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Arizona Free Activities List


I-17, exit 289   928.567.3322
COST:  Adult (16+)- $5 / Under age 16 Free
HOURS:  June - Aug:  Daily 8 am - 6 pm,  Sept - May:  Daily 8 am - 5 pm
Montezuma's Castle is an ancient Sinaguan Indian ruin, overseen by the National Park Service.  The visitor's center has a small museum and gift shop.  Walk the paved trail to see the ruins from a distance (you can not climb in the ruins).   The NPS employees were happy to answer questions and provide information on other NPS sites in the area.   There are restrooms conveniently located near the parking lot.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  Path is stroller friendly.  The kids loved to watch along the path for lizards and other wildlife.  Informative staff.  Reasonably priced.

2340 N. Ft. Valley Rd., Flagstaff   928.774.6272
Pioneer Museum (Flagstaff) | Arizona Historical Society
COST:  $6 Adult, $5 senior (65+), adult students w/ ID, and military w/ ID, children (7 - 17) $3, ages 6 and under free 
HOURS:  Mon - Sat 9 am - 5 pm
Formerly a hospital for indigent, this museum has room after room of interesting historical artifacts.   A fun mix;  from toys to medical and farming equipment.    Also on the property is an old train and a historical homesteaders cabin (neither was open to tour).  The staff was friendly and the museum was well organized.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  The toy display was a favorite.  The kids were interested in reading the display tags throughout the rooms. 
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-   Not stroller friendly due to steps and some rough terrain outside.  Everything was hands-off.

1400 W. Mars Hill Rd., Flagstaff   928.233.3211
COST:  $12 Adult, $10 Seniors / AAA/ College, $5 Age 5 - 17, Free under age 5
HOURS:  See website for hours
Tour the facility where Pluto was discovered in 1930.  A guided tour takes you through the buildings to see the amazing telescopes.  On the way up to one of the telescopes, see a scale representation of the solar system along the walkway.  There is plenty for a family to see and do including a room full of interactive exhibits, a 3D space theatre and a multimedia show. 
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  The tour guide allowed the kids a chance to help with the demonstration.  The interactive room was full of fun activities (be sure to have some coins available for some of them).
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-   Some of the speaking part of the demonstration was too long for the children, especially the younger ones. (Though it is very educational if you can get them to listen.)

US95, Lake Havasu City   928.453.8883
COST:  FREE but additional activities such as a boat ride have fees
HOURS:  Call for information
In 1968 the London Bridge was disassembled, brought to Lake Havasu City piece by piece, then reassembled.   It is an interesting piece of history to visit.  Along the side a quaint British-style village has tourist shops.  Be sure to take a boat ride around the man-made arm of the lake which now flows under the bridge.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  The children were most thrilled with the little British-themed shops and the boat ride under the bridge and around the lake.
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-   Looking at a bridge doesn't keep them happy for long.


600 E. Washington St., Phoenix   602.716.2000
COST:  $14.95 Adults/ $12.95 Seniors (62 +)/ $11 Children (3 - 17).  There is an additional cost for special displays and the IMAX theater.  Discounts are available for AAA members and Chase card users.   Parking is via paid parking lot or structure.  Park at the Heritage and Science Park Garage (5th & Monroe) to have your ticket validated for a discounted rate.
HOURS:  Daily 10 am - 5 pm
Arizona Science Center, PhoenixThe Arizona Science Center has a great variety of hands-on family fun.  The best part is it's all educational too!  The museum is set over four levels (with elevators available so most areas are stroller friendly).  Different areas focus on people and their traits, musical sounds, building a house, the sun, and physics.  There is also a planetarium (though this area was closed for renovations during our visit).  Outside there is a water fun area with three different fountains that are triggered by different actions.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  Every area had plenty of hands-on activities to keep the children happy.  Even though it was very busy (we waited for almost 30 minutes in line to get into the museum) there were enough activities to not have to wait long at any exhibit.  There were also demonstrations done throughout the day;  learn about science by seeing it first hand.
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-  Several of the electronic displays were not working.  The only restrooms we found were next to the front door which made for a bit of a walk while on the upper levels.

