Discover kid-friendly experiences in Greater Phoenix and beyond | By Lindsey Wilhelm
The Phoenix area is a hot spot for family activities. Plan a fun-filled weekend exploring all five of these family-friendly attractions, or spread them out for fantastic family experiences throughout the year.
Snag a sugar rush at Sweeties Candy of Arizona
Cure your sweet tooth in Chandler at Sweeties Candy of Arizona, family-owned and -operated for more than 60 years. This 13,000-square-foot sugar paradise boasts the largest collection of candy for sale in the whole state.
Want to introduce your kids to your favorite childhood candy that you just can’t seem to find anymore? Sweeties probably sells it. And, while you’re there, stroll along aisles and aisles of flavored sodas, bins filled to the brim with jelly beans, and bulk bags of saltwater taffy. We dare you to leave empty-handed!
Honor the brave at the Hall of Flame Fire Museum
The perfect place to take your aspiring firefighter, the Hall of Flame Fire Museum in Phoenix offers nearly an acre of exhibits showcasing fire history and firefighting equipment from the US as well as England, France, Austria, Germany, and Japan.
Make your way through six exhibit galleries that display fire engines, extinguishers, alarm systems, firefighter gear, and more, with some pieces dating back to as early as 1725. Don’t miss the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes, dedicated to those who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty, and the displays showing wildland firefighting history.
Feed your imagination at the Arizona Science Center
Downtown Phoenix’s Arizona Science Center has family fun down to a science. Learn more about your brain—and even touch a realistic brain model—in the W.O.N.D.E.R. Center. Catch an out-of-this-world show at the Dorrance Planetarium, one of the most technologically advanced planetariums in the country.
Other permanent exhibits include Solarville, which focuses on how humans can use renewable energy in their day-to-day lives, and the Evans Family Skycycle, where visitors can learn about gravity and counterbalance while riding along a 90-foot cable suspended 15 feet in the air.
All aboard at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
It’s all about little trains and big fun at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale. Winner of the 2019 Engaging Local Government Leaders’ Knope Award for Best Park & Open Space, this 30-acre railroad park offers a full day of excitement for any train-obsessed tyke.
Hop on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad for a relaxing train ride through the park, and then go round-and-round on the antique Scottsdale Charros Carousel. Continue exploring inside the 10,000-square-foot model railroad exhibit with interactive surprises, or step back in time at the Scottsdale Railroad Museum, where visitors can walk through vintage cars and see railroad artifacts. And, as any proper park should, McCormick-Stillman also features two playgrounds, one with a railroad theme and the other mimicking an Old West town.
Ride the Verde Canyon Railroad
If your little conductor has a one-track mind, drive two hours north of Phoenix for more train time on the Verde Canyon Railroad in Clarkdale. Board a fully restored vintage train for a four-hour journey that takes passengers through the stunning mountain scenery of the Verde Canyon.
Thanks to the climate-controlled train cars, visitors can book an excursion at any time of year. Check the events calendar for seasonal fun perfect for all ages, such as a Fall Color Tour and the Magical Christmas Journey. And Sedona is just a 30-minute drive from Clarkdale, so consider extending your trip to experience family-friendly activities in Sedona such as Slide Rock State Park and Pink Jeep Tours.