Arizona is known for its summer heat and desert landscape, but there are also several kid friendly activities in Tucson and its surrounding areas. The same can be said for Phoenix, Arizona, but that deserves an article of its own. I’ve lived in Tucson for over 20 years so this is a list that is years in the making. Whether you live in Tucson and you’re looking for kid friendly activities, or you’re planning a trip to Tucson, you won’t find a shortage of things to do with kids. Below are 11 kid friendly activities in Tucson, Arizona!
11 Kid Friendly Activities in Tucson
1. Reid Park Zoo
There’s a reason we have a family membership to Reid Park Zoo. It’s perfect for younger children since it only takes a few hours to see all the animals. Kids will also be able to see many of their favorite zoo animals, like elephants, giraffes, and monkeys. Kids can also enjoy activities like riding on a carousel and feeding the giraffes.
2. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
A trip to Tucson isn’t complete without a visit to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. There are several kids activities there, such as animal demonstrations and a tide pool encounter. While it’s fun, it’s also educational – kids can learn more about the natural desert landscape. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, though. There isn’t a lot of shade, so I recommend either visiting when the weather is cooler outside or in the summer evenings during the Cool Summer Nights (held during select Saturday evenings).
3. Pima Air and Space Museum
The Pima Air & Space Museum is also a must see in Tucson, Arizona. While retired military aircraft is the highlight, there are also kid friendly exhibits devoted to space exploration. And there’s also a children’s playground for kids to burn off some energy while checking out all the different exhibits.
4. Sabino Canyon
Sabino Canyon is located in the northeast side of Tucson and in the Coronado National First. This is a long time favorite of mine, although I don’t go as often as I’d like. I’d also recommend taking kids there when the weather is cooler. Families with strollers will appreciate the walking path, although there is a change of elevation, and it can get exhausting pushing the stroller uphill (it’s also a great form of exercise!). Both parents and kids will also appreciate the tram when it’s time to give their feet a rest.
5. Catalina State Park
If you’re looking for short hikes for younger kids, then I recommend Catalina State Park. It’s located near the northwest side of Tucson and it has a variety of trails, depending on experience. We like the Canyon Loop Trail – it’s long enough for kids to feel adventurous, but short enough for when kids start getting tired.
6. Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium
Kids who enjoy science will enjoy exploring the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium. It’s not huge, but it’s a fun and educational place to visit for a few hours. Not to mention, it’s a good place to escape the heat in the summer months.
7. Gaslight Theatre
My family loves the Gaslight Theatre, including my preschool aged son. The performances are very lighthearted, and audience participation is highly encouraged. Kids will enjoy booing the bad guys and cheering for the good guys!
8. Old Tucson Studios
Old Tucson Studios is basically a historical landmark in Tucson and it’s a fun place to visit with kids. Western movies like Arizona were filmed there. Kids can ride a train, the carousel, and drive vintage cars. And then there are performances like the stunt shows. It’s located near the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, but I don’t recommend visiting both on the same day unless it’s absolutely necessary. Both places can take up to an entire day to explore, especially the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and it might be too much for younger kids.
9. Tucson Botanical Gardens
Other kid friendly activities in Tucson can be found at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. My son loves seeing the miniature train in action and also exploring the Children’s Discovery Garden. And during select months, the Butterfly Greenhouse is open where visitors can see butterflies.
10. Children’s Museum
There are also several kid activities in Tucson at the Children’s Museum. There are two locations in Tucson, although my family prefers the downtown location. It’s much bigger, which means there are more things for kids to do in Tucson. There’s several exhibits, depending on interest levels. For example, kids can explore their artistic and creative side, but they can also learn more about science.
11. Trail Dust Town
Trail Dust Town is like a miniature western town, located near the northeast side of Tucson. Not only are there restaurants in Trail Dust Town, like Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse, but there are also western-type stores. Some of the kids activities at Trail Dust Town include a carousel, a ferris wheel, and a train. There’s also a stunt show as well.
Tucson is not only a beautiful city to explore, but it has several kid friendly activities.