21170 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria     623.322.2001
COST:  $8 Adult/ $6 Children (3 - 12 yrs)/ $7 Seniors (55+) and military w/ ID/ Children 2 &Challenger Space Center Arizona under FREE
HOURS:  10 am - 4 pm
The Challenger Space Science Center is a mix of educational museum and memorial to the crew of the Challenger.  There is a beautiful mural in the main rotunda area.  Space-related memorabilia and meteorite displays.  Four computers with flight simulator software for some hands-on fun.  The Cafe has vending machines and plenty of tables to eat at.  There are also some bins of hands-on activities in there;  educational games and crafts.  Several times a day there is a guided tour which is very informative.   Special events are held throughout the month (primarily Challenger Space Center Phoenix Arizonaon Saturdays).  They include Planetarium shows, Stargazing, and Simulated Space Missions.  These special events do have an increased admission fee.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  The kids enjoyed playing the simulators and the hands-on activities located in the Cafe.  The gift shop has a great variety of inexpensive items for little budgets. 
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-  The kids did not stay interested for long.  I would recommend going on one of the special events so there would be more to do.

3711 W. Deer Valley Rd., Phoenix    623.582.8007
COST:  $7 Adults / $4 Seniors & Student with ID / $3 Children (age 6 - 12) / 5 & under Free    AAA travel club discount is offeredDeer Valley Rock Art Center Phoenix Arizona
HOURS:  Oct - Apr:  Tues - Sat 9 am - 5 pm, Sun 12 pm - 5 pm,  May - Sept:  Tues - Sat 8 am - 2 pm
Explore the past as you walk along the scenic path of the Deer Valley Rock Art Center.  The learning starts in the informative museum area.  There is a video available in the center, as well.  Next, take the 1/4 mile walk through the desert landscape to see the petroglyphs (rock art).   We met a guide along the path who provided us with lots of information about the petroglyphs.  The children were given a worksheet with some petroglyphs on it and used it to look for those as we walked.  That kept them very busy and entertained;  they were on a mission to find all of the petroglyphs on their worksheet.   For optimal viewing, try to plan your trip when the sun is not at its brightest.  The bright sunlight made it almost impossible to see a lot of the rock art.  
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS- Friendly, informative employees (probably some of the friendliest we have met ever, at any attraction).  Shade areas and water dispenser on the way.  Petroglyph treasure hunt worksheet kept the kids very interested while walking the path.  They also loved watching for wildlife along the way.
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS- Was difficult to see the petroglyphs in the sunlight.
14805 West Vineyard Ave., Goodyear   623.932.3811
COST:  $6 per personal vehicle
HOURS:  Sun - Thurs- 6 am - 8 pm,  Fri & Sat-  6 am - 10 pm
Beautiful mountain, deserts and grassy areas come together in this popular mountain park.  Great for biking, hiking, fishing (catch and release only) and picnicking.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  Lots of great hiking trails, plenty of room to run around and picnic, and fishing in the river.

9802 N. 59th Ave, Glendale  623.930.4200
HOURS:  6 am - 10 pm
This former fruit ranch is now a part of the Glendale park system.  Many of the original buildings remain (for a small fee you can tour one of the houses).  The kids enjoyed the roaming chickens (if you look carefully you might see baby chicks too), pigeons, peacocks, and many other birds.  A fruit grove still grows on the property, as well as a gorgeous rose garden.   Attached to the property is a large park with playgrounds.  There are also picnic facilities.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  The free-roaming birds were a favorite with the kids.  Restrooms on site.
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-   It's a little difficult to figure out what is allowed to be walked around and what is off limits. 

