Phoenix isn’t always the first city that comes to mind when you think of potential tourist destinations in the United States.
But with its beautiful sunny skies, stunning desert vistas and endless fun activities it’s a seriously underrated location for a fun family vacation.
Are you planning a trip to Phoenix with your kids? You can rest assured there will be no shortage of exciting adventures to keep your young ones entertained.
Here’s our list of the top 12 things to do in Phoenix with kids.
Every kid loves LEGO®, right? LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Arizona is the ultimate indoor LEGO playground. It’s ideal for children 3-10 years old and offers enough LEGO-themed activities to ensure a fun-filled day for both you and your kids.
We recommend starting your day off with the LEGO Factory tour. Do you want to know how they make so many LEGO bricks in a variety of shapes and colours? You’ll find out here. Take a virtual tour of the actual factory in Denmark and go behind the scenes to learn all of LEGO’s secrets. You’ll even get to take away you’re own special LEGO brick as a souvenir.
What will your kids love about LEGOLAND?
Besides the fact that there’s literally LEGO everywhere, LEGOLAND has endless amounts of fun attractions that are sure to keep your kids entertained for hours. here are some of the highlights:
- MINILAND – Made with an astonishing 1 million bricks, MINILAND is a kid-sized interactive city. You’ll find iconic Arizona landmarks and buildings in the miniature town, as well as airships swooping above you.
- LEGO 4D Cinema – Maybe you’re in the mood for a movie? The LEGO 4D Cinema has movies playing all day, complete with wind, rain and snow effects to help bring the shows to life.
- Kingdom Quest – In Kingdom Quest, you’ll climb aboard a chariot as you fight to save a captured princess. Use your laser gun to zap as many trolls and skeletons as you can to free the princess from danger.
- Merlin’s Apprentice Ride – Or perhaps you have dreams of becoming a wizard? On the Merlin’s Apprentice Ride you’ll enter Merlin’s potions chamber. Pedal the enchanted cart as fast as you can to become his next apprentice. The faster you go the more spells you’ll conjure up.
- LEGO Racers – Maybe you’re a speed demon? If so, head over to LEGO Racers where you’ll have a chance to build your own LEGO racing car and test it on the track. The car with the fastest time gets the ultimate bragging rights.
In addition to all the attractions, LEGOLAND also features a cafe and the LEGO Store.
How to get here
LEGOLAND is located in Tempe Arizona, approximately 10 miles from Phoenix. Take I-10 E out of Phoenix, then take exit 155 onto Baseline E. Follow Baseline until you arrive at Arizona Mills. LEGOLAND is located at the North end of Arizona Mills.
Prices: From USD $14.95
Address: 5000 S Arizona Mills Cir #135, Tempe, AZ 85282, USA
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 11am-4pm
2. Wet’n’Wild Phoenix
If you need to cool off on a hot summer’s day then we have the perfect place for you. Wet’n’Wild Phoenix is Arizona’s largest water park with over 30 rides and attractions that are sure to be fun for kids of all ages.
One admission ticket gives a full day’s worth of excitement, so make sure you check out everything the park has to offer.
Which rides are the most popular with kids at Wet’n’Wild Phoenix?
There are plenty of rides to choose from, but here are the park’s most famous attractions:
- Constrictor: Speed down this enclosed slide on multi-person rafts as you navigate a series of harrowing corkscrew turns and spirals.
- Maximum Velocity: You won’t find a ride like this anywhere else in the world. On this unique and exciting slide, guests to race in tandem tubes down two side-by-side tracks.
- Monsoon Bay: Experience four-foot high swells while riding in a tube, or body surf for the ultimate ocean experience.
- Desert Racers: Ride a racing mat down a four-story-high tube before finishing on a six-lane downhill speedway.
- Tornado: Race down this slide in a tube before being dropped into the ride’s signature element: A large funnel that will have you screaming all the way to the bottom.
- Serpentine Complex: Plummet through the snake-like tubes and get pulled around and around before being abruptly released into the exit tube for a splashdown.
