12 Things To Do With Family In Phoenix, Arizona

Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Robert Wilson


Phoenix, Arizona is a vibrant city with plenty of activities for families to enjoy together. From exploring beautiful nature to visiting fascinating museums, there are options to suit all interests. The sunny weather provides ample opportunities to get outside and enjoy the city nearly year-round.

With so many great things to see and do with kids of any age, Phoenix is a perfect destination for a family getaway. The following are 12 excellent activities and attractions recommended to do with family while visiting Phoenix.

Climb Camelback Mountain

One of the most iconic landmarks in Phoenix is Camelback Mountain. This challenging climb rewards families at the top with spectacular views spanning the valley and cityscape. The Echo Canyon Trail is most popular, with railing, steps, and paths guiding hikers to the summit. Pack water and snacks to fuel up along the way.

Get an early start to beat the crowds and afternoon heat. The climb is appropriate for older kids and active families seeking a heart-pumping adventure. After taking in the panoramic views, families can cool off with lunch and drinks at one of the many restaurants at the mountain’s base.

Marvel at the Desert Botanical Garden

For a uniquely Arizona experience, a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden is a must. These lush gardens provide the perfect introduction to the variety of plants and animals that thrive in the Sonoran Desert. Wander through trails showcasing cacti, wildflowers, and trees while watching for birds and butterflies.

Kids will love exploring the garden’s hands-on exhibits like climbing a giant saguaro cactus. Visit early or late in the day to avoid peak heat. Then relax in the Garden Grill for lunch or refreshments surrounded by beautiful desert scenery.

Tour Taliesin West

For families interested in architecture and design, a trip to Taliesin West offers an immersive look at the iconic winter home and studio of acclaimed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Kids can explore Wright’s home nestled in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains through guided walking tours showcasing wrap-around terraces, striking designs, and floor-to-ceiling glass walls that seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor spaces.

Outside, families can picnic under citrus trees Wright planted himself over 50 years ago. Getting to experience first-hand thespaces created by one of America’s most celebrated architects makes for an engaging outing for artistic kids.

Attend a Baseball Game

Catching a spring training or regular season Major League Baseball game is a beloved family tradition in Phoenix. With the Arizona Diamondbacks in downtown Phoenix and 15 MLB teams training in the metro area in March, there is no shortage of opportunities to enjoy America’s pastime.

Families can take in a game while munching on classic ballpark snacks like hot dogs and popcorn. Let kids run around at Randy Johnson Field at the Game 7 Grill beforehand. Arrive early to try catching a glimpses of players practicing or watch the mascots entertaining fans of all ages. Baseball games offer fun for the whole family under picture-perfect open Arizona skies.

Explore the Heard Museum

To immerse kids in Native American culture past and present, no place is better than a visit to the acclaimed Heard Museum. Families can journey through galleries exhibitingNative art, culture, and history from tribes across the Southwest. Interactive exhibits like traditional dwellings that kids can climb into and vibrant dance performances bring indigenous heritage to life.

On certain weekdays, story times and art projects tailored for young learners teach through hands-on creativity. A visit to the Heard Museum makes for an enriching, one-of-a-kind family experience while also providinginsight into Arizona’s native people.

See Wildlife at the Phoenix Zoo

From playful monkeys to majestic elephants, a day spent observing exotic creatures at the Phoenix Zoo promises smiles all around. This well-designed zoo makes getting around easy for families, with a lake-centered layout grouping animals by region. Paths wind through the tropics showcasing orangutans and java langurs then onto Africa to gander at hippos, lions, and zebras.

Special animal encounters allow kids to get up-close with lorikeets or stingrays. Ride the Safari Train or carousel between exhibits then fuel up with snacks at one of the restaurants on-site. With plenty of shade and benches scattered throughout, the Phoenix Zoo offers the perfect family-friendly setting to experience fascinating animals.

Tube Down Salt River

For refreshing family fun during Phoenix’s hot summers, rent a tube and cruise down the Lower Salt River. Families can launch their tubes from various spots near Usery Mountain then relax as the gentle current carries them downriver under towering canyon cliffs. Kids will love floating and swimming through the cool mountain runoff.

