Family Fun in Scottsdale, Arizona – 4 Things to Do

With all the beautiful weather, specialty shops, scrumptious restaurants and events going on in the Valley year ’round, finding things to do in Scottsdale is no problem. Whether you’re on vacation or just planning a weekend out, several excellent family adventures await you! But where should you begin? Here are a few popular favorites.

Butterfly Wonderland

Scottsdale’s newest attraction, this magical indoor rainforest is located within the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and is the largest butterfly pavilion in America.

You’ll marvel as thousands of butterflies from around the world fly freely, often landing on your shoulder, finger, head or even your nose! Don’t miss the Butterfly Emergence Gallery, a butterfly “nursery” of sorts, where you can actually watch as these amazing creatures emerge from their chrysalis. 

Be sure to catch the 3D movie about butterflies and check out the Live Ant Colony, Honey Bee Extravaganza, Rivers of the Amazon Aquatic Life, Stingray “petting” pool, as well as the Butterfly Treasures Gift Shop and Café.


CrackerJax in Scottsdale, Arizona (photo by P A Molumby)

Touted as “Arizona’s largest Family Fun & Sports Park,” this place has over 27 acres of excitement to offer, right on Scottsdale & Bell roads.

CrackerJax often makes Valley “best of” lists for their miniature golf — and for “real” golfers trying to improve their swing, their multi-tiered, 300-yard driving range has been ranked among the top in the U.S. An 18-hole professional putting course is also on site for golfers looking for things to do in Scottsdale. But it’s not all about the golf! Kids and adults alike can hop on a go-kart and race around the track or set sail in the bumper boat lagoon.

There are also batting cages (fast and slow pitch) where you can take a swing. Three tournament-quality volleyball courts also await, not to mention a big video game center. There’s a full-service snack bar and restaurant, too — in case all this fun makes you hungry.

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

This is a definite family favorite in Scottsdale. Sitting on the corner of Scottsdale & Indian Bend roads, I know it was my favorite picnic and play spot as a kid growing up in Scottsdale. Of course the big draw is the train.

The Paradise and Pacific Railroad was the first attraction to the park and continues to be its centerpiece. It’s a mini-reproduction of a Colorado narrow-gauge railroad that carries you throughout the park on a one mile track.

The railroad features three steam locomotives, two diesel engines and several scale-model cars. Kids will also delight as they browse through model trains at Roy’s Train World! Train rides aren’t the only things to do in Scottsdale during your stop at the park. Historic exhibits, fun picnic spots and playgrounds await — not to mention the beautifully carved and meticulously restored antique carousel! It is a child’s dream come true!

If you get hungry or thirsty, stop by Hartley’s General Store for goodies like hand-dipped ice cream, drinks, soda and hot dogs. Mom and dad will find plenty of fun things at this bustling park. Music fills the air as local bands and performers take the stage for free concerts every Sunday night, May through July. Bring a blanket or chair (and lots of cold drinks) and kickback for some great local entertainment!

Ice Den

It’s winter all-year-round inside this Scottsdale fun place. The 120,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art ice skating and entertainment center is a community gathering place for families looking for some icy fun in the desert.

The Ice Den is a practice place for the Phoenix Coyotes and other NHL teams, but it’s also a favorite ice skating rink for kids in the Valley. There’s also a 7,000-square-foot Peter Piper Pizza on site that’s loaded with even more fun things to do. Coyotes fans can also pick up the hottest Coyotes apparel and souvenirs at their pro-shop.

But that’s just the beginning—you’ll also find great shopping, theatres, cafés, museums and so much more. With so much to do in Scottsdale, you could spend months uncovering all the treasures!

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