Family outings are a wonderful way to enjoy each others company, but it can also be a challenge to find fun things to do without destroying your budget. To spark some ideas, we have compiled this list of things to do near Phoenix. Click on the links to find additional details and directions. We are not affiliated with any of these places and don’t receive anything when you click a link; we just want to help you have a great time together! We hope you find something interesting and enjoy your family time!
The Red Mountain Multigenerational Center is having an open house on Saturday, July 27 from 8 am to 1 pm. Admission is free during this time and you can enjoy youth activities, climbing the rock wall, a guided tour, and attending open gym! The fitness center, group fitness exercise classes, and walking track will also be open.
Splash Pads: Splash pads are a favorite for families of younger children because they are a great way to get out of the house without melting in our summer heat. Many malls and parks have splash pads or fountains. Here are a few for you to choose from.
The Desert Ridge Marketplace has a splash pad as well as a children’s play area. This Marketplace also offers free events throughout the year. They are currently holding a week of Christmas in July events. Next up is a free theatrical performance of The Greatest Showman 𝐋𝐈𝐕𝐄, featuring dynamic dancers and circus superstars which will be held on July 25, from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm.
Mesa Parks and Recreation Department offers three splash pads which operate year-round, two skate parks, and a bike park in addition to an extensive array of parks and dog parks. They also have 9 public pools, which cost $2 per child or senior adult, and $4 for adults 18-54. Discounted passes for 10 or 30 visits as well as season passes are available and valid at all pools.
Altadena Park has a great water area next to the playground.
Mountain Vista Park also has a splash pad and playground.
CityScape Downtown Phoenix has a splash pad next to the Palomar Hotel.
Scottsdale Quarter’s splash fountain is located in the quad.
If anyone in your family enjoys football, the Arizona Cardinals hold 14 open practices that you can watch for free between July 25 – August 17. Each open practice is held in the State Farm Stadium and lasts around 2 hours. During training camp, you can also enjoy the Kids Interactive Zone, the Cox Fan Zone, autograph sessions, and open seating. Practices times and days vary, so check out their website for the schedule and policies.
Phoenix Public Library System - The Phoenix Public Library System includes 17 excellent libraries. You can visit them to check out books, enjoy their art collections, or pick up a culture pass. Culture Passes offer each library customer family free admission for two people at participating arts and cultural institutions, and you can get up to two passes a month.
Each library also offers various events. Events for kids may include BabyTime, Toddler Storytime, Music and Movement, Kindergarten Bootcamp, Kids Café Lunches and Activities, STEM Activities, and Summer Reading activities such as Legos, the Galaxy, Reptiles, and The Jungle Book.
Museums on the following list are always free. Check them out to see if your family would find them interesting!
Free or Fee:
Railroad Park is a wonderful place for families. The state-of-the-art railroad themed playground features ladders, straight and curving slides, towers, trains, is shaded and has a misting water feature. The play areas and the model railroads are free. Tickets for the train, carousel, or railroad museum are each only $3 per person, children 2 and under are free with a paying adult. They also offer a book of tickets or all-day wristbands for discounted rates.
Free on Certain Days:
Desert Botanical Gardens are an interesting place to visit. The Garden hosts Community Day the second Tuesday of every month, where admission is complimentary, and they are open until 8 pm, so you can visit later when it cools down a bit. Until the end of August, they offer flashlight tours on Saturday nights from 7 to 9:30 pm. The price for flashlights tours is $14.95 per adult, $9.95 per child, and Garden members and children 3 years and younger are free.
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art provides a great place to wander and enjoy exhibitions of contemporary and modern art, architecture, and design. It is always free on Thursdays and the second Saturday of every month.
Free on First Fridays:
Phoenix First Fridays provide an opportunity to enjoy the culture and spirit of downtown Phoenix as you mingle with thousands of other residents and visitors during the First Fridays Art Walk. They are held on the first Friday of every month from 6 to 10 pm, and Artlink also hosts a complimentary trolley tour every First Friday. There are some excellent vendors and restaurants along the way and the following four museums also participate and offer free admission during this time.
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix has hundreds of engaging, interactive play experiences for babies and children up to age 10. On First Fridays, they offer free admission from 5 to 9 pm. If you want to visit on a different day, the price is $14.95 for every person over 1 year old. Starting at $125, memberships are a great option if you plan to go a few times a year.
