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Fun Things to Do in Phoenix with Kids



In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of fun Phoenix family attractions and activities. On this page, you'll find a list of fun places to go with your children while on your Phoenix, Arizona vacation.








List of Fun Things to Do in Phoenix with Kids

Water parks & indoor activities are best when it's hot...but despite its sizzling reputation, Phoenix has wonderful weather much of the year!

Phoenix offers families fun things to do all year long. But...it's also true that 110-degree days aren't unusual during the summertime. So, the time of year when you plan your vacation to Phoenix will play a big role in which family activities you may enjoy.

Phoenix has 6 to 8 months of very good weather. In fact, winter weather in Phoenix, Arizona is surely one of the most pleasant and comfortable climates in all of the USA. Both spring and fall have many agreeable days, as well...and warm, pleasant evenings. So, when you discover that many of the family activities on the list below are out-of-doors, don't be surprised. There are only several months in which the Phoenix weather is as fearsome as you may have heard. The rest of the time, Phoenix is a great location for visiting outdoor family attractions.

If you're looking for northern Arizona fun that your family may enjoy on (or near) Interstate 40, please be sure to visit our Things to Do in Arizona page. Or, to find interesting activities in Tucson and southern Arizona which your entire family may enjoy, please check out our What's to do in Tucson? page!




Fun Things to Do in Phoenix with kids & teens

List of Phoenix Water Parks

Slides at Sunsplash in the metro Phoenix, Arizona area1.) Wet N Wild water park: A major new water park opened in Phoenix several years ago! The "down side" of this news is that the new Wet N Wild opened on the spot where a favorite older water park, Wild Water Safari, had stood for many years. Fun-lovers crossed their fingers & waited anxiously to see if the new park would measure up to their expectations. And yes, it did!

Wet N Wild brought Phoenix its first "dueling water roller coaster!" Water rollercoasters actually shoot riders UP...an action that's distinctly different than the traditional climb up/slide down thrills for which water parks are known. Wet N Wild's dueling water coaster takes things a step further; you can "race" your friends in side-by-side tubes! Of course, the new Wet N Wild has "regular" water slides, as well...plus a giant bowl ride, a circular "river," water-play areas for kids and a wave pool.

Wet N Wild's operating season begins yearly in March and lasts through September. To see the park's operating schedule & find out the details you need to plan your outing, here's the Phoenix Wet N Wild website.

2.) Golfland-Sunsplash (Mesa, AZ): As any visitor can imagine from the park's name, Golfland is a fun place to play miniature golf. In fact, it's a complete family fun center, offering bumper boats, go karts, laser tag and an arcade, as well.

For part of the year, Golfland welcomes visitors into its seasonally operated Golfland Slides section and its water-park section called Sunsplash. Between these two areas, you'll enjoy water slides & water-play fun for all ages from toddlers & preschoolers...to teens & adults. Other attractions include an endless river, a wave pool, a kiddie area---and even a water roller coaster, the Master Blaster.

To check the park's schedule & get details for planning your visit, here's the Arizona Golfland-Sunsplash website. Or, if you'd like to see our Golfland photos & read our review, you may visit the Mesa Golfland-Sunsplash page of our site.

3.) Big Surf water park: Big Surf was the original pioneer in water park wave pools...and celebrated its 40th birthday recently. At the end of the season, Golfland/Sunsplash announced that they didn't wish to renew their lease to run Big Surf...and fans of this popular & nostalgic water park paced the floor with anxiety when they heard the news. Would their beloved Big Surf ever open again?

The good new is YES; a new company took over the water park's operations and Big Surf has remained opened to the public (seasonally.) You can get the details you need for planning your fun water park outing on the new Big Surf website. Or, you may view our pictures of the park from several summers ago on the Big Surf Water Park page of our site.

4.) Kiwanis Park Wave Pool: If you would prefer an indoor wave pool, there's one in Tempe at the Kiwanis Park Recreation Center. (You don't need to be either a Kiwanis member or a resident of Tempe to enjoy the facilities.) Although you'll miss out on the other features of a water park, a tall spiral slide is available for guests 48" and taller. Quiet-water times are also available for lap-swimmers and families who wish to splash & play with toddlers and young children. Parents should note that kids under age 8 must have an adult within arms reach at all times; and water wings are not allowed. (Life jackets and tubes are available for rent.) For further information, here's the Kiwanis Park wave pool page of the www.Tempe.gov website.

