A Break from the Ordinary—A Guide to Five Fun Family Experiences in Phoenix


It’s January in Phoenix, which means the weather is perfect to get out and explore for the next couple months. Enjoying parks, hikes and restaurant patios are a favorite pastime this time of year, however it is fun to change things up a bit too. It can get easy to get stuck in a rut visiting the same parks and museums with the kids, so below are five fun experiences to shake things up and get you exploring together as a family.

Pet Adorable Animals. With a number of ranches and zoos in and around the Phoenix area, a quick Google search will lead you to a number of options where you can get up close with animals. MacDonald’s Ranch, in Scottsdale, is a favorite for our family. Little ones can go for pony rides and get up close to a number of other livestock—goats, pigs, donkeys, chickens. Looking for more exotic animals—you can feed giraffes at the Phoenix Zoo and visit with other animals at the Wildlife World Zoo.

Enjoy Nature. There are a number of lovely desert nature walks all around the city, but for a real change of scenery, a favorite stop is at the Japanese Friendship Garden. Enjoy the sounds of running water from the calming streams and waterfalls, feed the koi fish and take a moment to reflect in this tranquil city escape.

Go on Safari. While we are all familiar with the amazing Out of Africa safari experience, sometimes we just don’t have the time to make the trek to Camp Verde. The Cabela’s, in Glendale, maintains a museum-worthy educational display with more than 400 animals. Detailed signs provide information about the lifelike creatures, from a tiny mouse to a huge elephant. A large tank contains live fish native to Arizona, including the state fish and several endangered species.

Get Immersed in Butterflies. Butterfly Wonderland is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. You can feed the koi fish while over 3,000 butterflies fly around. Everywhere you turn there are gorgeous butterflies hiding within the lush tropical plants and flowers. Follow the guided path and enjoy the sights and sounds of a tropical rain forest.

Visit a Ghost Town. Arizona is known for its numerous ghost towns that stretch across the state. The Goldfield Ghost Town, located just 20 miles east of Mesa, takes you back to a different time. Walk the main street and explore the shops and historic buildings. You can tour the Mammoth Gold Mine and visit the on-site museum. Round out your afternoon with a lunch in the saloon.

Hopefully these ideas will give you and your family a dash of inspiration to break up the routine and try something new!

I would love to hear what your favorite activities to do around town are—please leave a comment below.

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Lauren is the proud mom of two spunky little boys, wife and business owner. She holds a Masters of Business Administration degree, is a marketing communications professional and owner of Auriga Marketing. While she was born in Phoenix, she grew up in Temecula, California and moved back to attend Xavier College Preparatory. After high school she ventured to Denver for college (and skiing) and then on to Honolulu a couple years after graduating. She and her husband returned to Arizona in 2012 and made Central Phoenix their home. They love to travel and experience different cultures, having a deep appreciation for a warm beach and sand between their toes. When she isn’t chasing after two boys or playing with their overly energetic dogs, she can be found working on a home DIY project, trying out a new recipe or planning their next family adventure. Oh, and she is also a firm believer that chocolate should be its own food group!


  1. Hi Lauren

    I love your articles, and especially liked this one for things to do.
    I would love to bring a group of Mom’s w/ kids for free into flip Dunk to check out our facility and experience some of our preschool activities.
    I also live in central Phoenix, and my kids all went to Brophy and Xavier.
    My business partners are Malarie Woolf & husband Bob Woolf, also known as The Phoenix Sun’s Gorilla, for the past 30 years.
    If your interested please email or call me anytime!!

    [email protected]
    Flip Dunk Sports: 602-277-0067
    Cell: 602-363-4421

    Lori Price


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