Visiting Phoenix for the NCAA Final Four Championships with the kids? Then you are in for some thrilling basketball and family-friendly events. What’s more Phoenix has loads to offer when it comes to ways for kids to kick back, learn and play. Here are some of our top picks!
CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF PHOENIX: This museum’s motto: “I came, I played, I learned” says it all! Housed in the historic Monroe School Building, it is home to more than 300 play experiences, where kids can get hands-on at the museum art studio, which offers an ever changing array of art projects, and build everything from small cities in the expansive blocks building area on the 1st floor to forts, lean-tos and larger structures at the Building Big exhibit. Start your visit early as the museum gets quite crowded as the day goes on. Admission is $11 for kids of all ages, 1 year and up.
PHOENIX ART MUSEUM: The Phoenix Art Museum is the Southwest’s most extensive art museum, home to 17,000 works from around the world. Chart your family’s course through the museum’s collections by picking up a Scavenger Hunt guide from the front desk. The museum hosts free monthly drop-in programs on Wednesday evenings from 3:30 – 7:30 pm to give families a chance to create their own works of art inspired by the museum’s collections. Admission for adults is $18, children ages 6-17 are $9 and under are free.
MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM: Kids and adults alike will enjoy a visit to this one-of-its-kind museum. Devoted to every musical genre, including ethnic, folk, and tribal music, MIM’s collection includes nearly 16,000 musical instruments from 200 countries and territories around the world. In the Experience Gallery, guests can pick up an instrument and try playing a tune then head over to the Artists Gallery, to see guitars played by none other than Taylor Swift and Maroon 5’s lead singer, Adam Levine. Plan to spend about 3 hours touring the museum. If your kids want to go back for more, consider checking out the educational programming for kids. Young ones can make music with their parents in MIM’s early childhood courses while teens can learn about the museum and music inside and out through the Junior Museum Guide Program. Admission for adults is $20, ages 13-19 $15, children ages 4-12 $10.
CHALLENGER SPACE CENTER: Located in the heart of Downtown Phoenix, the Challenger Space Center is an exciting hub for science and discovery. The Center features more than 300 hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, the state-of-the-art Dorrance Planetarium and a five-story IMAX(R) theater. Kids will get a kick out of the new exhibit CREATE if only because it was designed by 5th graders who were polled about what they would like to see in a space center. Highlights include meteorite exhibits, a space shuttle landing gear tire, a model of the Atlantis Space Shuttle and more. Another big draw: the reasonable admission price won’t break the bank. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children ages 4-12 and free for 3 and under.
PHOENIX ZOO: Phoenix Zoo offers adventures like no other place in the Valley. Where else can you commune with majestic Asian elephants, go on safari to spot the great Sumatran tiger or scour the savanna for graceful giraffes! With cafes, shops, lush gardens and other exciting exhibits like Stingray Bay and Monkey Village, you can easily spend an entire day here. Or if you’re short on time, hop on and off the Safari Train and do a quick run-through. Admission is $24.95 for adults 14 and over, children 3-13 are $14.95.
If you want some ideas for how to make the most of March Madness’ final weekend, check out our family friendly tips here.