Things for Teens to do in Scottsdale

By local contributor
Robyn Moore

It’s not breaking news – teens spend a lot of time on their phones. About six hours a day, by some survey estimates. 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.


Climbing at AZ on the Rocks

Teens can reach new heights at AZ on the Rocks. This unique indoor gym provides a safe, fun and challenging rock climbing environment. The gym includes 14,000 square feet of climbing terrain, over 50 top ropes, lead climbing 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!


Underwater Trekking at OdySea Aquarium

Put on your wetsuit and helmet and get ready to dive in (no experience required)! OdySea’s certified 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. OdySea 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. 


Zip Lining at Out of Africa

Sure, zip lining is fun. But how about zip lining over wild tigers, giraffes and bears? Kick the excitement up a notch with The Predator Zip Line at Out of Africa Wildlife Park, located an easy 1 hour and 45 minute drive north of Scottsdale. As you soar from tower to tower, your guides will give you inside-scoop on the animals you’ll see below. There’s also an ultra-long, ultra-fast triple zip line, the Racing Raptor Zip, so you and two of your friends can race from tower to tower. Afraid of heights? The park also offers the African Bush Safari tram tour and a wide variety of animal encounters to keep you entertained on solid ground.


Off-Roading with Green Zebra

Hop into a Tomcar – the ultimate off-road, you-drive-it vehicle – and get ready for a wild desert adventure. These specially designed, military-grade vehicles can cover all types of terrain, including the rockiest desert washes. As you twist and turn along rugged desert paths, you’ll see towering saguaros, the Verde River and maybe even catch a glimpse of wildlife like bald eagles, javelina and wild horses. Licensed drivers must be 18 or older to get behind the wheel, but there’s plenty of fun to be had for everyone!


Kart Racing at Octane

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 an arcade, mini-bowling, Jumbo Jenga and the Brickyard Grille (because drivers need fuel to fire on all cylinders).


Shopping at Scottsdale Fashion Square

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 the new 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.