10 Best Things to Do with Kids in Scottsdale

Scottsdale is known for its upscale boutiques and lively nightlife, but this desert metropolis also happens to be a great family vacation destination.

If you're traveling to Scottsdale with young kids, be sure to plan a visit to McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, a free attraction where kids can get up close to historic locomotives, visit a model railroad museum, and even ride a train through the park.

Kid of all ages will enjoy a visit to the Musical Instrument Museum, the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to collecting instruments from around the world. Interactive, hands-on exhibits encourage younger visitors to experiment with different instruments and sounds.

All kids love butterflies, so take the tikes on a trip to Butterfly Wonderland, one of Scottsdale's newest attractions. It's the largest indoor butterfly atrium in the country, and the perfect place to give the kids a fun glimpse into the secret life of everybody's favorite insects.

One of the best things about visiting Scottsdale is getting to experience the wonder of the desert. For a fun family night that celebrates the natural scenery and Old West history of the Southwest, head to MacDonald's Ranch in beautiful north Scottsdale. You can enjoy hayrides, singalongs around the campfire, and authentic Western barbecue.



Arizona's territorial days are recreated on this 85-acre property, where costumed craftspeople work among authentic and reproduced buildings. Special events like a lively bluegrass festival, a Civil War reenactment, and an antique tractor show...  Read More



Scottsdale's new Museum of the West celebrates the spirit, history and culture of the American West. The museum calls itself a "study in the west," featuring Western art, storytelling, and historical artifacts that help convey the story and...  Read More



Presenting the world's largest display of firefighting equipment, this museum highlights 100 restored pieces of hand-to-hand, horse-drawn, and mechanized firefighting equipment from 1725 to 1961. Additional exhibits include a fire truck for...  Read More



Odysea Mirror Maze is Scottsdale's latest family-friendly attraction. Located to the Butterfly Wonderland complex, the Odysea Mirror Maze is the next phase in Scottsdale's 'Odysea in the Desert' entertainment complex. Step inside the...  Read More



Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale is an unique facility featuring an indoor rain forest environment that is home to the largest butterfly pavilion in America. The museum features a 3D theater, butterfly emergence gallery, conservatory, a live...  Read More



Many of this district's buildings date from the 1920s and have been renovated to house an appealing collection of specialty shops, which the neighborhood is known for today. Top-notch Native American and Mexican jewelry and crafts sit alongside...  Read More



MacDonald's Ranch is the Valley of the Sun's premier horseback riding stable. Located in beautiful North Scottsdale, MacDonald's Ranch offers guided horseback rides, hayrides, stagecoach rides, cowboy cookouts, and live entertainment. No matter...  Read More

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park


McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a train-lover's haven located in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona. The park offers train and carousel rides for all ages, open green space for family picnics, historic Arizona railroad artifacts, model...  Read More



OdySea Aquarium is one of the newest aquariums in the United States, and it happens to be in an unlikely place: the northern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Don't let the desert location fool you, though: this is the...  Read More



The Musical Instrument Museum, also known as the MIM, celebrates art, music and culture by documenting the history of musical instruments from around the world. Everyone from Carlos Santana to Tony Bennett have sung the praises of this bright,...  Read More


Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.