complement the savory burgers and fries.

Customization is key at In-N-Out, allowing each family member to get their burger exactly how they like it. Whether you prefer a simple cheeseburger or a more elaborate creation from their “secret menu,” there’s something for everyone.

Pro tip:
For a fun twist, try ordering your burger “Animal Style” with grilled onions, extra spread, and a mustard-cooked patty. This popular option adds an extra layer of flavor that’s sure to please.

13. Wander through the Desert Botanical Garden

Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008


Contact Details: +1 480-941-1225, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 7 AM–8 PM

The Desert Botanical Garden offers the world’s finest collection of arid plants from various deserts in a unique outdoor setting. Here, you’ll encounter colorful butterflies and hummingbirds flitting over vibrant wildflowers and an array of cacti.

With over 50,000 desert plants on display, the Garden features five thematic trails. These trails illustrate topics such as conservation, desert living, the plants and people of the Sonoran Desert, and desert wildflowers, making it an educational experience.

Most trails are stroller-friendly, ensuring accessibility for families with young children. The trails also provide incredible views of the surrounding mountains, perfect for memorable family photos amidst the desert’s natural beauty.

In addition to exploring the trails, you can enjoy specialized tours that offer deeper insights into desert ecosystems. Seasonal exhibits and special events throughout the year provide unique experiences every time you visit.

The Garden also hosts concerts, family activities, and more, making it a versatile destination for entertainment and education. When you need a break, Gertrude’s Restaurant and the Patio Café offer delicious dining options.

Pro tip:
Visit the gift and plant shop on your way out. The shop has a great selection of desert plants and unique souvenirs. Picking up a plant can be a wonderful way to remember your visit and start a little desert garden at home.

14. Have a blast at Legoland

Address: 5000 S Arizona Mills Cir STE 135, Tempe, AZ 85282


Contact Details: +1 480-565-7072, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 11 AM–5 PM, Saturday & Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM

Legoland Discovery Center offers a world of creativity and fun for kids and adults alike. Located in the Arizona Mills mall, this 40,000-square-foot facility is one of just nine in the United States, making it a special destination for Lego enthusiasts.

The center features a stunning Lego model of downtown Phoenix, constructed with over 800,000 Lego bricks. This intricate display is a highlight for visitors, showcasing the artistic and architectural potential of these beloved plastic bricks.

In addition to the impressive models, the Model Builder Academy offers workshops led by Alecsander Posta, the Master Model Builder. These sessions provide a unique opportunity to learn from a Lego expert and enhance your building skills.

The interactive attractions are a big hit with families. Racing Lego-built cars down a ramp, exploring the jungle gym, and experiencing the 4-D cinema are just a few of the engaging activities available.

Pro tip:
Take advantage of the play areas. The jungle gym and soft play zones are perfect for younger kids to burn off energy. It’s also a good spot for parents to take a breather while the little ones have a blast.

15. Cool off at Golfland Sunsplash

Address: 155 W Hampton Ave, Mesa, AZ 85210


Contact Details: +1 480-834-8319, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Monday:   10 AM–11 PM
  • Tuesday:  10 AM–11 PM
  • Wednesday: 10 AM–11 PM
  • Thursday: 10 AM–11 PM
  • Friday:      10 AM–11 PM
  • Saturday:  10 AM–11 PM
  • Sunday:    10 AM–11 PM

Cooling off at Golfland Sunsplash is one of the best ways to enjoy a family day in Phoenix. Located in Mesa, this family entertainment center offers a mix of indoor and outdoor activities suitable for all ages.

The water park boasts over 30 attractions, including wave pools, tube slides, body slides, and a lazy river. These features provide endless fun and a perfect way to beat the Arizona heat.

For those who prefer to stay dry, Golfland Sunsplash has a variety of mini-golf courses with unique themes. Whether exploring the pirate-themed Buccaneer Bay or navigating the outer space-themed Sunsplash Golf, there’s something exciting for everyone.

Families can also enjoy go-karts, laser tag, bumper boats, and arcade games. These activities ensure that everyone, from young children to adults, has a blast.

Pro tip:
Some slides and rides have height requirements. Checking these ahead of time can help manage expectations, especially with younger kids. It’s a good idea to measure the kids before leaving home.
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