Traveling with kids can be much more of an adventure than traveling with friends or your significant other. Little ones can bring out the curiosity and exploration in everything (if you put away the electronics, that is). So with a kid’s curiosity and adventure in mind, here is the first installment of a three-part series on “Unique Things Kids Will Enjoy In Arizona”!
Unique Things For Kids To Do in Phoenix, Arizona
Since Phoenix is Arizona’s capital and largest city, let’s start here.
Like most other cities, there are, of course, many amazing parks, water parks, and even a Legoland Discovery but, what are some of the more unique things for kids to do in Phoenix and its surrounding areas?
1) The Bat Cave of Phoenix
If you’ve got Super Hero fans in your family or even some budding chiropterologist (yes, that’s a person who studies bats) you have got to take your crew to experience the bats of Phoenix. It may wreck some nerves but it’s a unique experience that everyone will enjoy and talk about for days, maybe even years. If you time your trip right (sunset from May to Oct), you’ll be able to witness approximately 20,000 bats as they explode out of the ‘cave’, which is really a tunnel, into the sky, for their nighttime feeding… how cool is that?
How to Get There: Kid-Friendly Things For Kids in Phoenix To find the bats, head to the intersection of 40th Street and Camelback Road. Turn north on 40th Street. After you pass to the north side of the Arizona Canal, park quietly (please respect the neighborhood). Once there, look for a path and walk west on the path for about 200 yards. Just to the north, you will notice a flood control channel. Continue north from the gravel walkway, about 20 feet to the concrete sidewalk. This paved sidewalk will take you to the top of the tunnel, where you’ll find informational signs. You can stay there at the top and wait for the bats. They’ll fly out of the tunnel for about 45 minutes, beginning right after the sun sets. They’ll then return around sunrise every morning.
2) Goldfield Ghost Town near Apache Junction
If you think your kids would enjoy a taste of the Wild Wild West, head on out past Apache Junction (a Phoenix suburb) and check-out a historic mining town, Goldfield Ghost Town. With a train ride that goes around the small town, a mine to explore, a small reptile room, 3 saloons, a boarding house, general store, blacksmith shop, brewery, and more, there’s something for every age. The kids can even ‘pan for gold’. Best of all, if you plan your visit right, your family can watch a gunfight reenactment that’s complete with period costumes and jokes.
How to Get There: Unless you love long distant walking, you’ll need a car (or an Uber) to reach this ghost town as Goldfield is located 4.5 miles out of Apache Junction, on historic Apache Trail SR-88. The town is open daily from 10am to 5pm, but the saloon is open from 11am to 9pm, in case you wanna stay late for dinner. The address and phone number are:
4650 N. Mammoth Mine Rd
Apache Junction, AZ 85119
3) The Mystery Castle
Tucked along the north edge of South Mountain is a hidden gem of unique SW history – The Mystery Castle. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the bizarre beauty and creative engineering that went into building this estate. It was built over many years in the early 1900s, by a dying father for his beloved daughter. It is a three-story castle that is made of stone, woods, adobe, random reclaimed parts, and anything the man could scavenge. imaginative dwelling. Until a few years ago, tours were led by the daughter herself. Then, upon her death, it was preserved as a museum and serves as a museum and interesting tale for the curious public.
After you’re done visiting the Mystery Castle, you may want to pop over to Ponderosa Stables and do some horseback riding and hiking around South Mountain Park. Bring plenty of water, hats, and sunscreen, even on winter days.
How to Get There: It will be most convenient to take a car to reach the Mystery Castle. The final roads in are unpaved and bumpy and parking can seem limited on busy weekend days. On weekdays, however, it is a peaceful visit. Please check visiting hours, as they vary.
800 E Mineral Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85042
4) Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa
For a truly unique kid-friendly dining experience, head on over to Mesa, AZ to visit Organ Stop Pizza. They have a magnificent performance by a spinning organ player that will keep the whole family dancing, singing, and laughing throughout dinner. The best part? The performance is free and the food is really reasonably priced. They have pizza, a salad bar, ice cream, and even beer for the adults.
For those truly interested in the beauty and sound of organ music, you’ll be wowed to know that Organ Stop Pizza is home to The Mighty Wurlitzer, one of the largest and finest theater organs in the world today. According to Organ Stop Pizza’s website, “Its nearly 6000 pipes, numerous percussions, and countless traps are masterfully presented by The Musical Staff who are world-class musicians. Organ Stop’s Wurlitzer theatre organ was built for the Denver Theatre and was installed in 1927. The organ was used regularly until the early 1930s.”
How to Get There: It’s pretty simple to get to Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa, and there’s ample parking when you arrive. You may want to check the hours before your trip, however. Though they’re open seven days of the week, the hours can be seasonal. The address and phone number are as follows:
1149 E Southern Ave
Mesa, AZ 85204
There are many uncommon things for kids to do in Phoenix and see in Arizona. I just wanted to share a few of my favorite unique things that may not come up on the traditional Top 10 Travel Lists.
What are your favorite unique things for kids to do in Phoenix? I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts in the comment section below!