Families with younger children will enjoy Wet’n’Wild Junior. It’s a toddler-friendly version of the park and features tamer versions of some of the park’s most popular attractions for kids to enjoy, along with water toys, spray zones and more.
How to get here
Wet’n’Wild Phoenix is located in Glendale, about 20 miles from Phoenix. Take I-17 N out of Phoenix, then take exit 217 onto W Pinnacle Peak Rd. Follow W Pinnacle Peak Rd. until you arrive at Wet’n’Wild Phoenix.
Prices: from USD $31
Address: 4243 W Pinnacle Peak Rd, Glendale, AZ 85310, USA
Opening hours: Generally 11am-5pm but hours vary. Check their timetable.
3. Out of Africa Wildlife Park
Do your kids love animals? Then you’re sure to enjoy the Out of Africa Wildlife Park. You’ll be able to view a wide variety of amazing animals up-close at this authentic replica of an African bush safari.
What animals will you see at Out of Africa Wildlife Park?
You’ll have a chance to see hundreds of African animals as you tour the park, including 40 exotic big cats such as lions, tiger, leopards, jaguars and cougars. Out of Africa Wildlife Park also features a wide variety of mammals, birds and reptiles from every part of the African continent.
General admission to the park includes a ride on the African Bush Safari. This tour lets you observe free roaming herd-style animals, such as giraffes, antelopes, zebras, ostriches, water buffalo, gemsboks, and more.
This is more of wildlife preserve than a zoo. Animals roam free in spacious areas that give visitors a chance to view these creatures in an accurate representation of their natural habitat. This is as close to an actual African safari as you’re ever going to get.
What types of shows are available at Out of Africa Wildlife Park?
In addition to the safari, there are a number of shows held throughout the day that are both entertaining and educational.
- Tiger Splash® is a world-renowned show featuring Bengal and Siberian tigers. Watch these amazing creatures interact in a predator-and-play relationship. They’ll romp and splash in a large pool as they play with their caretakers and various colorful toys. The show has become well known due to its unique setting with tigers playing in an aquatic environment.
- Creature Feature is an interactive animal experience that will allow you to get an up-close look at some of Africa’s most beloved and popular animals. Stars of the show include Tucker, the three-banded armadillo, and Diego, the giant tegu lizard, as well as other popular favorites. Your kids will learn a load of fun facts about a number of amazing creatures as you make your way through the show.
- Giant Snake Show – Are curious about snakes? Then you’ll definitely want to check out the Giant Snake Show. Discover the world of these fascinating creatures and dispel many of the myths Hollywood has created. This interactive experience will give your kids a chance to get closer to giant snakes than they ever thought possible. Visitors can even hold and touch some of the snakes if they want, including anacondas, pythons and boas.
- Wonders of Wildlife Show – Finally, the Wonders of Wildlife Show allows you to see some of the world’s most unique and exotic animals as they play and have fun with the park caretakers. These animals are not trained to perform tricks or coaxed into doing certain actions. What you’ll see here are animals in their element simply enjoying themselves. Discover the wonders of our animal friends as they interact in a variety of playful and entertaining ways.
How to get here
Out of Africa Wildlife Park is located in Campe Verde, about 93 miles north of Phoenix. Take I-17 N out of Phoenix and follow it until you reach exit 287. Take exit 287 onto AZ-260 W. From there take a left on W Cherry Lake Rd, and then a right on North Commonwealth Drive. Follow North Commonwealth Drive until you reach Out of Africa Wildlife Park.
Prices: from USD $50
Address: 3505 W State Route 260, Camp Verde, AZ 86322, USA
Opening hours: 9:30am-5pm 7 days a week.
4. SEA LIFE Aquarium
Once you’re done learning about all the animals that live on dry land, perhaps you’ll want to discover more about the creatures that live under the sea. The SEA LIFE Aquarium is the perfect place to do that.
Transport yourself into the fascinating world of the ocean, where you’ll discover a wide variety of interesting sea-dwelling animals, including starfish, seahorses, stingrays and sharks. The wide variety of exhibits and creatures are sure to leave you with an unforgettable experience.
