Arizona is packed with fun family activities and things to do with kids any time of year. For smaller kids there are great children’s museums, splash pads, and unique attractions. Bigger kids will enjoy excellent gaming spots, water parks, science centers, and cool outdoor activities. Arizona also has so much natural beauty to offer in national parks across the state, many of which have family-friendly trails and sightseeing. Some of Arizona’s national parks are also pet-friendly, which is perfect for family adventures.

Arizona kids activities

1. Learn about desert life at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum encompasses a botanical garden, zoo, aquarium, natural history museum, and more. If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Arizona, this is a great spot to see lots of different types of exhibits in one place. The Hummingbird Aviary is a highlight for kids where vibrant hummingbirds flit playfully through the air around you. Families typically spend 3 hours exploring indoor and outdoor exhibits, so you’ll want to bring sunscreen, hats, shades, and water. Some outdoor paths are unpaved, but most are still stroller-friendly.

2. Hop aboard the Grand Canyon Railway

The historic Grand Canyon Railway offers a unique way to experience the beauty of the Grand Canyon while traveling in style. You’ll ride in restored vintage rail cars alongside cowboy characters and Western musicians providing entertainment. The train departs daily from Williams, Arizona, and travels to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. You’ll have several hours to explore the Historic Village and the Grand Canyon before returning to the train for the scenic journey back to your starting station in Williams. The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is a great Arizona family resort if you need accommodation in the area.

3. Play mini-golf and swim at Golfland Sunsplash

Golfland Sunsplash is a great spot for family things to do in Arizona, offering fun activities for all ages. You can play through the miniature golf course or enjoy a mix of vintage and current games in the arcade. Other options include laser tag, bumper boats, and racing go-karts. The water park has a solid mix of slides and rides, plus a wave pool and lazy river. For toddlers, you have a splash pad and tadpole pool, while bigger kids will like the activity pool and shipwreck rock slides. Food options in the park include classics like pizza and milkshakes, and a snack bar.

4. Cool off at the McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center

The McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center is a good option for families who want a more relaxing experience than a water park offers. There’s a lap pool and leisure pool with lifeguards, diving boards, a big tube waterslide, and a lazy river. For smaller kids, you’ll find an excellent zero-depth-entry play pool with water-play features and a splash pad. Veranda seating and grassy areas are perfect for picnicking or relaxing in the shade. This community aquatic center has a ton of fun options to cool off, and it’s cheap to visit.

5. Learn about the past at the Arizona Museum of Natural History

The Arizona Museum of Natural History offers kid-friendly activities and hands-on learning about the natural and cultural history of the Southwest. A collection on Native Peoples of the Past includes Desert Cultures, Paleoindians, and the Hohokam. Other cool features include Dinosaur Mountain, where a flash flood pours down a 3-story mountain inside the museum. Live animals on-site include a soft-shelled turtle and a Gila monster. For visitors with autism or sensory processing disabilities, the museum offers sensory guides in galleries and online to help during your visit.

6. Explore life under the sea at OdySea Aquarium

When you need an indoor, kid-friendly thing to do in Arizona, OdySea Aquarium has you covered. Highlights include the OdySea Voyager, a rotating exhibit that takes you on an interactive journey through the ocean. You can also travel down a fully enclosed glass escalator into the Deep Ocean Gallery and watch sharks, rays, turtles, and other marine life swimming above you. There are adorable otters and penguins to visit, along with fun interactive exhibits for kids. OdySea Aquarium is also a Certified Autism Center, providing resources for visitors with autism and other sensory differences.

Family things to do in Arizona

7. Hear and play instruments at the Musical Instrument Museum

If you’re looking for family things to do in Arizona, the Musical Instrument Museum is a must-see spot. You’ll wear a wireless headset through the exhibits that let you hear each unique musical instrument as you see it. In the Geographic Gallery, you’ll explore musical culture from around the world, and you can see instruments played by famous musicians in the Artist Gallery. The Experience Gallery is a favorite for kids, a hands-on space where you play instruments like the ones you see displayed, like a Peruvian harp, West African djembe drum, and a huge gong.

8. Stay in a camping cabin at Dead Horse Ranch State Park

The camping cabins at Dead Horse Ranch State Park are a cozy way to enjoy a camping-style experience without having to sleep on the ground. These mini log cabins offer creature comforts like heating, cooling, and electricity, while still maintaining their outdoor charm. You can enjoy an evening under the stars with your family, telling stories and roasting marshmallows over the fire. The surrounding state park is full of walking and bike trails, fishing spots, and plenty of Arizona’s natural beauty.

9. Become a junior ranger at Petrified Forest National Park

Arizona attractions for kids include Petrified Forest National Park, an otherworldly site known for beautiful petrified trees and fossils. These petrified trees were alive during the Late Triassic Period when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. There are multiple scenic, family-friendly hikes here at 1 mile or less, plus longer hikes for those inclined. Kids can complete a booklet from the National Park Service here and become an official junior ranger. This is also a pet-friendly park, so you’re welcome to bring your leashed pet with you.

10. Soar in a hot air balloon with Rainbow Ryders

Flying in a hot air balloon is a unique thing to do with your family in Arizona. It's a good way to appreciate the state’s natural beauty and create a lasting memory together. Different companies across the state offer hot air balloon flights, often at sunrise and sunset for incredible panoramic views. Rainbow Ryders offers flights just outside Phoenix. Rules vary among companies, but typically they don’t allow very young children to fly, so this would be a good activity for older kids in Arizona and their parents.

11. Visit the Old West in Tombstone

Arizona attractions for kids include the authentic Old West town of Tombstone. You can stroll the same dusty streets once walked by the likes of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, and watch cowboys reenact dramatic gunfights. Local museums show a glimpse of what life was like in the 1800s, and unique local history tours are available via stagecoach. Underground tours of the area’s historic silver mine are also available, recounting the history of Arizona’s first big silver strike. Guided trail rides on horseback are available locally, as well as ghost and paranormal tours.

Regional activities for kids

12. Sedona sightseeing for kids

Pink Adventure Tours offers a ton of scenic routes through Sedona on a Jeep that let you appreciate Arizona’s natural beauty in a family-friendly way. Kids 2 and up will love the off-road adventures, but the company also offers smooth PanoramaVan tours for those who aren’t ready for a 4x4 ride. There are also great animal experiences in Sedona, including family favorites like the Out of Africa Wildlife Park and the Bearizona Wildlife Park. On clear nights, the stargazing opportunities in Sedona are incredible. You can view them on your own or head to the Lowell Observatory for tours and telescopes.

13. Cheap things to do with family in Yuma

Yuma has tons of budget-friendly things to do for families in Arizona. On Historic Main Street, you’ll find charming heritage buildings, cultural museums, local shops and boutiques, and a great hometown vibe. The Stewart Vincent Wolfe Creative Playground is accessible and inclusive, offering a variety of play features for special-needs children and kids with wheelchairs in a fantastic castle-themed playground. At Valley Aquatic Center, you can enjoy a great public pool with an in-pool playground and zero-depth entry that are great for kids. There are also sightseeing opportunities around Yuma in state parks and historic locations.

14. Scottsdale attractions for kids

Scottsdale has tons of things to do with kids, including the family-friendly Railroad Park. You can take a train ride on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad or enjoy a vintage 1950s carousel. Ride tickets are only a few dollars, and an all-day rider pass is available if you have a train-obsessed munchkin. Railroad Park also houses multiple playground areas with shade features, plus areas for picnics. At the nearby Scottsdale Railroad Museum, you can learn about railway history with a full-size railroad engine and train cars. There’s also a 10,000-square-foot model railroad building full of intricate model train setups.

15. Tucson family things to do

When you’re looking for things to do with your family in Arizona, make sure you check out Tucson. Kid-friendly attractions include the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, where you’re a giant and everything around you is tiny and magical. You can also visit the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium or see the Pima Air & Space Museum’s collection of nearly 300 aircraft. At the Children’s Museum of Tucson, you’ll find colorful interactive exhibits like Pet Vet, where kids can practice veterinary skills on stuffed animals. There's also the Reid Park Zoo, which is home to animals including giraffes, elephants, tapirs, and hedgehogs.