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20 Fun Things to Do in Scottsdale with Kids

By on March 2, 2022 0 193 Views

Searching for Things to do in Scottsdale with kids? Scottsdale is a city that does not need any introduction. There are numerous places to visit in Scottsdale with adrenaline rush activities for kids. With its modern architecture, breathtaking desert views, and world-class nature that includes 52 different golf courses, it’s no wonder why Scottsdale is referred to as the resort of choice for many.

With massive entertainment options on offer, now is your chance to have a vacation with your family. Some of these places to visit in Scottsdale with kids have numerous fun activities such as hiking, picnicking, and golfing. 

The fun never stops when you’re out on an adventure in Scottsdale with your family. Whether you are planning on going out to a nearby wine tasting, hiking and climbing at one of the many valleys, or taking a trip to the desert, you’re bound to be providing as many memories to your kids as you can. But, how do you entice children into these activities without taking them out of their comfort zones and putting them at unnecessary risk? This guide will help children understand and enjoy these activities right away. 

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List of 20 Things to Do in Scottsdale With Kids

Scottsdale is a popular location to live in and visit with your family. Whether you are traveling with a big family or looking for ways to keep the kids busy, you will find these things for kids to do in Scottsdale fascinating. The city has mini golf, an event center, animal shows, and more.

Here is a comprehensive list of things to do in Scottsdale with Kids as well as fun places to visit in Scottsdale with kids:

McCormick Stillman Railroad Park

Watching moving train - one of the things to do in Scottsdale with Kids

McCormick Stillman Railroad Park is a great place for kids to enjoy the outdoors and experience the history of the railroad in Scottsdale. The park features an 18-hole championship golf course, a nine-hole golf course, a wading pool, a splash pad, and a playground. The park features a variety of trails for biking, running, and walking. There is also a playground, picnic areas, and a basketball court that is suitable for kids. It is a great place to take your children for an afternoon of fun. 

Some of the fun things to do at McCormick Stillman Railroad Park,  Scottsdale with kids include:

  • Climbing wall: The climbing wall at McCormick Stillman Railroad Park is a great way for kids to exercise and have fun at the same time. 
  • Soccer field: The soccer field at McCormick Stillman Railroad Park is a great place for kids to play soccer. 
  • Playground: The playground at McCormick Stillman Railroad Park is a great place for kids to play. 
  • Swimming pool: The swimming pool at McCormick Stillman Railroad Park is a great place for kids to cool off in the summertime.

If you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors with kids in Scottsdale, McCormick Stillman Railroad Park is the perfect place for you. There are so many fun things to do with kids here. 

Explore the Arizona Science Center

Arizona science center - one of the places to visit in Scottsdale with many fun things to do with kids

The Arizona Science Center is a museum with a mission to inspire, educate, and engage the curious minds of children through science. The center is filled with many things to do in Scottsdale with kids: 

  • The museum hosts exciting hands-on permanent exhibits, rotating seasonal exhibits, an impressive planetarium, and a state-of-the-art theater. 
  • Your kids would love to learn about how the body works and discover past and modern technology that impacts everyday life.

The museum is located next to the Civic Center in Downtown Phoenix. Tickets to the Arizona Science Center are $13.95, and kids three and under can visit for free. There are lots of activities here to keep your kids entertained. It is a unique place to visit in Scottsdale that guarantees entertainment and excitement. 

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The Butterfly Wonderland

Butterfly at the butterfly wonderland

Butterfly Wonderland is located in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona. It is one of the most amazing places to visit in Scottsdale with many things to do with kids. The wonderland is a lush, tropical rainforest serving as the largest butterfly conservatory in the country.

Butterfly Wonderland offers a list of fun things to do with kids in Scottsdale like admire over 70 species of friendly butterflies along with koi fish, finches, and tree frogs in the indoor Conservatory or visit the Butterfly Emergence Gallery to watch beautiful butterflies emerge from their chrysalis. This beautiful center promises a lot of fun activities for your kids. 