What will the kids find most enjoyable at SEA LIFE Aquarium?
- Interactive Tide Pool – You might want to start at the Interactive Tide Pool, which gives your kids the chance to reach in and touch some of the most popular rockpool creatures, including sea stars, urchins and more.
- Bay of Rays – If you’re interested in rays you’ll definitely want to check out the Bay of Rays. It’s an entire exhibit dedicated to these incredible sea creatures.
- Critter Canyon – This is where you’ll take a journey out of the sea and onto land with some of the aquarium’s most interesting creatures. Kids will have the chance to get up close and personal with some fascinating critters including snakes, tarantulas, tortoises and more.
These are just a few of the sights you’ll find at SEA LIFE Aquarium. There are also educational talks and demonstrations throughout the day. These include a tide pool feeding, shark and ray feedings, and talks on sharks, seahorses, rays, turtles, rock pools and more.
How to get here
SEA LIFE Aquarium is located in Tempe Arizona, approximately 10 miles from Phoenix. Take I-10 E out of Phoenix, then take exit 155 onto Baseline E. Follow Baseline until you arrive at Arizona Mills. SEA LIFE Aquarium is located at the North end of Arizona Mills, right next to LEGOLAND.
Prices: from USD $10.95 (child) and USD $14.95 (adult)
Address: 5000 S Arizona Mills Cir #145, Tempe, AZ 85282, USA
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-5pm
5. Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instrument Museum is a renowned local attraction providing a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors of all ages, with more than 6,800 instruments on display from over 200 different countries. It’s long been considered one of the top attractions in Phoenix and is ranked in the top 20 museums in the United States.
What will your kids enjoy at MIM?
- Geographic Galleries – MIM is an interactive experience. Your kids will be able to enjoy the museum’s automatically activated displays and travel the world through Geographic Galleries that feature the United States, Canada, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Mechanical Music Gallery – This is where you can watch and listen to the twenty-five-foot-wide Orchestrion.
- Artist Gallery – Want to get an up-close look at memorabilia from the music industry’s biggest stars? The Artist Gallery includes instruments and stage outfits of some of the world’s most legendary musicians, such as Elvis Presley, Pablo Casals, John Lennon, King Sunny Adé, Taylor Swift and more.
- Experience Gallery – If all the amazing exhibits have your kids wanting to create some music of their your own you’re in luck. You can visit the Experience Gallery where your kids can sample and play a wide variety musical instruments from around the world.
The museum also hosts a number of concerts in their world-class concert hall. Make sure to check the schedule when you’re visiting to see who’s playing.
How to get here
The Musical Instrument Museum is located at the north end of Phoenix. If you’re staying closer to the South end you’ll likely want to take AZ-51 N. Keep right at the fork, then take exit 31 onto N Tatum Blvd. Take a right onto E Mayo Blvd, then follow that road to the museum.
Prices: from USD $10 (child), USD $15 (teen) and USD $20 (adult). The museum is free for children under 3 years old.
Address: 4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050, USA
Opening hours: 9am-5pm 7 days a week
6. Children’s Museum of Phoenix
When you think of a museum you don’t always think of a place where you can take your kids. They can sometimes be stuffy, a little dull and not always exciting enough to keep your kids’ attention.
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is not your ordinary museum.
This museum is designed specifically for kids aged birth to 10 and offers over 300 interactive play experiences, as well as a variety of classes and programs. And the best part of this museum? Your kids can touch EVERYTHING.
What will your kids love about the Children’s Museum of Phoenix?
There are so many fun exhibits that it’s hard to single out just a few. But here are some of the highlights from this amazing museum:
- Art Studio: Creative Expression – Are your kids the creative type? Then they will have a blast in the Art Studio. Here you’ll find glue, paper, scissors and everything else your kids will need to create something they’re proud of. There are also group activities to participate in that help children learn to work as a team.
- Building Big: Building forts is part of growing up, which is why the Children’s Museum of Phoenix has created a whole experience around it. Building Big includes a variety of materials that represent columns, beams, walls and roofs. It has everything your child needs to build an awesome fort, and learn about construction.
