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Scottsdale could also be greatest identified for its abundance of swanky spas, golf programs, and buying malls. Thankfully, households will discover a wealth of kid-friendly sights right here, too. As a household journey skilled who spent half my childhood residing in Scottsdale after which moved again to this Southwestern metropolis with my brood a number of years in the past, I’m sharing my picks for the 27 greatest issues to do in Scottsdale with children.
While visiting this expansive Phoenix suburb, you’ll probably wander past its borders. For that purpose, I’ve included the perfect actions in neighboring areas as effectively. Join me in exploring Scottsdale, Arizona’s plentiful choices for households!
This story is delivered to you in partnership with Expedia.com.
1. Old Town Scottsdale
Wander Old Town Scottsdale’s artwork galleries and outlets seeking Southwestern jewellery and fascinating souvenirs. Highlights for teenagers in downtown Scottsdale embrace horse-drawn carriage rides and the pinkety-pink Sugar Bowl ice cream store with its connected online game arcade.
ArtStroll takes place each Thursday night time (moreover Thanksgiving). That’s when galleries throw open their doorways from 7 to 9 pm and invite visitors to get a better take a look at masterpieces created by Southwestern artists. It’s among the finest free issues to do within the Valley of the Sun!
2. Scottsdale Civic Center Mall
Also positioned in Old Town Scottsdale is the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall. This lovely outside area within the coronary heart of Scottsdale is full of whimsical sculptures, flower-filled gardens, and burbly fountains.
Pop into the expansive Scottsdale Public Library’s youngsters’s part to cozy up with an excellent e-book in a make-believe fort. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts are additionally positioned right here.
3. OdySea Aquarium
Located on the Arizona Boardwalk, OdySea Aquarium is the most important aquarium within the Southwest. This attraction will wow the entire household.
Otters, penguins, and sea turtles are favorites at this 200,000-square-foot aquarium. Roll up your sleeves to pet stingrays, sturgeons, and different sea creatures in contact swimming pools.
Before you allow, you’ll want to take a potty break to view sharks swimming above the lavatory sinks!
4. Butterfly Wonderland
Also positioned at Arizona Boardwalk, Butterfly Wonderland delights guests with its show of fluttering beauties in America’s largest butterfly conservatory.
Start at their 3-D theater to observe Flight of the Butterflies. This movie exhibits the spectacular annual migration of monarch butterflies.
Then get a firsthand view of the metamorphosis of butterflies and moths within the fascinating Butterfly Emergence Gallery. The spotlight of any go to is the Conservatory, which is full of free-flying butterflies and moths in a backyard setting full with a koi pond.
Additionally, your loved ones can view different bugs plus reptiles, amphibians, honeybees, and tropical fish throughout this academic expertise.
5. Hiking in Scottsdale with Kids
Scottsdale’s panorama will amaze first-timers to Arizona. This is very true if your loved ones visits in spring. That’s when the desert bursts with lovely blooms.
Always you’ll want to carry loads of water, a hat with a brim, and sunblock. If visiting town of Scottsdale throughout heat (or scorching!) climate, plan to hike early within the morning earlier than temperatures soar.
Wildlife you would possibly see on trails consists of bobcats, snakes, and javelinas (typically regarded as wild pigs however they’re truly peccaries). You might also spy all kinds of birds like darling Gambel’s quails or highway runners. Meep! Meep!
Camelback Mountain in Phoenix is so named for its animal form. This might be probably the most well-known place to hike within the Valley of the Sun. It’s not, nevertheless, your best option for inexperienced hikers or households with younger youngsters.
Instead, I like to recommend Scottsdale’s McDoeffectively Sonoran Preserve. Park on the Gateway Trailhead, the place there are public restrooms, maps, and a alternative of three mountaineering trails.
6. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
If your children are loco for locomotives, then Scottsdale’s McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a should. A large playground and a smaller Old West-themed play space are fabulous for teenagers. Model railroad displays and full-sized practice automobiles could be fascinating for your loved ones to discover on the Scottsdale Railroad Museum, too.
The spotlight, although, is the Paradise Pacific Railroad. This ride-on miniature practice chugs by the expansive grassy park.
The Scottsdale Charros Carousel can also be tremendous enjoyable. It options vintage horses and two wheelchair-accessible chariots.
Buy hotdogs, hamburgers, and ice cream on the Snackstop. Or pack a lunch to take pleasure in at picnic areas whereas watching the choo-choo.
In November and December, purchase your experience tickets on-line prematurely and count on lengthy strains to see their Holiday Lights show from the seat of the practice. A restricted variety of Fast Pass tickets can be found and effectively price the additional value.
7. Water Parks in and Near Scottsdale
With toasty temperatures for a number of months of the 12 months, it ought to come as no shock that water parks are plentiful within the Phoenix space. Keep in thoughts that these are usually open seasonally, so you’ll want to verify hours earlier than you go.
Some Scottsdale resorts, just like the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess and Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, provide water options like water slides and lazy rivers for his or her visitors as effectively. Read extra about these and different Scottsdale accommodations by way of Expedia.
Located in close by Tempe (house of Arizona State University), Big Surf opened in 1969. It boasts the world’s first wave machine, a specific hit with older children.
In addition to the Waikiki Beach Wave Pool, this water park gives greater than 19 waterslides of various sizes and scare ranges. Little children will take pleasure in Captain Cook’s Landing, a splash and slide space.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Phoenix
Formerly often known as Wet N’ Wild, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is the most important water park within the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Situated in Glendale, it is full of greater than 700,000 gallons of water and options over 30 sights.
Thrill lovers will love the huge array of waterslides plus a water coaster at Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa. A 450-gallon wave pool, two splash play areas for younger children, and an exercise pool will hold households content material for hours.
Plus, the water park scenes from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure have been filmed right here. Gnarly, dude!
McDoeffectively Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center
Significantly smaller and cheaper than the opposite choices listed above, the McDoeffectively Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center is the one water park on this record that is truly positioned inside Scottsdale. One winding waterslide, a nice lazy river, excessive and low diving boards, and a zero-entry splash pad make this an reasonably priced and enjoyable place for households to chill off.
8. Cactus League Spring Training
Take children of all ages out to a ballgame when in Scottsdale. With over 300 days of sunshine per 12 months, Arizona makes the proper location for baseball spring coaching.
Fifteen groups name Arizona their spring coaching house. This consists of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants.
They play at 10 completely different areas all through the Valley, like Scottsdale Stadium and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale. Learn extra about taking your children to spring coaching in Arizona from our associates at Tips for Family Trips.
9. Musical Instrument Museum
Displays on the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix are really interactive. Visitors don headphones that come to life with music and knowledge as displays are approached. Musical range seems earlier than your ears and eyes with songs and movies of live shows and dances, colourful shows of acquainted and strange devices, plus conventional costumes, and big pictures.
Children and adults even get a hands-on alternative to make music with a wide range of devices from around the globe within the Experience Gallery.
10. Phoenix Zoo
In truth, the Phoenix Zoo is the most important non-profit, privately owned zoo within the U.S. Most animal displays are massive and luxurious, and the main target is on conservation and schooling.
This zoo is house to almost 400 completely different species of animals. In addition to common residents like giraffes, orangutans, and elephants — search for indigenous animals like coyotes, mountain lions, and Mexican grey wolves.
In addition to spectacular animal displays, there are some options on the Phoenix Zoo for teenagers that shouldn’t be missed. Harmony Farm gives a petting zoo and playground for younger youngsters. Meanwhile, you will have a troublesome time pulling greater children away from the Enchanted Forest play space. (I do know I do!)
Children will wish to take a spin on the zoo’s carousel, too. The Endangered Species Carousel options fake ride-on endangered animals.
