After a year of pandemic challenges when it comes to keeping children entertained safely, families in the valley can look forward to a more comprehensive list of fun things to do for children in the summer of 2021 .

Metro Phoenix offers countless ways to keep kids and adults busy while they are out of school. If baby animals are in your driveway, the Phoenix Zoo and World Wildlife Zoo, Aquarium, and Safari Park have seen a few additions to the family, including white lion cubs and American lambs.

For educational opportunities, the Arizona Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix are open and offer summer camps. If you want to see all the Sonoran Desert has to offer, attend free ranger-hosted events at Arizona State Parks and flashlight nights at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Here are some fun things to do with the kids in Phoenix this summer.

Arizona Science Center

At the Arizona Science Center, families can learn about the science behind bubbles, be immersed in a 360-degree planetarium experience of the constellations visible this time of year, and explore the digital communication technology we use today. ‘hui.

Innovation Camp will offer virtual and in-person options this summer with five-day camp sessions from June 7 to July 31.

According to the centre’s website, “All guests aged 2 and over must wear an appropriate face mask. Masks must be worn correctly, covering the nose and mouth and secured under the chin, during your visit.

To allow social distancing, the site operates at limited capacity; Timed ticket reservations are required.

Details: 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix. $ 19.95, $ 14.95 for ages 3-17. 602-716-2000,

Arizona Boardwalk

Want to be transported to Jurassic times? Or maybe the family could enjoy an ocean adventure with sharks, otters, and sea lions.


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The Arizona Parkway on the Salt River Preserve near Scottsdale is home to several entertainment venues, shops and restaurants for families, including:

  • OdySea Aquarium.
  • Butterfly Wonderland.
  • Believe it or not from Ripley.
  • Laser maze and mirror.
  • Surprise your eyes.
  • Pangea: Land of Dinosaurs.
  • VR Xtreme.

Details: 9500 E. Via de Ventura, on the Salt River Preserve near Scottsdale.

Castles N Coasters

With 20 rides and attractions as well as several 18-hole miniature golf courses and an arcade, Castles N Coasters can keep the kids busy for most of the day. Attractions include two-loop roller coasters, go-karts, bumper boats, a freefall, and a miniature Ferris wheel.

Masks are not compulsory.

Details: 9445 N. Metro Parkway East, Phoenix. Starting at $ 40 for unlimited rides. 602-997-7575,

Phoenix Children’s Museum

After a 15-month closure, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix has reopened its interior spaces to the public.

The museum’s first traveling exhibition, “Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit”, is now on display. Weekly summer camps are scheduled until July 30.

The museum is open daily until September 6. After that it will be closed on Monday. It operates at limited capacity with social distancing and mask requirements for unvaccinated visitors ages 3 and up.

Details: 9 am-4pm every day. 215 N. Seventh Street, Phoenix. $ 14.95, $ 13.95 for over 62s, free for babies under 1 year old. 602-253-0501,

Explore the outdoors with an expert

Arizona State Parks offer a variety of summer activities led by rangers that encourage children to learn more about the environment. In the valley, families can participate in events such as night scorpion hunts, saguaro rides, and sunset walks at Lost Dutch State Park in Apache Junction. For a full list visit


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Maricopa County Parks also offer hiking, biking, and other outdoor summer activities for families. To check out the options – many of which require prior registration – visit

Flashlight nights at the desert botanical garden

The Desert Botanical Garden allows nighttime explorers to search for nocturnal flowering plants and nocturnal desert animals every Saturday night this summer.

Customers must bring their own flashlights. There will also be a nighttime farmers market with live performances. Reservations are required and masks must be worn indoors and when social distancing is not possible outdoors.

Details: 7 to 9 p.m. Saturdays June 5 Sept. 5 4. 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. $ 14.95, $ 9.95 for children. 480-941-1225,

Cool off in a public swimming pool or paddling pool

Memorial Day weekend marked the reopening of public pools and wading pools in the Phoenix subway.


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While only a dozen of Phoenix’s 29 pools will be open this summer, most of the other towns in the valley, from Glendale to Mesa, are making their aquatic centers accessible. In Buckeye there are night swims until 9 p.m. most days until August 7.

Metro Phoenix pools: Your guide to the public swimming pools of the Valley during the summer of 2021

Slide and slide in a water park

For those looking for more water excitement, Glendale’s Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Mesa’s Golfland Sunsplash, Great Wolf Lodge Arizona near Scottsdale, and many other water parks are open for the season.


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The waterslides at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Sunsplash, Arizona Grand Resort and, of course, Hurricane Harbor provide a good time for youngsters.

Need some free time? The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Great Wolf Lodge Arizona, JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, and Hilton Phoenix Resort at the Peak are among the resorts with Lazy Rivers that offer day passes.

The best hotel water parks: 7 Phoenix metro stations where families can surf, slide, splash

Octane Circuit

Octane Raceway on the Salt River Preserve near Scottsdale features high-speed kart racing, virtual reality simulators, an arcade and mini bowling. According to the site’s website, “All runners should be at least 54 inches tall and be prepared to run with closed-toe shoes.” Face masks are compulsory.

Could your child be a future innovator? Octane Raceway hosts a summer engineering camp where “campers learn about various fields of engineering and science, enjoy adrenaline-filled laps and immerse themselves in the virtual reality attraction by free roaming of Velocity VR, ”according to a press release.

Details: 9119 E. Talking Stick Way, on the Salt River Preserve near Scottsdale. Starting at $ 22 for one race, plus an annual subscription of $ 7. 602-302-7223,

Phoenix Zoo

Cheetahs, Giraffes, Elephants and Orangutans – oh my god!

Head to the Phoenix Zoo to get a glimpse of some of its 3,000 animals that represent nearly 400 species. New additions to the Phoenix Zoo family include Lilly and Vermouth, two Goeldi monkeys and two American lambs.


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The zoo also offers a drive-thru option for those who prefer to stay inside their air-conditioned cars. Cruise the Zoo will close the zoo to foot traffic on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays between June 6 and August 10.

Details: 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. $ 29.95, $ 19.95 for ages 3-13. 602-286-3800,

Zoo cruise: How to get tickets and what to expect at the drive-thru at the Phoenix Zoo

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park

If you head to Litchfield Park, you will be able to see a sample of the 600 species of animals at Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park. The park has a baby animal nursery, amusement park rides, big cat exhibits, and a kangaroo walk.


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Some new species include a baby leopard, baby warthogs, jackal pups, baby jaguars, and white lion cubs.

Details: 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park. $ 41.50, $ 23 for ages 3 to 12. 623-935-9453,

Contact the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-4968. Follow her on Twitter @kimirobin and Instagram @ReporterKiMi.

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