7301 E. Indian Bend Rd., Scottsdale   480.312.2312
COST:  Entrance is  FREE;   Rides are $1 - $2 each;  under age 3 ride free with paying adult.
HOURS:  Call or visit website for current ride schedule.
Railroad themed park with a 5/12 scale train ride and an antique carousel.  There are playgrounds and covered picnic areas.  Train exhibits
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  Rides were inexpensive and not overly crowded.  The playgrounds were well built and had variety.


455 N. Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix   602.273.1341
COST:  $20 Adult (age 13+) / $10 Age 3 - 12 / Under age 2 Free  FREE DAYTIME ADMISSION FOR CHILDREN AGE 12 & UNDER THROUGH AUGUST 31
HOURS:  Check website for hours
Large zoo with a full array of animals and miscellaneous activities.  There is a carousel, train, safari cart, camel rides and petting zoo (some activities require an additional charge).  Check the schedule to find out the times of keeper-led talks and animal feeding times as they are very interesting.  After a long day at the zoo, the kids will love a stop at the Leapin' Lagoon Sprayground for  some water fun (available April - October). 
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  Great variety!  The Leapin' Lagoon was very popular with the children as was the Monkey Village where you walk around the habitat of the squirrel monkey.
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-   Lots of walking;  can be difficult for children on a hot day.

3901 W. Pioneer Rd, Phoenix   623.465.1052
COST:  $9 Adult, $8 over age 60 and veterans, $7 children under 18
HOURS:  Check website for hours
This living history museum depicts life in the southwest during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  There is a large selection of original buildings, as well as some reproductions.   Throughout the property, there are costumed interpreters to share information about the buildings and life during this time period.   The buildings are scattered around in a town-like style.    Tour a variety of town buildings, as well as numerous cabins, a fort, farmhouse, and opera house.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  The town lay-out was really great;  we felt like we were really walking around a pioneer town.    The kids enjoyed petting some of the animals.   There are plenty of restroom facilities throughout the property (some are portable toilets).  
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-  There wasn't much going on in the town.  We saw four interpreters but none provided much information on the time period.  The admissions clerk was very friendly and gave us an overview of the town.  The blacksmith was happy to answer questions but didn't actually show the children how the blacksmith shopped worked.  One interpreter didn't even speak to us as we walked through the house that she was supposed to be informing us about.  Two areas were closed for repairs so we were not able to see those, and many of the buildings were only available to look in from the door instead of walking into them. 

4619 East Washington St., Phoenix     602.495.0901
Pueblo Grande
COST:  $6 Adult / $5 Senior (age 55+) / $3 Children (age 6 - 17) / Under age 6 Free
HOURS:  Oct - Apr:  Mon - Sat 9:30 am - 4:45 pm, Sun 1 pm - 4:45 pm,  May -Pueblo Grande Museum, Phoenix Arizona Sept:  Tues - Sat 9:30 am - 4:45 pm
Located next to the airport in central Phoenix is the Pueblo Grande Museum, site of an excavated Hohokam village.  The main museum has three galleries with photos, artifacts and information about the Hohokam and the excavation.  There is a theater which shows a 10 minute movie explaining the museum and site.  Next to the theater is the Dig It Gallery;  full of hands-on exhibits that teach children about the Hohokam and about archaeology.  After exploring the museum be sure to head out on the 2/3 mile long trail which tours the actual village.  The walk takes you around the platform mound, the ballcourt, and two styles of houses.  There are several covered areas with benches to get out of the sun for awhile along the walk.  Restrooms are available in the main building.  There are vending machine there as well but no on-site restaurant.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  The Dig-It Gallery was a definite favorite;  lots of hands-on activities (and benches for Mom and Dad to sit and wait while the little ones play).  The other galleries were primarily hands-off but they did have a few child-friendly activities in them too.  The trail was well-paved so it was very stroller friendly.  The facility was well-kept and very clean.  One other thing my kids really liked was a little souvenir bag they were able to buy for $1 at the gift shop.  It has a pencil, postcard, bookmark, arrowhead and information sheet in it;  what a great little souvenir to fit into a child's budget!  (added 4/2008)

