Are you ready for some summer fun? We know it’s been a long year, and we want to make sure our patients and their families enjoy the best possible summer break! To let everyone know about the best options in town we’ve compiled a summer fun guide, since it is never too early to begin planning. (No, we don’t get a portion of anything you spend at any of the locations on this list; we just want to provide this guide as a service to you, free of charge. Enjoy!)
*As we begin to emerge from stay home orders related to COVID-19, we may see changes to some of the schedules and temporary closures posted below, as well as additional sites sharing or updating their summer programs or events. Please check websites to confirm dates and hours have not changed before traveling to locations suggested.
Goldfield Ghost Town
Take a step back in time and explore what the Old West Arizona region was like 100 years ago. Goldfield Ghost Town offers 12 main attractions and 11 unique merchants including historic buildings and stores, gold mine tours and a shooting gallery, a “haunted” mystery shack, an antique photography studio, a place to pan for gold, a day or nighttime zipline ride across the city, or the chance to saddle up and ride at the O.K. Corral horse stables.
Hungry and thirsty guests can stop into the Mammoth Steakhouse and Saloon (there’s a kiddie menu as well as several options besides steak). There’s also an old-fashioned ice cream parlor with homemade waffle cones, a place to buy natural skin care products, a bakery, pottery store, and gourmet salsa shop. And most importantly -- don’t leave without your free sample of fudge from the Mother Lode Mercantile!
Cerreta Candy Company
Take a peek inside the Cerreta Candy Company, and enjoy free 30-minute guided tours, Monday through Friday at 10 am and 1 pm, where you’ll learn how to make candy, the history of candy-making, the Cerreta family, and more.
You can also build your own chocolate pizza for $12.50 or take some tasty treats home with you if you like. They sell everything from holiday baskets, to gift boxes, to a handy sampler tote for $3.50.
Free Art Friday
In the city of Tempe, Free Art Friday gives families with preschoolers free monthly art activities to create together. Follow their updates across social media to find out when they’re starting off this summer:
Fancy a Farmer’s Market? Check out Singh Meadows on the weekends (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) between 8 am and 2 pm in Tempe, specializing in produce, local honey, and offering a world-class juice bar. There’s a cafe on-site serving breakfast and lunch as well.
Public Swimming Pools
On the hottest days of summer, everybody just wants to get in the water - but what if you don’t have access to a beach or pool? This map shows all 29 of the free (or cheap) public swimming pools in the city of Phoenix, as well as the 22 in the East Valley, 10 in the West Valley, 4 in Scottsdale, and more.
Arizona Science Center
Visit the Arizona Science Center, where there are “seven galleries focusing on Health & Medicine, Energy & Environment, Technology & Innovation, and Early Childhood Education.” There is also a planetarium and an IMAX theater. You and your family will find over 300 hands-on exhibits on countless topics. What’s more? If you can get a Culture Pass from the Phoenix Public Library, you’ll get free admission for two people.
Castles N’ Coasters
Here you’ll enjoy a 10-acre amusement park with a Persian theme and every type of ride you can imagine, big or small. Try a huge rollercoaster, a lightly spinning kiddie ride, a go-kart track, a carousel, water rides, a freefall “skydiver” ride, bumper cars, miniature golf, pinball games, and so much more. Hungry? Choose from five snack cafes, serving everything from waffles to tacos, burgers to nachos, funnel cakes, pizza, and mix-your-own-flavors of shaved ice.
Admission comes in different packages, such as the gold package, which offers unlimited rides, one round of miniature golf, and a $10 arcade card for $39.99. A $49.99 Royal Pass is good for unlimited rides from March to September. Save a buck on the little guys; when accompanied by a paying adult, children 40 inches and under accompanied by a paying adult can purchase a bronze pass for only $14.99 each. Check back on their website as your date of arrival nears to see current prices.
Six Flags/Hurricane Harbor
Everything you’d expect from Six Flags/Hurricane Harbor and then some. Choose from thrill rides like the Tornado, Anaconda, and Mammoth Falls, as well as those more suitable to families riding together like the Big Kahuna or Adventure River, or an assortment for the little ones to enjoy, like Coconut Bay and the Splash Island playground. Grab a meal or snack of any type of fare you like from burgers to pizza, ice cream, salad, wings, and fries from a chicken cart, fried turkey legs, and more.
Don’t miss events like fireworks and Friday Fun Nights, and be sure to save time for shopping in the theme park’s variety of stores and shops. Tickets, passes, membership rates, and special offers can be viewed in detail here.
This summer, the YMCA of Valley of the Sun offers Youth Day Camps for:
Grades K-6: Full days, Monday through Friday, are offered for Summer Day Camp. Each week has its own unique theme, and days are filled with activities, field trips, crafts, and more. These camps are licensed by the state of Arizona and DES is accepted. You can sign up for a single week or the whole summer of camp.