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Butterfly Wonderland is open 365 days each year from 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets cost $22.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids. Children under age two can visit for free.

OdySea Aquarium

things to do in Scottsdale with Kids

The OdySea Aquarium holds over 6,000 animals in 2,000,000 gallons of water —the largest aquarium in Arizona. OdySea Aquarium features over a dozen galleries, encounters, tours, and activities to create a fantastic experience for the whole family. Kids love excitement and this is what OdeySea Aquarium brings to the fullest. 

At OdySea Aquarium one of the things to do here is to travel through the Deep Ocean on a fully-enclosed glass escalator while you watch sharks, giant rays, and other deep-sea creatures swim overhead. 

Tickets cost $37.95 for adults and $27.95 for kids, online.

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Spring Training Game

Kids in a sport field - things to do in Scottsdale with Kids

If you’re taking a family vacation to Scottsdale during the spring, you can’t miss the chance to catch a spring training baseball game with your kids.

Visit the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks play or the Scottsdale Stadium in Old Town Scottsdale to catch a San Francisco Giants spring training game.

Lawn seating is a great option for parents with young children because they can watch the game while the kids explore. 

MacDonald’s Ranch

Give your kids a Wild West experience they will never forget at MacDonald’s Ranch—the premier horseback riding stable of Arizona. 

MacDonald’s Ranch welcomes all ages and experience levels for horseback rides through Scottsdale’s beautiful McDowell Sonoran Preserve. 

Have a memorable groupie or private family moonlight ride as you admire the breathtaking sunset views in the Sonoran Desert. 

Aside from horseback riding, MacDonald’s Ranch offers other outdoor activities like stagecoach rides, cowboy cookouts, and a seasonal pumpkin patch with a petting zoo, pony rides, mechanical bull, and panning for gold. 

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Phoenix Zoo

kid playing with an elephant - things to do in Scottsdale with Kids

The largest privately owned, non-profit zoo in the United States, it is located in Papago Park in Phoenix, AZ, and spans 125 acres. 

Kids love zoos, right? The Phoenix Zoo has tons of fun things for kids to do, including the 4-D theatre, endangered species carousel, Safari cruiser, Harmony Farm petting zoo, and the water play areas and playgrounds. Some of the most notable animals to see at the zoo are tigers, lions, elephants, and giraffes.

The Phoenix Zoo also features an “Arizona Trail,” with tons of local plants and animals on display. You’ll almost feel like you’re in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve!

Tickets for adults cost $25, and tickets for children cost $17. Admission for children under the age of three is free. 

Great Wolf Bridge 

things to do in Scottsdale with Kids - playing golf

There is the newly built Great Wolf Lodge Water Park and hotel right off of the 101 freeway. The Park is a great place to visit in Scottsdale with kids. This indoor water park is home to thrilling water slides, a splash pool, a lazy river, and tons of other attractions that both big and little kids will love. 

While the kids play, parents can grab a craft beer or mixed drink at the Watering Hole and relax in the adults-only hot tub—making it one of the best activities for parents to enjoy in Scottsdale, too. 

You should consider visiting the climbing wall, mini-golf course, ropes course, or arcade located on the property. You could choose to grab an ice cream cone from Ben & Jerry’s. 

You can purchase a day pass with access to the water park, restaurants, and 50+ family-friendly things to do at the Great Wolf Lodge in Scottsdale without having to book a room on the property. 

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Musical Instrument Museum

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The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Scottsdale has more than 8,000 instruments from over 200 world countries. Each gallery reflects the rich diversity and unique history of different cultures from each continent. 

Kids will encounter instruments from all around the world, with galleries emphasizing musical contributions from each culture. There are also interactive, hands-on galleries where kids can play age-appropriate instruments. 

The MIM has a family center that includes an eating area, tables, a restroom with a changing table, and space for children to play. 

Tickets to the MIM cost $20 for adults, $15 for teens, and $10 for children four and over. Children under the age of three are free.

