10 Best Things to Do with Kids in Tucson

Whether you're just passing through Tucson for a day, or you're taking the family on an extended desert adventure, Tucson has more than its share of family-friendly attractions.

If you're traveling with young children, plan a stop at the Tucson's Children Museum in downtown. The interactive exhibits include an art studio, grocery store, and science station, encouraging your little ones to play, explore, and learn in a safe and fun hands-on setting.

Young and older kids alike will love a visit to Old Tucson Studios on Tucson's west side, where classic films like Tombstone and The Three Amigos were filmed. Musical revues, high noon shoot-'em-ups, and train rides are part of the fun at this historic film studio.

Located a short drive from Old Tucson Studios, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a quintessential Tucson attraction that will appeal to everyone in the family. Explore more than 21 acres of pristine desert gardens, catch a glimpse of a mountain lion, and get up and close with dozens of hummingbirds in the hummingbird aviary.

For a quirky detour, take the family to the Mini Time Machine Museum. While you won't find any time machines here, there's little doubt kids will love exploring the 275 miniature houses and room boxes housed at this unique museum. 

The Gadsden-Pacific Division Toy Train Operating Museum in Tucson is run by a non-profit group of dedicated model railroaders in the Old Pueblo. This small, offbeat museum has unique displays of railroad memorabilia. One of the most prized...  Read More

The Reid Park Zoo has been a midtown Tucson institution since it was founded in 1967. The city-owned park and non-profit zoo stretches out across 17-acres in the heart of the city and is home to more than 500 animals. You'll see ostriches,...  Read More

Set in the heart of the city, the Tucson Botanical Gardens offers plenty of winding pathways, taking visitors past floral exhibits, greenhouses, classrooms for instruction, and a superb exhibit on xeriscaping, a concept of planning yards and...  Read More

It may seem a bit unorthodox these days to center a museum around a collection of stuffed and preserved animals and insects, but this one actually succeeds. Starting with the holdings of numerous educational institutions and individuals, the...  Read More

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures in Tucson is a 15,560 square foot facility that likes to think of itself as a miniature time machine where you can step back in time--in miniature form. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy a self-guided...  Read More

The setting for many favorite Western movies (including Tombstone, Gunfight at the OK Corral, The Three Amigos, and countless John Wayne flicks), the Old Tucson Movie Studio had become something of a cinematic legend. Though a fire destroyed the...  Read More

Biosphere 2 Center

Biosphere 2 is a self-contained, man-made habitat that comprises all of the elements from Earth (Biosphere 1). It is a sealed glass and space frame construction with seven wilderness ecosystems. Today, Biosphere 2 is operated as a research...  Read More

Aviation buffs, this one's for you. The Museum opened to the public in May, 1976, with 75 aircraft on display. Since then the collection has grown to over 250 aircraft occupying 80 acres of land. The entire museum property covers about 150...  Read More

This Tucson institution is brimming with fun learning activities that cover several topics. The Dinosaur World exhibits make this the perfect companion to the T Rex Museum for your little paleontologist. If you have a budding train engineer or...  Read More

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is one of Tucson's star attractions, with good reason. Part zoo, part natural history museum, and part botanical garden, the facility is set on 21 acres and is home to numerous animals that roam freely within...  Read More


Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega has lived in the Arizona desert since she was a teenager. She works as a writer and editor in Phoenix with her four dogs and two cats.

She received her MFA in Creative...  More About Patricia