Amazing way to get kids outdoors and explore the world as a family! Geocaching is the world’s largest treasure hunt and can be done anywhere – not just Phoenix! This article explains how to get started and what to do when you find your first cache. Perfect activity for affordable family fun in Phoenix.
Family Activities in Arizona
Fun family activities all over Arizona. Places to go in Phoenix that are perfect for families. Great date nights, too!
We adored the accents of pink, the glass chandeliers and dolls at every table in the American Girl Bistro. Here’s what you need to know before dining.
Fall is here! The temperature is finally reaching sane digits and the kids are almost on fall break. Wait?!? What? How did that happen so fast? No worries. I have tons of ideas on affordable Phoenix family activities. Ride the Sky Harbor Sky Train Want an aerial view of the Sky Harbor tarmac without getting on a plane? The Sky train is free, fun and an brilliant way to spend a few hours. Plan this around noon and break for lunch in one of the many fantastic restaurants in Terminal 4. While you are there, peruse some of the museum exhibits. This month features the past of airline travel with displays of menus, matchbooks and other items given to passengers in the 1960’s and beyond. If its your kid’s first visit to the airport, stop by the information desk and tell them! Your child will get a little plane as a souvenir. Before you leave, make sure to stop by the La Grande Orange counter for a Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie to take home. You will not regret it. Visit the Chocolate Factory YES, you get to eat the chocolate! Cerretas’ is located in Glendale and has tours available as well as tasting packages and an opportunity for kids to make their own chocolate pizza. OktoberFest! Bratwurst, oompa music, strudel… where can you go wrong? And beer and wine available for the adults! The Tempe Oktoberfest (October 9-11) has an awesome kid’s section with carnival rides, arts and crafts and a passport which you can take around the fest and earn a free cookies. The Peoria Oktoberfest (October 3) has a Kinder Village with inflatables. Play at a local park Yes, it’s fall!! WE CAN FINALLY PLAY OUTSIDE IN ARIZONA!! That said, the parks in the Phoenix area are top notch. Be amazed by the climbing tower in Riverview Park in Mesa. Play on the world’s first EVOS playground, a suspended structure, at Sahuaro Ranch Park in Glendale. Ride the zip line at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler. Early morning park time means I get to ride the zipline!! #momlife A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Jan 21, 2015 at 9:19am PST It holds grown-ups and kids as you can see. Arizona Science Center Lay on a bed of nails. Watch open heart surgery. Learn computer programming from Mark Zuckerburg. Just the typical day at the Arizona Science Center. Best to plan your visit for first thing in the morning when the museum opens as the exhibits can get rather crowded. Also, if you’re lucky, you can nab a culture pass at your local library which grants you free admission for two. Visit the Zoo We have two zoos in Phoenix! Two! I’m so excited because I just discovered the other zoo this past spring. First, the Phoenix Zoo provides a remarkable experience with beautiful exhibits, a wide variety of animals and it’s also available on POGO pass which grants each POGO pass holder two free admissions. The second zoo is the Wildlife World Zoo & […]
What?!? Science on the weekend! Why yes, science is awesome! Especially when you are not learning it from a textbook and instead get to experience it through hands-on activities. For that, the Arizona Science Center is the place to go! Here are 10 spectacular activities at the Arizona Science Center that are included with your admission. And as an extra deal, the Science Center has a fantastic Groupon deal right now for a 40% discount on a family membership!. The membership grants you early admission, IMAX tickets, sky cycle rides and members only invitations. Wheelchair racing How does exercise impact your heart rate? Check your pulse then challenge a family member to a wheelchair race. I sat down in these chairs against my six-year-old daughter and realized exactly how much I lacked in upper body strength. Racing a wheelchair is hard work! I was seriously winded after completing the course. Then my husband got on and finished in half my time. I wish I could attribute that to his competition. Explore the power of water This area gets super busy. I recommend arriving at the museum as soon as it opens to enjoy the water works all by yourself. We visited at 10AM on a Sunday and it was empty. Watching the colorful balls snake their way up the water tower was mesmerizing. You can also experiment with a drum set and musical chimes powered entirely by water as well as building complicated water structures to direct the flow. Slide down the Colon In the human body section, you’ll find a larger than life model of the human stomach. Enter inside and slide out through the colon. Then, watch your kids faces as you explain to them exactly what process they just demonstrated. Fun times. Lay on a bed of Nails Honestly, I was scared. But I did it and then my daughter braved it as well. “Go clean your room..or else we’ll exchange your mattress for a bed of nails! :-)” A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Aug 31, 2015 at 3:31pm PDT Yay for the science of equal weight distribution! You lay on a table and are in total control of the nails rising and falling. When completely down and still, you push a button and all the nails raise you up off the table. It’s a little disconcerting seeing the signs above you in large CAPS telling you to stay still, but its very safe and makes an awesome picture. Learn programming using Angry Birds Programming to me can be a little complicated. I’m a bit intimidated honestly. However, in My Digital World exhibit, the Angry Birds program breaks programming tasks into simple manageable steps. Going level by level, you program the little green pig to complete a maze. Every four levels, videos by famous coders, such as Mark Zuckerburg, explain a new programming concept and then you apply it immediately in the next level. Our entire family was hooked on this game for at least 30 […]
We are always looking for kid friendly restaurants in Phoenix that our kids will like too. Truly, what is better than breakfast and airplanes? The Hangar Cafe at the Chandler Airport provides a truly memorable experience that is yummy and unique.
The Phoenix area is now home to an American Girl store! I have been wanting to visit one of these stores with my daughter for such a long time. I’ve heard stories of doll hair salons, elegant doll cafes and tons of other surprises. Here’s a complete rundown of the American Girl Scottsdale store and what you can do with your American Girl fan there. I visited the store the day before the Grand Opening on August 21. My six-year-old daughter and I entered the store located in the Scottsdale Quarter and were immediately awestruck. At the entrance, a display set up with Maryellen, a brand new American Girl from the 1950’s, greeted us. My daughter couldn’t wait to play with her. This store is simply amazing. In one corner is an elegant Bistro where you can have a light lunch, a dessert or an afternoon tea. I’m in love with these flower covered lamps hanging in the bistro of the American Girl store in Scottsdale! #agscottsdale A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Aug 21, 2015 at 8:11pm PDT Every place setting is tied with a hair tie that girls get to keep as a memory of the meal. The bistro also has hooks which hold dolls so that no doll needs to be placed on the floor. The bathrooms have these too! The store also contains a doll hair salon where dolls can get highlights, a new hairstyle and even get their ears pierced. The cool thing about these dolls, and I learned there are contemporary dolls as well as the girls from different time eras that I grew up begging for, is that they are all completely customizable to look like the owner. If a girl has glasses, you can buy glasses for the doll. If a girl has braces, you can also give your American Girl doll braces. There’s even a place in the store where girls can make their doll a t-shirt as well as one for herself so they can match. Every year, one doll is named the” girl of the year”. The 2015 “Girl of the Year” is Grace. The store has books to buy about Grace as well as a fun photo opp in the store. Hanging out at the new @americangirlbrand store in Scottsdale. Grand opening is tomorrow and Sunday! Check out the website for info on the ticket system. #agscottsdale A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Aug 21, 2015 at 7:10pm PDT While I realize that an American Girl doll is not in the everyday expenditure price range, the store also offers a variety of fun opportunities for a really fun parent-kid date. You do not need to own an American Girl doll to have a fun time here. Make reservations for an afternoon tea in the bistro or browse the book selection in the store. Just looking at all the dolls and learning all of their stories is fun as well. The American Girl Store is located in the southeast corner […]
Every time I get the opportunity to visit Sea Life Arizona, I go for it. Not only does the aquarium hold so many amazing varieties of fish, sharks and other marine creatures, it’s also centrally located. Sea Life Arizona is tucked inside the north east entrance of Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe. Sea Life is a worldwide chain of aquariums, however each aquarium’s design reflects the local region. Immediately upon entering the Arizona Mills location, tanks with fishes that inhabit Arizona’s parks and lakes line the walls to greet you. We recently visited as part of a media trip during the aquarium’s annual Octonauts Training Academy. At the front door, each of my kids got a passport and small sheet of stickers. Throughout the aquarium, six stations each featuring a different Octonaut had a different task to complete. My children approached this visit in two different ways. Dude, who is almost 2, ran from exhibit to exhibit to scream at the sea creatures. Squeals of excitement and joy…yes. VERY LOUD squeals of excitement and joy. I’m sure the entire aquarium heard his enthusiasm. Llama, 6, took hold of her Octonauts passport and went to work. She hunted for each station and carefully followed all the instructions to earn her sticker. One task required that she touch an animal in the touch tank. Immediately, her eyes darted up to mine in a pleading, “No, please don’t make me touch something gross.” Seeing her hesitation, I asked one of the employees manning the touch tank, “What is the least squeamish thing that she can touch in here?” They were incredibly helpful. “She can touch a seashell,” the man responded. Done. Llama touched a seashell and earned her sticker for that station. We also colored a submarine, learned interesting sea facts from Captain Barnacles and hunted through the tanks with magnifying glasses as part of our Octonauts adventure. At the end of the exhibits, Captain Barnacles and Peso awaited our crew in the play area for a picture opportunity. Llama also earned a certificate for completing her passport. Hanging out with Captain Barnacles and Peso at Sea Life Arizona this morning! @sealifearizona #slaoctonauts A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Jun 10, 2015 at 9:39am PDT No worries if you miss the Octonauts at Sea Life though. All of the exhibits remain the same. The Octonauts just add that little extra bit of whimsy and will be at Sea Life Arizona until June 21. Anytime you visit Sea Life, you can always spy on the sea horses, Walk into a room surrounded by 360 degrees of fish tank, And journey straight through the middle of the sea by way of glass tube, Dude ran ahead but he didn’t go any farther on the clear floor. He tiptoed precariously onto the glass because he feared falling in! That stopped him from running away from us 🙂 @sealifearizona #slaoctonauts #kids #sharks #aquarium #toddlerapproved A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Jun 10, 2015 at 10:48am PDT With my two […]
When I look for a fun family activity in the Phoenix area, I want somewhere not too expensive, unique and that brings me happiness. Usually food tops the list. I jumped at the chance to visit the Queen Creek Olive Mill for a blogger event. Not only can you buy olive oil there, but you can also eat a delicious meal at their on-site cafe (and grill located outdoors), devour tasty baked goods made with olive oil, have a scoop of olive oil gelato or grab a coffee from Superstition Coffee company located inside. Superstition Coffee, Olive Oil ice cream and Olive Spa soap can all be found in the marketplace of the Queen Creek Olive Mill. Thank you for letting me visit @QColivemill! #QueenCreekOliveMill A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on May 14, 2015 at 12:07pm PDT Olive Oil 101 I admit, I never actually sampled olive oil. Prior to this experience, I only used my big bottle of EVOO from Costco for sautéing. I had no idea what olive oil should taste like nor how to distinguish a good oil. Just like wine, olive oil has attributes to look for: Fruitiness – You can detect this through your nose. Before you taste olive oil, you inhale, exhale and inhale again. Some good attributes are green apple, herbaceous or buttery. Bitterness – This you can taste on your tongue. Bitter doesn’t mean bad necessarily, it just describes the oil. Pungency – You feel this on the back of your throat. An oil with a strong pungent attribute will feel like hot peppers back there. You don’t want an olive oil to be: fusty – means the olives have fermented musty – olives are moldy earthy – the olives are dirty rancid – it’s spoiled Olive oil only lasts 1 year in the bottle. On average, it takes 3 months for olive oil from Italy to make it to the US and then it sits on a store shelf. Buying olive oil locally ensures you get a much fresher product that will keep for a longer period of time. Tasting Getting ready to do some olive oil tasting at #QueenCreekOliveMill! #whyaz @QCOliveMill A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on May 14, 2015 at 10:13am PDT I sampled 6 of Queen Creek Olive Mill’s Oils and glazes. To tell the truth, I did not want to sample olive oil. I thought that olive oil was only meant to be a necessary ingredient, but not have any real taste. I was dead wrong! This olive oil tasted extremely smooth and I loved it. I enjoyed the chocolate olive oil which would work really well as a butter substitute in baking. This is happening! Oh my gosh, this one smells fantastic!! #QueenCreekOliveMill #arizonabloggers A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on May 14, 2015 at 10:40am PDT I fell in love with the garlic olive oil. So much, I think I ate more than my fair share of the bread because I couldn’t stop dipping it that oil. I […]
You need ideas for some fun family time this summer, right? But, you don’t want to break the bank. Summer is a challenging time for Arizona parents. The kids are out of school and when the rest of the country is enjoying the great outdoors, the temperatures here soar above 100 degrees. Do not fear. The Phoenix area has a ton of fun activities to keep families “cool” during the summer. Before we get to it, I’ve created a printable list of the BEST Phoenix activities for families. Print this out and keep it on your refrigerator for fun anytime you wonder, “What should we do today?” In this post you’ll find: Free Summer events in the Phoenix area Affordable tours of Phoenix businesses such as a dairy farm and chocolate factory Easy ways to SAVE on multiple activities Crafts to do when you need a day at home Phoenix Family Activity #1: Bass Pro Shop Outdoor Kids Night Every Tuesday from 5-7pm the Bass Pro Shop in Mesa hosts tons of free, fun activities for kids. Kids can enjoy arts and crafts, shoot lasers in the shooting gallery, watch a fish feeding in the main tank at 6pm or let some arrows fly at the archery range. Phoenix Family Activity #2: Enchanted Island in Encanto Park This amusement park near downtown has a splash pad, mini roller coaster, tea cups and a train that circles the perimeter. Phoenix Family Activity #3: Go to the Library I think I look forward to the summer reading program all year long! Most valley libraries host summer reading programs and these are a lot cooler than when we were kids. The library also puts on reading themed events such as puppet theaters, magic shows and character meet and greets. Check your local library for details. A library with a castle!!! How did I not know about this before?? #azlocal Not only that, but it also has a puppet theatre, Lego bricks, trains, puzzles and more in the pre literacy area. A photo posted by JoAnn 🌸 (@awhimsiclelife) on Jul 30, 2015 at 11:12am PDT Phoenix Family Activity #4: Go to Wildflower Bakery for Free Milk and Cookies Every Wednesday from 3:30Pm – 4:00PM. Wildflower Bakery offers kids a free cookie, milk and activity. Use this time to take a break and get yourself a latte. Phoenix Family Activity #5: Tour Shamrock Farms Head down to Maricopa and see how we get our milk! The farm tram tour is about an hour and afterwards you can treat yourself to Shamrock Farms ice cream and a container of icy chocolate milk. Two year old at the wheel and a sassy diva in the back…this is a party!! Loved our @shamrockfarmsmilk tour today! A photo posted by JoAnn 🌸 (@awhimsiclelife) on Mar 15, 2016 at 5:11pm PDT Phoenix Family Activity #6: Explore a Victorian Home The Rosson House in downtown Phoenix offers tours every hour. Visit a local library to pick up a culture pass so that […]
When you have kids in tow, usually the cheapest fun is the best fun! I remember the time my parents took me to the airport as a kid. We walked to end of the gates at the Tucson International Airport, sat and watched the planes as they took off and landed. It is one of my fondest memories, just staring at those massive metal creatures magically lift into the sky. Thankfully, its very easy to plane spot at Phoenix Sky Harbor if you know the right places to go and how to get there. With the new addition of the Sky Train, you get a journey that includes planes, trains and automobiles. Plus, during the summer months it is an extra bonus that you can be in air conditioning for about 90% of the time. To catch the sky train, I recommend exiting the 202 at 44th street and following the signs to the PHX sky train. You will see the turn off right before the airport. Enter the cell phone parking lot at the station and continue to the west side of the lot. There you will find meters at which you can use your credit card to pay for up to four hours. The 44th street station is a destination in its own right. Sleek and modern and barely used, this place sparkles! Follow the many signs to catch the train. Yes, its free! I recommend grabbing a seat at the front of train so that you watch the tracks loop and zoom towards the airport. It will take approximately 10 minutes to ride to Terminal 4. Once at the terminal, hop off the train and take the elevator within the terminal to the top of the parking garage. Walk to the edge and watch the planes take off and land. The view is amazing! When your group tires, you can head back to terminal level and have lunch at one of the many new restaurants there. We chose Chelsea’s Kitchen which had tons of healthy food options as well as a salted chocolate chip cookie when we left. However, there is also a Joe’s BBQ, Lolo’s Chicken and Waffles and many other choices within terminal 4. We also visited Terminal 3, which I don’t recommend yet. The terminal is under a massive renovation. The sky train station was pretty though. Just hung out in the airport today. Riding the sky train and watching planes. The only person’s hand he will hold is his sister’s 🙂 #siblings #love A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Apr 12, 2015 at 10:43pm PDT With cheap parking, awesome plane spotting and great food… plus air conditioning, visiting the airport is both really easy and incredibly fun. Definitely a location to write down on your Phoenix Summer Bucket List. Plan to get a POGO pass this summer for more affordable Phoenix fun.