Children’s Museum of Phoenix

places to visit in Scottsdale

Designed with kids in mind, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix has many things to do in Scottsdale with kids. The museum’s mission is to engage the minds, muscles, and imaginations of young children.  

Some things that you can do with your kids at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix include playing games, exploring the exhibits, and viewing the movies. 

You can also have your kids make a mosaic, create a beautiful painting, or write a story. There are also a lot of activities that are geared towards younger children like learning about ABCs or counting with numbers. 

All in all, there is something for everyone at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. So if you’re looking to have a fun day out with your kids, this is the perfect place to do it!

The museum is located in Downtown Phoenix, and admission to the museum is $14.95 per person.

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Desert Botanical Garden

kid feeding animals in one of the places to visit in Scottsdale

Searching for an educational, engaging, family-friendly activity during your Scottsdale vacation? Look no further than Desert Botanical Garden—a 140-acre botanical garden home to 50,000 cactus, trees, and flowers from around the world. 

The Desert Botanical Garden (DBG) is one of only 24 botanical gardens accredited by the American Alliance of Museums for its commitment to the education, research, exhibition, and conservation of desert plants. 

The Desert Botanical Garden is located just four miles from Old Town Scottsdale. Tickets are $24.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids. However, if you visit on the second Tuesday of the month for “Community Day,” admission is free! It is one of the most educating places to visit in Scottsdale with kids. 

Scottsdale Fashion Square

Just North of Old Town Scottsdale is the Scottsdale Fashion Square ranking amongst the top 30 largest malls in the country and providing upscale shopping and luxury. Scottsdale Fashion Square introduces the Old Town Scottsdale lifestyle with approximately 2 million square feet of luxury retail space, you can shop and try out outfits with the kids here.

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Visit the Roadhouse Cinemas

things to do in Scottsdale with Kids

A lot of people who have been going to Roadhouse Cinemas since it opened have become too spoiled to go anywhere else. You and your kids would love this place because you can pick your seat in advance (small surcharge for the convenience). They offer Very comfortable seating/a great Movie experience. Press a button and have someone wait on you while you have great popcorn, free refills, and don’t forget to take your bowl to the counter for a free take-home bag when leaving. 

Visit the Talking Stick Resort and Casinos 

casino center in Scottslade

On the Salt-River Prima Maricopa, Indian Reservation is The Talking Stick Resort which is an attraction and a part of the Scottsdale nightlife with their 98,000 square feet casino. 

There are many things to do at Talking Stick Resort and Casinos with kids. Some of the activities that are popular with kids include playing casino games, riding amusement park rides, participating in swimming and water park fun, and finding treasure at the Hidden Treasures treasure hunt. 

All of these activities are designed to help children have a good time and learn about important life skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking. 

So if you are looking for a place to enjoy a fun-filled day with your family, Talking Stick Resort and Casinos is definitely the place to go.

Tour of the Institutions of Higher Learning

kids reading in a university area

The primary institution of higher education in the city is Scottsdale Community College, which opened in 1970 on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Reservation. In 1999, the school opened a second campus in the Scottsdale Airpark allowing it to serve the business community and north Scottsdale. 

Other institutions of higher education with locations in Scottsdale include the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, University of Phoenix, Gateway Seminary, and the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. Your kids could walk through these schools to see what they look like and who knows, they might choose to come back after the vacation for college.

The Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market

The Scottsdale Farmers Market is a weekly open-air market that takes place in the Old Town Scottsdale district of Scottsdale, Arizona. It is the largest farmers market in the Phoenix metropolitan area and is open every Saturday from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm.

The market features a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, bread, flowers, honey, and artisanal goods from local farmers and artisans. It also has a food court with a variety of restaurants, a children’s play area, and a music stage. 

The market is also a popular tourist destination, with visitors coming to enjoy the atmosphere, purchase goods, and watch the community come together.

