Summer pools are open in Phoenix, which means summer is in full swing! Staying cool, having fun and doing it on the cheap can be tough in Phoenix, but it’s not impossible. There are a lot of fun ways for kids to have a great summer vacation in Phoenix, both indoors and out, while on a budget.
Take a look at these kid-friendly ideas for cheap summer fun in Phoenix, and share your tips in the comments. How do you stay cool in the Phoenix summer heat?
Go Swimming at one of the City Pools
Swimming in Phoenix is a summer pastime, and no kid’s summer vacation in Phoenix is complete without at least a dip in a pool. Luckily for Phoenix kids, city pools are incredibly cheap and a ton of fun. Pools like Cortez and Pecos even rival the expensive water parks Phoenix is famous for, with splash pads and slides, at a mere fraction of the cost. Kids swim for FREE, adults $3 and seniors $1. Click here to find your nearest pool.
Visit Playtopia in Chandler
At Playtopia in Chandler, kids can play for free at one of three different “lands”: Farm Land, City Land, and Critter Land, where kids can play on a massive Gila monster. Playtopia has ramadas, picnic tables, and plenty of shade to escape the heat. Go early for the coolest weather and then cool off under the shade.
Visit Tempe Town Lake
While you can’t swim in Tempe Town Lake, there are plenty of other fun, cheap things to do on or near the lake. Bring your bikes to Tempe Beach Park for an early morning or evening ride or take an early morning walk around the lake. There is boating on the lake; boats can be rented for a charge.
Visit a Skate Park
Almost every Phoenix neighborhood has a skate park, like Desert West Skateboard Plaza in Phoenix, FREE to use. Find the one closest to you here.
Sign up for Summer Reading Challenges
Visit a public library and sign up for the summer reading program. People of all ages, including “pre-readers” and adults, can sign up for a reading program. As kids complete reading milestones, they’re entered to win some fun prizes. Adults are rewarded with a giveaway as well. For more information about summer reading programs at libraries around the Valley, click here.
Go Out Early Morning to the Botanical Gardens
The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is one of the most beautiful places to visit year-round. Beat the heat and go early to the Desert Botanical Garden for free on the second Tuesday of each month from 7 am to 8 pm (summer hours). Note – the Garden will be closed July 1 – 7, 2023.
Visit the Phoenix Zoo at a Discount
Did you know the Phoenix Zoo offers discounts for students and AAA members? Those discounts, and more, can be found here. Summer hours for the Phoenix Zoo are 7 am to 1 pm daily.
Picnic at Encanto Park
Encanto Park is a 222-acre park with so much more than picnic areas. Encanto Park has a lagoon, nature trail, urban fishing and more, so you’ll find plenty to do before and after your picnic by the lake.
Summer Movies in the Park – Peoria
Slightly outside of Phoenix, in the Northwest Valley, take a drive over to Peoria for a FREE summer movie in the park. Make sure to check the link for exact days and times. The next movie will be September 2, for free tickets, click here.
Summer Movie Fun Inside
Want to see movies as a discount this summer? Check out Harkins’ and AMC’s summer movie series. See them all or just catch a few, all indoors under the air conditioning. For more information and locations, click here. Oh, and try Cinemark here.
As You Wish Pottery has a summer program for kids. Paint on pottery to create masterpieces for the home. Each class is $25. For more information and dates, click here.
Petting Zoo at Superstition Farm
Just outside of Phoenix, Superstition Farm offers a Petting Zoo, Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. for $4 per person. For more information, click here.
Get Building at Home Depot
Home Depot offers a variety of classes for kids to take, including a make-your-own wooden tic-tac-toe game and more. If you’re looking for ways to teach your children to be handy, Home Depot’s kid’s classes are a great way to start out. For more information, including dates and registration information, click here.
Jam at the Musical Instrument Museum
One of Phoenix’s most beautiful and interactive museums, the MIM offers family workshops throughout the summer. Bring children, ages 0 – 4 to MIMkids Mini Music Makers, a fun early childhood introduction to multiple sound instruments. Think about taking your teen, grades 6 – 12 to train as a MIMkids Junior Museum Guide.
Westgate Wednesday Summer Series
Has your kid been wanting to meet his/her favorite superhero or princess? Take them over to Westgate in Glendale to meet their favorite character, get a free photo, and play in the splash pad before and after the event. For more information and character days, click here.
First Friday at Phoenix Children’s Museum
Take Them Out to the Ball Game
The Arizona Diamondbacks‘ schedule is in full swing during the summer, which means plenty of opportunities to take your kids to an afternoon game at matinee prices or go for the theme days, like Star Wars Day or Baxter’s Birthday.
An even better deal is to sign up your kids for the Diamondbacks Kids Club, members get a FREE ticket to Sunday home games.
Any free or cheap activities for kids that we missed? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll update this post.