10 Things To Do In Scottsdale With Kids

by Kate Eschbach
Originally Published: 
A giant cactus in the middle of valley in Scottsdale with hills in the background

We moved to Scottsdale, Arizona about five years ago due to my husbands job transfer. We spent a lot of time exploring, and found some amazing treasures! Five years later, the kids still enjoy taking visitors to the places we discovered back then. Here are ten of our favorite kid friendly things in Scottsdale…

1. Cosanti. You can tour the grounds of Paolo Soleri’s — American-Italian architect who settled in Scottsdale in 1956 — home. Paolo was our own local celebrity and his home is in a beautiful part of Scottsdale. You can drive right up and park on his property. The first time my son visited his home, he asked me if we were visiting Star Wars. Right there – I knew we had a hit! I love wandering the garden paths. The staff pours bronze and ceramic wind bells on site. If they are pouring that day, you are in for a special treat. The staff does an amazing job of explaining the process of the pour to even the littlest visitor. Even better? There is no charge to visit the property.

2. The trails. There are many trails within the city limits that are perfect for hiking with kids. The Gateway Trailhead and the Lost Dog Trailhead are two of my favorite places to start. Each trail has a great map, mile markers, and turn around spots.

3. The Butterfly Wonderland is a brand new attraction here in Scottsdale. It is the largest butterfly atrium in America. Butterflies are everywhere – landing on visitors and making everyone smile. As you leave the butterfly conservatory, there is also a live ant colony, a honey bee display and a touch tank with stingrays. The staff has done a wonderful job making it very kid friendly!

4. Sugar Bowl. Do you remember the cartoon, The Family Circus? Well, the artist Bill Keane could be found here, drawing the cartoon. The Sugar Bowl was the setting of many of those cartoons. Today, you can order delicious food, have a bowl of ice cream and play at the arcade in the back. It is a perfect afternoon outing for cooped up kids! Plus, the staff has always been very nice and friendly – no matter how loud our kids get.

5. Catch Ollie the Trolley over by Fashion Square and take a fun ride around the town. The kids always love this! It is such a sweet way to see Old Town. I love the Downtown route. It takes you by the Waterfront, 5th Avenue, and Old Town.

6. The Simple Farm is a sweet farm run by Lylah and Michael. They open their farm up every Thursday morning and allow the public to come share in their seasonal harvests. Coffee, caramels and conversation make for a very lovely morning at this wonderful local treasure! They also offer classes – from pruning your own backyard orchard to canning.

7. Desert Botanical Gardens is a must see! It’s so amazing to see our local plants thriving and beautiful. They have wonderful events all year long, so be sure and check their schedule for special events happening. The kids and I love wandering the paths and talking about their favorite cacti. There are plenty of benches to sit on and shade to be found.

8. Fountain Hills. Just a short drive west is a beautiful town with an amazing attraction – a 560 foot fountain! There is a wonderful playground just next to the fountain with splash pads for the littles. There is a great strip of restaurants close to the playground with pizza shops and ice cream shops if you need to refuel.

9. If your children like music, the Musical Instrument Museum is the perfect place to wander! Their collections are second to none. Recently, my husband treated me to a special concert by Bela Fleck and I loved every minute. Be sure and check out their upcoming performances.

10. Splash Pads. At almost every shopping center, there are splash pads for the kids to play in. Before moving to Arizona, I had never even heard of a splash pad! Some of my favorites are The Quarter, Kierland Commons and Desert Ridge. These are the perfect place in the evening or morning to run off a little extra energy.

Got any other kid favorites in Scottsdale? Leave them in the comments!

This article was originally published on