23 Educational & Fun Things to do in Phoenix with Kids
Whether you’re a resident or you’re planning a visit, there are plenty of fun & educational things to do in Phoenix with kids! Today, I’m sharing 23 awesome places in Phoenix, Arizona you should definitely consider visiting with the kids!
Being a homeschool parent, I’m all about including opportunities for hands-on learning whenever possible. There’s just something magical about being able to include as many of the 5 senses as possible when learning, right? There are thousands of educational field trips available within the United States, but, today, I’ll be focusing on sharing educational things to do with kids in Phoenix, Arizona.
What’s my favorite part about learning while out and about? Well, I think it’s pretty awesome that experiences allow my kids to learn without even realizing it. It makes learning a natural part of living and encourages visiting new places!
If you’re a homeschool parent planning a visit to Phoenix, Arizona, you should definitely consider planning your visit during the Arizona Home Education Conference! You could spend some time learning about different homeschooling curriculums and teaching methods at the conference and then extend your visit by going to a few museums and such in the Phoenix area. Homeschool travel for the win, right?!
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Educational Places to Visit in Phoenix
Get ready for some family adventure! If you’re homeschooling in Phoenix, I have a feeling you’re going to really love this resource! There are so many fun places to visit on your own, but you could also consider planning some homeschool field trips with members of your homeschool co-op. If you go through this list and find that I have not included your favorite things to do in Phoenix, please consider emailing me so I can update the list with your suggestions.
A number of these awesome places to go on Phoenix do participate in national and world-wide programs allowing for reciprocal benefits! Definitely consider checking your existing memberships and/or consider getting a membership to take advantage of free & reduced admission opportunities!
In no particular order, here are 23 things to do in Phoenix with kids that are both fun & educational:
We love a great science center! Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, the Arizona Science Center features a number of hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, live science demonstrations, and even a theater! They do participate in the ASTC Passport Program, so check any memberships you currently have for reciprocal benefits!
Offering a schedule of puppet theater productions, the Great Arizona Puppet Theater is not just for the littles! They feature productions for all ages, so consider a visit to the theater to encourage a love of the performing arts. Please note: tickets must be purchased in advance.
Open daily, the Musical Instrument Museum features a collection of over 7,500 instruments from all over the world! Walk through special exhibits, themed galleries, and even attend a concert! An experience for children of all ages, you won’t have to worry about the kids “keeping their hands to themselves” in the Experience Gallery where the whole family can have a great time playing a variety of instruments! Music fans will especially love seeing and hearing instruments that have been played by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Maroon 5, The Who, and more. They have educator resources for virtual and in-person learning, too. The Musical Instrument Museum is open daily and offers free admission for visitors ages 3 and under.
Visiting an amusement park is a great way to get active while having fun! Along with a number of rides, Enchanted Island even offers playgrounds, tennis, and opportunities to operate pedal boats. Entrance to Enchanted Island is free and rides are offered on a “pay as you go” basis (day and annual passes are also available).
5. Phoenix Zoo
Head over to the Phoenix Zoo to see over 3,000 animals. Inside the zoo, you’ll see a number of animals, including endangered species, such as fennec foxes, komodo dragons, ringtail lemurs (Hello, Zooboomafoo!), black-tailed prairie dogs, Asian elephants, golden eagles, flamingos and more! One of the largest non-profit zoos in the United States, the Phoenix Zoo does participate in reciprocity programs (so check your existing memberships to see if you can get free/reduced entry!). They run a number of themed programs throughout the year and also offer special events, including Homeschool Days, with educators in mind. While at the zoo, the whole family can learn about animals, field conservation research, and even view animal & habitat-themed art exhibits!
Open Tuesday-Sunday (and select Mondays) the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is the perfect place to visit with young kids. There’s no shortage of interactive exhibits and imagination-based play in the immersive, open-ended experiences throughout the 3 floors of the museum. The littles will love climbing in the multi-level playground, earning their green thumbs in the garden, gaining important life skills in The Market, performing on stage, creating in the art studio, and more! Limited free parking is available and children under the age of 1 get free admission.
See a large variety of desert vegetation up close! Appropriate for visitors of all ages, the trails of the Desert Botanical Garden are wheelchair & stroller friendly. A number of family programs and activities are hosted throughout the year, including summer camps and story time. They offer free admission for military personnel and children under the age of 2. The second Tuesday of every month is Community Day with free admission for all! The Desert Botanical Garden does participate in the American Horticultural Society Reciprocal Garden Network, so definitely check your existing memberships for reciprocity!
