Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do with Kids in Scottsdale, AZ

  • Published 2022/11/19

Scottsdale is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, overflowing with culture and beauty.

It’s the perfect destination if you want your kids to truly see the vast, impressive, and diverse world around them.

Art flows through the city’s lifeblood, with galleries littering the area wherever you turn.

It also boasts an incredible natural beauty, showing off all the great things about the Arizona desert.

Going there is a fun and wholesome experience for the entire family that should be worth the trip.

Moreover, the place has no shortage of things to do for your little ones.

If you are unsure where to start, here are some of the best things to do with kids in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Visit the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Exterior of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

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The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art offers free admission to people 18 years old and under, making it a great destination if you want to show your kid different artistic pieces.

The museum is dedicated to contemporary art, architecture, and design.

When you go there with your kid, you won’t just see pretty paintings hanging on a wall.

Welcome sign of Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

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You’ll also learn about these pieces’ different contexts and what makes them remarkable.

Exploring any museum can help kids connect with things they would never have experienced, and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is a good starting point for something like that.

A sculpture on the grounds of Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Dru Bloomfield from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a Trip to the Scottsdale Museum of the West

Exterior of the Scottsdale Museum of the West

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A trip to the Scottsdale Museum of the West is the perfect way to promote a fun and engaging learning experience for your children while on vacation.

The place has a wide array of exhibits to choose from, all designed to pique the interest of young minds and make them more thoughtful and intelligent individuals.

One of the best exhibits for your kid would be the Kids in Focus, where they can relate to the experiences of young people who have vastly different experiences from theirs.

You can also take them to the Reel or Reality Exhibit, which shows films about the indigenous culture of Arizona and the cowboys.

Likewise, there are so many other exhibits and displays you can see.

The Scottsdale Museum of the West provides a fun and comprehensive experience that you won’t want your family to miss out on.

Walk the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead

Scottsdale is famous for its trails, and journeying through the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead is undoubtedly an experience you will want to have with your kids.

It offers a somewhat easy walk that meanders through a natural dessert wash, making it perfect for the young hikers-to-be.

Exploring this trail is the perfect way to get your kids interested in the outdoors and learning about the world around them.

It’ll give them a glimpse of the world’s magic and the beauty of their surroundings.

Remember, if you explore the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead with your children, always prepare adequate supplies and ensure everyone is safe.

See the Butterflies of the Butterfly Wonderland

Exterior of Butterfly Wonderland

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The Butterfly Wonderland provides an experience like no other for your kids, like stepping into their fairytale and finding the magic between the flowers and the flutter of wings.

It’s one of the largest butterfly conservatories in the United States, a tropical paradise that breathes and flies with the grace and beauty of thousands of butterflies worldwide.

You and your family can see up to 70 species of butterflies, each with unique features and behavior patterns.

There’s also a 3D theater where you can learn about the life of butterflies alongside your kids.

A butterfly on a flower at Butterfly Wonderland

Deer.Ambi /

Likewise, butterflies aren’t the only creatures living there.

There’s also a reptile exhibit, honeybees, and so much more.

Butterfly Wonderland is one of those places that’ll make you appreciate the beauty and majesty of the natural world.

Having your kid see that thing makes the trip more than worth it.

A small butterfly at Butterfly Wonderland

andysartworks /

View Artworks at the Marshal Gallery

If your child is passionate about the arts, then The Marshall Gallery is an excellent place for you to visit as a family.

It was founded in 1998 and quickly became a unique destination in Scottsdale because of its exquisite gallery.

The space and pieces are created to showcase art as something that haunts and inspires.

It may seem a little too mature for a child initially, but don’t fret.

Appreciating art is a universal experience.

They may not fully understand the meaning of the pieces around them, but they’re still bound to take something profound away from trying.

Let them be fascinated and ask questions.

Cultivating curiosity and interest in the arts is the primary goal of the Marshall Gallery, after all.

Catch a Show at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Exterior of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Steve Cukrov /

Watching an outstanding performance at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is a great way to bond with your children and keep them entertained.

Their mission is to present contemporary art to worldwide audiences, and a visit to the place will undoubtedly be a fun and exciting experience for the entire family.

It’s also a great way to get your kids interested in the arts and give them an appreciation for the magic of the stage.

Take them to see an awe-inspiring play, listen to the angelic voices of talented choirs, or watch the many feats of the human body through dance.

Building sign of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

jejim /

Appreciation for the arts has many benefits, such as allowing your kids to express themselves and interact with other people their age.

Make sure to take them to one of the performances while you’re in the area.

Once you’re done with the show, you can also stop by the gift shop for a souvenir.

Let your kid pick out trinkets that they find interesting.

Getting a keepsake will help them treasure the magical memories they had while at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

See the Works at Arizona Fine Art EXPO

The Arizona Fine Art EXPO offers a comprehensive and diverse artistic experience and is a fantastic destination for children who dream of becoming an artist.

Take them through the gallery and watch how inspiration blooms through their eyes as they pass through the different displays.

Whether it’s painting, sculpture, or jewelry making, this place has every type of art you can imagine.

Seeing this wide variety of creations will inspire and foster the artistic spirit in your kid.

However, the experience isn’t limited to viewings either.

You and your kids can also meet and speak with the artists and listen to their process and how they created the great artworks all around you.

So give the Arizona Fine Art EXPO a shot and see how your child expands their imagination alongside the magical artistic experience the place offers.

Try Indoor Skydiving at the iFLY Indoor Skydiving

Exterior of iFLY Indoor Skydiving

Thomas Trompeter /

Every parent knows that children always crave adventure.

If your kid is uniquely drawn to risky thrills, take them to iFLY Indoor Skydiving and let them indulge in the adrenaline rush in a safe environment.

There, they’ll experience the heart-stopping exhilaration of flying.

Indoor skydiving is a unique experience that no one will ever want to miss.

If you’re worried about safety, don’t worry.

You and your kids will be guided through the entire process by highly experienced instructors.

So, what are you waiting for?

Experience the feeling of sailing through the clouds without the risk at iFLY Indoor Skydiving.

See the Animals of the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

Spending time with the animals at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center will keep your kids entertained.

Book a guided tour and take your kids through the establishment to see real-life animal conservation at work.

The place takes care of a wild variety of animals and will open your eyes to the importance of wildlife conservation, whether you’re an adult or a child.

Watch them as they care for wolf pups, baby coyotes, and much more.

Visit the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center and watch your kid develop a fierce love and understanding for all kinds of animals.

Ride the Trains at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Steam locomotive at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Kit Leong /

Trains are common special interests for many kids.

If your children have latched onto the locomotive, then the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is the perfect vacation treat for them.

There’s no admission fee to enter the park itself, and you only have to shell out a few dollars per person if you want to ride the train or carousel with your family.

One of the trains you can ride is the Paradise & Pacific Railroad.

Interior of a train at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Kit Leong /

The park’s centerpiece features three steam locomotives, two diesel engines, an electric engine, and several model cars built to scale.

However, those aren’t the only attractions in the place.

If you want to learn more about the others they have, then you’ll have to visit the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park with your kids for yourself.

People at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Kit Leong /

Learn about Aliens at the UFO Experience

Your kid won’t be able to resist the mystery and allure of aliens, and there’s no better place to explore their curiosity than the UFO Experience in Scottsdale.

Enjoy an out-of-this-world experience with your child and journey into the weird and wonderful realm of the extraterrestrial.

While there, your child can have fun with a new and interactive experience like no other.

It starts with a short movie called “Space Aliens: Looking for Life in the Universe,” which will set the stage for the rest of the journey.

After that, you and your kid can go through the numerous exhibits in the area.

Your kid will learn about various topics, such as space travel, UFO sightings, and alien encounters.

Your children can also become alien hunters by playing the laser shooting game and going through their own “white light” experience.

Moreover, the UFO Experience provides a wide variety of activities that’ll let visitors learn about alien life.

Go Shopping at the Scottsdale Fashion Square

Signage of Scottsdale Fashion Square

Thomas Trompeter /

No child is ever too young to take an interest in fashion, and there’s no better place to foster their creativity than at the Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Let your kid witness the magic of clothes and the many creative and unique ways people wear them.

The place has many top retailers, so why not take advantage of the chance to indulge in your kid’s love for fashion?

From shoes to jewelry to shirts to dresses, the place has everything you and your child can want.

Exterior of Scottsdale Fashion Square


Let your imaginations run wild and create new and inventive looks with your children.

There, they can play dress up and see the latest trends.

It should be a fun and engaging experience for both parent and child.

After all, shopping isn’t just a learning experience.

It’s also great to spend a fun afternoon with your kid doing something you love.

So, take a trip to the Scottsdale Fashion Square, and don’t forget to compare your clothes haul with your kid and see what fashionable looks you can come up with.

Gucci at Scottsdale Fashion Square


View the Art Pieces of Xanadu Gallery

Xanadu Gallery is another impressive collection worth seeing with your child and the entire family.

They display pieces in various mediums and taking your child to see their exhibits is a great way to introduce them to the different ways people create art.

From paintings to sculptures to installations, the sky is the limit for their displays, a great thing to see for any kid.

It’ll help inspire them to create their works and find their niche in the art world if they want to become artists when they grow up.

The pieces in Xanadu Gallery are also for sale.

If anything happens to catch your or your child’s eye, you can take it home with you and have it serve as a keepsake and inspiration.

Relax at the Soleri Bridge and Plaza

Walkway of Soleris Bridge and Plaza

DCA88 /

If you’re looking for a simple and relaxing destination where you can spend time with your kids without any extra fuss, then the Soleri Bridge and Plaza is the perfect place.

The bridge and plaza itself were designed by the renowned architect and philosopher Paolo Soleri.

However, the features and history of the site itself are less important than its ambiance.

Signage of Soleris Bridge and Plaza

Rosemarie Mosteller /

The place is nice and relaxing, perfect for spending time with your kids without the exhaustion of going all over the city.

Just sit there, appreciate the sights, and take a break away from the exhausting parts of your trip.

Even the most active and energetic families need to take a breather once in a while, and the Soleri Bridge and Plaza is one of the best places to do that.

See the Marine Wildlife of the OdySea Aquarium

Exterior of OdySea Aquarium

Rosemarie Mosteller /

The OdySea Aquarium provides the entire family with an entertaining, interactive, and educational experience by combining the wonder of aquatic life presentations with fun theme-park setups.

There are many encounters to choose from, so make sure to rein in your kid from bouncing excitedly from one to the other at hyper speed.

First, you can visit the Penguin Encounter, where you and your family will get an up-close-and-personal meeting with a flock of African penguins.

An alligator in OdySea Aquarium

Marni Patterson /

Afterward, head over to the shark tours.

You’ll get exclusive access to shark waters and a visit to the food prep kitchen there.

You and your children can learn about shark diets and the round-the-clock veterinary care the animals receive from the aquarium.

OdySea Aquarium is a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the underwater world.

You’re not going to have any regrets if you take your kids to the aquarium!

Final Thoughts

Scottsdale has a lot to offer, making it the perfect vacation spot for the entire family.

Everyone in the family will find something to do; the city offers many fun activities for all ages wherever you go.

Book a trip today and experience the best things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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