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Stay-Cool Attractions

By local contributor
JoAnne Zeterberg

There’s no denying it – summers in Scottsdale can be downright hot. But don’t let our triple-digit temps keep you away! We’ve got plenty of ways to chill out, from world-class museums and dive-in movies to the Southwest’s largest aquarium. Here are 10 cool attractions you won’t want to miss:


OdySea Aquarium

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The Southwest’s largest aquarium takes you on a one-of-a-kind voyage through the rivers and oceans of the world. You’ll see thousands of sea creatures, including sharks, penguins, sea turtles and exotic fish.


Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

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This premier museum celebrates the art, history, culture and unique stories of the 19 states comprising the American West. Rotating exhibits feature Western art, rare historic artifacts and cultural treasures.


Butterfly Wonderland

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Walk among more than 3,000 exotic butterflies as they fly freely in a lush, rainforest setting. Other exhibits include a working honeybee hive, stingray touch tank and Rainforest Reptiles.


Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West

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Discover the seamless blending of architecture and environment at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. In summer, opt for the Night Lights tour and explore this architectural masterpiece during the cooler evening hours.


Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

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Explore cutting-edge exhibits of contemporary art, architecture and design at SMoCA. Don’t miss “Knight Rise,” a permanent “skyspace” installation by Arizona artist James Turrell.


Octane Raceway

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In addition to exhilarating kart racing, Octane now offers Velocity VR, a free-roam virtual gaming arena. The debut game, “Survival,” transports teams of up to six players into the middle of a zombie outbreak.


Musical Instrument Museum

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See more than 6,000 instruments and cultural objects from around the world! Be sure to stop by the Artist Gallery, which features instruments played by icons like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and John Lennon.


Wine Tasting Rooms

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Downtown Scottsdale is home to tasting rooms from some of Arizona’s most acclaimed vineyards, including Lawrence Dunham, Aridus, Carlson Creek and Salvatore.

Scottsdale Fashion Square

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The Southwest’s largest shopping destination, Scottsdale Fashion Square houses more than 250 retailers including national powerhouses like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co. and Jimmy Choo.


Dive-in Movies

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Combine two of your favorite things – movies and swimming – with summertime dive-in movies! Among the resorts offering these family-friendly flicks for guests are The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (pictured above), Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale and Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch. Looking for more ways to make a splash? Check out these Cool Pools.