We know it can be challenging to plan an outing that your whole family will love, especially when you have younger children whose interests may be very different from your own. As you plan your upcoming weekends and holiday breaks, consider adding some of these activities to your social calendar. In addition to being kid-friendly, they are all loads of fun! We bet you will get to explore a part of town you haven’t seen before.
- Camping at Lost Dutchman State Park
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If your family enjoys spending time outdoors, why not try your hand at camping together? Camping in Arizona is best during the milder months of the fall and spring for maximum enjoyment. One option that isn’t too far from home is camping at Lost Dutchman State Park. This state park sits at the base of the Superstition Mountains and has campsites available for both tent and RV camping, in addition to camping cabins. Each campsite comes with a pre-built fire pit, ensuring you will be able to cook yourself a hot meal for dinner!
You can spend your day hiking and exploring the surrounding state park before settling in to watch the stars at night. Camping with the family is not only a great bonding activity, but a fun way to explore a beautiful area close to home.
2. Rainforest Cafe
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The Valley is lucky enough to be home to one of the Rainforest Cafe themed restaurants, where you can dine in the rainforest jungle. The Rainforest Cafe is located in the Arizona Mills outlet mall in Tempe, and is open every day for lunch and dinner.
This restaurant was made with kids in mind and offers a truly experiential dining atmosphere. You will get to enjoy kid-friendly American food while watching animatronic animals in the dining room. If you are looking for a place to host a birthday party, this is a great kid-friendly option. You can have a “Wild Bunch” brunch which includes a special birthday menu, activity books for the kids, and a safari hat for the birthday boy or girl!
3. Visit Golfland Sunsplash
Photo credit: The Arizona Republic
Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa offers a combination experience of miniature golf mixed with a water park. The Mesa location has over 30 attractions, with everything from laser tag, to bumper cars, to the Thunder Bay wave pool. This is a great place to spend a day if you have kids with different ages, as the little kids can enjoy the tadpole pool and activity stations while your bigger kids enjoy the waterslides and arcade games.
Golfland Sunsplash sells their tickets in packages that each come with different attractions included. This way, if you just want to play miniature golf, you can buy a pass exclusively for that area of the park. If you want to get the maximum Golfland Sunsplash experience, purchase the two park combo tickets which get you access to everything in the park and includes extended park hours!
4. Go Kayaking
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A really fun outing to plan for your family is a kayaking trip on the Salt River. As you kayak down the river, you will get to observe the scenery of the surrounding mountains and wildlife. There is even a herd of wild horses that lives along the river that you will often see swimming alongside you! The best part is that no prior kayaking experience is required for this tour. You can expect to be out on the water for two hours, and this is an activity for kids twelve years and older.
5. Phoenix Zoo
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For the animal loving kids, there is nothing better than getting to see your favorite wild animals up close! The Phoenix Zoo offers you a chance to explore 125 acres of animal exhibits and see more than 400 species. The Phoenix Zoo is open from 7 am to 1 pm each day, and it is definitely best to go earlier in the morning when the animals are the most active. Make sure you stop by and see the show-stopping giraffe encounter exhibit!
6. Eat at Luci’s at the Orchard
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It can definitely be difficult to find restaurants your whole family will enjoy. Between the type of food and the restaurant ambience, it is always nice to know before leaving the house if a spot is going to be kid-friendly. Luci’s at The Orchard checks all the boxes for having a super fun environment that your kids will love. Not only is this Phoenix eatery kid-friendly, it’s also dog-friendly as well!
Luci’s is located on a piece of property that was once a 1920s farmhouse in North Phoenix. This charming spot still has much of the original farmhouse architecture. The real showstopper at Luci’s is the large outdoor patio surrounded by views of the mountains. You can enjoy all-day breakfast and sandwiches at this location, in addition to exploring their charming marketplace where they sell artisan products and gifts. Your kids will love playing in the splash pad on hot days and visiting Splurge, the adjacent ice cream shop.
7. McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center
Photo credit: The Arizona Republic
If you are looking for an inexpensive place to take your kids for a water day, McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center is your spot! This recreational center packs in the fun of a waterpark at a much more affordable price. Not to mention it’s located in a very convenient location on Thompson Peak Parkway which makes it easy to pop in for a quick swim.
At McDowell Mountain Ranch you will find lots of fun swimming activities including an 8-lane 25 yard lap pool, two diving boards, a lazy river, and a large water slide. While your kid’s enjoy swimming under the lifeguard’s supervision, you can relax in a shaded grassy area.
As a Scottsdale resident it only costs $3 for adults and $2 per child to get a daily lap pass. If you love the McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center experience, consider purchasing the $72 membership that is good for 30 visits. If your kids need a swimming lesson refresher, the aquatic center also offers swimming classes year-round for an additional fee.
8. Musical Instrument Museum
Photo credit: Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instrument Museum is a treat for people of all ages. The Musical Instrument Museum or MIM for short is the first museum in the United States fully dedicated to showcasing an array of global instruments. The greatest thing about the MIM is that they have every type of music you could imagine, from jazz bands, to classical music, to Chinese opera music.
This museum is great for kids as it offers a truly sensory experience, with opportunities to not only see the musical instruments, but also watch videos and listen to different genres as well. A crowd-pleasing exhibit is the artist gallery, where you can watch and hear some of your favorite musicians throughout history play their instruments. The MIM is located in North Scottsdale off of Mayo Boulevard, and admission is $30 for adults, and $15 for children 12 and under.
We highly recommend all these activities because they are kid-tested and fun for everyone. There is something for every mood, whether you want to stay inside and explore a museum, or enjoy a state park and sleep under the stars.