Looking for family fun in Phoenix?
Our city is among the ten largest in the country. It can also be one of the hottest, especially in the summer. It can be extremely challenging to keep the kids occupied when it’s too hot to spend a lot of time outdoors. There’s nothing worse than hearing the dreaded words “I’m bored!” come out of your children’s mouths.
Thankfully, whether you are in Phoenix on vacation, or you live there year-round, Phoenix offers a huge variety of family-friendly attractions for the entire family all year round. We’ve assembled a list of the best water parks, hands-on museums, activity centers, and zoos to keep your family busy no matter how hot it gets outside!
Family Fun in Phoenix #1 – The Children’s Museum of Phoenix
Address: 215 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Telephone: (602) 253-0501
Hours: Monday – Sunday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Located in the heart of downtown, The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is a must visit for kids from birth to 10-years old! Every child will find something to love about this museum. There are over 300 unique play experiences sprawled out over 48,000 square feet. The unique exhibits will keep the kids busy for hours while engaging their imaginations and exciting their curiosity.
This is a place for interactive play and creativity. There’s no room for mindless staring at video games or television here! Children can create an amazing piece of art in the hands-on art studio, practice hand-eye coordination with building blocks, or build a fort from raw materials and found items in the Building Big exhibit. If you are lucky enough to live in Phoenix, the classes, and camps offered at the Children’s Museum are amazing!
Family Fun in Phoenix #2 -The Heard Museum
Address: 2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Telephone: (602) 252-8840
Hours: Monday – Saturday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Those who are interested in the history and culture of the area won’t want to miss the Heard Museum. There’s plenty to see, but the museum is not so big that it would be overwhelming with younger children. The Heard offers an amazing collection of Native American exhibits, including beautiful jewelry and pottery. You can also expect to see some incredible paintings, metalworks, and silversmithing on your tour of the museum.
The guides at the Heard are fantastic, so be sure to take advantage of the guided tours. Allow a few hours to tour the museum, but plan on having lunch there, too. Their café is great and offers unique dishes. The gift shop is quite large and very interesting, as well. Even locals should plan repeat visits to this museum, as they rotate their exhibits frequently.
Family Fun in Phoenix #3 – Phoenix Zoo
Address: 455 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008
Telephone: (602) 253-0501
Hours: Monday – Sunday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Phoenix Zoo occupies 125 acres and is home to Komodo dragons, baboons, Sumatran tigers, Galapagos turtles, Asian Elephants, and much more. It’s a great place to spend the day with the kids, and there’s something for everyone! Wander on four trails to visit the numerous wildlife habitats featuring more than 3,000 animals. Monkey Village is a walk-through exhibit where the kids can get up close and personal with squirrel monkeys, and it’s a must-see.
For some more hands-on fun, visit the Red Barn, where the kids can get up close to cows, sheep, and horses and even brush some goats. Be sure to take the kids to feed the giraffes in the Giraffe Encounter. Stingray Bay is another interactive exhibit the kids will love. The 15,000-gallon pool gives them a chance to feed and touch the beautiful cownose stingrays.
For a break from the heat, there are three water playgrounds the kids will love. Shaded seating is available for Mom and Dad close by. When you and the little ones need to get off your feet, take the safari train tour for a 25-minute narrated ride through some of the zoo’s exhibits. Don’t miss the 4-D theater for a fun break in air-conditioned comfort. There are several nice places to eat and a gift shop, as well.
If you live locally or will be visiting the area during the winter, be sure to see the annual Zoo Lights display that runs from late November through early January. It’s one of the largest holiday light displays in the United States, and there will be other special winter-themed activities and performances as well.
Family Fun in Phoenix #4 – Arizona Science Center
Address: 600 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Telephone: (602) 716-2000
Hours: Monday – Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
If you’re looking for something fun to do indoors, the Arizona Science Center is located right across the street from the Children’s Museum. It’s the type of place that encourages the kids to learn something new through touching and trying new things. The best thing about this museum is that it’s hands-on and adults and teens will love it as much as the younger ones do. This museum offers seven different galleries with more than 300 exhibits, including a water play area called Water Spheres and Gears.
You can lay on a Bed of Nails in the Get Charged exhibit and stroll through scientific laboratories to learn about Green Energy in the Solarville exhibit. The WONDER center offers a fascinating look at the human brain and even offers a group lab experience. Or, how about a wheelchair race through the human digestive system in the All About Me exhibit? You can even stand in the middle of a simulated storm in the Forces of Nature Exhibit.
