A Grandparent’s Guide to Summer Activities for the Grandkids

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

Let me set the mood: The Arizona sun is already heating up the day and my mom wakes me up early. It is summer, I’m twelve years old, and I’m about to head to my grandparents’ house.

I never minded being woken up extra early over summer when I knew it was time to go to my grandparents’ house. My sister and I would put on comfy clothes, hop in the car, and discuss what our grandparents might have planned for us that day.

They didn’t watch us every day, but when they did it was hard to get us to go home in the evening!

Because of their awesome grandparent-ing skills, I now have lots of fun summer activity ideas to share with you! Most of them are indoors, of course, because the Arizona heat can be too much to handle, but all of them are super fun!

  1. The Arizona Museum of Natural History (or the dinosaur museum as I used to call it!)
  • Admission: $12 for adults, $7 for children ages 3 to 12, $10 for seniors age 65 and up, $8 for students 13 and up with valid ID, children 2 and under are free.
  • What to expect: The Museum is a place for family fun. Where else can you see a flash flood cascading down a three-story mountain inside a museum? See Tom the soft-shelled turtle and a live Gila monster. Experience a real territorial jail, pan for gold in the History Courtyard, and wind your way through the Lost Dutchman’s Mine. Check out the new special exhibitions and experience hands-on adventure for all ages in the Exploration Station. Bring a friend or family member of any age to the museum: there is always something new to discover.
  1. The Arizona Science Center
  • Admission: $18 for adults age 18 and up, $13 for children ages 3 to 17, children under 2 are free.
  • What to expect: The continued growth of the Center and its close connection with the Arizona community provides a unique experience for everyone it reaches. Using an informal, hands-on approach to science exploration and inspiration the Center has more than 164,000 square-feet of space, of which 98,000 is dedicated to the exploration of our guests. Additional learning opportunities and services include outreach programs, focused field trips, camps, classes, to-the-moon and beyond presentation in the Dorrance Planetarium, immersive shows in the 5-story Irene P. Flinn Theater and featured exhibitions.
  1. The Phoenix Zoo
  • Admission: NOW THROUGH AUGUST 31st, 2017 – $19.95 for adults, $9.95 for children ages 3 to 13. NORMAL RATES – $24.95 for adults, $14.95 for children ages 3 to 13.
  • What to expect: The Phoenix Zoo has changed its hours for the summer season. You can now enjoy visiting the animals from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily. Daily activities at the zoo include Monkey Village, Harmony Farm Petting Zoo, Giraffe Encounter, Stingray Bay, and Camel Rides. Zoo tours are also available for guests looking to get up close and personal with the animals.
  1. I.D.E.A. Museum
  • Admission: $8 per person, members and children under one year of age are free
  • What to expect: Museum activities and exhibitions focus on three key pillars: discovering art, nurturing creative thinking, and engaging families. We also believe creating opportunities for children of all ages and backgrounds to experience new ways of seeing their world is essential for making our diverse community the best it can be.
  1. Wet N’ Wild
  • Admission: WEEKDAYS: $39.99 + tax for adults, $29.99 + tax for children under 42”, $29.99 for seniors ages 62 and older. WEEKENDS: $42.99 + tax for adults, $32.99 + tax for children under 42”, $32.99 + tax for seniors ages 62 and older.
  • What to expect: This water park features more than 10 exciting attractions including waterslides like the Constrictor, Maximum Velocity, Phoenix Fliers, and more! Hang out in Monsoon Bay or take a ride on the Crazy Cactus Roaring River.
  1. Main Event Entertainment
  • Admission: Prices vary by location and depend upon what you decide to play/eat/drink while there.
  • What to expect: Locations in Avondale, Tempe and Gilbert. When you want to let your fun out with family and friends, Main Event is the best – and easiest – place to HEAD FOR FUN. With state-of-the-art bowling, multi-level laser tag, over 100 games topped with handcrafted food and a full bar under one roof, Main Event is THE destination for fun!
  1. Amazing Jakes
  • Admission: $10.99 for age 11 and over, $7.99 for ages 4 to 10, $9.99 for seniors, children 3 years and under are free. Additional charges may apply depending on what activities you participate in and if you choose to eat at Amazing Jake’s.
  • What to expect: Amazing Jake’s offers a variety of attractions like bumper cars, a carousel, spinning teacups, galaxy bowling, Monaco grand prix, laser tag, a mini coaster, and video games. They also feature an all-you-can-eat buffet for an additional cost.
  1. Golfland Sunsplash
  • Admission: Visit website for pricing details.
  • What to expect: Golfland Sunsplash is as fun as it sounds and features both mini golfing and a fantastic water experience. They also have an arcade, laser tag, fastcar raceway, and bumper boats. If you’re looking to cool off, visit the Golfland splash pad or ride one of their more fast-paces waterslide attractions.
  1. Ice Skating
  • Admission: Price varies by location
  • What to expect: AZ Ice has rinks located in Arcadia, Gilbert, and Peoria. Activities vary by location, but all offer public skating throughout the week.
  1. The Musical Instrument Museum
  • Admission: $20 general admission, $15 for teens ages 13 to 19, $10 for children ages 4 to 12, children age 3 and under are free.
  • What to expect: In just seven short years since opening, MIM has been recognized by TripAdvisor as one of the top 20 museums in the United States and is rated the #1 attraction in Phoenix by TripAdvisor reviewers. MIM provides a fun, one-of-a kind experience to be enjoyed by guests of all ages.