When it is scorching exterior, carry alongside swimsuits to chill off on the Leapin’ Lagoon and Yakulla Caverns splash pads. Alternatively, take a look at the Phoenix Zoo Lights nighttime shows in winter.
Also, search for interactive animal experiences like stingray feeding, camel rides, and giraffe feeding for a further cost.
11. Desert Botanical Garden
Just across the nook from the Phoenix Zoo is the Desert Botanical Garden. Go right here to wander alongside paved paths lined with desert flora like cactuses, wildflowers, succulents, agave vegetation, and ocotillo bushes. Displays train guests in regards to the indigenous vegetation and other people of the Sonoran Desert.
Make a reservation at their onsite sit-down restaurant, Gertrude’s (youngsters’s menus obtainable). Or seize a fast chunk on the Patio Café.
Mid-October to Mid-May, go at night time to see the desert come to life within the Electric Desert — a lightweight and sound expertise.
Learn extra and purchase your Desert Botanical Garden tickets with Expedia.
12. Arizona Museum of Natural History
Plan to spend a couple of hours on the interactive Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa. Kids like to pan for gold in a courtyard exterior. Wander by the Lost Dutchman Mine exhibit and “lock up” your loved ones members in its jail cells.
Then discover a Hohokam village. Stop to grind maize with stone instruments. Then put collectively big puzzle items to kind photos of Native American pottery.
Most spectacular among the many everlasting exhibit, although, is Dinosaur Mountain. This show of life-sized animated dinosaurs on a cliff options booming “flash floods” that ship water gushing down the show each 23 minutes.
13. Arizona Science Center
The Arizona Science Center in Downtown Phoenix rocks! You positively may spend a complete day exploring the middle.
With hands-on experiments full with nobs to crank and buttons to push, youngsters are too busy having enjoyable to appreciate they’re studying one thing, too. The onsite Dorrance Planetarium is among the largest and most technologically superior within the nation, too.
My favourite exhibit is Forces of Nature. Step aboard the “stage” to expertise a five-minute present. (It repeats each quarter-hour). This could also be too scary for toddlers and preschoolers, however massive children like to expertise a (delicate) earthquake, windstorms, thunder, lightning, and extra.
Expedia explains extra about what to anticipate on the Arizona Science Center.
14. Horseback Riding and More at MacDonald’s Ranch
Saddle up for enjoyable at MacDonald’s Ranch. This horse steady gives guided path horseback rides and stagecoach rides by the desert. If touring with a bunch of eight or extra, e-book a desert cookout together with a hayride, stagecoach tour, or horseback journey for a really memorable expertise.
When visiting Scottsdale in October, plan to attend the annual MacDonald’s Ranch pumpkin patch. Expect a petting zoo, pony rides, good old school video games, and a barbecue meals truck. The spotlight is boarding a horse-pulled hayride or tractor-pulled practice to a pumpkin patch surrounded by saguaro cactuses and sagebrush.
15. Children’s Museum of Phoenix
Designed for teenagers from start by 10 years, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix gives all kinds of alternatives to PLAY. Most guests spend two to 4 hours exploring the museum’s 14 displays.
Kids like to construct forts and cities in Building Big after which navigate their manner by a Noodle Forest. Climbing buildings, a pint-sized fake grocery retailer, a e-book loft and extra add to the enjoyable at this museum. Maximize enjoyable and studying throughout this interactive expertise with my Children’s Museum of Phoenix suggestions.
16. Miniature Golf and Theme Parks
Amusements like mini-golf, online game arcades, and theme park rides abound within the Valley of the Sun. Whether you desire a full-blown amusement park expertise otherwise you’re searching for a pair hours of distraction, your children are in for a deal with.
Even when its water park closes for the season, Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa continues to amuse visitors. Enjoy three miniature golf programs in addition to bumper automobiles, bumper boats, laser tag, and an enormous arcade with prizes.