The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest art museum in the Southwestern United States and boasts 9 world-class collections, a diverse variety of exhibitions, a library, restaurant, and store. First Fridays are free from 6 to 10 pm. Admission is also offered as a voluntary donation on Wednesdays from 3 pm to 9 pm and the second Sunday of each month from noon to 5 pm.
The Heard Museum displays award-winning exhibits of American Indian Art with multiple galleries, a library, a store offering authentic merchandise created by American Indian Artists, and Southwest-inspired fare at the cafe. Admission is free on First Fridays from 6 to 10 pm. This museum is also eligible for free admission with the Culture Pass from a Phoenix Public Library.
The Japanese Friendship Garden is an authentic 3.5 acre Japanese Stroll Garden with a tea garden and teahouse. You can stroll through the garden, participate in a Japanese Tea Ceremony, or enjoy a workshop class. They participate in offering free admission during First Fridays the months of November through June. If you want to visit, check them out soon because they are closed August and September. Admission is $7 per person and children 6 and under are free.
If you have already tried everything that looks interesting, there are plenty of other exciting things to do if you are willing to spend a bit.
The Pecos Park Swimming Pool features a water slide, diving boards, spray features, a water basketball hoop, and a beach entry deck. Their prices are pretty low at only $1 per child and $3 per adult. They also offer season passes.
Tube the Salt River. If your children are 8 years or older and over 4 feet tall, floating the Salt River is a fantastic possibility. There are three different float trips to choose from, each lasting approximately 2, 3, or 5 hours. Tube rental and shuttle service are $17 (plus tax and fees) per person. If you have your own tubes, a cheaper option is to just spend $14 for one person to shuttle back to the car then pick everyone up. Before you go, check out the safety tips and rules and don’t forget to bring plenty of sunscreen and water!
The AZ Museum of Natural History features a paleo dig pit, an exploration station, hands-on puzzles and many exhibits including dinosaurs, native peoples and cultures, and Arizona Through Time. If your children like dinosaurs this is the place for you because they created dinosaur hall, dinosaur mountain, and DinoZone with slides, tunnels, and places to hide within the exhibits. Children 2 and under are free. Admission for children 3-12 is $7, students 13+ with an ID pay $8, and adult admission is $12.
The incredible SeaLife Arizona Aquarium helps you get close to thousands of amazing sea creatures, including sharks, jellyfish, sea turtles, stingrays, and clownfish. An interactive tide pool allows you to touch sea stars, urchins, and more! If you buy tickets online you will get a $5 discount per ticket, and prices will be $19.95 per adult, $14.95 per child aged 3 to 12, children under 3 are free. Currently, they are offering a great deal: half off on their annual combo pass which makes it $44.95 per person. The combo pass includes 12 months unlimited visits to the Sea Life Aquarium and LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Arizona. If you homeschool, August 5-9 is home school week and they are offering discounted pricing of $11 per person.
The Legoland Discovery Center is an exciting place where your child can meet their favorite Lego characters, enjoy 2 rides, 10 LEGO build & play zones, a 4D cinema, and much more! For a limited time, they are offering great discounts on tickets when you purchase online. Admission prices start at $17.95 per person, and a combo ticket for 1 visit to Legoland and 1 visit to SeaLife Aquarium starts at just $29.95 per person. You can also get the discounted combo annual pass or discounted pricing for homeschool groups and scout troops.
The IDEA Museum provides entertaining hands-on experiences that encourage lifelong learning and fun. With various activities, events, and camps, this is a great place for you and your children to enjoy a few hours. Admission is $9 per person over 1 year old, and memberships start at just $55 for 4 people.
Makutu’s Island is a wonderful family fun center with a jungle theme. Admission is $15.99 per child ages 1-17, and one adult per child is free.
We hope your family will have a marvelous time exploring some of the places on this list. In the midst of your fun, remember to plan dental checkups for your children at Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry and Orthodontics! If anyone in your family needs braces, this is also a great time to schedule your complimentary orthodontic consultation with us.
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At Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, we strive to provide the highest comprehensive pediatric and orthodontic dental care in a unique, fun-filled environment staffed by a team of caring, energetic professionals. We believe the establishment of a “dental home” at an early age is the key to a lifetime of positive visits to the dentist.