- Noodle Forrest: We guarantee you’ve never seen anything like this before. With a massive amount noodles suspended from the ceiling, the Noodle Forest offers a unique sensory experience for kids. Your kids will be laughing in no time.
- Pedal Power: Where else can you ride a tricycle in a museum? Pedal Power is a long narrow space where kids can safely motor around on tricycles. They’ll be able to test their sense of balance, practice their pedalling and learn cooperative play as they stop and go on fake roadways.
- The Schuff-Perini Climber: Made from a wide array of building materials and random objects, this fun obstacle is a safe and challenging climbing experience that your kids are sure to enjoy.
How to get here
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is located in downtown Phoenix, right across the street from Heritage Square and just down the road from the Arizona Science Center.
Prices: from USD $12. The museum is free for children under the age of 1.
Address: 215 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034, USA
Opening hours: 9am-4pm Tuesday – Sunday. The Museum is closed on Mondays.
7. Arizona Science Center
The Arizona Science Center proves that science really can be fun. With over 350 permanent interactive exhibits, a state-of-the-art planetarium, and a 5 story high IMAX theatre your kids are sure to find something that will pique their curiosity. You’ll also enjoy the daily science demonstrations held throughout the museum.
What is there for your kids to do?
The possibilities to learn and enjoy yourself are endless at the Arizona Science Center. Here are a few of the attractions you should definitely check out:
- Dorrance Planetarium: One of the largest, most technologically advanced planetariums in the United States, the Dorrance Planetarium offers a wide array of educational and fun programming. If your kids are at all interested in the stars this is an attraction you simply must go see.
- Irene P. Theatre: This 5 story high IMAX theatre offers two different films every day. They offer a wide array of educational shows about all things science that are sure to leave your kids in awe.
- Evans Family SkyCycle: This isn’t an ordinary cycle. Riders will learn about center of gravity, all while being suspended nearly 15 feet in the air and riding on a 90-foot cable.
- Get Charged Up: This attraction is filled with numerous interactive exhibits that will let your kids see first-hand how science works. This area includes levers, pullies, electric circuits and more, all of which your kids can play with and explore.
- The W.O.N.D.E.R. Center: This section is all about the brain. Here you’ll be able to examine a touchable human brain model and compare the brains of different animals.
How to get here
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is located in downtown Phoenix, just down the road from the Symphony Hall and the Phoenix Convention Center.
Prices: from USD $13 (child) and USD $18 (adult)
Address: 600 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA
Opening hours: 10am-5pm, 7 days a week
8. Phoenix Zoo
The Phoenix Zoo is the largest privately owned zoo in the United States. Open since 1962, it’s been teaching visitors about the wonders of animals for almost 60 years.
What types of animals will you see at the Phoenix Zoo?
The zoo is home to over 3000 different species of animals, including lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, monkeys, zebras, wolfs, bears and more.
What types of activities are available at the zoo?
In addition to a wide range of animals to view, the Phoenix Zoo has plenty of activities to keep your kids occupied. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Monkey Village: Walk into Monkey Village and observe squirrel monkeys up close. This is the only walk-through squirrel monkey exhibit in the United States and one of the Phoenix Zoo’s most popular attractions.
- Red Barn: If you and your kids really want to pet some animals this is the place to go. In the Red Barn, you’ll be able to pet and brush goats as well as get up close to cows, sheep and horses.
- Camel Rides: Not only will be able to experience these amazing creatures up close, you’ll get to ride them too. Pictures are encouraged.
- 4-D Theater: This fully immersive theater experience uses smells, water, wind and a variety of other effects to bring movies to life.
- Safari Cruiser: This is definitely the best way to experience the zoo. Hop onboard the Safari Cruiser for a 25 minute narrated tour of the zoo’s animals, attractions and experiences.
How to get here
The Phoenix Zoo is located in east Phoenix. The best way to get there will likely be to head east on AZ-202 until you reach exit 4. Take exit 4 onto 52nd st., then take a left onto E Van Buren St. Take a left onto N Galvin Pkwy, then follow the signs to the zoo.
Prices: from USD $12.95 (child) and USD $22.95 (adult)
Address: 455 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008, USA
Opening hours: 9am-5pm, 7 days a week
9. Castles N’ Coasters
Castles N’ Coasters is an amusement park that offers something for everyone. With several thrilling rides, plenty of attractions, 4 mini-golf courses and a video game arcade there’s enough entertainment here for a whole day’s worth of fun.
What are the top attractions at Castles N’ Coasters?
It’s hard to pick just a few attractions, but here are our favorites:
- Desert Storm: This high-speed coaster includes vertical drops, spins, and flips. It’s a true test for any thrill seeker.
- XD Dark Ride: This interactive experience uses cutting-edge technology and 3D graphics. You’ll compete with your friends to see who can fight off the most zombies and monsters.
- Go Karts: Race at high speeds through a quarter mile of banks and hairpin turns.
- Free Fall: This extreme ride takes you high up in the air before abruptly dropping you all the way to the ground.
- Splashdown: This log ride takes you on a journey through an enchanted logging town. Based on the name of this ride you can probably guess how it ends.
The park also features 4 different restaurants onsite for you to enjoy while you’re there.
How to get here
Castles N’ Coasters is located at the north end of Phoenix. If you’re staying closer to the south end you’ll likely want to take I-17. Follow it north until you reach exit 207. Take exit 207 onto W Dunlap Ave., then take a right onto N 29th Ave. Take a right onto N Metro Pkwy E, then follow it until you reach Castles N’ Coasters.
Prices: from USD $29.99
Address: 9445 N Metro Pkwy E, Phoenix, AZ 85051, USA
Opening hours: 10am-10pm Sunday-Thursday, 10am-12am Friday and Saturday
10. Big Surf
Big Surf is a historic waterpark. It was the site of the first wave pool in the United States and a terrific family-friendly waterpark that both you and your kids will enjoy.
The main attraction at Big Surf is, of course, the wave pool. It’s the perfect place to ride some waves and cool off on a hot day. Rafts, boogie boards and surfboards are available to use in the pool.
What else does Big Surf have to offer?
In addition to its famous wave pool, Big Surf has plenty of thrilling water slides:
- Hurricane Slides: Choose one of 3 body slides to plunge down on at top speed.
- Black Hole: Ride a tube down this high speed, dark enclosed slide.
- Tornado Twisters: Race your friends down these twisting body slides.
- White Serpentine Slide: An exhilarating tube ride that will take you through several twists and turns.
- Kilauea Cove Slides: This massively tall slide has you ride a single or double tube all the way to the bottom.
In addition to the larger slides, Big Surf has a number of kid-friendly attractions geared toward small children to ensure no member of your family is left out of the fun.
How to get here
Big Surf is located in Tempe, about 12 miles from Phoenix. Head east on AZ-202 until you reach exit 8. Take exit 8 onto N McClintock. Follow N McClintock until you reach Big Surf.
Prices: from USD $32.95
Address: 1500 N McClintock Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
Opening hours: Generally 10am-6pm but hours vary. Check their timetable.
11. Enchanted Island Amusement Park
A day at Enchanted Island Amusement Park is the perfect family outing. This kid-friendly park offers 9 rides, a variety of attractions and some classic fair food to choose from during your visit.
What is there to do at Enchanted Island Amusement Park?
This amusement park offers a number of classic rides that your kids are sure to love. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Encanto Carousel: The oldest operating carousel in Arizona, the Encanto Carousel is one of the featured attractions at Enchanted Island.
- Parachute Tower: You’ll get an excellent view of the Phoenix skyline before gently floating back down to the ground.
- Kiddie Cars: Every kid wishes they could drive. Kiddie Cars allows kids to get behind the wheel of miniature cars complete with flashing light and beeping horns.
- Dragon Wagon: This is a relatively tame coaster perfect for children new to amusement park thrills.
- C.P. Huntington Train: A 1/3 replica train, this leisurely 7-minute ride offers you a tour of the whole island.
