We went to Arizona over the holidays with a total 8 people. 3 kids 7 and under (my son and my nieces). 5 adults (My sister and I and our husbands and our mom) so truly a 3 generation trip! Overall we have a fantastic time. Its always good to get together and to see new places and things.
Depending on how much time you have here a few things I would consider “must do” attractions in the Phoenix/Scottsdale Area
If you like history – the Arizona State Capitol Museum is a great place to start. You have a wonderful opportunity to learn the history of the state and how it became a state. They also have some amazing memorials including for the USS Arizona and the code talkers from WWII. They also have special exhibits that change throughout the year.
If you like architecture – Taliesin West which was built by Frank Lloyd Wright as his architecture school in the West is an amazing place to visit. The school is apparently closing in June but the site and buildings will still be open for tours and they will still have some classes on the site. It is truly amazing how the buildings fit into the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Its also a wonderful place to see cactus in their natural environment. We even saw a road runner when we first arrived!
If you like trains, carousels or are looking for family fun – McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is fantastic. They have a restored 1950 carousel. A 5/8th’s scale train ride. A large play ground. A cute gift shop. An impressive model railroad museum and more! They even have one of the restored cars from the Merci or Gratitude train from after WWII. (Check out my Instagram below for pictures) This was a wonderful find for the kids really enjoyed it and the tickets for the attractions were very reasonable and the grounds are free to enter. They also do a holiday lights festival and other events throughout the year.
If you want to learn about the original people who lived in the area – Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is a great place to visit and explore and learn the true history of the area. The museum has a range of indoor and outdoor exhibits that give kids plenty to do to stay interested while learning about the Hohokam people who lived in the area for 1000 years from 450 to 1450 AD. They have a fun outdoor gallery as well as area dedicated for children indoors so it’s a great place to visit regardless of the weather! Definitely a great place to take a deep dive into the history of the area!
There are also a variety of beautiful park and playgrounds which are always a great place to stop and let the little ones run around a bit! One of the most impressive parks we found was Papago Park which is also the home of the Desert Botanical Garden which we did not make on this trip (my grandpa always said to save something for next time!)
Next week I’m going to go over our favorite things in Arizona outside of the Phoenix Scottsdale area!