Planning a vacation for the whole family? Scottsdale has you covered with age-appropriate activities and attractions that everyone will enjoy! Exciting desert adventures, hands-on museum exhibits, kid-friendly restaurants, and accommodating resorts and hotels are on tap and ready to be added to your itinerary.
1. Discover Butterflies
Butterfly Wonderland (above) is home to the largest butterfly pavilion in the U.S. and features species from around the world! Activities include a 3-D feature film on the migration of Monarch butterflies, a Butterfly Emergence Gallery, and several interactive exhibits showcasing other natural wonders like honeybees, tarantulas and sea life. Tour time: 1 to 2 hours
2. Ride the Rails
Ride the Paradise and Pacific Railroad along a one-mile track at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park (above). The railroad was built as an exact 5/12 reproduction of a Colorado narrow-gauge railroad. The park also offers carousel rides, museum exhibits, playgrounds and the Snackstop Caboose. Tour time: 1 to 2 hours
The Kid’s ListThe Kids’ List
contains 40 fun activities and attractions for kids, as well as helpful preplanning tips, information on kids’ camps and special events, and game pages to help young travelers learn about Scottsdale’s Sonoran Desert.
3. Be a Desert Detective
Follow the clues on the Desert Botanical Garden’s (above) Desert Detective bingo sheets and learn how plants and animals survive in desert environments. The Garden offers five thematic trails as well as seasonal activities like the Butterfly Pavilion (fall and spring) and after-dark Flashlight Tours (summer).
Tour time: 2 to 4 hours
4. Mosey Over to Rawhide
Get a taste of the Old West at Rawhide Western Town & Steakhouse (above). Stunt shows, burro and stagecoach rides, and the Deadman’s Drop rock climbing wall add to the fun. Plus, the Rawhide Steakhouse offers hearty gunslinger grub the whole family will enjoy. Tour time: 2 to 4 hours
5. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
For more than 50 years the Sugar Bowl (above) has been serving ice cream treats and classic American comfort food in this 1950s-style soda fountain. Stop by for a PB&J, cheeseburger or tea sandwiches, but be sure to save room for dessert! Tour time: 1 to 2 hours
6. Listen to World Music
The Musical Instrument Museum (above) allows you to see, hear and play instruments from around the world! More than 5,000 instruments and cultural artifacts are on display. Stay for lunch and enjoy global cuisine, as well as kid-friendly favorites, at MIM’s Café Allegro. Tour time: 2 to 4 hours
7. Visit with the Animals
The Phoenix Zoo (above) is home to more than 1,300 animals, including 200 endangered species. Daily activities include Safari Train tours, Monkey Village, Giraffe Encounter, Stingray Bay and a petting zoo. Enjoy lunch or snacks at the zoo’s Harmony Farm or Cavern Café.Tour time: 2 to 4 hours
8. Explore the Sonoran Desert
Scottsdale’s Sonoran Desert is an amazing landscape filled with unusual plants and animals and interesting geologic features. Whether you take an off-road tour by Jeep or Hummer, saddle-up for a horseback ride (above), take a hike on one of our pristine trails, or see it all from above in a hot air balloon, you’ll love exploring our spectacular Sonoran Desert! Tour time: 2 to full day
9. Go Vertical
AZ on the Rocks is Arizona’s largest indoor climbing gym and boasts walls up to 30 feet high! Best of all – no experience is necessary. AZ on the Rocks will help you learn the ropes and perfect your technique.
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