Tweens and Teens: For older kids, check out Teen Day Camp. Camp activities teach various forms of skill-building, each taking place in outdoor camps, parks, or a Y facility. Choose from day camp or overnight camp, as well as swim lessons, lifeguard certification courses, sports, and more. Check back here for prices and updates once the stay home orders have been lifted.
Check out a performance, purchase a 3-ticket play pack, or look through the summer courses offered at Childsplay of Tempe. Last year, this top children’s theater presented their own renditions of School House Rock, Charlotte’s Web, Ella Enchanted: The Musical, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, among others. Teens ages 14-18 can apply to be interns over the summer as well.
Be greeted by over 3,000 butterflies from around the world when you explore the largest indoor rainforest and butterfly conservatory in the nation - Butterfly Wonderland of Scottsdale. You’ll also see reptiles, fish, and more in the facility’s exhibits of Butterfly Emergence Gallery, 3D Theater, Rainforest Reptile Exhibit, Honeybee Extravaganza, Edible Insect Station (yep, get your chocolate-covered ants fix!), and Tropical Waters of the World. Once finished, be sure to hit the gift shop and snack bar before you leave!
Butterfly Wonderland strives to be inclusive of everyone. They even created this video for anyone planning to visit who struggles with sensory integration issues or autism.
Don’t skip the slopes just because the snow is gone -- Arizona Snowbowl has a slew of super fun summer activities ready for your family to enjoy! Enjoy a scenic chairlift ride up to 11,500 feet, a bungee trampoline experience, the new summer tubing slopes, mini ropes courses, barrel rolling, and treasure panning - fun for the whole family! Check back for prices as they’re updated here.
Harkins Summer Movie Fun - $1 Movies
Stay cool and watch movies in the air conditioning for only $1 on hot summer days! Kids can watch one movie per week for up to ten weeks for just $1 each at Harkins Theaters. Look forward to fun kid-friendly titles like Pets 2, Smurfs, Angry Birds 2, Sonic the Hedgehog, SING, Batman, Minions, Kung Fu Panda 3, and more. Arrive early to get your best seats. Any adults in attendance must be accompanied by a child. All movies begin at 9:45 am. Contact them here as the summer nears to find out exactly when you can begin enjoying these great films.
Take a guided tour through a stately and fully restored 1895 Queen Anne Victorian house and learn about the history of Phoenix. Located in Heritage Park in downtown Phoenix, the Rosson House is available only by guided tours, which begin every hour. Reservations are encouraged as only 12 guests are allowed per tour, and without a reservation, they are first-come, first-served. Those with limited mobility who have trouble using stairs are advised to call ahead, as well as those in need of a wheelchair - only the first floor of Rosson House is available by wheelchair.
Prices range from $10 per adult to $5 per child ages 5-12, and children under 5 are free. Seniors, students, military, and AAA members are $9. (You may be able to find a Culture Pass at the public library for a discount at this location, too.)
Eating out with the kids isn’t always a breeze. That’s why it’s such a joy to find a child-friendly restaurant like Culinary Dropout of Phoenix (they have 6 other locations in Arizona and 1 in Texas, too)! Ask for a spot outside in the lounge (or inside if it’s raining), and let the fun begin. While you enjoy the popular adult happy hour, the littles can play a game, chatter loudly, nibble on crispy shrimp, sip strawberry milk, or indulge in a kiddie brunch - including bread pudding French Toast.
Short Leash Hot Dogs and Rollover Doughnuts
You’ve never seen hot dogs quite like this before! Kids can go for corn dogs, regular dogs, and Frito Pie, while grown-ups can play with the flavors of over 19 hot dog variations like the Sunny, featuring grilled pears, prosciutto, arugula, goat cheese, and honey, or the Igby, with coleslaw, blue cheese, and bbq sauce, or even the Monikas, jalapeño cheese stuffed wieners fried in corn tortillas, wrapped in bacon and dragon sauce. Top it off with craft beers, made-from-scratch doughnuts, coffee, or a selection of whiskeys to boot!
Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center
Known as ‘a sanctuary in the desert,’ the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center rescues native wild animals for rehabilitation and releases them back into the wild whenever possible. If it isn’t possible? The animals can live out their natural lives at the sanctuary.
The Center has an onsite medical center to care for injured animals, a team of volunteers to handle wildlife emergencies, as well as educational and consultation services. They proudly offer space to a part of the rare, endangered, Mexican gray wolf population, in addition to black bears, bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions, tortoises, and many more animals to aid in their recovery.
Guided tours and events are offered throughout the year, and donations and volunteers are welcome to assist with the care of the animals. Check their site for details on visits and onsite programs.
Phoenix POGO Pass
Everyone should be sure to take a peek at this year’s POGO Pass for Phoenix! POGO Passes, available in at least six major cities, offer discounted rates for admission and/or fees to top area venues and events. Each Pass is valid for 1 full year from the date of purchase.
For the Phoenix POGO Pass rate of $49.98 per person, you’ll get the following 19 venues:
Arizona State University Athletics:
One (1) general admission ticket to selected ALL ASU home games - check the site to see full details. Games include: