Phoenix, Arizona’s state capital, sits in the bowl of a beautiful desert valley, with mountains all around. It’s a gorgeous, chilled-out location for a family holiday. If you’re concerned, however, that there might not be enough action there for the kids, think again.
There was, of course, a time when you’d just make sure your kids were oriented, and let them go and explore on their own. Parents don’t tend to do that now, because we’re so in thrall to the dangers of ‘black swan’ events such as child abductions and road traffic accidents that we’re utterly loath to let them off the leash.
However, there are a lot of things to do in Phoenix AZ that give you the opportunity to set your kids free for a while at least. You just have to warn them about the killer bees and rattlesnakes.
The thing about holidaying with your kids is that basically, many cities in the States have attractions that are essentially variations on a few delimited themes. For example, there is of course a ‘science park’ in many major cities that provides ‘edutainment’ for young people, and Phoenix is no exception.
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We’re recommending this not because of any stunning new rollercoasters (it’s not that kind of amusement park) but because it’s great for the little ones, and it’s in the Phoenix downtown area, right in the middle of the city’s Encanto Park.
The other reason it’s on this list is because unlike many of the other things you can do in Phoenix, this park is designed for younger children and has a range of rides and activities for those aged 1–10.
It offers discounts for advanced ticket sales. Enchanted Island is a great option if as a family you’ve kinda had enough of the desert for a bit and want a serious change of scenery.
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This bustling water park has a ‘lazy river’ alongside all its fast slides and other rides. If your two kids call themselves Aquaboy and Aquagirl, it’s a pretty good bet they’ll find this escape from the dusty desert a real oasis.
Let’s hope they didn’t drain the aquifer too much when filling the ‘lazy river’ ride.
Okay, here’s the stuff you should be doing with the kids. The Pueblo Grande museum is in town and the archaeological park outside it, so it’s worth taking in the museum first. Armed with that background, you’ll have a much better understanding of the pre-Columbian Pueblo Grande civilization that inhabited these parts way back when.
Then, when you get out to the trail and find the remnants of this ancient agrarian society, you’ll see that back in them thar days the locals had a subtle irrigation system and lived in cool houses plastered with mud that look like something on a Star Wars set. These days, the interpretation of sites such as these is child-friendly, and there are regular art and learning activities that your rug rats can enjoy while they get to understand the past.
A short journey outside of Phoenix brings you to this preserved gold mining town that the kids will love. They’ll say ‘Hey, mum, this is just like Westworld!’ and you’ll say ‘How come you watched that? It’s rated TV-14!’
As you argue the point, you might be distracted by one of the staged gunfights on Main Street, or accosted by a merchant selling something made of leather.
It’s a bit like living history: your kids will get some direct ‘flava’ of turn-of-the-twentieth-century America. When history comes alive like this, young people are more engaged, and if it’s done its job it’ll make them curious to find out more.
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