5.) Tempe Town Beach Park's Splash Playground: You and your family can enjoy a super-cheap version of kid's water-play fun at Tempe Town Lake. On the north shore of the lake, you'll find a fun...and FREE...park where your kids can play in a large, 1-acre water playland. Bring a sack lunch; there are picnic spots to enjoy overlooking the water. (Note: the Tempe Beach park is open year-round, but the Splash Playground is only open seasonally.) For more information, here's the Tempe Splash Playground's web page from the Tempe.Gov website.




Family Fun Centers in the Phoenix area

First, here's a list of outdoor family fun parks



In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of the Castles 'n Coasters fun center in Phenix, AZ. If these slides have stopped running by the time you reach this point, you may try refreshing this page to get it going once again.

Does Phoenix have a true theme park? No...but one of the city's family fun centers offers the state of Arizona's closest thing to a full-service theme park or amusement park: it's called Castles & Coasters (pictured in the slide show above.)

Photo: Arizona State Fair in Phoenix, AZ1.) Castles N Coasters has Arizona's biggest roller coaster. Castles N Coasters also has a tower-drop ride, go karts, bumper boats, a carousel, some kiddie rides and a large game arcade. The Castles N Coasters mini golf courses are lush and beautiful, full of streams, fountains, waterfalls and decorative props (many of them Western USA-themed.) For complete information for planning your outing, here's the www.CastlesNCoasters.com website. Or, if you'd like to view our pictures & read our review of the park, please see the Castles N Coasters Fun Park page of our site.

2.) Legoland Discovery Center at Arizona Mills: New to our list since the last update, you'll find a first-rate indoor playground run by the same company who developed Legoland (in Carlsbad, California.) It's clean, busy, and features even more Legos & Duplo bricks than you might imagine. In addition, there are other attractions...a movie, a mini-land featuring Lego versions of your favorite local landmarks, several rides and a large indoor playland. All in all, it makes for a great family time. The price is a major drawback, at around $22/person---and no discount for kids. However, if you live close enough that buying an annual pass makes sense, then your frequent visits will become a very good deal for the money. Here's the Lego Discovery Center website where you'll find out all the details. Note: Birthday parties are a specialty here.

3.) Crackerjax Family Fun Center (Scottsdale) is another good place to enjoy miniature golf, go karts, bumper boats and arcade games. Unusual activities include a bungy dome, a professional putting course and "Water Wars," among others. Here's the www.Crackerjax.com website where you will discover complete information about attractions, prices and hours.

4.) The Enchanted Island Amusement Park is a cute kiddie ride area within Phoenix's lovely Encanto Park. Most of the kids you see there will be in the under-10 age group. The majority of the rides are really & truly just for kiddies; adults are only allowed to accompany their children on a handful of the rides. Still, it's difficult for parents to get bored in this beautiful setting. And, for fun the entire group can enjoy, you may rent a pedal boat and go for a spin on Encanto Park's lake. Here's the www.EnchantedIsland.com website where you may get details for planning your family outing.



Indoor family fun centers

When you feel that it's too hot for an outdoor activity, don't worry; Phoenix has indoor attractions available. A number of high-quality attractions has opened in the metro area in the past several years that you might enjoy exploring.

1.) OdySea Mirror Maze/Laser Challenge: New to the metro area as of Fall 2016! Our family hasn't yet visited this facility, but judging from its website, it's quite nice. The Mirror Maze is part of a new entertainment complex that also offers a large aquarium and a butterfly habitat under separate admission. (Please see the "zoo" section below on this page for a description of the animal attractions.)

The Mirror & Laser facility can be explored on a drop-in basis, or you may make arrangements for birthday parties and private events. Tickets can be bought "by the session," or you can purchase an all-day pass. These are sold at the attraction's ticket booth, not online. However, for birthday parties & group events, you CAN make reservations online. (In fact, you'll NEED to pre-schedule your event at least 7 days in advance.) Here's the OdySea Mirror Maze website, where you can see pics, discover hours & address, and/or reserve a party. Note: Discount combo-tickets for Mirror Maze AND OdySea Aquarium can be found on the OdySea Aquarium website.

2.) Sky Zone indoor trampoline park: Energetic people of all ages will enjoy this indoor trampoline park in Peoria that's making a hit for birthday parties, corporate events and general family fun. Climate-controlled for year-round comfort, you'll never know you're getting a good workout because you'll be having so much fun! Here's the Sky Zone-Peoria website where you'll discover all the details.

3.) Bounce U indoor inflatables park in Gilbert specializes in birthday parties for the 12-and-under set. However, they also have "open bounce" sessions available for individuals, including special sessions just for preschoolers. Bounce session times vary from day to day, so be sure to check their daily calendar before you head over to play. Here's the BounceU website--Gilbert for complete information, available times and prices.

