It’s not breaking news – teens spend a lot of time on their devices. In fact, some surveys estimate the number at a whopping nine hours a day. So, how do you get them to unplug and engage on vacation? We’ve got you covered! Here are six Scottsdale activities that are sure to up the engagement quotient for even the most hardcore teen techies (plus a great bonus activity if they just can’t put down their phones!).
Teens can reach new heights at AZ on the Rocks, the state’s largest indoor climbing facility. This unique gym provides a safe, fun and challenging rock-climbing environment with 14,000+ square feet of textured climbing terrain, including 50 top ropes, a lead-only cave and more than 2,800 square feet of bouldering (free-climbing). Best of all, no experience is required – zero. The staff at AZR will show you everything you need to know to get started!
Put on a wetsuit and helmet and get ready to dive in – no experience required! OdySea’s certified SeaTREK divers will take you deep into one of the aquariums largest tanks where you’ll be surrounded by hundreds of colorful and curious sea creatures like stingrays and zebra sharks. Then, just wait until your guide releases krill into the water, creating a feeding frenzy of fish right before your eyes! OdySea Aquarium also offers touch pools, a variety of sea life exhibits, and restrooms with floor-to-ceiling acrylic walls so you can watch the sharks swimming just inches away.
Puzzle Rides combines the tension of an escape room with the excitement of a treasure hunt and puts it all on a golf cart! As your Puzzle Master drives you around Old Town, you’ll have 75 minutes to find and solve the clues that will lead you to your final destination. Adventures include Wild West Heist, Pirate’s Treasure, Hijacked by Science and the after-dark Ghost Riders Adventure. This is easily one of the most unique things to do with teens in Scottsdale!
Take the excitement outdoors and off-road with Stellar Adventures ATV/UTV Tours. Hop in, buckle up and you’ll soon be creating adrenaline-filled memories exploring the Sonoran Desert on a guided UTV tour. Zip through sandy washes, crawl over boulders and traverse twisty canyons while enjoying complimentary snacks and beverages. Licensed drivers must be 16 or older to get behind the wheel.
The electric European racing karts at Octane Raceway have a top speed of 45 MPH – perfect for high-speed laps on the 1/3-mile indoor/outdoor track. Beginner and experienced racers battle for position through the track’s switchbacks and use straightaways to gain speed. There’s no age limit for racing, though unlicensed junior drivers must be accompanied by an adult. Octane also offers Velocity VR virtual reality experiences, an arcade, mini-bowling, Jumbo Jenga and the Brickyard Grille (because drivers need fuel to fire on all cylinders).
Malls and teens go hand in hand. Luckily, Scottsdale is home to the largest retail destination in the Southwest: Scottsdale Fashion Square. The center’s more than 250 retailers include teen favorites like Nordstrom, H&M, Forever 21 and American Eagle Outfitters. Fashion Square also houses a luxury cinema, Harkins Camelview, which elevates the movie-going experience with cushy reclining seats, wall-to-wall curved screens and gourmet concessions including a gelato stand for kids and a full bar for parents.
After a tech-free adventure or two, round up your teens – and their phones – and head for Selfie WRLD Scottsdale where immersive, eye-catching art installations offer nearly unlimited options for Instagram-worthy pics. Vibrant colors, neon lights and interactive props in a variety of different settings promise to get everyone’s creativity flowing!