5700 W. North Loop Rd, Chandler   480.502.5600
COST:  FREE entrance to the town but each activity requires either a ticket purchase (about $4 per activity) or all admissions wrist band for $15 per person.
HOURS:  Check website for hours
Step back into the old west at this replica 1880's town.  A variety or shops and restaurants line the mainstreet.  Lots of fun activities for the whole family;  shows, gun fights, burro and pony rides, a petting zoo, stagecoach and train rides, a rock climbing wall, gold panning, and a mechanical bull.  (Some rides have height and weight restrictions.)
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  The children have decided this was one of their favorite activities-- ever.    There was such a great variety of activities.  The lines were not terribly long.  The facilities were well kept, and there were staff members easily available for any questions.   The gun fighting shows and Lone Ranger show were entertaining for all (younger children may be frightened by the gunfights...several babies in the audience cried during the shows).  Restroom facilities were scattered throughout the property;  easy to locate, and were clean and well-stocked.    The ice cream shop had a wonderful selection of ice cream and drinks.  It was reasonably priced.  Don't forget to stop in the candy shop for treats that will take you back to your childhood!  From Mallow Cups to Bubble Up Soda,  plus delicious fudge.
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-   The only down side to our trip was the Wagon Wheel Cafe.  This burger shop style restaurant is located on main street and offers a small variety of meals, primarily burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches.   They do offer kid's meals for $4.00 (a plus is that they offered not only usual kid's meal fare, but also a cheese and cracker or peanut butter and jelly option).  This price does not include a drink though;  expect to pay about $6.50 per child for a meal and drink.   Our main issue with this facility was the service.  The tables were not cleaned off (more understandable during the busy times but when it was slow the staff stood and talked instead of cleaning the tables--  I watched several other families get napkins to clean off their tables too).    Our order wasn't correct and when I tried to fix it, I was ignored for several minutes before finally asking an employee to help me.  Their solution to making a hamburger into a cheeseburger (as ordered) was to put a cold piece of cheese on the burger without warming it.    Overall not a good eating experience, especially considering the price.

16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park     623.935.9453
COST:  $29 Adult (age 13 and up) / $14.25 Age 3 - 12 / Under age 3 Free (AAA discount offered)
HOURS:  ZOO:  Daily 9 am - 6 pm;  AQUARIUM:  Daily 9 am - 9 pm
Large zoo with a nice variety of animals, birds and reptiles.  The facility was clean and well kept.  Organized nicely;  easy to see everything.  There is a petting zoo and playground area.  Several times throughout the day there is an animal demonstration;  very well done with likable staff members and entertaining animals.  Be prepared for a lot of walking.  And be sure to bring plenty of quarters as there are ample opportunities to feed the water fowl and the giraffes with feed from dispensers that take quarters only.   The zoo has four rides available;  a sky ride, a carousel, a train, and a boat ride.  Considering the pricey entrance fee we were surprised to find that each ride was an additional charge (ranging from $1.50 for the carousel to $4 for the skyride).   Since our review was done, the Wildlife World Zoo has opened an adjoining Aquarium which houses 75 indoor exhibits.  Both are included in the admission fee.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  The kids loved the variety of animals and were especially excited to feed the water fowl and giraffes.   Restrooms are scattered throughout the zoo so they are usually close-by.  There are a few water fountains (and several vending machines)  for those who forget to bring water.
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-   Very pricey especially considering the additional cost of quarters to buy feed and the cost of rides inside the zoo.  Parking lot is dirt and very disorganized.  On our last visit, visitors had parked all of the exits so it was almost impossible to get out of the front parking rows. 