For even more indoor fun, there’s also a state of the art planetarium that you won’t want to miss. The Iren P. Flinn Theater is also located at the Science Center, and it’s a five-story-high theater that shows two films daily. You could spend an entire afternoon at these two attractions alone. In fact, even locals and repeat visitors will want to check out the featured exhibits at the Science Center that change regularly throughout the year.\
Family Fun in Phoenix #5 – Pueblo Grande Museum and Archeological Park
Address: 4619 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Telephone: (602) 495-0901
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 am – 4:45 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm – 4:45 pm, Trail Closes at 4:30 pm
The Pueblo Grande Museum and Archeological Park is a 15,000-year old archeological site that is operated by the City of Phoenix. You will find a 2/3-mile trail that takes you through a partially excavated prehistoric Hohokam village with replicas of prehistoric houses. The exhibits will teach the family about the lifestyles of the Hohokam and other Southwestern tribes. The park also focuses on Phoenix’s cultural heritage with arts and crafts displays that feature items used by Native Americans.
Family Fun in Phoenix #6 – OdySea In the Desert Aquarium
Address: 9500 East Vía de Ventura A-100, Scottsdale, AZ 85256
Telephone: (480) 291-8000
Hours: Monday – Saturday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm, Sunday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
The OdySea Aquarium is a great way to enjoy a day indoors. This is a state of the art 2-million-gallon aquarium that features more than 65 exhibits and over 370 species of aquatic life. This aquarium houses the world’s only Russian Sturgeon touch exhibit. There’s also a tide touch pool and two stingray touch exhibits that the kiddos will love!
The Rivers of the World Exhibit is home to freshwater turtles, Asian Small-Clawed Otters, and the endangered Siamese crocodiles. Penguin Point with its family of African black-footed penguins is sure to be a crowd pleaser. You might even get a chance to feed the penguins! The whole family will be fascinated by the Bizarre and Beautiful exhibit where you will see a creature that can regenerate its internal organs and a harmless looking fish that is the most poisonous fish in the world.
The newest and largest exhibit is the “OdySea Voyager” which is designed to look like a marine research station. Even if you’ve been to the Aquarium before, it’s worth a return trip to see this new exhibit! Some of the highlights are the Sea Turtle Reef, Sea Lion Sound, and the Shark Waters Exhibit.
Video by Matthew Peer
Family Fun in Phoenix #7 – Butterfly Wonderland
Address: 9500 East Vía de Ventura, Scottsdale, AZ 85256
Telephone: (480) 800-3000
Hours: Monday – Sunday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Butterfly Wonderland is the largest butterfly conservatory in the United States. There are over 3,000 butterflies from all over the world housed in this human-made tropical rainforest. The 3D theater will be a highlight of your visit. Kids will be fascinated by the live ant colony and the honey bee exhibit. There’s a gift shop full of cool butterfly themed souvenirs, too.
Video by ABC 15 Arizona
Family Fun in Phoenix #8 – Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
Address: 641 W Lower Buckeye Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85003
Telephone: (602) 262-6863
Hours: Sunrise to 7:00 pm or Sunset, whichever comes first.
The nature lovers in your group will love the Rio Salado Habitat. Once a dried-up river bed full of trash, there are now more than 5 miles of paved and natural trails here. It’s an amazing place to see more than 200 species of birds and various wildlife habitats, including wetland ponds and cottonwood/willow forests.
Family Fun in Phoenix #9 – Desert Botanical Garden
Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008
Telephone: (480) 941-1225
Hours: Monday – Sunday 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
For a fun outdoor experience that both kids and adults will enjoy, check out the Desert Botanical Garden. The garden features many of the beautiful desert plants of Arizona. In fact, this garden is home to the world’s largest desert plant collection. The garden contains more than 4,000 different species of flowers, trees, cacti, and succulents and occupies 150 acres. If you live nearby, the Garden offers kids events every Saturday and Sunday.
Family Fun in Phoenix #10 – Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium, and Safari Park
Address: 16501 W Northern Ave, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340
Telephone: (623) 935-WILD (9453)
Hours: ZOO OPEN: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, AQUARIUM OPEN: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
365 days a year, including holidays
The Wildlife World Zoo is located just west of Phoenix in Litchfield Park. You could easily spend a full day here. There’s a lot to see and do at this private zoo that features the largest collection of exotic animals in Arizona.
This is a very diverse zoo featuring 6,000 different animals from all over the world. To keep the kids entertained, there are several feeding stations where you can get up close and personal with some of the animals. There’s even a very rare albino alligator, an endangered white rhinoceros, and a white tiger. The newest exhibit, Adventure Land, occupies 15 acres and features animals from South America in several outdoor and three indoor exhibits.