Castles N’ Coasters
For full-sized outside rides together with a log experience and some curler coasters, head to Castles N’ Coasters in Phoenix. You’ll additionally discover 4 mini-golf programs and tons of indoor arcade video games.
Although my children and I had a ball at this theme park, experience security did not appear to be the best precedence. Plus, given the world of city, I’d advise sticking to a daytime go to.
Located indoors in Mesa, Jake’s Unlimited is a little bit of a trek from Scottsdale nevertheless it’s certainly one of my children’ favourite locations within the Valley.
Included with the worth of admission are video video games and 5 rides. Favorites are a full-sized carousel and bumper automobiles. Pay extra charges for bowling, video games with prize tickets, and laser tag.
Also freed from cost till 8 pm is an infinite buffet of pizza, pasta, salads, sodas, and soft-serve ice cream.
Peter Piper Pizza
Peter Piper Pizza is an element restaurant, half arcade. Choose from a number of areas all through the Valley, together with two in Scottsdale. The pizza and wings are first rate, however the major purpose to return right here is for video video games and prizes.
Glow-in-the-dark miniature golf at Glow Putt is at all times in season in Scottsdale. “Charge” your golf ball by inserting it inside blacklight tubes all through the course. Kids particularly like the opening with a spinning wheel that tells golfers to moo like a cow or kick the ball with their ft to keep away from penalty strokes.
After a spherical or two of glowing putt putt, head upstairs for a scrumptious deal with on the Sweet Republic ice cream store.
17. Championship Golf Courses
Full-sized golf programs are plentiful within the Valley of the Sun. In truth, the Scottsdale space boasts over 200 golf programs.
Spring is probably the most lovely time of 12 months to hit the hyperlinks in Scottsdale with ultimate temperatures within the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit. Budget seekers, nevertheless, will admire low cost pricing on world-class programs in summer season.
Every February, golf lovers flock to the Valley to attend the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One of probably the most prestigious golf tournaments on the planet, the Phoenix Open takes place on the Tournament Players Club (TPC) Scottsdale. This 36-hole course is open to the general public and gives personal classes for adults and youngsters alike.
For a singular golf-themed tour, reserve a bay at Topgolf Scottsdale. Here your loved ones can dine and drink whereas hitting micro-chipped golf balls at big dartboard-like targets in an outfield. Kids of all ages are welcomed at Topgolf.
18. Taliesin West
Parents and budding architects will admire a go to to Taliesin West. Once the winter house of the well-known architect Frank Lloyd Wright, at present it’s the headquarters of his basis. It is open seven days every week for self-guided audio excursions and 90-minute guided strolling excursions.
Taliesin was a hub of structure schooling for over 88 years, with graduate college students constructing their very own shelters within the Sonoran Desert. The School of Architecture closed at this location in 2020 and moved to Arcosanti, an experimental city about one hour exterior Scottsdale.
Frank Lloyd Wright is among the world’s most well-known architects. He is famend for his Prairie Style, which includes parts of nature like water, stone, and vegetation in structural designs.
Residents of the Valley of the Sun are pleased with Wright’s affect in Arizona. While in Scottsdale, you’ll probably drive on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, one of many busiest streets within the metropolis.
19. Hot Air Ballooning in Scottsdale
Floating above the desert in a scorching air balloon is an expertise your loved ones will lengthy keep in mind. In truth, with 300 days of sunshine per 12 months in Scottsdale, the world gives extra flyable days than wherever else within the United States.
20. Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
For a roaring good time, make reservations for the Scottsdale Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. Expect jousting horses, sword fights, falconry, and a queen overseeing all of it.
Families root for his or her knight whereas chowing down on meals like rooster, potatoes, and corn on the cob. (No utensils allowed!) Vegetarian choices can be found as effectively.
Plan to return an hour or so early to get the perfect seats, peruse the outlets, and possibly buy a themed drink (with alcohol or with out).
