Top Fun and Crazy Things to do in Arizona on your Vacation
Arizona's packed full of interesting and fun things to do on vacation. There's much more to the state than desert, and of course it's the home to the Grand Canyon! But after you've visited all the famous places (that the family secretly finds ho-hum), we're sharing our FAVORITE things to do from a local perspective. Bonus, if you need ideas pronto, check out these Phoenix things to do today, Scottsdale happenings, and Tucson things to do. Enjoy the master list of the best things to do in Arizona...
Experience Carnival Of Illusion in Phoenix, Mesa, Tucson or Tempe
Carnival of Illusion's boutique theaters are full of Magic, Mystery and Oooh La La! Create a shared memory with friends and family while enjoying a magical evening. It's perfect for adults, teens, and children (over the age of eight.) You'll be transported back in time to an old-style vaudeville show but don't worry, it comes without the dust! In this cozy setting the seats sell out fast. Carnival of Illusion is a fun, interactive, one-and-a-half hour show. Reviews of the show include comments like "splendid", with "lot's of laughter" and "amazing times".
Take a self-guided tour of the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix
The MIM, as it is often called, is an excellent place for family groups as it features exhibits and music from pretty much everywhere, with what is probably every musical instrument ever invented. This is a hands-on kind of place. There's even an opportunity to record your own music in their Experience Gallery. Take in over more than 7,000 exhibits from across the world with your own personal recorded guide explaining what you're seeing. The museum's situated at 4725 E Mayo Blvd in Phoenix, Arizona. Allow for three to four hours to see everything. If you work up an appetite, head for the Cafe Allegro on-site for a bite to eat. The museum shop is an ideal place to pick up some gifts and mementos of your Arizona vacation.
Discover the Mystery behind Mystery Castle in Phoenix
Mystery Castle comes with more than one mystery. Boyce Luther Gulley got tuberculosis and headed to Phoenix in the 1920s. His wife and daughter Mary Lou never heard from him again... that is until after he died. Then they discovered he had built a castle for his daughter. Why he never contacted them again during his life is just one mystery. For the other mystery you need to go and visit the unique building. It's constructed from all sorts of recycled things. When Gulley died he left a note to his family telling them to never open a trap door until two years after his death. They waited the required time before they opened it and the mystery was revealed. You too can discover the mystery on your trip through Arizona.
Explore the history and diverse plants at Biosphere 2
At 32540 S Biosphere Rd, Mile marker 96.5, Oracle, AZ you will discover over 3,500 exotic species of plants. The plants are housed in what started in the 1990s as a scientific experiment called Biosphere 2. The 3.15-acre glass house was built by multi-millionaire Ed Bass. He dreamed of colonizing Mars and tried to create conditions in the biosphere where humans could live a self-sustaining life. The place is unsealed now and run by the University of Arizona where they still conduct some experiments. You can stroll through the biosphere by yourself, or book a tour that helps you understand what's going on. Allow about two hours, and if you work up an appetite on your tour, you could grab a meal at their cafe afterwards.
Grab some fun photos of the giant Jack Rabbit on Route 66
Close to Joseph City, AZ on Route 66 many people have stopped off at the Jack Rabbit Trading Post, and for some it became a family tradition. Interestingly, the Trading Post survived the tough years as the route fell and rose again. It opened in the 1940s and managed to survive several different owners. Sometimes places just have something special that keeps people coming back, and Jack Rabbit is a landmark attraction. Outside the Trading Post, there's a big Jack Rabbit with a saddle on that makes for fun photos for both kids and adults. Inside, there's an opportunity to browse a range of fun souvenirs and mementos. Kids love the T-shirts and the delicious ice cream. It's a fun way to take a break from driving and learn a little bit about the famous and historic Route 66.
View the stars at the Lowell Observatory near Flagstaff
If you enjoy anything at all scientific, then you and your family will have a lot of fun at the Lowell Observatory, which sits on top of Mars Hill overlooking Flagstaff. The facility does open for guided tours during the day, but their evening events are perfect for seeing into space through giant telescopes. Some evenings they have fascinating presentations about the stars. The place is run as a non-profit astronomical research and educational facility. If you do visit during the day, you can actually look at the sun which is pretty impressive. Obviously, try and do that during good weather as you can't see the sun in overcast weather. While you're there, you can browse around the gift shop for a fun range of mementos.
Go go-karting and more in Scottsdale
Electric karts at the Octane Raceway are one way to have a great time with your family, as you can race, or play around in the game arcade. Located on Talking Stick Way in Scottsdale, it is open for both daytime and evening activities. For those who enjoy speed, they have karts that hit over 45mph. If that's not your thing, you can still have a lot of fun at their mini-bowling alley. Or you can suit up and head into the VR for amazing immersive experiences. All that adrenaline and fun will surely work up an appetite, and you can satisfy that at the Brickyard Bar and Grill. The place is clean and well organized, and they supply the equipment you need. Newbies can enjoy karting as well, as the track workers explain all the rules.
Golfing fun for the whole family in Gilbert
In Gilbert, Arizona, Topgolf is a place where the whole family can enjoy themselves, even if they don't play golf. These point-scoring golf games are ideal all year round. They have more than 100 golf bays and it spreads over three levels. The atmosphere is fun as well, especially in the evenings, with music and action and a lot of laughter. All levels of players can enjoy themselves here. There are places to eat as well, so you can make a day or an evening of it.
Travel back in time at the Arizona Railway Museum in Chandler
Who doesn't love trains? The Arizona Railway Museum in Chandler is yet another interesting place to visit on your vacation. This is a volunteer run museum and it pays to check out the hours before going. There are many exhibits and sometimes they have special events which both kids and adults enjoy. You will find exciting locomotives like the Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive No. SP 2562. Cabooses, tool cars, and tenders are all there, along with informative signs. Some of them make for an immersive experience and are open for you to walk through. You can spend hours in there enjoying a close-up look at the golden years of trains and railways. They have a gift shop as well. Visit their website to contact them about opening days and specials.
Explore local artisans and artwork at the Sedona Art Center
Classes, events, and a fine art gallery are what you'll find at the Sedona Art Center. Located at 15 Art Barn Rd, Sedona, AZ, you can enjoy new monthly exhibits of local artwork and so much more. Find something special to take home as a souvenir of your Arizona vacation in their exquisite gallery of high quality art. Or stop into the gift shop for a little something if a large piece for your living room isn't on the cards, and the gift shop staff will even gift-wrap your purchase. The items extend beyond painting and there's a selection of jewelry, bronze work, and handmade coffee mugs. Best of all, there's parking available at the back of the lot.
From family fun to adrenaline-packed activities, Arizona really offers so much for people on vacation. Whether you take in an evening of magic at the Carnival of Illusion or enjoy hours of fun golfing with the kids, you will surely have a good time. Action, culture, good food, and the nostalgia of route 66 await you.