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Things to Do in Scottsdale with Kids [2020] | Fun Kids Activities Guide

With its population of more than 250,000, the desert city of Scottsdale has more to offer than beautiful desert landscapes and backyard swimming pools. From horseback riding and aquatic centers to indoor rock climbing, there are tons of exciting things to do in Scottsdale with kids of all ages! Here are some of the best Scottsdale children’s attractions the whole family will enjoy.

OdySea Aquarium – Largest Aquarium in the Southwest

One of the most famous Scottsdale family attractions is OdySea Aquarium, the Southwest’s largest aquarium and one of the newest. Opened in 2016, OdySea Aquarium boasts more than 30,000 animals and 500 species including kid favorites like Mighty Mike, an 800-pound alligator, otters, and penguins. You’ll also find one of the best kid friendly things to do in Scottsdale: the aquarium’s touch pool with sturgeon, two types of stingrays, sea stars, and anemone.

The aquarium also has fun attractions like a 3D movie, SeaTREK underwater ocean walking, and the Open Ocean exhibit which has fish weighing more than 200 pounds!

You’ll find the aquarium at Arizona Boardwalk, an entertainment destination with seven other attractions that was renamed in 2020 from “Odysea in the Desert.” General admission is as low as $35 for adults and $26 for kids. You can also get combo tickets for other Boardwalk attractions.

OdySea Aquarium, 9500 East Vía de Ventura Suite A-100, Scottsdale, AZ 85256 (480) 291-8000

MacDonald’s Ranch – Horseback Riding in Scottsdale with Kids

Do you have an older child obsessed with horses? Or are you just looking for fun things to do in Scottsdale with toddlers? Kids of all ages love visits to MacDonald’s Ranch which offers stagecoach and horseback rides on guided trails through the Sonoran Desert and a fun Western adventure.

There’s also a petting zoo plus free pony rides for kids under five. The ranch offers special events throughout the year, too. One of the best things to do with kids in Scottsdale in October is the ranch’s pumpkin patch with horse-drawn hayrides.

Horseback rides start at $50 for kids for 1 hour. MacDonald’s Ranch also hosts birthday parties for most of the year if your kid wants a unique and memorable birthday experience with their friends!

MacDonald’s Ranch, 26540 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85255 (480) 585-0239

McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center – Affordable Scottsdale Family Activities

There are definitely larger (and more expensive!) water parks in surrounding communities of Glendale and Tempe like Six Flags Hurricane Harbor and Big Surf, but Scottsdale’s water park is worth the trip. It’s close to home, smaller, and by far more affordable than other Scottsdale kid-friendly attractions and water parks with everything you need to beat the heat in the summer.

 

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McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center has a lazy river, waterslide, diving boards, splash play area, and plenty of shaded seated. Because it’s operated by the City of Scottsdale, the aquatic center is one of the top affordable Scottsdale activities for kids. Residents pay $4 to $6 for daily public swims with unlimited family passes available for $160 for four family members.

McDowell Mountain Ranch Park, 15525 N. Thompson Peak Pkwy., Scottsdale, AZ 85260 (480) 312-6677

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park – Top Scottsdale Attraction for Young Kids

Who doesn’t love trains? At the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, kids can enjoy an Old West-themed playground and enjoy rides on a miniature train! The railroad park covers 40 acres and features a railroad museum, the Paradise & Pacific Railroad, and the Scottsdale Charros Carousel, a vintage 1950 Allan Herschell carousel. You’ll also see model train displays and train cars to explore.

 

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The Paradise & Pacific Railroad ride-on train is a 5:12 scale reproduction of a Colorado narrow gauge railroad and one of the top things to do in Scottsdale with toddlers and young kids.

The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is operated by Scottsdale’s Parks & Recreation Department. Rides on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad and Charros Carousel are $3 each and run every 30 minutes.

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, 7301 E Indian Bend Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250 (480) 312-2312

Butterfly Wonderland – Fun Indoor Scottsdale Children’s Attraction

Located in Arizona Boardwalk alongside other popular Scottsdale children’s’ attractions like OdySea Aquarium is Butterfly Wonderland. Kids of all ages can enjoy a unique experience as thousands of butterflies are allowed to fly freely throughout a tropical atrium. Butterfly Wonderland is one of the largest butterfly conservatories on the continent and it features America’s largest butterfly emergence gallery. Kids love watching from just inches away as butterflies emerge from chrysalises and fly into the atrium!