Think this dinner present is only for children? My household was hosted by Medieval Times for my Game of Thrones-enthusiast husband’s birthday celebration. He saved leaning over all through the efficiency and saying, “Best birthday ever!”
21. Afternoon Tea on the Phoenician
Treat your loved ones to a conventional afternoon tea at The Phoenician, one of the crucial luxurious resorts within the Valley of the Sun. Enjoy scorching tea, tea sandwiches, scones, and petite pastries within the resort’s luxurious foyer. Parents can up the flamboyant issue by ordering a glass of glowing wine or Champagne. All of that is accompanied by a dwell piano efficiency.
Make your reservation now as a result of this common expertise tends to replenish! The Phoenician fortunately gives gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian menus with 24-hour advance discover.
22. iFLY Indoor Flight Experience
Children as younger as 3 and adults of any age can get a style of what it is prefer to soar within the air at iFLY in Scottsdale. iFLY explains how their expertise differs from skydiving on their web site, “At iFLY, you don’t jump or fall, you fly gently on a cushion of controlled air.” In addition, these aged 6 to 70 can add to the expertise with a Virtual Reality flight.
23. Hall of Flame Fire Fighter Museum
The Hall of Flame Firefighting Museum in Phoenix boasts the world’s largest assortment of classic fireplace vans. Vehicles vary from a 1725 English hand pumper to extra trendy engine-powered fashions.
Make a sport of your go to by asking children to pick their favourite from the museum’s greater than 90 fireplace vans. There is one climb-aboard fireplace engine for make-believe rescue missions, too.
Also search for a touching memorial to fallen fireplace rescue heroes, with a particular show for many who died within the September 11, 2001 terrorist assault on the World Trade Towers in New York.
Most of the vans are strictly hands-off, which may make a go to with toddlers and preschoolers considerably nerve-wracking. But grade-schoolers who dig fireplace engines want to spend an hour or so right here.
24. Live Theater Performances for Families
For households who wish to see dwell theater on trip, you could find that in Scottsdale. If you are keen to journey exterior of Scottsdale, then lookup what’s enjoying at Arizona Broadway Theater in Peoria or take a peek at touring Broadway productions at Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium in Tempe.
Don Bluth Front Row Theatre
Want the perfect seats in the home? You cannot go mistaken at Don Bluth Front Row Theatre! That’s as a result of there are solely 76 seats, which encompass the stage on all sides.
You simply could be shocked by the caliber of expertise this little dwell theater places forth. I do know I used to be!
Look for family-friendly productions like Mary Poppins, It’s a Wonderful Life and The Wizard of Oz.
Desert Stages Theatre
Located inside Scottsdale’s enormous Fashion Square Mall, Desert Stages Theatre gives a Main Stage, a smaller Actor’s Cafe, and Youth/Teen productions. Each 12 months this theater presents 250 performances.
25. Octane Raceway
Adults and youngsters alike take pleasure in racing speedy go-karts at Octane Raceway. Also on web site are a online game arcade, laser tag, and mini bowling alley.
Junior drivers should be a minimum of 46 inches tall to take part. For individuals underneath age 16, junior races prime out at 25 mph.
Meanwhile, grown-up races go as much as 45 miles per hour. Parents can compete in opposition to children in a junior race (at junior speeds, in fact).
26. Regular Season Professional Sports in Arizona
In addition to being a hub for baseball spring coaching, Arizona is house to 4 males’s Major League sports activities groups plus an expert Women’s National Basketball Association crew. No matter the season or your sport of alternative, you are certain to discover a sport to take pleasure in throughout your Scottsdale trip.
Sports lovers can watch the Arizona Diamondbacks play in common season video games within the spectacular Chase Field with its retractable roof in downtown Phoenix. Meanwhile, each the Phoenix Suns males’s basketball crew and Phoenix Mercury WNBA crew play on the Talking Stick Resort in Phoenix. For hockey, head to the Phoenix suburb of Glendale to observe the Arizona Coyotes play.