Shaded ramadas provide meeting spots for snacking or wading in shallows. Companies like Salt River Tubing handle rentals and transportation so families can fully enjoy a carefree day playing on the river. Floating the Lower Salt River makes for the ultimate family adventure that delivers fun while also escaping Phoenix’s summer heat.

Ride the Rail at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

All aboard for locomotive fun at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park! Families can ride miniature trains that traverse through a scenic park filled with full-size railroad cars and vintage locomotives on display. Budding conductors can even take the wheel on designated Saturdays driving their own train.

Kids go crazy exploring the Trains exhibits telling the story of railroad history through engaging touch screens and simulators. Other park highlights include riding the colorful carousel, playing mini golf, and visiting resident farm animals. From train rides to hands-on history, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park promises memorable adventures for the entire family.

See Butterflies at the Desert Botanical Garden

Each fall, thousands of butterflies from around the world descend on the Desert Botanical Garden for a magical exhibition. Visitors enter a huge enclosed greenhouse filled with vibrant flowering plants and waterfalls designed to mimic tropical habitats that butterflies love. Throughout the space, butterflies flutter freely, landing on kids hands or shoulders as they pass by.

Families will be amazed by the variety of patterns and colors of so many unique butterfly species all in one place. It makes for plenty of impromptu photo opportunities! Take it slow to snap that perfect natgeo-worthy shot. Seeing all those delicate wings in a lush setting utterly transforms the typical botanic garden visit into a wonderland that engages visitors of every age.

Tour Downtown Phoenix

Spend a fun-filled day exploring downtown Phoenix on foot while taking in unique architecture, vibrant wall murals, historic sites, and cultural attractions. Start off at CityScape, with kids playing in the splash fountains to cool down as parents admire the modern steel and glass high-rises above.

Visit the Arizona Science Center to let inquisitive young minds conduct hands-on experiments then check out native desert plants at Civic Space Park. Catch a glimpse of Talking Stick Resort Arena, home to the Phoenix Suns, on the way to spend an hour at the interactive Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Wrap up with custom pizzas at Pizzeria Bianco then let kids blow off steam chasing jets of water shooting from the pavement at Arizona Falls. Downtown Phoenix offers families a jam-packed itinerary full of urban adventure.

Go for a Hike

With dozens of trails scattered across the Valley of the Sun, hiking offers an easily accessible outdoor activity for active families. Camelback Mountain challenges kids’ endurance while rewarding them with unmatched city views. Families seeking a milder landscape can meander through native flora and fauna along the trails at South Mountain Park or Usery MountainRegional Park.

For a uniquely Sonoran experience, take on the Saguaro Cactus Trails at White Tank Mountain Regional Park winding through forests filled with towering saguaro cacti. Wherever families choose to venture out, hitting the trails immerses kids in the unique desert scenery while likely spotting local wildlife—all just minutes from the city.

Splash Down at Wet ‘n’ Wild

When Phoenix temperatures peak into triple digits, Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix delivers family-friendly respite. This massive waterpark lets visitors make a splash down thrilling water slides like the Sky Coaster or steep Bomb Bay. Families with smaller children can lounge inside saltwater wave pools, wade through a tranquil lazy river, or get soaked under a 300-gallon tipping bucket.

Cool snacks from Chef’s Grill and Wet ‘n’ Wild Eats help families refuel for another round conquering waterslides with colorful names like Tropical Storm and Surf City. With something to entertain kids of any age, Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix promises a thoroughly exhausting albeit refreshing good time.

Conclusion

With endless sunshine over 300 days per year, the Phoenix area shines when it comes to family fun. Hikers can challenge themselves scaling Camelback Mountain or spot Sonoran Desert wildlife along easy nature trails. Interactive museums like the Arizona Science Center and Heard Museum expose kids to science, local history, and indigenous art through hands-on play.

Professional sports, rodeos, and bright casinos promise entertainment for mom and dad too. When the hot temperatures climb, water parks, rivers, and pools across the valley offer chances to cool down. With delicious cuisine, vibrant murals populating downtown Phoenix, and resort-like accommodations dotting Scottsdale, the whole family will find ways to play together in the Valley of the Sun.

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