Open Wednesday-Sunday, The Phoenix Art Museum is just a short walk from a Valley Metro stop (yay for public transportation). With 4 levels of art exhibits, I would definitely plan on spending an entire day at the museum. A number of “free to see” options make for some affordable, educational opportunities. Consider downloading their teaching tools resources for a structured art experience or go ahead and wander throughout their collection of over 20,000 art creations from around the world! The Phoenix Art Museum does participate in the NARM association, so check your memberships for reciprocity!
Now, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center isn’t exactly in Phoenix, but it’s in nearby Tempe, Arizona! With multiple locations in the US, my kids and I have visited their Plymouth Meeting location over in Pennsylvania and, let me tell you, it’s worth every penny. They have multiple hands-on LEGO building stations, rides, a play zone (socks are required), LEGO educational classes taught by Master Builders, a movie theater (included in the price of admission) and more. If your family is a LEGO family, you’ll all enjoy yourselves!
10. Papago Park
If you’re seeking outdoor adventures, a visit to Papago Park is a great way to achieve just that! See rock formations, go fishing, play golf, and immerse yourself in Phoenix history. Miles of trails await hikers of every skill level! Even better? It’s located near a number of other things to do in Phoenix, so you’ll have plenty of options for family fun nearby.
Located in nearby Scottsdale, Arizona, Butterfly Wonderland is one of the largest butterfly conservatories in North America! Home to thousands of butterflies as well as reptiles, honey bees, fish, and more, a visit to Butterflies Wonderland will likely be remembered for years to come. (This place reminds me of Butterfly World in Florida!) Visitors can even try edible insects! Check their schedule for special events and daily feeding times to get the most out of your visit. A number of tickets are available (including combo tickets including nearby attractions) and a military discount is available for all active service members.
12. Encanto Park
Fishing, swimming, golf, boats, and more are available on 222 acres right by previously mentioned Enchanted Island Amusement Park. A visit to Encanto Park could be a great way to spend a sunny afternoon together!
Looking for a unique experience in nearby Scottsdale? Dinosaur lovers of all ages will enjoy visiting Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs on the Arizona Boardwalk. Open daily, visitors dig in a dino “dig pit,” participate in “excavations,” see dinosaur animatronics, and more. Tours and fossil talks are available and included with general admission.
Visit the Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting to learn about the history of firefighting, view a large firefighting-related collection, and receive fire safety education. Appearing to be similar to the Fire Museum of Maryland, this museum is open Tuesday – Saturday (with closures for certain holidays) and offers special rates for groups of 10 or more. Consider planning a homeschool field trip to take advantage of special pricing!
Formerly known as the “Friends of Pueblo Grande Museum & Archeological Park,” this museum serves as a way to honor the indigenous people of the Phoenix area. Visit the 1,500 year old village site to view reconstructed houses, learn about prehistoric irrigation systems, archaeology, innovation, and more. Children ages 6 and under get free admission!
Step back into 1863-1912 Territorial Arizona to see original and reconstructed buildings such as a carpenter shop, dress shop, one room schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, and more. Immersive learning opportunities are in every building of this living history museum. Before your visit, check out their free teacher resources! Children ages 5 and under get free admission and discounts are offered for parties of 15 or more.
17. Organ Stop Pizza
You’ll need to grab a bite to eat at some point, so might as well head over to Mesa, Arizona for a meal and a history lesson! As you enjoy your meal, hear the melodies of the largest theater pipe organ ever created! Made in 1927, this Wurlitzer organ sits upon a hydraulic elevator 10 feet above the dining room. How’s that for dinner and a show?!
18. The Heard Museum
While at The Heard Museum, the entire family can learn about indigenous culture and history! View sculptures, textiles, a full size Navajo home and more. A number of educational resources are available upon request. The Heard Museum is a participant of NARM so check your memberships for reciprocity!
Include some history of Arizona into your visit to Phoenix with a stop at the Arizona Capitol Museum. Open Monday-Saturday, walk-in tours are offered Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2pm with no reservation needed. (Guided tours can be reserved in advance) The family can see a LEGO version of the Arizona state flag, learn about the history of Arizona government, view monuments, and more. A number of free educational resources are available for download.
Open Monday – Thursday, learn about and view more than 140 years of Phoenix Police history! Exhibits include a reproduction of Phoenix’s first Marshall’s Office & Jail, early law enforcement, a “Tin Lizzie” 1919 Ford Model T convertible top police car, helicopters, and more. Learn about Phoenix’s connection to the Miranda Rights and crime scene investigations. Kids can even be “sworn in” as a police officer. Admission is free, but donations are welcome & appreciated.
Explore the wonders of space exploration and Earth conservation at the Earth and Space Expedition Center. A pretty cool place to visit in Phoenix with kids, you’ll get to see their hall of astronauts, view artifacts from space exploration history, see images from the Hubble telescope, visit the planetarium, and more. Open Tuesday – Saturday, children ages 5 and under get free admission.
Riding motorcycles scare me, but I’m always game for a trip to a motorcycle museum (my PopPop was a motorcycle fanatic and was featured in motorcycle magazines. One of his builds is on display at Nick’s Custom Cycles in NJ). While Buddy Stubbs is a Harley Davidson dealership, there’s also a motorcycle museum on location. See more than 130 rare machines and motorcycle history spanning more than 110 years. Open seven days a week, admission is free! This has got to be one of the most interesting free things to do in Phoenix!
A great option for families and children of all ages, the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix is open Tuesday to Sunday and offers free admission for children ages 6 and under. This garden is a joint project of two cities: Phoenix, Arizona and Himeji, Japan and serves as a representation of the bond between Japan and the United States. Featuring a stroll garden, tea garden, and a dry garden, the mission of the Japanese Friendship Garden is to “provide a beautiful place of serenity, peace, education, and cultural engagement.” Garden tours are available every Tuesday and Saturday and are free with admission.
Planning for a Successful Adventure
When planning an outing with kids, I’ve found it helpful to plan ahead as much as possible. To avoid crowds, consider visiting museums and such on weekdays instead of weekends if possible. Take a look around the websites I’ve provided – many locations state their typical busy and not-so-busy hours and days of operation.
In addition, I totally recommend visiting things to do in Phoenix on a fully belly. There’s nothing more miserable than walking around a big attraction, especially one you paid admission to enter, with a growling belly. Consider starting your adventure right after breakfast or lunch to avoid hangry kids (or becoming hangry yourself!). Some places may allow outside snacks to be brought in, too.
Plan for comfort by dressing appropriately for the weather/season by dressing in layers and possibly keeping a coat or change of clothes in the car. I also suggest leaving uncomfortable shoes at home. This is the perfect time to wear your comfy sneakers!
Sidenote: have you ever seen the people wearing high heels at amusement parks? I’m all for a great outfit, but…ouch!
Last, but certainly not least, hydrate! Bring along a refillable water bottle to keep the entire family hydrated…especially in the dessert heat of Phoenix, Arizona. I’m a fan of these Brita Filtered Water Bottles because they’re super durable and ensure that the water you’re drinking is clean and tastes great.
Enjoy Making Memories
There are so many educational opportunities in Phoenix, right? Whether you’re homeschooling in Arizona or you’re on a mission to make some meaningful memories on the weekends with the kids, I hope this resource will prove to be helpful!
I’m always updating the educational resources over here at That Homeschool Family, so if you feel that I’ve missed including one of your favorite things to in Phoenix, go ahead and send me an email so I can include it!
If you’re planning on visiting Phoenix while attending one of the nearby homeschool conventions, I’d love to hear of your experience! Let me know where you went, what you ate, where you stayed. I hope you have/had a blast.
Until next time, stay safe and enjoy quality time with your family,
Elizabeth Dukart is a proud Georgia-based born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 2 human boys & 1 canine boy.
Created in 2021, Elizabeth owns and publishes That Homeschool Family: a free resource for homeschooling parents and beyond! A seasoned blogger, Elizabeth previously published a popular location-specific family resource blog, but decided to “Pivot!” her blogging focus after she started homeschooling her two boys in 2020. In addition to this blog, you can follow Elizabeth’s homeschooling and family adventures on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She can also be found in her Facebook Group: That Homeschool Family Hangout.
When she’s not busy taking over the world or homeschooling, Elizabeth can be found listening to music (especially The Beatles & Harry Styles!), being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, shopping, or traveling!
Have a question or want to work with Elizabeth? Send her an email!