4.) Flip Dunk Sports in Phoenix hosts trampoline birthday parties, offers "open jump" time on a regular schedule daily...and even offers classes in the art of trampolining (and gymnastics, too!) For an entire overview of Flip Dunk's offerings, schedule and prices, please visit the Flip Dunk Sports website.

5.) Glow Putt Miniature Golf in Scottsdale is a nice way to spend some fun (and air-conditioned!) time with family members of all ages. Indoor lighting is dim, and the golf course's striking black-light decore shines out brightly. The price is about $10 for the first round, with $5 for "repeat" rounds. A party room is available for rent, but you must provide your own catering, for no meal is offered for purchase. For hours, address and complete info, please visit the Glow Putt AZ website.

6.) Glowgolf at Paradise Valley Mall: Here's another fun place for indoor mini-golf in a convenient location familiar to most local residents. It's not as shiny and new as Glow Putt (mentioned above,) but it's considerably cheaper. The $10 fee includes 3 rounds, and prices are only $5 for seniors and preschoolers. Hours are easy to remember, too, because they're exactly the same as the mall's regular hours of operation. For further info, here's a link to the Glow Golf at PV Mall website.




Indoor Fun Center --- Plus Pizza

Like any other large city in the USA, Phoenix has its share of pizza-and-play restaurants. The most widely recognized chain, no matter from which state you may be visiting, is...

1.) Chuck E Cheese: Making regular visits to this perennial favorite is an established custom in many households with kids. Eating pizza, watching the Chuck E Cheese shows, playing arcade games, and collecting tickets for prizes are all part of the fun. Here's the www.ChuckECheese.com website, where you may look up the Arizona locations of this restaurant close to where you're staying.

2.) Peter Piper Pizza: You're possibly familiar with the multi-state chain, Peter Piper Pizza, as well. If not, then Peter Piper is where you'll want to head if you've got tweens or teens. It's got the games & the ticket-spewing...without the "kiddie" decorations and shows. Here's the www.PeterPiperPizza.com website, where you may find a location that's convenient for your family.

3.) Amazing Jake's Pizza Buffet (in Mesa) is another chain that out-of-state visitors might recognize. A pizza buffet purchase is required for all who enter...but the food is secondary; it's the large indoor family fun center that's the attraction. There are large-size attractions here, even a mini roller coaster and an indoor go-kart track. Kiddie rides, indoor mini golf, and a climbing wall are other attractions. To view the complete list of things to do and get prices, here's the Amazing Jake's website.

4.) Makutu's Island (Chandler) is a locally owned establishment. The tropically-themed interior features faux trees which are actually playgrounds for climbing and sliding...and adults are allowed into the play structures with their kids. A game arcade is also a feature. Admission is charged. Here's the www.MakutusIsland.com website where you'll find further information.




Phoenix Zoos and Aquariums



In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of the Sea Life Aquarium at Arizona Mills Mall. If these slides have stopped running by the time you reach this point, you may try refreshing this page to get it going once again.

1.) The Phoenix Zoo: The metro area's largest zoo is The Phoenix Zoo. You'll see most of your favorite animals here along with kid-friendly features such as playgrounds, a farm animal petting area and carousel. Taking the Safari Train guided tour is a good way to save your feet in this large zoo...and you'll learn more about the animals you're viewing, as well. To discover other zoo features, prices and hours, here's the Phoenix Zoo website.

2.) Wildlife World Zoo: Not every metro area has more than one zoo...but Phoenix does. Located in the western suburb of Litchfield Park, this privately- owned zoo offers a different set of charms. Kids will enjoy that the petting zoo here still allows them to feed the animals. The biggest event at Wildlife World recently has been the opening of a large 3-building aquarium--Arizona's largest. For more info, please see the www.WildlifeWorld.com website.

3.) Sea Life Aquarium: A new Phoenix Sea Life Aquarium opened at the Arizona Mills Mall several years ago, and it has proved to be quite popular with local families---including our own. The Sea Life Aquarium is focused on giving a very child-friendly experience that will leave all of your family members mesmerized---even the smallest toddlers! Along with the fish and other marine plants & animals, you'll to find play structures, port holes, a "quiz trail," crawl-in viewing windows and other fun, kid-pleasing features. To get all the details you need to plan your family's enjoyable outing, here's the Sea Life Aquarium website. On their website, you may also purchase combo tickets for SeaLife AND the new Lego Discovery Center. This will save a small amount over purchasing tickets for each attraction separately.