When you’re ready for a break, sit down and enjoy the sea lion show at Shipwreck Cove in the aquarium. The Small Animals of the World building offers a chance to see lots of adorable little animals in air-conditioned comfort. Don’t worry about bringing food because there are also four family-friendly eateries to choose from.
There’s even a bunch of fun rides for the kiddos. The flume ride is a great way to cool off on a hot afternoon. You will get to see aquatic animals and go through the longest acrylic tunnel in Arizona before splashing down three stories. You can also ride the safari tram for a narrated tour through Safari Park and a chance to get off your feet. Or, slow down and enjoy the view from the Skyride to get an overview of the entire park. If that’s not enough, there’s even a 100-foot tall swing, roller coaster, zip line, train ride, and a boat tour, too.
Family Fun in Phoenix #11 – Musical Instrument Museum
Address: 4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050
Telephone: (480) 478-6000
Hours: Monday – Sunday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
For more hands-on fun and learning, visit the Musical Instrument Museum. The kids will be able to explore musical instruments from all over the world. There are more than 6,500 musical instruments and objects on display here. The Experience Gallery is a favorite exhibit of the museum where kids will get the chance to play some of the instruments. The Artist Gallery features instruments that were played by famous artists like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Plan on having lunch at the award-winning Café Allegro during your visit.
Family Fun in Phoenix #12 – Hall of Flame Firefighting Museum
Address: 6101 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85008
Telephone: (602) 275-3473
Hours: Monday – Saturday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
There are more than 90 fully restored pieces of fire-fighting equipment on display at the Hall of Flame Firefighting Museum dating from 1725 to 1969. The museum houses nearly an acre of fire history displays from the U.S., England, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia. Don’t miss the Nation Firefighting Hall of Heroes that honors those who have died in the line of duty or been awarded for their heroism. There’s also a gallery dedicated to the history of wildland firefighting in America.
Family Fun in Phoenix #13 – Wet ‘N’ Wild Phoenix
Being one of the hottest cities in the country, you know Phoenix has to have a waterpark. Wet ‘N’ Wild Phoenix is the biggest waterpark in Arizona, and it is part of the Six Flags chain of amusement parks. This is a fun way to spend a day that all family members will enjoy.
The main attractions at this huge waterpark include two water playgrounds, Monsoon Bay wave pool, and a Raging River ride. There are a variety of water slides for all ages. The thrill seekers in the family will want to check out Maximum Velocity, the world’s first dueling water coaster. Wet ‘n’ Wild Junior has kid-sized versions of the park’s more thrilling rides in addition to water toys and spray zones.
There’s dining available onsite at the Point Break Café and Sharky’s Eats and Treats. There are also various ice cream and snack shacks throughout the park. Life jackets, lockers, water tubes, and cabanas are available to rent for the day. Shower and changing facilities are also available.
If you live locally, be sure to check out season passes. The Dive ‘n’ Movie nights are free with the season pass and are a fun change of pace in the heat of summer.
Family Fun in Phoenix #14 – Castles ‘N’ Coasters
Castles ‘N’ Coasters is a fun little theme park in north-central Phoenix. The small size is more manageable for families with little ones. There’s a nice variety of rides and attractions for all ages, including go-karts, four mini-golf courses and an 11,000-square foot arcade with over 225 games. There are also three snack bars on site offering everything from hamburgers and hotdogs to tacos and ice cream.
The thrill seekers in the family will want to check out Desert Storm, the parks large steel roller coaster. There’s also a smaller, but still exciting, roller coaster called the Patriot that’s more suited to younger riders. Those who want to get a little wet will want to check out Splashdown; the parks log ride. If that’s not enough, you’ll also want to try out the Sky Wire zip line that soars over the parks mini golf courses.
Family Fun in Phoenix #15 – Rustler’s Rooste
Address: 8383 S 48th St, Phoenix, AZ 85044
Telephone: (602) 431-6474
Hours: Monday – Sunday 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Dining out with the kids is fun at Rustler’s Rooste. This restaurant has it all! From the enormous longhorn steer out front to an indoor waterfall, it’s a dining experience your whole family will remember for a lifetime. Did we mention that the kids can ride the giant tin slide to the dining room? There’s even a roaming magician and live Western music every night!
This restaurant will appeal to adults, too. The view of the city is breathtaking, and the food is excellent. You’ll find the best steaks, ribs, chicken, and seafood in town at Rustler’s Rooste. They’ve even got a rattlesnake appetizer for those who are brave enough to give it a try. They’ve got Mom and Dad’s favorite beers, wine, and cocktails, too.
The atmosphere at Rustler’s Rooste provides a true out West experience. The wooden walls are full of western memorabilia, and local ranchers have even brought in their brands to brand the walls. There’s even a General Store for authentic Western souvenirs. If you only take the kids out for one sit down dinner in Phoenix, this is the place to go!
