As anticipated, triple-digit temperatures are here with a vengeance and there’s no end in sight. It’s easy to become a couch potato, staying indoors binge watching TV reruns while the kids are in their rooms playing video games and texting their friends. It’s time to break the boredom, so hop in the car and venture out to an air-conditioned venue for some family fun.


Exhibitions at the i.d.e.a. Museum include hands-on activities for the young visitors.

I.D.E.A. MUSEUM: Through exhibitions and hands-on activities, the Museum focuses on supporting early learning, nurturing creative thinking and fostering problem-solving skills. The current exhibit, Artful Play! Games & Toys, will include activities such as competing in a car race, creating a virtual pinball game, playing life-size games like charades and building on a giant wall structure. Activities are created with science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) concepts in mind.

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF PHOENIX: Based on the premise that learning is a joy, the Museum engages children with hands-on, interactive exhibits designed for newborns to age 10. The focus is on learning through play by providing projects, displays and programming to stimulate the mind, muscles and imagination of the tots and the grown-ups who care for them. There’s a tricycle car wash, a climbing maze, a room for fort-building, a castle to paint and an craft studio. A special playroom for ages 3 and younger includes a pool-noodle forest, a cozy reading nook, a kid-sized grocery store, pizza cafe and car-racing corner.

ARIZONA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY: Despite its name, most referred to this spot as “the dinosaur museum” but, rest assured, there’s a lot more unearth than prehistoric bones. Kids can pan for gold, experience a brief stay in an old-time jail cell and get caught in a monsoon-like downpour.

HALL OF FLAME MUSEUM OF FIREFIGHTING: With almost an acre of fire history exhibits, 90-plus fully restored pieces of vintage fire apparatus and memorabilia on display, a gallery dedicated  to the history of wild-land firefighting and a Hall of Flame honoring firefighters who have died in the line of duty, there’s plenty to see. There’s a hands-on children’s exhibit as well.


The planetarium show at Arizona Science Center is spectacular.

CHALLENGER SPACE CENTER: The landing-gear tire from the shuttle Discovery is on view along with other significant space memorabilia. The Museum offers interactive exhibits including a simulated space mission allowing visitors to become crew members.

ARIZONA SCIENCE CENTER: An ever-changing exhibit gallery keeps everyone engaged, while kids get a chance to explore with their hands at 300 “touchable” exhibits. The planetarium, IMAX theater, CREATE challenge zones and workshops require an additional entrance fee.


AZ Grind Skatepark offers private lessons.

AZ GRIND INDOOR SKATEPARK: Open skate hours are offered as well as both monthly and private lessons.

KIDS THAT RIP! SKATEBOARD SCHOOL: Lessons are offered, including free trials.

91 WEST SKATEPARK: Open skate hour and lessons offered in small groups of five or less..

USA’S SKATELAND CHANDLER: Open skate is available all week for kids, teens and adults. Guest characters, live DJ music and night skates keep the action rolling.

SKATELAND: Relive the roller-skating-party days of your youth while teaching your little ones how to roll on four wheels or in-line skates. If the kids are really struggling, ask for a balance walker.


The sets, sound system and lighting at Strarum Laser Tag arena are first-rate.

LASER QUEST PHOENIX: Think of this as paintball without the paint. Players go on “missions,” use code names and attempt to score as many points as possible in this high-tech update of hide-and-seek. Suggested for ages 7+.

STRATUM LASER TAG: The arena was designed by the creators of the Caesars Palace Forum Shops and the earthquake dam ride at Universal Studios so, needless to say, the sets, sound system and lighting are all first-rate.

MAIN EVENT ENTERTAINMENT: This place has it all;  bowling, indoor play areas and dining. But for laser tag lovers, this 3-D virtual video game experience is top-drawer. Teams navigate a foggy, black-light course with glowing pillars, arches and passageways.


 Amazing Jake’s Food & Fun has a rock wall, go-karts, laser tag, mini golf and kiddie rides.

MAKUTU’S ISLAND: This multi-level indoor playground includes several play areas, an arcade and a 35-foot slide  Let the kids explore all the tunnels and mole holes in the 25-foot oak tree. Children 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult at the 20,000-square-foot play center.

AMAZING JAKE’S FOOD & FUN: You name it, it’s here. This indoor “fun factory” has a rock wall, go-karts, laser tag, bowling, mini golf and kiddie rides. Be sure to check the height and weight restrictions for each activity. Bring your appetite, because a buffet purchase is required for entry.


There’s a dance party atmosphere at Bowlmor in Scottsdale.

BOWLMOR: Red leather couches, video walls, LED lighting and a new audio system add to the dance-party atmosphere. Glow-in-the-dark lanes feature banquette seating and lane-side servers.

FAT CATS: New in Gilbert, this family-friendly entertainment center offers 20 bowling lanes, an arcade, a pirate-themed glow-in-the-dark mini golf course and a six-screen movie theater.

FLIPSIDE: This entertainment venue offers standard and mini bowling (tot-size pins and bowling balls), a climbing structure with foam-projectile blasters and obstacle course, bumper-car-like crash pods, billiards, an arcade and laser tag.

MAIN EVENT: This entertainment center, with locations in Tempe, Avondale and Chandler, offers bowling, billiards, laser tag, gravity ropes and an arcade. The bowling lanes offer bumpers for the little ones and “laser jam” with black lights, lasers, fog and music.

UPTOWN ALLEY: This facility offers 40 bowling lanes with 15-foot projection HDTVs, black-light party bowling, state-of-the-art scoring systems and gutter bumpers for beginners. There’s also two-story laser tag, billiards, a sports theater and live entertainment.


The Ice Den features public skate events, figure skating practice and shows and house hockey games.

AZ ICE: There are public skate sessions, as well as skating and hockey lessons at three Valley locations: Phoenix, Peoria and Gilbert. Public sessions are held daily, but check the online calendar, which is updated daily.

ICE DEN:  It doesn’t get much cooler that this. Both Valley locations – Scottsdale and Chandler – have daily public skate events, figure skating practice and shows and house hockey games.


OdySea Aquarium features the Living Sea Carousel with five 114-seat moving auditoriums.

ODYSEA AQUARIUM: This 200,000-square-foot space features the Living Sea Carousel with five 114-seat moving auditoriums. Riders encounter sea turtles, sea lions, seals and several species of sharks.

SEA LIFE ARIZONA AQUARIUM: Visitors will travel from the fresh waters of the Colorado River to the salty Sea of Cortez. Exhibits include a 161,000-gallon ocean-view tank with an underwater tunnel. You’ll watch sea turtles, sharks, cownose stingrays, jellyfish, clownfish and angel fish frolic. The eye-level views, perfect for the kiddos, earn this facility extra points.

WILDLIFE WORLD ZOO AQUARIUM: Guests can explore more than 80 exhibits, including alligators, jellyfish, a stingray-touch tank, an otter habitat, penguins and a sea lion exhibit. At their on-site restaurant, you can dine next to a giant shark tank.