When the rain comes or the heat turns up, it’s the perfect day to head to a local museum. These Phoenix, Arizona kids’ museums offer hands-on science discovery, open-ended play experiences and more. Pick one and you’ll be on your way to a day of exploration!

photo: Kate Loweth

Arizona Science Center

Downtown Phoenix is home to the Arizona Science Center where kids of all ages can learn and discover. This 120,000-square-foot building has over 300 hands-on exhibits in five themed galleries. Walk through an enormous working stomach (be forewarned, you may not be able to tear the kids away when they learn the stomach makes authentic noises) and then watch heart surgery being performed in the All About Me exhibit. Head to the Immersion Theater to feel what it is like to to be in the middle of a hurricane, tornado, wildfire, volcanic eruption or monsoon. 

600 E. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ
Online
: azscience.org

photo: Kate Loweth

Arizona Museum of Natural History

Step back in time the minute you walk in the doors of the Arizona Museum of Natural History. Here you can learn all about the prehistoric mammoths and other creatures who roamed Arizona. Head to the dinosaur mountain to hear the roar of dinosaurs and see a flash flood cascade down the rocks. Serve time in a territorial jail before you head outside to try your luck at gold mining.

53 N. Macdonald
Mesa, AZ
Onlinearizonamuseumofnaturalhistory.org

photo: Kate Loweth

i.d.e.a. Museum

The i.d.e.a. Museum is the perfect place to explore imagination through art, science and technology. The museum features Artville for tots up to age four where they can explore art in a safe environment. Across the hall is HUB, a gallery with 11 different interactive stations to create. In the Design Your World station, you can build your ideal home using tons of different mediums. The Tech Table allows you to explore through the digital screen. All projects that you create at the museum can be taken home with you!

150 W Pepper Place
Mesa, AZ
Onlineideamuseum.org

photo: Kate Loweth

Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum

Little airplane lovers must visit the Commemorative Air Force Museum before heading out of town. Head into the hangar to learn how aircraft evolved as a heroic partner to ground and sea operations from WWI to present. The working hangar has mechanics hard at work restoring the amazing aircraft and helpful docents are there to answer any question. If you are lucky you'll be able to go inside one of the aircraft to truly feel what it was like to be a passenger or pilot during the time it flew. Exhibits about the Tuskegee airmen as well as the history of women in flight are special highlights.

2017 N. Greenfield Rd.
Mesa, AZ
Onlineazcaf.org

Children's Museum of Phoenix

Located in the 70,000-square foot historic Monroe School building in downtown Phoenix, the Children's Museum of Phoenix offers three floors of exhibits designed to engage young children  in hands-on and interactive exhibits. Kids will love exploring The Climber, an amazing multi-storied exhibit created with recycled materials. Baby zones are located in each of the exhibits and Block Mania is a favorite of builder kids.

215 N. 7th Street
Phoenix, AZ
Online: childrensmuseumofphoenix.org

photo: Kate Loweth

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Located in the Old Town district, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art offers 9-12 rotating exhibits per year. Don't miss a particularly kid-friendly area of the museum just through the gift shop called the Smart Space. Here is an art room where kids can use their imaginations with rotating crafts reflective of the current exhibitions or invent a poem with the magnet words on the wall. Pro tip: the museum is free every Thursday and second Saturday of the month.

7374 East Second Street
Scottsdale, AZ
Onlinesmoca.org

—Kate Loweth

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