STANFIELD-  SHAMROCK FARMS TOURShamrock Farms Tour- Stanfield, Arizona
40034 W. Clayton, Stanfield     602.477.2462
COST:  $9 Adults / $7.50 Military (with ID) & Seniors (60+) / $6 Children (ages 2 - 12)/  Children under 2 are free
HOURS:  Check website for hours
Located just over an hour south of Phoenix, Shamrock Farms is a working dairy farm with 10,000 cows!  They supply dairy products to many large grocery chains.  Reservations are required for this hour long tour.  Tour times are very limited so be sure to call in advance.  The tour tram drives around the secured area of the farm, stopping at several things along the way.  The hour goes very quickly as there are plenty of opportunities to get off the tram and move around.  The tour director was very fun and entertaining;  she seemed to really enjoy sharing details about the farm.  Besides seeing more cows than you can imagine, the tram stops at a playground with a Shamrock product themed play structure.   Then you walk to a building to watch how the milking isShamrock Farms Dairy Tour-  Stanfield, Arizona done.  There is a well-done short video which shows the process the milk goes through to reach the store.  We were also able to pet baby calves.  At the end of the tour, each participant got a bottle of flavored milk.   There is a small gift shop on site and hot dogs, pretzels and ice cream available.  There are restrooms in the main building and in the milking building along the tour.   Be sure to map the directions before leaving, even if you have a GPS in the car.  Our GPS took us to the wrong location (the middle of a field about fifteen minutes away from the farm!) so you might not want to depend on a GPS.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  The kids loved learning about the cows and the process milk goes through.  Petting the baby calves, playing on the playground, and the free milk were favorites.  The food served was reasonably priced and very good.  The staff was all very friendly and happy to answer questions.

13025 N. White Tank Mountain Rd., Waddell     623.935.2505
COST:  $6 per private vehicle
HOURS:  Sunday - Thursday 6 am - 8 pm, Friday & Saturday 6 am - 10 pm
The waterfall trail is .9 miles each way.  It is a well cared for trail.  It also passes through some areas with petroglyphs.   There are benches along the way.  Though most of the trail is stroller friendly, there is an area at the end that has rock steps.  There are picnic areas and restrooms at the trail beginning.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  Easy to navigate most of the trail.  The kids found the petroglyphs very interesting.   Restrooms conveniently located at the trail beginning.
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-   Not totally stroller friendly due to rock steps at the end of the trail.


2515 E. Butler Ave., Flagstaff    928.779.7900

Full service hotel has a restaurant onsite, exercise room, playground and heated outdoor pool (open seasonally).   Located on about 500 tree-filled acres with a two mile hiking trail through the property.   The rooms are large enough to have room for luggage and to move around.  Though the furnishings look old, the rooms are well maintained and clean.   The rooms are equipped with a plasma screen TV.  The restaurant has good food, including a kid's menu, but is a little pricey.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  Large rooms, equipped with small refrigerator.  The property was nice to walk around. 
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-  No breakfast included.


7541 W. Bell Rd., Peoria     623.979.3073
Great place to take the kids.  The children's menu has a good variety.  The diner style atmosphere is fun and doesn't require children to stay quiet.  Most of the tables have a little jukebox so you can choose a song to listen to (though these were not working when we were at the location).   Parents will find the menu has a good variety as well.  Food was good and portions were generous.  The french fries have been named a favorite by our children.  **THIS RESTAURANT OFFERS A KIDS EAT FREE SPECIAL**
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  Reasonably priced children's menu with good variety.  Fun atmosphere and tableside jukeboxes.