  1. FlipSide
  • Admission: Price varies by what activities you participate in while at FlipSide
  • What to expect: FlipSide features bowling and many other attractions like laser tag, billiards, arcade games, and a café.
  1. Butterfly Wonderland
  • Admission: $21.95 for adults ages 18 to 61, $19.95 for seniors age 62 and up, $14.95 for children ages 3 to 12, $19.95 for students ages 13 to 17 with a school ID, children under 2 are free.
  • What to expect: Butterfly Wonderland offers many exhibits featuring all kinds of different animals and insects. Visit the Rainforest Reptile Exhibit, the Butterfly Emergence Gallery, the Spineless Giants Exhibit, Honey Bee Extravaganza, or Tropical Waters of the World. Of course, Butterfly Wonderland also includes America’s largest butterfly pavilion and a 3D theater where you can learn all about the life of a butterfly.
  1. KTR Family Action Sports Center
  • Admission: Visit website for pricing details.
  • What to expect: KTR has two locations. One in Chandler and one in Mesa. These facilities harbor many different sports action activities that children and adults alike love! Featured activities include trampolines, tumbling, cheer, ninja warrior, skateboarding, parkour, scooter, BMX, dodgeball, fitness, and mini sports.
  1. Odysea Aquarium
  • Admission: Visit website for pricing details. OdySea has scheduled entry times, guests must purchase tickets beforehand to reserve their spot(s). Tickets can easily be purchased online to reserve spot(s).
  • What to expect: Walk through the aquarium to see and learn about a multitude of aquatic creatures. OdySea doesn’t only have fish, either! They have otters, penguins, a tidal pool that is hands on, and much more. Check the online schedule to see what is going on the day you visit, or schedule a tour!
  1. TopGolf
  • Admission: Prices depend upon how many people are in a group, how long you are going to be playing for, and if you order food and drink.
  • What to expect: TopGolf has two locations, one in Gilbert and one in Scottsdale. TopGolf offers many golfing games that are super fun for all ages! Play a game that tests your distance swings, who can rack up the most points in the shortest amount of time, or just try to make it into the targets. No clubs required.
  1. The Children’s Museum of Phoenix
  • Admission: $12.00 for non-members, $11.00 for seniors age 62 and up, children under the age of 1 are free.
  • What to expect: One of the top three children’s museums in the nation, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is a wondrous place of imagination, inspiration, creativity, and just plain fun! Designed for children ages birth to 10, this is not your typical museum… here we want you to touch EVERYTHING! And with over 48,000 square feet of space, there’s plenty to touch.
  1. Fat Cats
  • Admission: Visit website for pricing details.
  • What to expect: Fat Cats has bowling, an arcade, glow golf and movies.
  1. Oasis Waterpark
  • Admission: Visit website for pricing details.
  • What to expect: Voted by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s Top 10 Water Parks, Arizona Grand Resort & Spa’s expansive, wild and fun Oasis Water Park has something for kids of all ages, making it perfect for your next family getaway.
  1. Legoland Discovery Center
  • Admission: Prices may vary depending on date and time. General admission: $22.00
  • What to expect: Legoland Discovery center features Lego 4D Cinema, Miniland, Kingdom Quest, Merlin’s Apprentice ride, Space Mission, Lego factory tour, a creative workshop, Lego City Play Zone, Lego Friends Heartlake City, and much more!
  1. SkateLand
  • Admission: Visit website for pricing details and skate rental information.
  • What to expect: Skateland has two locations, one in Chandler and one in Mesa. Skateland offers a fun and active experience for beginner or seasoned skaters. Use roller blades or roller skates, whatever you are comfortable with. Skateland rents roller blades and skates to patrons for an additional price. Throughout the week, different events are held so make sure to check the website’s schedule!
  1. Makutu’s Island
  • Admission: $12.99 for children ages 1 to 17, one adult per child is free, $6.49 for extra adults.
  • What to expect: Makutu’s Island, one of America’s largest indoor play places, is a trip into fantasy and adventure for children of all ages and a perfect way to beat the Arizona heat.   Designed with a tropical theme, Makutu’s is a lush, exciting indoor “island” with towering trees, climbs, bungee, zip tracker, arcade, café, theater, toddler zone and mysterious caves.

 

 

There are always things going on to keep the grandkids busy over summer. If you aren’t taking them to one of these super fun spots, you can sign them up for all kinds of different summer camps or lessons that businesses all over the valley have to offer. Music lessons, martial arts classes, pottery, drawing, and painting classes, sports leagues, dance and gymnastics classes, and cooking classes are just a few of the other activities for kids found across the state.

So get your grandkids out and about, even while it’s hot out, and enjoy some quality family time!

 

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One Response to A Grandparent’s Guide to Summer Activities for the Grandkids

  1. Some of those activities are pretty pricey! But if you’re in Maricopa County and have a library card, Culture Pass is helpful. http://www.act1az.org/culture-pass

    From the site:

    Finding quality things to do for both you and your family, on a budget, is not easy. The arts enrich and educate us all, so take advantage of the Act One Culture Pass.

    Library cardholders can check out an Act One Culture Pass for FREE admission or tickets for two people at participating arts and cultural institutions.

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