Top 10 Things to Do with Kids

Scottsdale welcomes families with a host of activities that will keep pint-size travelers entertained morning, noon and night. Here, in no particular order, are 10 of our favorite kid-friendly hotspots to get you started:

1. Sonoran Explorin’
Jeep and Hummer tours, guided hikes, horseback rides, river floats and hot-air balloon flights are just some of the ways to explore Scottsdale’s amazing Sonoran Desert. The Bajada Nature Trail at the Gateway to Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve is ideal for families with small children.
2. Makin’ Music
At the Musical Instrument Museum, discover unique instruments and music from every country around the world. Plus, kids of all ages will enjoy making music in the hands-on Experience Gallery.
3. Garden Trails
Explore the unusual cacti and plants of the Sonoran Desert up-close at the Desert Botanical Garden. Seasonal events include the Butterfly Pavilion (fall and spring) and evening flashlight tours (summer).
4. Wild Ones
The Phoenix Zoo is home to more than 1,300 animals, including 200 endangered species. Daily activities include the Safari Train, Monkey Village, Giraffe Encounters, Wild About Animals Show and a petting zoo.
5. Native Culture
Hands-on exhibits at the Heard Museum help kids explore the Native American cultures of North America. You’ll see colorful Hopi katsina dolls, learn about desert critters at the Southwest Puzzle Pole, and explore a Navajo hogan.
6. Cowboy Style
Saddle-up, pardner! MacDonald’s Ranch offers a petting zoo, horseback and stagecoach rides in the Sonoran Desert, and free pony rides for cowpokes under 5 years old.
7. Sweet Treats
For more than 50 years, the Sugar Bowl – a 1950s-style soda fountain – has been serving frosty ice cream treats, such as Dusty Road Sundaes and Gosh-Awful-Gooey Banana Splits.
8. All Aboard!
Ride the Paradise and Pacific Railroad along a one-mile track at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, which also offers carousel rides, train exhibits, playgrounds and the Snackstop Caboose.
9. Headin’ West
Rawhide 1880s Western Town boasts cowboy stuntmen at the Six Gun Theater, burro and stagecoach rides, the “Deadman’s Drop” rock climbing wall, a desert train ride and the Rawhide Steakhouse.
10. Going Vertical
Arizona’s largest indoor climbing gym, AZ on the Rocks boasts walls up to 30 feet high along with the equipment and instruction needed for everyone from the experienced climber to the novice.

Ready for more? Check out our Kids’ List, which offers 40 family-friendly ideas for the perfect Scottsdale vacation.