Saying Phoenix summers are hot is an understatement. So, where do you take the kids for fun when it is 110 degrees in the shade? Here is a list of kid-friendly indoor activities in Phoenix:
- Museum of Natural History
- Hall of Flame Fireman Museum
- Arizona Science Center
- Children’s Museum of Phoenix
- Cerreta’s Chocolate Factory
- Butterfly Wonderland
- Phoenix Odyssey Aquarium
- Musical Instrument Museum
- Performing Art Shows
Kid Friendly Indoor Activities in Phoenix
Museum of Natural History
When you enter the Arizona Museum of Natural History lobby you are greeted by a collection of large mammoths, a mastodon, a one-toed horse, and turtle fossils. Walk to the right to view Dinosaur Hall, Dinosaur Mountain, and Gems & Minerals. Walk to the left to view more dinosaurs and an exhibit dedicated to NASA and space exploration.
Or you can walk straight ahead to see the Arizona in Movies Exhibit, the Ancient Cultures of Mexico exhibit, the Territorial Jail and the Lost Dutchman cave.
Exhibits at the Natural History Museum include:
Dinosaur Hall is where you can view a full size Tyrannosaurus Rex and Zuni Coelurosaur that were found near the Arizona/New Mexico border. See the Camarasaurus, touch the bone of a Apatosaurus, view a Protoceratops, and a Triceratops. You will be in dinosaur heaven!
Dinosaur Mountain this multi-level exhibit features a mountain with dinosaurs atop, listen to the roars of the past and hear the rushing waterfall that happens every 20 minutes.
The Walk Through Time gallery takes you back in time to the formation of rocks and minerals, through time you can view mammal-like reptiles. See the Postosuchus and Placerias, animals that lived in the “petrified forest” millions of years ago.
There are several other exhibits where you can learn about the environment, the southwest culture, and what it was like to live in Arizona years ago. Learn the difference between rocks and minerals. Find out how the different types of rocks are formed.
See how life was for Arizona’s early inhabitants. Learn about the Paleoindian hunters who lived here over 13,000 years ago and the Hohokam farmers that operated until A.D. 1450 in the Southwest Culture exhibit.
Enter the doorway to Mesoamerican cultures and learn about the Ancient Cultures of Mexico. In the outdoor area you can even pan for gold.
Address:53 N. Macdonald Mesa, AZ
Directions:One block north of Main Street in downtown Mesa. Take US 60 or 202 to Country Club Drive, go to Main Street, and proceed one-half mile east to Macdonald
Hall of Flame Firefighter Museum
The Hall of Flame Museum is a perfect spot to take young kids or those who love all things having to do with firefighting. This Arizona museum is located across from the Phoenix Zoo in a building that resembles a warehouse.
This large firefighter museum is divided up into 6 galleries with over 100 restored fire trucks and other firefighting apparatus. The items date back to the early 1700’s and our from all over the country.
There is a interactive “fire safety house” and an operations station. The highlight is the big red firetruck that they can explore, dress up in the heavy gear the firemen wear and play on a real fire truck. Our kids spent most of their time exploring the features of the truck and dressing up.
Save $$ The Entertainment book often has two for one coupons for this activity.
Location: Central Phoenix -near Phoenix Zoo
Address: 6101 East Van Buren St Phoenix, AZ
Visit Arizona Science Center
The Arizona Science Center is a terrific spot for kids to enjoy over 350 hands on exhibits. With over 40,000 square feet to explore, a Planetarium and a giant IMAX® Theater you can easily spend several hours at this interactive Arizona museum. They encourage the audience to ask questions throughout.
From its humble beginnings in 1984, the Arizona Science Center has become one of the top attractions in Phoenix. There are four floors, the fourth floor resembles more of like a hallway exhibit.
Permanent exhibits inside the Arizona Science Center include:
- Many Hands Make a Home
- All About You
- Fab Lab
- The World Around You
- How we Live with the Sun
- Forces of Nature
- My Digital World
- Get Charged Up
- Music Landing
Forces of Nature: Next to the visit to the Planetarium the forces of nature exhibit was our kids’ favorite spot! Every 15 minutes you can experience first hand what it is like in some forces of nature including hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, volcanic eruptions and monsoons. Surround sound, realistic physical effects and a motion-floor system, the 5 minute experiences will put you right in the center of the action. You will experience the ground shake, heat lamps, wind, and rain.
Get Charged Up: Figure out how things work in this fun exhibit where you can lie on a bed of 1,000 nails, build your own electric circuit, go for a ride on a pulley powered chair, or play tug of war.
Each year the center offers several traveling exhibits as well. Save $$ The Entertainment book often has two for one coupons for this activity.
Phone: 602-716-2000 Location: Phoenix (Heritage & Science Park) Address: 600 East Washington Street
Family Fun at Glendale Cerreta’s Chocolate Factory
Cerreta’s has been making chocolates in the Phoenix Arizona area for over 40 years and are in downtown Glendale. When you enter the chocolate factory you are likely to be welcome by some masterpiece made from chocolate.
Cerretas makes candy from chocolate. Chocolate arrives to them in 10 pound blocks. It is melted down and poured into various molds to create delicious chocolate candies. They make thousands of pounds of chocolates, caramels and other goodies each day.
For more information please see the website. Tours are twice a day at 10:00 and 1:00 Monday through Friday.
Location: Downtown Glendale
Address:5345 W Glendale Ave
Directions:located on the southeast corner of 54th and Glendale avenues
Hours: Tours are Monday-Friday at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Phoenix Odyssey Aquarium
The largest aquarium in the desert.
Butterfly Wonderland is a great indoor activity. Interactive excursion with thousands of butterflies and an indoor rain forest.
Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is the largest of its kind. It is home to more than 10,000 instruments from all over the world. The MIM is organized by continent and then country.
Children’s Museum of Phoenix
We have been to the Phoenix Children’s Museum several times and my daughter loves visiting here. The museum will appeal to kids under the age of ten. The Children’s Museum is located in the old Monroe School building and has three floors to explore.
The first floor has the gift shop and an enormous play area. Our daughter loved this she would have spent hours here. The “climber” is an interesting sight-bathtubs with angel wings, boats with feet hanging from them, lots of areas to climb and explore.
The second floor has a “car wash” where the kiddos can pedal through a make believe car wash, an art studio where they can paint a giant castle or put on a puppet show and the Noodle forest. Our daughter loved the Noodle Forest. She loved zigzagging through the maze.
There is a room dedicated to building forts, and a room where kids can roll balls down ramps and watch where they end up. Adjacent to this area is a large grocery area where kids can go role play grocery shopping. Every exhibit in this museum is hands-on and encourages learning. The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is located in the historic Monroe School Building.on the SE corner of 7th Street and Van Buren in downtown Phoenix.
Kid’s Performing Arts
Looking to add some cultural to your little one’s day? Phoenix has several great spots to expose kids to the Performing Arts: The Great Arizona Puppet Theater features classic fairy tales, Childsplay is Arizona’s professional theater for kids and families. Visit our Performing Arts page for more choices.
Tips to Save Money
Save $$ If you are a Maricopa County resident with a public library card you can check out a Culture Pass for some of these activities and get two free admissions. Visit your local library to find out details.
Save $$ The Entertainment book often has two for one coupons for some of these activities.