Tucson is a popular city in Arizona that's packed full of exciting things to do whether your family is interested in indoor fun or outdoor adventure. It's a desert town for sure, but it's not as hot as Phoenix. As long as you dress for the weather, you can enjoy some of the best activities the American West has to offer. Plus, Tucson is home to quite a few high-end accommodations and resorts if your family is looking for that extra bit of comfort during your trip. Take a look at some of the best Tucson kid activities and discover how you can make this family trip one that you'll never forget.
Tucson kid activities
1. Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2 is a world-class scientific research facility that you and your family can tour during your visit to Tucson. While its primary focus is laboratory research, you'll find educational tours available as well that showcase some of the most important discoveries about our planet and its place in the greater universe. Think of this as an opportunity for interdisciplinary thinking that will show your kids how to make a positive change in the world regarding the future of the planet we all have to share.
2. White Stallion Ranch
At White Stallion Ranch, you and your family can enjoy spending time at a traditional dude ranch complete with provided breakfast and a day of horseback riding. Even if you have no prior experience with horses, the staff here can make sure you and your kids know everything you need to when it comes to these incredible creatures. Children as young as 6 years of age can ride the horses, so don't hesitate to add this destination to your itinerary if your kids are in the appropriate age range. You'll find other fun activities here as well, like shooting and archery.
3. Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
At the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, you'll find a massive collection of artifacts and displays focused on the natural history of the area. There's even a botanical garden on-site that lets you peruse the most fascinating species of flora native to the Sonora Desert region. Plenty of animals are kept here as well, so you and your kids can get an up-close view of some of the most impressive species of the region. Additionally, you'll find a playground area that your little ones are sure to enjoy when you visit.
4. Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium
When you and your family visit Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, you can embark on a fun challenge alongside a learning experience. Several activities, like logic problems, are available in one of their designated rooms, along with a full planetarium show that's as entertaining as it is educational. In fact, this science center is home to one of the world's largest scale models of the surface of Mars, so your kids will feel especially inspired if you have any aspiring astronauts in the family. While Mars does get a special exhibit, you'll still find information about the rest of the planets and astronomical objects orbiting our sun.
5. Presidio San Agustin Museum
You and your family can effectively travel back in time when you visit the Presidio San Agustin Museum. This museum, down to the very building itself, is designed to make visitors feel immersed into life as it would have been in the late 18th century. You and your kids can explore cultural artifacts from Tucsonians of times past, from Native Americans to early Territorial Period settlers. Several games and activities are available here, and they're the same kinds of games that kids all those centuries ago enjoyed in the area.
6. Saguaro National Park
More adventurous families may be interested in visiting Saguaro National Park, one of the most iconic national parks in the American West. As the name here suggests, you'll find no shortage of Saguaro cactuses here, with some of them absolutely massive. You'll find specimens that are taller than some residential houses and others that have nearly 2 dozen arms sticking out at various angles. While you can hike the trails, you'll also find roads to drive through the park if you're not looking to brave the Arizona heat on a particularly hot day.
7. Reid Park Zoo
If your family is interested in seeing animals, you'll find an exotic array of creatures at Reid Park Zoo. The zoo houses a variety of animals that you and your kids can interact with, like the domestic goat, but it gets far more exotic than that. This zoo is also home to gibbons, flamingos, capybaras, and rhinos, among many others. Be sure to check out the local calendar as well to see what special events the zoo is hosting. You can visit with peace of mind as well, as this zoo is dedicated entirely to wildlife preservation and partners with programs that operate around the world.
8. The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures
One of the more interesting destinations in Tucson is the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures. Here, you and your family can explore the incredible and fascinating art of miniature production, where highly detailed objects of reality and daily life are created at a fraction of the size of their real-life counterparts. More than 500 pieces are on display here, including contemporary and antique dollhouses and room boxes. Be sure to check out their special exhibitions to see more diversity among the art of miniature production. One of the more memorable exhibitions included miniature work so small that it could fit within the eye of a needle.
Top family restaurants in Tucson
At Zinburger, you and your family can enjoy some of the best burgers in Tucson. This is a relatively upscale restaurant with high-quality Angus beef and options for ahi, turkey, and portobello burgers, among others. If your kids are under the age of 12, you'll find plenty of options for them as well on the kids' menu. Dishes like grilled cheese, simple hamburgers, and chicken strips are available, and all the items come complete with a side of fries or salad. You'll also find the option for sweet potato fries here if you're looking for something a bit different.
10. El Charro Cafe
If your family is interested in Mexican cuisine, you'll find everything you need at El Charro Cafe. A Tucson staple designed to offer a taste of the local culture, this restaurant offers a variety of items, including a specialized kids menu for diners under the age of 10. Your little ones can enjoy tacos, cheese quesadillas, bean and cheese burritos, and simple chicken nuggets. They'll also have a choice of soft drink, lemonade, or milk. If you have kids who are 2 years old or younger, you can get a free side of rice, beans, or tortilla.
11. Pita Jungle
At Pita Jungle, you and your family can enjoy delicious Mediterranean cuisine with a bit of Middle Eastern and Lebanese fare in there as well. While that may seem a bit too obscure for some picky young eaters, their kids' menu has universal favorites your little ones can enjoy. You'll find mac and cheese, pasta, and chicken. Every item on the kids' menu is divided into 4 categories, including fruits, grains, vegetables, and protein, and your kid can pick 1 from each category. This restaurant is relatively affordable as well, so it's a great choice if you're traveling on a budget.
12. Little Anthony's Diner
At Little Anthony's Diner, your family can enjoy a retro atmosphere with classic American fare that everyone will love. The kids' menu is designed for little ones 12 years of age and younger, and it comes with popular favorites like chicken nuggets, burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, and mac and cheese. Additionally, your kids can get crayons during their visit and are free to draw on the tables as they like, adding an entirely new level of fun for kids at this welcoming restaurant.
13. Beyond Bread
Beyond Bread is a popular café that offers freshly baked items made from scratch every day. You'll find handcrafted breads and sandwiches, but that's just the beginning. You'll also find salads, pastries, and soups. Your kids can enjoy a special menu designed for those 12 years of age and younger that includes grilled cheese and classic mac and cheese with garlic bread. You can even customize the kind of cheese you want in many items, like the grilled cheese, to create something more to your tastes.
Tucson family resorts
14. Omni Tucson National Resort
At Omni Tucson National Resort, your family can relax at a desert oasis with comfort and pampering that can make your stay absolutely unforgettable. It's located among the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, offering stunning views and easy access to outdoor adventures. On-site, you'll find golf courses and a full-service spa facility. Of course, the condo rentals on the premises have plenty of room, so you and your whole family can find comfort with all the space they need alongside desirable amenities like WiFi, a full kitchen, and central cooling.
15. Hacienda del Sol Ranch Resort
When your family books a stay at the Hacienda del Sol Ranch Resort, you can take in the authentic Tucson experience in a historical setting. It's listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in Arizona, yet it comes complete with modern amenities like spa treatments and a pool. This resort also features its own botanical gardens that offer picturesque surroundings for the whole family to enjoy with a peaceful stroll. Plus, it's located conveniently by numerous shopping and dining opportunities, so you won't have to go far to explore some of the best that Tucson has to offer.