Additionally, the Arizona Cardinals soccer crew has not gained a Superbowl (but!). But their house stadium, State Farm Stadium in downtown Phoenix, has hosted a pair.
Look for tickets to Arizona sporting occasions by way of TicketLiquidator.
27. More Play at Arizona Boardwalk
In addition to OdySea Aquarium and Butterfly Wonderland, the Arizona Boardwalk campus in Scottsdale gives much more play for households.
My children love Laser + Mirror Mazes with its colourful reflective labyrinth and difficult laser-filled walk-through puzzle.
Surprise Your Eyes is a enjoyable spot for Instagrammers, with all kinds of interactive trick artwork shows on your photo-taking pleasure.
Dinosaur lovers will roar with delight at Pangea Land of the Dinosaurs. In addition to life-sized animatronic dinos on show, children will take pleasure in a T-Rex impediment course, a fossil digging space, dinosaur momentary tattoos, and a small dinosaur experience.
VR Extreme is a contemporary arcade of kinds, the place all experiences contain immersion in a brand new world by way of the surprise of digital actuality.
At Johnny’s Playground, youngsters can bounce and slide on an array of inflatables in an indoor playground whereas dad and mom relaxation their ft.
Look for particular occasions like dwell live shows all year long at Arizona Boardwalk, too. Plus, take pleasure in an array of retailers and eating places at this leisure complicated.
Tips for Visiting Scottsdale with Kids
No matter while you go to Scottsdale, your loved ones is certain to have a lot to discover and revel in.
Keep in thoughts that winters are probably chillier than you assume, and summers are even toastier than you may think. Temperatures swing as much as 30 levels Fahrenheit from night time to day, so layers make a good selection.
The greatest climate of the 12 months may be present in spring, March by May, when common temps are within the dreamy 70s. Winter is when costs are at their highest, with many guests escaping chilly climate areas. Meanwhile, summers with temperatures as excessive as 120 levels F, carry nice offers on high-end resorts.
It would not rain a lot in Scottsdale, however when it does, gushing buckets of water pour from the sky. Arizona’s monsoon season usually reaches its peak in late summer season. That’s once we get most of our rain for the entire 12 months. After the rain stops, the solar will quickly be shining once more. Also, lightning storms are frequent in summer season and are lovely to behold.
As you’ll be able to see from studying this record of enjoyable issues to do in Scottsdale with children, many common locations are in neighboring cities and cities. Plus, Scottsdale may be very unfold out. Therefore, you’ll probably want a rental automobile until you intend to spend most of your time at your resort.
Scottsdale is among the most secure locations to go to in all of Arizona, with most crimes being associated to property theft. As when visiting any metropolis, train affordable warning when out exploring.
Book Your Scottsdale Family Vacation with Expedia
Expedia has all the things it is advisable e-book your journey to Scottsdale with children. From accommodations, airfare, and automobile leases to trip leases and actions — Expedia has received you lined.
Whether you are planning a month-long journey or a weekend getaway, Expedia can join you with the perfect journey offers to locations in Arizona and around the globe. Explore extra of Scottsdale and e-book your trip with Expedia.com!
Explore More Things to Do in Arizona
Explore the perfect outside actions in Scottsdale, that are fabulous throughout fall, winter, and particularly spring.
Visiting in winter? Take a take a look at the perfect Christmas actions in Scottsdale.
If you are planning a summertime journey, then you’ll want to learn our suggestions for a Scottsdale summer season trip.
You cannot go to Arizona with out visiting the state’s well-known nationwide park. Read my suggestions for exploring the Grand Canyon with children.
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A Note from The Travel Mama: I obtained financial compensation from Expedia associated to this weblog put up. My household was additionally hosted by The Phoenician and Medieval Times. All opinions are mine, as at all times.
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