Nightlife Tour 

things to do in Scottsdale with Kids

Similar to well-known nightclub districts in other major cities, much like Atlanta’s Buckhead district and Miami’s South Beach, most of Downtown Scottsdale’s major bars and clubs are generally within walking distance. Walk into one as a parent and enjoy your time while your kids sleep their weariness away.

The Art Galleries

Scottsdale’s galleries and studios are noted for their Western and Native American themed art, with a growing interest in contemporary arts over the past couple of decades – an element most visible by the large number of modern art galleries which have opened along with the Marshall Way Arts District, and the opening of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (also referred to as SMoCA) in 1999. Both are in Downtown Scottsdale. 

There are many things to do at Scottsdale’s galleries and studios with kids. Some of the things you can do are visit the galleries and look at the art, listen to music, or watch a performance. 

You can also visit the studios and take a class. There are many different types of classes available, such as painting, photography, and sculpting. 

Another thing you can do is shop at the art boutiques. There are many different stores that offer beautiful art pieces and sculptures. 

Finally, you can eat at one of the many restaurants that offer options for both food and art. There are many different restaurants that have beautiful murals or artwork on the walls.

Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary

things to do in Scottsdale with Kids

Whether you’re a reptile lover or not, you are sure to enjoy and most likely see/learn something new with a tour of the Phoenix Herpetological Society facility. Be sure to make advanced reservations (call or book online) as that is a must. The location of the sanctuary is only revealed after a reservation is made (it is not on the website).

PHS is not a zoo, but a non-profit animal rescue organization. It will be a huge plus to show kids around the PHS with the assistance of a standby tour guide in any case you’re observing a vacation at Phoenix/Scottsdale. 

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The Barlett Lake Recreation Area

things to do in Scottsdale with Kids

Just being out on the lake with the kids with the rented pontoon will be an awesome activity. Boating can be a great experience and will be made so much more with the friendly support of the Bartlett Lake Marina staff.

Some of the things to do with kids at Barlett Lake Recreation Area include swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, biking, and more. 

Swimming is a great way to cool off in the summer and relax in the water in the winter. Boating is also a popular activity at Barlett Lake Recreation Area because you can enjoy the scenery and wildlife while you are out on the water. 

Fishing is another popular activity at Barlett Lake Recreation Area because there is a variety of fish to catch including largemouth bass, black bass, and trout. Hiking is a great way to explore the area and see all of the different wildlife that you can find. Biking is also a popular activity at Barlett Lake Recreation Area because it is a great way to get exercise and take in the scenery.

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Conclusion

Best known for its world-renowned golf courses, luxurious spas and resorts, and vibrant nightlife in Old Town, you may think of Scottsdale, Arizona as the perfect destination for a romantic getaway—not the next spot for your family vacation.

But wait! Even though Scottsdale might be better known for its adult activities, you might be surprised to discover the amount of fun, educational things available for you and your family to enjoy while visiting Scottsdale with kids.

From interactive museums, indoor mini-golf courses, and tons of animal encounters, kids of all ages will have an unforgettable time exploring all the fun, kid-friendly activities that Scottsdale, AZ, has to offer. Save the list of 20 things to do in Scottsdale with kids that we have discussed in this article. 

Other Frequently Asked Questions About Scottsdale

Is Scottsdale Family Friendly?

Yes, Scottsdale is definitely a family-friendly city. There are many things to do in Scottsdale that will keep everyone entertained. From theme parks to museums, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, the city is located in the heart of Arizona’s beautiful Sonoran Desert, so there are plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore. Plus, Scottsdale has a great nightlife that any family can enjoy.

Some of the top attractions in Scottsdale for families include:

  • Old Town Scottsdale 
  • The Children’s Museum of Phoenix 
  • The Heard Museum 
  • The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art 
  • The Desert Botanical Garden 
  • The Arizona Science Center 
  • The National Aviary 

There are also plenty of restaurants, stores, and other attractions that are perfect for the entire family. If you’re looking for a place to stay while in Scottsdale, consider one of the many hotels in the city. From luxury resorts to affordable options, you’re sure to find something that meets your needs.

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