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5 Things to Do With Little Kids in Phoenix

As a Midwest Mama, when we travel somewhere warm in the winter months, we take full advantage of being outdoors as much as possible. Recently, I traveled with my three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son from Illinois to Arizona to watch my three-month-old niece. (Stay tuned for future blogs about traveling with two little ones and life as a Mommy/Nanny for a week!) I would be with all three LO’s during the day and once my brother and sister-in-law got home from work my two kids and I would hop in the car for some later afternoon adventures before the sun set. 

Since I had limited daylight that week to get my kids out and about, I had to choose my destinations carefully.  Normally I am a very ambitious Mom and likely would have hiked the Grand Canyon with them if it was close enough. Having been to Phoenix many times and once with just our daughter, I had an idea of what to do. Below was our weekly itinerary that any parent can use whether visiting Phoenix or living there.

Take a hike. Thanks to the pandemic, my son’s first three months of life in summer 2020 were spent strapped to me or my husband while we hiked every state park within three hours of our home in IL. This trip we took advantage of 70-degree at 4PM and headed to Papago Park. This is a fantastic spot to hike with kids. There is various terrain from gradual trails to hiking up into the caves. It is right by the Phoenix Zoo too, so it’s a great way to gear up or cool down from visiting the animals. We made it a scavenger hunt, stopping to read the trail signs about animals commonly found in the area. Since we went in the evening, we took in the sunset from a lower cave. 

See a game (or pretend to). We are a Chicago Cubs family and always catch a game (or five) during Spring Training when we visit in the spring. Even though baseball had not started yet when we were there, I took the kids to walk outside of Sloan Park,  take a few photos to send Daddy back at home, and send some winning vibes to our Cubbies’ field for the new season. 

Play at a park. There were a couple nearby parks walking distance or a short drive from my brother’s house. Our favorite, though, was Riverview Park near Sloan Park. There was something for kids of all ages to do. Both of our kids had fun on the many slides, climbing ropes, bridges, and tunnels. While we didn’t get to do it that evening, there was a large splash pad turned on in the center of the park. We will definitely be back there!

Ride a choo-choo! When visiting Arizona in August for my sister-in-law’s baby shower, our daughter and I discovered McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. Within the 30-acres of property you and your children can ride a miniature train around the park, climb, play and swing several playgrounds, go round-and-round the Carousel, walk through a miniature train exhibit that is outstanding, or picnic in the greenspace. This is an inexpensive way to entertain children for a good portion of a day without battling crowds.

Dine out (or in). Going out to eat with both kids when my husband is with me is hard enough, so trying to eat out with both kids by myself was not an option this trip. I knew of a restaurant called Scramble where my daughter loved their Minnie Mouse pancakes. I placed an order the night before with Uber Eats for their Minnie and Mickey pancakes, plus some treats and a tasty coffee for my sister-in-law and I. It was there by 7:45 AM to our house when the kids were ready to eat. It gave the kids something fun to eat and a chance to not cook amidst everything else going on in our mornings. 


There were plenty more indoor places to explore on our list, but we’ll save those for another Blog. Let us know if you have more day trip itineraries to share for parents with little ones living in or traveling to the Phoenix area.