 

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Butterfly Wonderland is definitely one of the top fun things for kids in Scottsdale who love bugs and butterflies, but be careful bringing very young kids. The butterflies fly around (and land on!) you in the atrium. Make sure kids are old enough to understand that they can’t try to grab the butterflies around them.

For the truly adventurous, don’t forget a stop at the edible insects station for treats like chocolate-covered ants and chips made from crickets!

General admission to Butterfly Wonderland starts at $22 for adults and $14 for kids 2 to 12. You can also get combo tickets online for Butterfly Wonderland and Arizona Boardwalk’s other fun places for kids.

Butterfly Wonderland, 9500 East Vía de Ventura F100, Scottsdale, AZ 85256 (480) 800-3000

Mini Social – Top Scottsdale Place for Kids 5 and Under

It can be hard for younger kids to socialize and enjoy playing — especially when the temperatures in Scottsdale get too high for safe play outdoors. One of the most fun things to do in Scottsdale with kids on those hot sunny days is Mini Social, a unique indoor play space designed specifically for kids 5 and under.

 

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Mini Social is the perfect place to meet up with friends for play dates. Enjoy adult conversation over drinks and snacks while kids enjoy safe playtime with interactive floor projectors, a play restaurant and kitchen, soft climbing blocks, toy cars, puppets, and more.

Stop by Mini Social for drop-in play or sign up for their fun classes for kids and educational classes for parents. Daily passes for drop-in play are $9 for the first child and $7 for additional children.

Mini Social, 7116 E 5th Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 (480) 935-3357

CrackerJax Family Fun & Sports Park – Best Scottsdale Family Fun Center

From mini golf and go-karts to arcade games, CrackerJax has something for the entire family. This family-friendly amusement center is one of the top things to do in Scottsdale with kids of all ages.

 

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Older kids have a blast on the CrackerJax Speedway riding go-karts, playing laser tag, and competing at bumper boats. For younger kids, CrackerJax has the Jax Trax with full-body, Indy-style karts with a full bumper system around the perimeter of the track. That’s not all you’ll find to do; this Scottsdale family-friendly destination also has batting cages, water balloon wars, two mini golf courses (including one for very young kids) and a clubhouse with arcade games and skee-ball.

CrackerJax, 16001 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 (480) 998-2800

AZ on the Rocks – Adventurous Scottsdale Family Activity

Have a child interested in learning a new sport? Want something fun the whole family can do together? AZ on the Rocks, an indoor rock climbing gym, is the place to be and it’s one of the most unique Scottsdale activities for kids on the list.

AZ on the Rocks has climbing activities for all ages and levels of experience including kid-friendly climbing options. Their kids climbing program is Klimberz, an after school program for grades 1st through 8th. They also offer a youth climbing team for kids 8 to 19. New to climbing? Get day passes and the staff will walk everyone through the basics and help you take the first climbs.

There are no age restrictions — kids as young as 18 months can participate safely! Those under 18 must have a digital waiver signed by a parent and kids under 15 can’t hold the ropes without passing the Youth Belay Certification class, though.

Day passes are $29 for adults and $25.50 for kids 12 and under with discounts for families. Note that AZ on the Rocks also hosts amazing birthday parties and offers kids climbing camps!

AZ on the Rocks, 16447 N 91st St, Scottsdale, AZ 85260 (480) 502-9777

Scottsdale AZ Kid Activity Map

No matter which neighborhood you call home, these fun Scottsdale family activities are never far away to alleviate summer boredom, beat the heat, and have a blast with the whole family. Scottsdale’s just 12 miles away from Phoenix, too, which has plenty more kid-friendly attractions to explore! Now that you see some of the best things to do in Scottsdale with kids, are you considering relocating to the area? Call the top-rated Scottsdale movers at Mentors Moving & Storage today or fill out our Request a Quote form to get started with your free moving quote.

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