4.) OdySea in the Desert Aquarium: The metro area's newest aquarium opened in September, 2016! Located at 9500 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale AZ 85256, you'll find it on the EAST side of Loop 101. It's much larger than SeaLife, and its focus is more on all ages (as opposed to SeaLife, which targets the under-12 age group.) Because of its larger size and scope, prices are a bit higher than SeaLife, as well. Tickets in 2017 cost $25 for kids age 3-12, and $35 for adults. Special behind-the-scenes tours are available, as well (for an additional fee.) Another option is the "combo tickets," which combine OdySea admission with other brand-new attractions in this complex---which are BUTTERFLY WONDERLAND and MIRROR/LASER MAZE. Annual passes are also available.

Here's a link to the OdySea Aquarium website, where you can find complete information. Since our family hasn't been to visit this interesting new attraction yet, here's a link to an article about the OdySea Aquarium on the AZCentral.com website. You can find photos and read an interesting review.

5.) Butterfly Wonderland, a special habitat for these beautiful creatures, is a part of the OdySea family of attractions (under separate admission.) Its butterfly pavillion is stated to be the largest in the USA---a climate & humidity controlled free-flight area where you can observe their colorful flights amidst trees and shrubs. Exhibits featuring other small animals (fish, insects, and a new-for-2017 reptile garden) are other offerings your kids will enjoy. A 3D movie about butterflies is also a included. Ticket prices are around $20 for adults, $13 for kids age 3-12 and $18 for teens. Military discount is $2 per ticket, available at the ticket booths when you show your ID. Here's the Butterfly Wonderland website, where you'll find a complete description of their offerings. Or, to purchase a multi-attraction discount pass (which also includes the OdySea Aquarium,) please visit the OdySea Aquarium website.




Best things to do with kids in Phoenix, Arizona

Museums that are fun & kid-friendly

Photo: Miniature golfing at Golfland in Mesa, Arizona1.) Arizona Science Center, IMAX Theater and Dorrance Planetarium: This large science museum is child-focused and extremely popular. You'll often find a crowd, and it will be full of busy kids exploring and taking advantage of the many interactive exhibits here. Exhibits are interesting, colorful and well-done. Permanent exhibitions and temporary attractions are both housed here, so you may make multiple visits and still see different things. Both the IMAX and the planetarium presentations are excellent. Here's the Arizona Science Center's website where you may get prices, hours and info about current exhibits.

2.) Children's Museum of Phoenix: Located in a former school building, these hallowed halls of learning are still teaching youngsters...although in a more playful & interactive way. For current info including hours and prices, you'll want to visit the Children's Museum of Phoenix website.

3.) Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum: What was it like to be one of the pioneer settlers of Arizona? Kids and adults alike will enjoy finding out at this village where the clock seems to have stopped in the 1800's, and period-clad "pioneers" answer your questions about the days of yore. Here's the Pioneer Living History Museum website for further information.

4.) Deer Valley Rock Art Center is now the Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve: Native American rock paintings and etchings here in the Southwest USA fascinate both children and adults alike. This interpretive museum is located on an actual site of ancient rock drawings. You can walk on a path to see the actual drawings (best view is in the afternoon) then you can view the indoor museum to get a better understanding of them. With the change of name came a change of hours. You now need to make reservations 2 weeks in advance in order to visit. Even so, if you've never seen rock art up close, it's worth the effort. Here's the Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve website where you'll find the details for planning a visit.

5.) Rawhide western town: Immediately south of Phoenix/Chandler you'll find the fun Rawhide old-west town. Admission is free, so you can walk around to enjoy the atmosphere without breaking the bank. However, it's not very big, so to expand your outing you might wish to pay for one of the town's "extras," such as the Butterfield stagecoach ride, burro or hay wagon rides, panning for gold, or a performance in the Six Gun Theater. For a more delicious type of fun, you might wish to try the Rawhide Steakhouse, which exudes an aroma which will work up your appetite as you're touring around beforehand. Another plus about Rawhide is that the Phoenix Premium Outlets are nearby, giving the shopping-lovers in your group their turn to grin with delight. Here's the Rawhide website, for your convenience.

6.) Cerreta Candy Company factory tours: This isn't a museum, but it's quite educational---and interesting at the same time. Located in the northwestern suburb of Glendale, you'll discover how commercial candy is made...and see actual Cerreta products under production. This tour is only 30 minutes long, but for a small fee, your child can build/decorate a chocolate pizza. Actually, when we took the tour, this part was the children's favorite thing! You can get further details for planning your outing at the Cerreta Candy Company's website.





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