Last year I went to Arizona with a group of friends for a girls getaway. We had a lot of fun together and I realized it’s a great place for families too. Phoenix devised a list of inexpensive family friendly attractions in the Phoenix area. Each attraction offers admission for less than $25, which makes it easy for families to plan a fun filled trip while staying within a budget.
With more than 1,400 animals, the Phoenix Zoo offers an educational experience and understanding of the wild creatures’ habitats and lifestyles. The zoo is one of the largest private non-profit organizations in the country and relies on admissions, concessions, special events and philanthropic donations for operations. Walk through the Africa Trail and greet giraffes, zebras and flamingos. Head south toward the Tropics Trail and witness jaguars and monkeys. Continue to the Harmony Farm and see real farm animals such as cows, pigs and chickens. Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 3-12, and free for children 2 and younger. Hours vary by season, but the zoo is open year-round, seven days a week. Visit the press page for more information.
The Heard Museum has been internationally recognized for its collections, educational programming and festivals. The museum dedicates its work to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native American arts and culture. The exhibits feature artwork ranging from ancient artifacts to modern paintings. General admission includes access to 11 exhibition galleries, public guided tours, outdoor sculpture gardens, the café and museum shop. Admission is $18 for adults, $7.50 for students and children ages 6-12, and free for children 5 and younger. The museum is open every day of the year excluding Easter, July 4, and Christmas. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Visit the press room for more information.
Phoenix Art Museum
Through July 6, the Hollywood Costume exhibit comes to life at the Phoenix Art Museum. View outfits worn by unforgettable characters in movies such as The Wizard of Oz, Titanic, Harry Potter and Dark Knight Rises. This once-in-a-lifetime exhibit is only coming to the West Coast once and only at the Phoenix Art Museum. Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 6-17, and free for children 6 and younger. General admission to view the rest of the museum is $15 for adults, $10 for students and $6 for children. The museum is closed Monday and Tuesday, but is open Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m.
Hollywood Costume exhibit hours through July 6, 2014:
• Tuesday, Noon – 5 p.m.
• Wednesday, Noon – 8:30 p.m.
• Thursday, Noon – 5 p.m.
• Friday, 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
• Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
• Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instrument Museum is the only museum in the world that displays musical instruments from nearly every country in the world. Guests are invited to play instruments in the Experience Gallery as well as view instruments played by musical icons such as John Lennon, Elvis Presley and Taylor Swift. A unique feature to the museum is the use of wireless headsets that provide continuous audio as the guest approaches each display, which provides a greater understanding of the sounds of each musical culture or topic. General admission includes the use of the headset and access to the Orientation Gallery, Experience Gallery and the country galleries. The price for admission is $18 for adults, $14 for teens, $10 for children ages 4-12, and free for children ages 3 and younger. For an added $7, guests can view the Women Who Rock gallery, a special exhibit created by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. The exhibit features artifacts, costumes and instruments from more than 70 women artists. This exhibit is only available through April 20. The museum is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit the press page.
Arizona Science Center
The Arizona Science Center is the premier Phoenix destination for learning all things science. With exhibits focused on inspiring, educating and entertaining guests about science, the Arizona Science Center is sure to keep adults and kids alike interested and amused. Enjoy the hands-on exhibits that allow you to explore renewable energy, digital communications and even the shake of an earthquake. General admission for the center is $16.95 for adults, $11.95 for kids age 3-17, $14.95 for seniors, and free for children 2 and younger. The center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Visit the press center for more information.
Enchanted Island Amusement Park
Whether you like spinning, flying, dropping, bumping, driving, rocking, or rolling, Enchantment Island Amusement Park rides are sure to thrill and delight. This picturesque park is filled with charm and magic, offering nine fanciful rides and a variety of popular attractions geared especially toward children aged 1 to 10. Ride the historic Encanto Carousel or get your feet wet in Splash Zone. Whether you duel with dragons or float into the sky with Parachute Tower, all ages are sure to delight at Enchantment Island. Admission into the park is free, but each ride takes tickets purchased inside the park. An all-day park pass is $14.25 for children under 54 inches tall and $8.50 for guests over 54 inches tall. Add the all-day splash zone pass for an added $2. The park has varied hours throughout the 2014 year.
Goldfield Ghost Town
Back in the 1890’s Goldfield boasted 3 saloons, a boarding house, general store, blacksmith shop, brewery, meat market and a school house. Just when it looked like the town would outgrow Mesa, the vein faulted, the grade of ore dropped and the town died a slow painful death despite unsuccessful tries to revive it. After more than 115 years, travelers from all over the world still visit this gold mining town located on the historic Apache Trail and enjoy the excitement and grandeur of Arizona’s Wild West. Tour the historic Mammoth Gold Mine and visit the town’s museum. Witness an Old West gun fight or pan for gold. The town is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located 45 minutes from Downtown Phoenix. Ride the Goldfield Narrow-Gauge Railroad in a 1.5 mile loop that circles the town for admission of $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $4 for kids 5-12. Take a 25-minute Goldfield Mine Tour that takes you underground and back in time for the same price as the railroad. The Goldfield Gunfighters offers free shows every Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m.
Usery Mountain Regional Park
Located on the Valley’s east side, Usery Mountain Regional Park spans 3,648 acres in the Goldfield Mountains. The park has plenty to explore, with a large variety of plants, animals and trails. Explore the beautiful Sonoran Desert by camping, hiking, horseback riding or picnicking. Programming and events at the park includes bird walks, family hikes, animal flashlight walks, scorpion information sessions, stargazing, full moon hikes and an abundance of others. Price for the programs typically cost just $6 per car. A full list of events and programs is found on the website.