Family Travel: Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona
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Kids will love the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in nearby Scottsdale, AZ, where they can climb aboard "The Paradise and Pacific Railroad," ride the restored Charros Carousel, view historical exhibits, and enjoy picnic and playground areas. Also located in Scottsdale is the Phoenix Zoo, voted one of the nation's Top 5 Zoos for kids. It features thematic trails that take visitors everywhere from Arizona to the Tropics, encountering mountain lions, bighorn sheep, cheetahs, rhinos, orangutans, and many other species along the way. There are plenty of opportunities for the kidsto get up close and personal with the animals too. The giraffe encounter and stingray bay are two worthwhile spots, plus the camel rides are a big hit as well!
Back in downtown Phoenix there is still plenty to do, if your family has the time. The Arizona Science Center, with more than 300 interactive exhibits, a planetarium, a five-story giant screen theater, and live demonstrations, is a great educational experience for kids. Exhibits include "All About You," exploring the human mind and body, and "My Digital World," where little ones can explore digital communication technology.
One last must-see for families of young kids is the Children's Museum of Phoenix, a 70,000-square-foot facility in the historic Monroe School Building. All exhibits on the premises are hands-on and interactive, designed to engage children ages ten and under to use their minds, bodies and imaginations. A new exhibit just opening in 2011 is "10,000 Blocks: The Sky's the Limit," which gives children blocks of all sizes, shapes, and colors and lets them build to their heart's content.
There is plenty more for a family to do and see in the warm desert city of Phoenix, Arizona. For a few more ideas while planning your trip, visit www.visitphoenix.com.
Jillian Ryan is a travel writer who lives in Astoria, NY. She dedicates this article to her friend Keri and her family, who have hosted her in Phoenix many times (she hopes they know she will be back very soon!).
Also see: Warm-Weather Vacations for Families