Arizona Family Fun: Things to do in the Phoenix Metro Area

Summer vacation is almost upon us! For many, that means family vacation (or maybe even a staycation). It means planning family fun activities and looking for ways to keep kids busy. Here in the hot deserts of Phoenix, Arizona, it means finding fun ways to stay cool! Things to do in PhoenixFor the past few years a large group of blog­gers have teamed up to bring you budget-friendly, fam­ily fun ideas for things to do around cities across the nation! I’ve cov­ered both Ari­zona & Omaha in the Stay­ca­tion series for the past 3 years & am thrilled to do it again! So, what you’ll find below is a list of some of our personal favorite things to do in the Phoenix area (or places/activities that come highly recommended by friends). Because this list is geared toward “summer fun”, I’m focusing mostly on indoor activities (or those things that involve water play). After all, no one enjoys doing too much outside in 110-120 degree heat unless a pool or splash pad is involved! ;)

Resorts

One of our favorite ways to staycation here is by staying at one of the MANY awesome resorts! The sum­mer is “off-season” for hotels & resorts in the Phoenix area,  so you can often score great deals of $149 or less per night at some really high-class places (plus some­times resort cred­its & other bonuses too). Here’s a short list of some that are known for having some great family activities and/or water play fun:

Arizona Resorts

Museums & Indoor Play

  • Arizona Challenger Space Center (Peoria) – Big Brother went here on a field trip this year! Great for kiddos who are interested in space!
  • Arizona Museum of Natural History (Mesa)- My boys call this the dinosaur museum, but there is much more to it than just dinos! It’s educational & fun – great way to spend the day!
  • Arizona Science Center (Phoenix)–  There are many awesome permanent exhibits and often some special temporary/traveling exhibits as well (we loved the fun Dinosaur exhibit). Be on the lookout for LivingSocial or Groupon deals as there have been some great ones lately!
  • Butterfly Wonderland (Scottsdale)- An amazing butterfly atrium with other hands-on exhibits for the kids! You can read our Butterfly Wonderland review here.
  • Cer­reta Candy Com­pany (Glendale) – This long-time, family-owned busi­ness in His­toric down­town Glen­dale offers free tours! For a fee, kids can make a delicious chocolate pizza!
  • Chase Field (Phoenix)– Base­ball is the sport of the sum­mer and Chase Field, home of the Dia­mond­backs, offers some rel­a­tively inex­pen­sive fam­ily fun. Single-game tick­ets can be pur­chased for less than $10 each and each year there are var­i­ous fam­ily pack­age deals that include food & drinks and/or other spe­cial pro­mos. The Sandlot inside the stadium offers fun for kids like a kids’ play­ground, tod­dlers’ play­ground, bat­ting cage, future field, Baxter’s Den and more! For some extra fun for the baseball fans in your life, then take a take a tour of Chase Field!Chase Field
  • Children’s Museum of Phoenix (Phoenix)– This is such a great place for kids, with lots of hands-on exhibits and interactive fun for kiddos up to about age 10 or so! It can be pricey though, so see if you can snag two free passes from any of the local public libraries!
  • Great Arizona Puppet Theater (Phoenix)– The puppet theater is simple in design, but we’ve taken the boys multiple times and they always enjoy it!
  • Main Event (Tempe) – A super fun play to eat, bowl, and play! We’ve been a couple of times since they opened in November. the boys LOVE it! You can read our Main Event review here.
  • Musical Instrument Museum (North Phoenix)– This is a one-of-a-kind, amazing museum in north Phoenix! You can see our review of the MIM here.
  • Organ Stop Pizza (Mesa)– This awesome restaurant is very close to the Museum of Natural History, so we always plan to have dinner there if we’re making a trip to the museum. The original Organ Stop used to be in the heart of Phoenix and my mom actually worked there in the 70s! It’s SUCH a fun place! You can
  • Playgrounds Fun Zone (Peoria) – This is our absolute favorite play place! They often run deals & specials, so be sure to check out their website. For more info & pictures, you can read our full Playgrounds Fun Zone review here.
  • Pump It Up - The boys LOVE it here – so much fun jumping around all the inflatables! There are 3 locations around the Valley for kids to enjoy!
  • Stuffington Bear Factory (Phoenix) – Go see how teddy bear’s are made! Big Brother had a great field trip here, but they also offer FREE tours to the public!

Outdoor Water Play

FREE Splashpads:

Wet 'N Wild JrWet ‘n Wild Phoenix - Located in the North Phoenix area, this is a fun place to cool off over the summer. Last year, they opened a whole Wet ‘n Wild Jr. area. This is perfect for younger kids! The boys had a blast playing here!

Additional Summer Fun Ideas…

Local Library Culture Pass Program – Members of most of the Phoenix metropolitan cities’ public libraries can check out a Culture Pass good for FREE admission for 2-4 people (depending on the venue). Participating venues include some great summer destinations listed above like like the Children’s Museum, Arizona Museum of Natural History, Arizona Science Center, Arizona Museum for Youth, and more!

Harkins Summer Movie Fun – We LOVE this! Such a budget friendly way to cool off! Kids (& their parent(s)) can enjoy a movie a week for 10 weeks, for less than $1 per film!

Buy a POGO Pass!! Pogo Pass is a membership that provides you 12 months of FREE access  to the best entertainment venues in Phoenix (I’m an affiliate).  Check it out: pogoflyerSO many awesome Phoenix area venues, right?! The pass is good for 12 months from the date of purchase and normally sells for $99 each. But, using the FAMILYDEAL promo code, you get passes for just $39.98 each!

To purchase:  Go to the Pogo Pass website and use the code FAMILYDEAL to get each pass for just $39.98!

For more info on the POGO Pass deal, you can visit my POGO Pass post! We have the passes ourselves and think it’s a GREAT deal!!!

More Arizona family fun ideas…

Be sure to check out the posts below to get more detailed ideas about the specific areas listed:

Tempe/ChandlerArizona Family Travel in Tempe & Chandler
Scottsdale Arizona Desert Flowers
Arizona National Parks & Northern AZ AZ National Parks
What are YOUR favorite inexpensive/family-friendly places in Phoenix?


With a metropolitan area as large as Phoenix, I know there is a lot more that could have been included. So, if you’re favorite Phoenix area spot is missing, please tell us about it in the comments below!

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