Family Travel Question:

Q | Any suggestions for fun things to do in Phoenix with teens?

We will be visiting Phoenix in the first week of August with 5 teens and 3 adults. Any suggestions for fun? -Judy, TX

A | Fun for teens and grown-ups in Phoenix

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You and your crew of teens and grown-ups are in for a sweet desert vacation! I spent my teen years in Phoenix and return at least once a year to visit family and explore the Valley of the Sun. I am happy to say there is ever-so-much more to do in the Phoenix area than when I was growing up here, plus there are a few fun attractions from my youth that I love to revisit with my kids. Here are just some of my favorite Phoenix area attractions:

Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona

The Musical Instrument Museum is like no other museum I have ever visited. Visitors don headsets that come alive with music and video commentary as you approach various exhibits of every type of musical instrument you can imagine from around the world. As someone who loves to travel and experience other cultures, visiting this museum was a wondrous musical buffet of the world. You can read about a country’s history and see its artifacts, but to hear its music and watch its people dance in joy – that brings the essence of its people to life.

The Phoenix Art Museum will appeal to adults and teens who have an artistic bent. The permanent collection includes art of various genres including Western American, Modern, Photography, Asian, and more. Rotating exhibits vary throughout the year.

BigSurf Waterpark is an old school Phoenix area attraction (located in Tempe), where teens can zip down water slides galore or catch a wave in North America’s original wave pool. Daredevils can brave the thrilling Hurricane Slides or the completely darkened Black Hole slide, while parents relax on the “shore” or take on the more mellow slides.

The Arizona Museum of Natural History (in Mesa) is a newer favorite of mine. “Lock up” your travel mates in the Lost Dutchman’s jail cells, pan for gold, and view life-sized Animatronic dinosaurs come to life as flash floods send water gushing down Dinosaur Mountain every 23 minutes.  

The Phoenix Zoo has expanded and improved vastly since I was a kid and a visit here is fun for all ages. Stop by the Desert Botanical Garden next door to connect with Arizona’s natural desert beauty.

For dining options that can’t be beat, check out these seven family-friendly Phoenix restaurants that lure me in with their crave-worthy eats each time I head home.

There’s so much more to see and do with teens in Phoenix…catch a Diamondbacks baseball game at the impressive Bank One Stadium with its retractable roof…climb the aptly named Camelback Mountain for exercise and an awesome view of the city below…or experience some hands-on learning at the vast Arizona Science Center. I could go on and on but I’m getting homesick now and I have a severe craving for some Mexican food served up Arizona-style!

Photo courtesy of Colleen Lanin

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