Spring break begins after release on Friday, March 4 for the Scottsdale Unified School District and runs through Sunday, March 13, with students returning to class the following day. Are you already looking for something to do with your kids during the time off? Here are some ideas that will keep both you and the kids entertained:
Phoenix Zoo: For animal lovers of all ages, the Phoenix Zoo is an obvious choice. Younger children will love the Red Barn at Harmony Farm where they can get up close and personal with goats, cows, sheep, and horses. Older children will get a thrill out of touching stingrays in Stingray Bay and interacting with squirrel monkeys in Monkey Village. Cool off at Leapin’ Lagoon and Yakulla Caverns: both water areas open on March 5, just in time for Valley spring break schedules.
Musical Instrument Museum: More than 6,500 instruments from roughly 200 countries and territories around the world are on display at this world-class museum minutes from Scottsdale Airport. Kids will love hearing the instruments play through their headphones as they approach, and good luck coaxing them out of the Experience Gallery where they can bang a gong, strum a Burmese harp, and play other unique instruments.
SeaLife Aquarium: Can’t wait for the new Odysea Aquarium scheduled to open in July 2016 in Scottsdale? Visit the SeaLife Aquarium this spring. Located at Arizona Mills in Tempe, the 26,000-square-foot aquarium has more than 5,000 creatures in 30 display tanks. On March 3, it will debut a new area featuring the crew of the Disney Junior television show, “The Octnauts.”
Butterfly Wonderland: Another option while you wait for Odysea Aquarium to open is Butterfly Wonderland, located right next door. The largest indoor butterfly pavilion in the country, it is home to thousands of butterflies from around the world. Bonus: National Butterfly Day falls during spring break on March 12!
Scottsdale parks: Take advantage of Scottsdale’s perfect March weather and head to the park. One of the best for kids is McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. The park has its own slightly smaller than half-sized reproduction of a narrow gauge railroad that visitors can ride, two playgrounds, and an antique carousel. Chaparral Park is another local favorite with a lake for boating and fishing, dog park, and playgrounds on more than 100 acres. Find more information on Scottsdale’s parks and aquatic centers as well as the Parks and Recreation Department’s spring break camps here.
Cactus League: You can also enjoy the weather at a spring training baseball game in March. Fifteen Major League Baseball teams play at 10 stadiums throughout the Valley. Watch the San Francisco Giants play at Scottsdale Stadium, or watch the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies play at Salt River Fields at Talking Sticking, just off the 101 at Indian Bend Road. Tickets are reasonably priced, ranging from $5 for grass seating at some stadiums to $35-$45 for box seats. Click here for more information, including tickets.
AZ on the Rocks: Scottsdale is home to Arizona’s largest indoor climbing gym, and anyone from 18 months and up are welcome. If your child loves to bounce more than climb, consider a few hours on the giant inflatables at Pump It Up Scottsdale. Check online for open jump times.
Other spring break suggestions: The Valley has several other great places for a family outing. If your kids love the sciences, head to the Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix or to the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa. Spring is also a good time to visit Western-themed Rawhide (open Friday through Sunday) in Phoenix or Goldfield Ghost Town in Apache Junction. Of course, you can also hike the Valley’s great trails. AZCentral.com suggests hiking “A” Mountain in Tempe, Phoenix Mountain Preserve, Papago Park in Phoenix, Pinnacle Peak Park in Scottsdale, and Usery Park in Mesa. On the off chance the weather doesn’t cooperate, consider spending a morning or afternoon at your local Scottsdale Public Library.
Looking for yet more ideas in and around your Scottsdale community? Feel free to give me a call! Jenny and I live, work, and play in this area and are glad to give recommendations for fun activities.