By: Amanda Rumore
Spring is one of the favored seasons amongst Phoenicians. While many neighboring states are still thawing out from the harsh winter, we are in the midst of days filled with the glistening sun and perfect temperatures. We also know the unbearable days of summer are soon approaching, so it is especially meaningful to enjoy this gorgeous time of year with family and friends.
Below is a list of some of our favorite Phoenix-land outdoor activities and attractions, all family-friendly and perfect for the season.
Castles ‘n’ Coasters
Whether you’re young or old, big or small, you’ll find lots of fun, food and excitement at Phoenix’s family fun and thrill park. From the thrilling sky high roller coasters and exciting Sky Diver, to the miniature golf courses and an old fashioned carousel, there’s new adventures for everyone in the family to explore at Castles ~n~ Coasters.
9445 North Metro Pkwy E, Phoenix
CrakerJax is Arizona’s largest family fun and sports park with 28 acres of exciting attractions, food and sports. Park attractions include go-carts, bumper boats, miniature golf, arcade, automated driving range, restaurant, volleyball courts, batting cages, and more. The fun continues with alien invasion laser tag, water wars and the bungy dome. There’s sports and fun for everyone!
16001 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
The Phoenix Zoo is the largest privately owned, non-profit zoo in the United States. It operates on 125 acres of land in the Papago Park area of Phoenix and has over 1,400 animals, including some endangered and threatened species. With special attractions like FlyWire Zipline, Live Ferret Cam and Luka, the Phoenix Zoo’s one year old Andean bear cub, it’s no surprise that the Phoenix Zoo has been designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride.
455 North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium & Safari Park
With so many exhibits and attractions offered, your family is likely to feel like you’re part of a global adventure. The brand-new 15-acre Safari Park is now open and includes a new African lion habitat and a variety of African birds. Dragon World is home to “Jaws” – the only saltwater crocodile in Arizona. The African Safari Train will take you through the plains of Africa to see endangered antelope, gazelles, ostriches and more. Don’t forget the aquarium, petting zoo and so much more!
16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park
Hot Air Expeditions
Living in North Phoenix, we’ve all seen the sky lit with colorful, serene hot air balloons. This season you can experience the magical ride with your family. Phoenix hot air balloon rides offer scenic views of our backyard – the rugged Sonoran Desert. Choose to depart as the sun rises or gently sets on the horizon. Wildlife is in abundance in certain areas, so expect to see quail, jackrabbits, cottontails and sometimes the occasional coyotes, roadrunners, mule deer and javelina.
A few rides to check out: phoenixballoonrides.com and hotairexpeditions.com
Spending the day browsing the local farmers market is a true spring delight so gather your family, including the pets. If you live in North Phoenix, there are several markets to choose from including locations in Anthem, Norterra, North Scottsdale, and Peoria. All locations vary but you’ll be sure to find fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, local jams, jellies and breads, treasures from local artisans and much more.
Find more details about area farmers markets at phoenix.org/farmers-markets.
Desert Botanical Garden
For more than 70 years, the Desert Botanical Garden has been teaching and inspiring visitors from the local community and around the world, providing research and exhibits designed to help understand, protect and preserve the desert’s natural beauty. Today, the Garden features 140 acres and 50,000+ plant displays showcased in beautiful outdoor exhibits. The season exhibits include the Spring Butterfly Exhibit, Music in the Garden spring concert series and Chihuly on the Garden, a stunning exhibition of Artist Dale Chihuly’s extraordinary and vibrant works of art.
1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
Located in the heart of Scottsdale, this railroad park is said to be the most unique park of its kind in the country. Take a ride on the Paradise and Pacific Railroad antique carousel, discover the Model Railroad Building, 10,000 square feet showcasing the park’s four model railroad clubs along with surrounding railroad displays and artifacts, visit a variety of shops and museums, play in one of the spacious playgrounds or enjoy one of the park’s nine picnic ramadas.
7301 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale
Rawhide Western Town
Often referred to as “the best western experience in Arizona,” Rawhide is located nearby in the East Valley. A great experience for all ages, your kids will especially love the burro rides, petting zoo, mule-lead stagecoach rides, gold panning and rock climbing wall. Also be sure to check out the roughest, toughest stunt show around and witness gunfights, explosions, daring falls and all the antics of the cowboy characters.
5700 W North Loop Road, Chandler
Amanda Rumore is a freelance writer and founder of Valley Gal, Inc. (www.valleygalinc.com). Originally from Chicago, she has worked throughout the US in marketing and public relations and now resides in North Phoenix with her husband and baby girl Mia. Amanda loves her two Boston Terriers, enjoying the outdoors and spending time with family and friends.