- Giant Climbing Wall: The newest attraction at the park, this impressive 30-foot climbing wall will test your rock climbing abilities.
How to get here
Enchanted Island Amusement Park is located just outside of downtown Phoenix in Encanto Park.
Prices: Admission to the park is free. Ride passes start from USD $1.25
Address: 1202 W Encanto Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85007, USA
Opening hours: 10am-2pm Wednesday and Thursday. 10am-8pm Friday-Sunday. Hours may vary. Check their timetable.
12. Goldfield Ghost Town
Back in the 1890’s Goldfield was an active town that boasted 3 saloons, a boarding house, general store, blacksmith shop, brewery, meat market and a schoolhouse. But when the grade of ore dropped everyone left town, leaving it a ghost town.
Goldfield Ghost Town gives you and your family a chance to see what life was like at the end of the 19th century.
What does Goldfield Ghost Town have to offer?
Goldfield Ghost Town is one part fun, one part history lesson. There is plenty to see and explore.
- Superstition Zipline: This is the newest attraction and certainly the most exciting way to see the town.
- Superstition Narrow Gauge Railroad: This narrated 20-minute train ride is a great way learn about the history of Goldfield.
- Goldfield Mine Tours: Take a 25-minute tour of the mines underneath the town and learn what life was like for miners in the 1890’s
- Goldfield Gunfighters: Be careful while you’re touring the town. Gunfights break out regularly. Witness the action as a bunch of town folks try to steal the Wells Fargo strong box.
- Goldfield’s Historic Museum: Learn about the history of the town through a number of fascinating exhibits
How to get here
Goldfield Ghost Town is located in Apache Junction, about 40 miles outside of Phoenix. Head south on I-10 E out of Phoenix, then keep right at the fork to continue onto US-60 E. Take a left onto AZ-88, then keep right to continue onto AZ-88 E/N. Follow AZ-88 E/N until you reach Goldfield Ghost Town.
Prices: Admission is free. Prices for attractions a from USD $2.
Address: 4650 N Mammoth Mine Rd, Apache Junction, AZ 85119, USA
Opening hours: 10am-5pm 7 days a week.
13. i.d.e.a Museum
The i.d.e.a Museum is a hands-on art museum designed for children and families. Its main focus is popular art and art-inspired activities, but its experiences also include science, engineering and design. Its goal is to encourage creativity and critical thinking in children.
What is there for your kids to do?
If your kids are curious, creative and love to learn new things then they’re sure to enjoy themselves at the i.d.e.a. Museum. Here are few of the fun activities you’ll find:
- Artville: This area is designed specifically for children aged birth to 4. Kids will have a chance to interact in a town that encourages exploration, imagination and creative expression.
- HUB: This interactive gallery gives kids a chance to create art, build, design play and more.
- Exhibitions: The i.d.e.a. Museum hosts a constantly changing lineup of exhibitions that your kids are sure to love. Some examples of past exhibitions include “Caped Crusaders and Everyday Heroes,” “My Favorite Monster,” “Sci Fi: Fantasy to Reality,” and “Underwater Fantasea.”
The i.d.e.a. Museum also offers daily activities. You can see the schedule here.
How to get here
The i.d.e.a. Museum is located in Mesa, just under 20 miles from Phoenix. Head east on AZ-202 until you reach exit 11. Take exit 11 onto Alma School Rd., then take a left on W McClennan Rd. Follow W McClennan Rd. until you reach N County Club Dr., then take a right. Take a left on W 1st St., a right on N Robson and then a left on West Pepper Pl. The i.d.e.a. Musuem will be on the lefthand side.
Prices: From USD $9. Children under 1-year-old are free.
Address: 150 W Pepper Pl, Mesa, AZ 85201, USA
Opening hours: Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday 9am-4pm. Friday 9am-6pm. Sunday 12pm-4pm. Monday closed.
Whether your kids are looking for adventure, craving some fun in the sun or want to learn more about the local area, Phoenix has what you’re looking for. Your kids are sure to enjoy themselves in this sunny city destination. Do you have other suggestions for fun children activities in Phoenix?