Family Fun in Phoenix #16 – Legoland Discovery Center Arizona at Arizona Mills Mall
Address: 5000 S Arizona Mills Cir #135, Tempe, AZ 85282
Telephone: (855) 450-0558
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, Sunday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm,
Legoland Discovery Center is the ultimate indoor Lego playground designed specifically for kids ages 3-10 years. There are two rides, 10 Lego build and play zones, and 4D theater. Several builds are specific to Arizona, including the Grand Canyon, Downtown Phoenix, and Chase Field.
Miniland is an interactive city built from over 1 million bricks. The Dino Explorer exhibit features a wide range of dinosaur themed activities, including the chance to build a dinosaur. Kids will also love the Lego Factory tour and the Lego store with all the latest Lego toys.
Plan on spending an entire day here because the Discovery Center is located inside Arizona Mills Mall, the largest indoor mall in the state. The mall is home to more than 185 stores, a Rainforest Café, the Sea Life Arizona Aquarium, and the largest IMAX theater in all of Arizona.
Family Fun in Phoenix #17 – AZ Air Time
Family members of all ages will have a blast at this indoor trampoline park and family fun center. The jump areas are split up according to age, so there’s no need to worry about little ones getting hurt. As long as they can walk, they can jump!\
The main trampoline is 5,000-square feet and has angled walls for bouncing. There two dodgeball courts and a huge foam pit and even a place to shoot some hoops. There are almost 1,500 square feet dedicated to jumpers under six years old. This area features padded landing areas and angled walls to jump and bounce off of. There are also two giant bounce houses with slides. Mom and Dad will appreciate having access to free Wi-Fi while the kids tire themselves out.
Family Fun in Phoenix #18 – I.D.E.A. Museum
Address: 150 W Pepper Pl, Mesa, AZ 85201
Telephone: (480) 644-2468
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Closed Mondays
I.D.E.A. stands for imagination, design, engineering, and art. This museum offers lots of kid-friendly exhibits and a hands-on play area that is designed to spark the imagination. Kids will have opportunities to explore science, movie making, painting, acting and much more.
ArtVille is one of the most popular activities at the I.D.E.A. museum. It’s a replica of a real town where kids can create works of art using all different types of media. If you live in the area, be sure to check out the classes and camps offered by the museum.
Family Fun in Phoenix #19 – Laser Quest Phoenix
Address: 3335 W Peoria Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85029
Telephone: (602) 548-0005
Hours: Monday – Thursday 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Friday 1:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Saturday 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
If you’re looking for something fun to do with older kids and teens, laser tag is always a hit! Mom and Dad can join in on the fun, too. This is the high-tech version of tag and hide and seek combined. The facility has several arenas that feature things like swirling fog and energetic music to make the experience even more exciting. Laser quest also offers a variety of day camps and educational programs for those who live in the area.
Family Fun in Phoenix #20 – Xtreme Pursuit
Address: 140 N Country Club Dr. Suite #2, Mesa, AZ 85201
Telephone: (602) 447-8200
Hours: Thursday 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Friday 3:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Closed Monday – Wednesday
Believe it or not, Phoenix is home to the largest indoor paintball arena in the USA! Xtreme Pursuit is a 33,000-square foot facility that includes a war zone area complete with wartime special effects from lights, sound, and fog machines. The arena boasts 500 tons of dirt, sniper towers, and bunkers.
The arena has professional referees on site, so it’s a great place to drop off older teenagers while you do something with the little ones. Or, Mom and Dad can stay and join in on the fun! Paintball is a team sport so that the whole family can join in! You can team up together against an enemy team or compete against each other. Either way, everyone is sure to have a blast and get some great exercise!
Other Fun Phoenix Activities
Eludesions Escape Rooms
Address: 2710 W Bell Road, Suite 1200, Phoenix, AZ 85053
Telephone: (602) 633-3994
Hours: Friday & Saturday – 11:30am-11pm; Sunday – 1pm-9pm; Wednesday & Thursday – 5pm-9pm; Closed Monday and Tuesday
Elevate Coffee Company, LLC
Address: 2530 W Happy Valley Rd Suite #1273, Phoenix, AZ 85085
Hours: Monday – Thursday – 6am-9pm; Friday – 6am-10pm; Saturday – 7am-10pm; Sunday – 8am-8pm
The Crypt Escape Rooms
Address: 4302 E Ray Rd #104, Phoenix, AZ 85044
Telephone: (480) 759-1133
Hours: Monday-Thursday – 4:30pm-7:30pm; Friday-Saturday – 4:30pm-10:00pm; Sunday – Closed