1780 N. Dysart Rd., Goodyear     623.932.9268
What a great find!  Black Bear Diner offers casual sit down dining in a child friendly environment.  The adult and children's menus both offer a wide variety of options, at pricing comparable to other similar restaurant chains.  The children were happy to see that their meal came with a small ice cream sundae.  The adult portion sizes were very large.  The children's sizes were acceptable.  On our first visit, service was prompt and friendly;  we couldn't believe how quickly our food arrived.  Our second visit to the location was not as good as the first.  Some of the food was not as hot as it should have been, and our service lacked. The manager had a great personality and tried to make up for the service issue.  Overall, this diner offers a wonderful experience for the whole family.  The children loved the decor, especially the big stuffed bear sitting near the front door.  They had entertaining placemats, activity books and crayons provided. 
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-   Good variety of kid's meal choices which include ice cream for dessert.   Fun placemats to keep the kids occupied. 
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-  Service was inconsistent.

310 N. Litchfield Rd., Goodyear     623.932.0365
JB's is a casual sit-down restaurant with a salad bar.  Great variety of kid's meals.  My kids liked having the choice of fries, fruit or salad to go with their meal.  Food was plentiful and arrived at the table quickly.  Adult meals are also reasonably priced and include large portions.  The staff was very friendly and seemed genuinely concerned about whether we were pleased with our meal.  **THIS RESTAURANT OFFERS A KIDS EAT FREE SPECIAL**
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-   The kids liked the choices on the kid's menu.  Their portions were large.   

9390 W. Hanna Drive, Glendale     623.877.2977
Great food in a fun atmosphere.  The menu includes typical diner style fare.  Friendly staff.  Clean.  Great milkshakes!  Many tables have tableside jukeboxes that only cost 5 cents. 
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-   Fun environment;  the kids loved the inexpensive tableside jukebox.  Great food for a moderate price.

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PHOENIX AREA-  My Big Fat Greek Restaurant
10040 W. McDowell Rd., Avondale     623.936.4838
Great menu with a variety of Greek specialties as well as American favorites.  The flaming desserts were especially impressive to the kids.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  Great food and friendly service. 

5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe     480.752.9100
The Rainforest Café at Arizona Mills Mall offers more than a typical dining experience.  Seating for this unique restaurant is located in a simulated rainforest, complete with leafy tree, vines, a beautiful waterfall, giant fish aquariums, sudden thunderstorms and a variety of animatronic animals.  There is a large store/ gift shop at the entrance of the restaurant.  They sell lots of fun items for fairly reasonable prices.  This is definitely not a budget-friendly restaurant.  Even the kid's menu is quite pricey considering the amount and quality of food.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  The environment is fun and entertaining for the whole family.  The menu has a good variety of food, including vegetarian options. 
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-  The food was expensive and not worth the price (with the exceptions of desserts which were very good).  The wait for the food was excessive even at lunch when the restaurant was  not very busy. 

10240 W. McDowell Rd., Avondale     623.907.3460
Great place to take the whole family.  The menu has a great variety for adults and children.  Staff was friendly and attentive.  Many different table seating choices including booths that sit 6 - 8 people comfortably.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  Reasonably priced children's menu with good variety.  Their kids meals have healthy side options which was a nice choice!  The staff was very friendly and attentive;  drinks were refilled quickly and our food arrived very fast.   The kids were provided with crayons and entertaining placemats.  We also liked the variety of booth and table sizes available.  Even with a large family we were able to fit into one of their large booths comfortably.


Family Friendly Travel Tip:
Before leaving on vacation check out some educational DVDs or videos from the library to watch in the car.  They usually have a great variety;  some of our favorites have been historical shows, travel videos and sign language videos.  The kids enjoy watching them and I appreciate that they are learning.


Read our articles for more travel tips and location information:
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How to Enjoy Family Activities in Colorado Springs

How to Enjoy a Family Vacation Without Hearing 'Are We There Yet"


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VISIT OUR OTHER SITES: is dedicated to providing reviews and information aimed at families.  The reviews are primarily travel based;  such as hotels, restaurants and activities.  We have a variety of activities depending upon the state requested;  from historical to theme parks and everything in between.  Each state also includes an information page.  This  page displays fun facts about each state.   Each state also includes a listing of Kids Eat Free (or at a discount) restaurants.  Our database is continually growing and changing.