Whether you want to explore the desert on horseback, or dig into one of the city's best ice cream sundaes, here are five family-friendly attractions to enjoy with the kids on your next Scottsdale getaway.
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. This park, located in the heart of Scottsdale, is a train-lover’s paradise. Take a ride on one of the park’s authentic locomotives: the Paradise and Pacific Railroad, an exact 5/12 reproduction of a Colorado narrow gauge railroad. The train carries passengers throughout the park on a one-mile track. Check out the train shed during your visit, which houses a complete machine shop for building and maintaining the railroad. The park is also home to an antique carousel, two playgrounds, Hartley’s General Store, and the Snackstop. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a must-see attraction that delights kid’s of all ages.
The Sugar Bowl. No Scottsdale family vacation would be complete without a stop at this Old Town Scottsdale landmark. This ice cream parlor and restaurant, housed in a cotton candy pink building, has been serving soups, sandwiches, salads, burgers, and ice cream treats since 1958. The restaurant also features an arcade parlor and gift shop. Take a look around and you’ll see that the walls are decorated with original artwork from the popular Family Circus comic strip. Creator Bil Keane was a regular at the Sugar Bowl, and featured the restaurant many times in his daily comic strips.
Crackerjax. CrackerJax is one of Arizona’s largest family fun and sports parks, with over 27 acres of attractions. The venue features a kiddie go-kart track, a bumper boat lagoon, two miniature golf courses and driving range, the new “bungy dome” bungee-jumping attraction, three championship volleyball courts, batting cages, a state-of-the-art video arcade, and a new “Water Wars” water balloon attraction. There is also a restaurant and snack bar located inside the main clubhouse.
MacDonald’s Ranch. Give your kid’s a taste of the authentic West with a visit to MacDonald’s Ranch, one of the Valley’s most popular horseback riding stables, located in the beautiful desert of North Scottsdale. MacDonald’s Ranch offers guided horseback rides, hayrides and cowboy cookouts, and stagecoach rides. Kid’s and their families are invited to visit the large, walk-in petting zoo, featuring everything from goats and chickens to sheep and peacocks. Whether you are planning a small family get-together, or a large group gathering, MacDonald’s Ranch offers several private desert sites with great views of the desert and surrounding McDowell Mountains.