Some cost money, some cost little money, and some only cost the price of driving there. I hope you like our list. If you see something off the list or want to share your favorite summer activities in different cities, please make sure to do so in the comments! I hope everyone is enjoying their fun in the sun summer!
Activities We've Enjoyed
- Swimming in our pool- Jack loves playing in the water and swimming in our pool is no exception. If you don't have a pool, I've heard that the city pools (in the Phoenix area) offer reasonably priced summer season passes.
- Splash pads- Sure we have to hold Jack, he won't go near it the splash pad otherwise, but it cools us off too. We've been to the downtown Gilbert one and the one at Chandler Mall. There are some many though all over Phoenix, and I have yet to see a kid who hated the splash pad. We've also "made" our own splash area in our back yard thanks to a $12 Target Sprinkler toy.
- Mesa's i.d.e.a Museum- the admission was one of the cheaper museum admissions we've seen, and Jack liked their play area so much, that we got the 6 month pass ($50 for 4 people during that 6 month).
- Phoenix Children's Museum- We just visited the museum last weekend, and Jack definitely enjoys their "master chef" kitchen on the second floor. I'm not super in love with the price, and it's not that close, so we may only visit one more time this summer.
- Barnes and Nobles and Changing Hands Bookstore- Both bookstores have great children's areas with play activities (BN has a Duplo table and CHB has a train table). It should be free, but I always end up buying a book. :)
- Sea Life Aquarium- It felt a little pricey to me, but it's a place that is good for ages 0 to 100+. We took Jack there as a 10 month old, and he was fascinated by the sting rays. I feel it's a place that has something for everyone, and we'll be going again this summer.
- Arizona Science Center- This one surprised me with how much Jack loved it. I thought the displays and hands-on activities would be "over his head," but he loved playing with all of the interactive displays and the outdoor water display. We'll be going back, but not too often, as it's more on the pricey side. However, I know the museum runs a Groupon every now and again for discounted membership, so we're keeping our eyes out for that Groupon.
- McDonald's or Chick Fil A- Reasonably priced meals that now include fruit or yogurt in the kids' meal with an area for kids to play afterwards? Yes, please. And the McDonald's and Chick Fil A we visit, the other kids are either well behaved or it's not that crowded, so we don't stress to much about our little guy getting pushed around by others (see below; unfortunately it's tough out there on the playground for the little guys).
Activities We Were Not Impressed With
- Mall Kid Play Areas- So the kid play areas in the malls are actually great ways to let your kids run, play, and exercise indoors when it's 115 degrees out. It's also free (well cost of gas to get there and any goodies you might end up purchasing there). However, Jack is usually the smallest kid there and not very aggressive, so he usually gets pushed around. That is hard to watch as a parent, and Bobby and I usually end up hovering over Jack as he plays in these areas. On the flip side, I don't think Jack cares and seems to have fun. Some malls even have little trains that Jack insists on riding (Chandler Mall and AZ Mall).
- Lego Discovery Center (at AZ Mills)- So it's actually a really cool place. The two rides are fun, and there's so much fun building. However, if you're under 3 (I'd say even under 4), there's not much you can do. And there's so many older kids (average age looked to be 8), that when we ventured outside of the Duplo area, Jack got pushed a lot by the older children (they were in such a hurry to get past him, they'd just push him aside). Plus, admission is not cheap (unless you lucked out on a membership discount specialty they ran in April). Jack was free (under 2 is free), but once he's over 2, he'll be the $13 that Bobby and I were. So with price and not much for little ones, we've decided to put a pin in this one, and revisit it when Jack is 4 or 5.
Activities We Plan To Do
- City of Tempe's Kiwanis Wave Park- It's $5 a person, and I remember loving it as a kid. Jack loves water, and I'm sure we can carve out a spot to make sure he's not getting accidentally surfed on by other kids.
- Butterfly World- This one is probably more for me as I love butterflies.
- City of Tempe's Library- we've heard the Saturday children's story and singing time is great.
- Halle Heart Museum
- Hall of Flames Museum
And probably when Jack is older, we'll buy him the Harkin's Summer Movie Pass. It's a weekly kid's movie (usually in the mornings) for the entire summer. What else do you recommend we try? Let me know via comment or send me message on social media! Happy summer to you and yours! Let the lemonade drinking and watermelon seed spitting contests commence!