Looking for things to do in Tucson with kids? You don’t always have to travel far to have an adventure. You can find adventure in your own city. For example, just recently, my husband, my son, and I went to outer space, rode in a streetcar, and ate ice cream that was out of this world! And never left Tucson to do so. We did, however, create our own family fun in Tucson, Arizona!
I’m always looking for things to do with my son in Tucson. For a while now, I’ve been wanting to take him to our local Planetarium as well as take him on the streetcar, which stops near the Planetarium. We decided to make an afternoon of it, and travel via streetcar to downtown Tucson to eat ice cream at the HUB Ice Cream Factory. The Planetarium and HUB Ice Cream Factory connect via the streetcar so it makes it convenient to visit both in one afternoon.
Family Fun in Arizona: Things to Do with Kids in Tucson
Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium
We started off at the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, which is located on the University of Arizona campus. While my husband and my son have never been to the planetarium, I’d been there many moons ago (no pun intended) to see the Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon laser show when I was an undergraduate at the U of A. Some things never change – I was happy to see that the laser show is still making an appearance.
The Planetarium has recently undergone a renovation, though, and when I saw that there was a Groupon available, I figured it was time to take my son since he’s very curious about the solar system. And since it’s been more than 15 years since my last visit, I was curious to experience it through my son’s eyes.
Fun and Educational
Our visit to the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium was fun, and also educational. My son was able to learn more about the planets, the sun, the moon, and any thing else you can think of that makes up the universe.
My son also enjoyed the interactive exhibits that focused on puzzles and maps. There is even an area where children can make shapes using cardstock. With the help of his dad, my son made a cube and was extremely proud of it!
Our visit at the Planetarium ended by watching a show inside the Planetarium called We Are Stars. It is animated, and lasts approximately 30 minutes. The special effects are well done. My son was very engaged – so much that he asked me afterward if we are from outer space 🙂 It was a new learning experience for him. For me, it was a refresher course of scientific concepts like atoms, neutrons, and protons.
*Travel Tip: Parking is limited near the Planetarium so plan on arriving when it first opens for the day to get a good parking spot.
There are streetcars that run back and forth from downtown Tucson to the U of A campus. I knew there was an ice cream parlor downtown that I had been wanting to try out, so I researched the route of the streetcar, and saw that we could travel from the Planetarium to the HUB using the streetcar, then take the streetcar back to the Planetarium to our parked car. So after we left the Planetarium, we went to the nearest stop for the streetcar and waited until a streetcar arrived. My son thought it was a great adventure and was grinning from ear to ear. This also marked the first time I’d ridden on the streetcar in Tucson, and I was impressed that it ran smoothly and quickly.
HUB Ice Cream Factory
We made it to our next destination, HUB Ice Cream Factory, fairly quickly. The HUB Ice Cream Factory is not only nicely decorated, but there’s also a miniature train that goes around on miniature railroad tracks near the ceiling. My son really enjoyed watching the train, especially since he likes trains so much.
And as for the ice cream itself – it was delicious and quickly consumed.
The expression below says it all. It was such a fun afternoon, with a little bit of everything, including science and ice cream. And it was easily doable for us.