I hate the words “I’m bored”. But, I also hate the triple digit heat the consumes the state of Arizona starting in May and lasts until September-ish. It makes life with children miserable.
I have also formed a hatred of not knowing what to do or where to go when looking for something to do with the kids or on a playdate. Additionally, I am not made of money. I like the free places, but every once in awhile, I like to splurge and do something fun and memorable with the kids.
So I spent all day coming up with 25+ ideas to beat the heat this summer (free and paid; local to Arizona and ideas for your location too!)
Splash Pads – Google “Splash pads in” and include your city. (I did this last night and found 3 in our city. I did it today and used Minnesota because I don’t remember them when I lived there, but after doing the Google search, Minnesota definitely has them!)
Mall Play Place – Most malls now days have children play areas for the kids to play in. It’s free. It’s in an air conditioned mall (unless you go to the outdoor malls). It lets the kids play with other kids while you relax.
Library – Depending on your child’s age and ability to not run around and scream, it gets you out of the heat. Grab a book, sit down, and read or let the kids play on the library computers for a little bit.
Fast Food Play Places – McDonald’s are great for taking the kids, letting them playing, relaxing in air conditioning, and getting some work done (they offer free Wi-Fi). We do a lot of playdates there too.
Bounce U – admission price varies by location, but a quick search shows that it is a per child fee. Most of them offered a $1 discount for additional children. (Arizona is $8.95 per child, $7.95 each additional child)
Imagination Avenue (Arizona only) – $9 per child and only for children ages 1 – 8
Jump Street – It looks like all locations price equally. Prices are per day for younger kids (and week days) to hourly rates for the older kids and the weekends.
Makutu’s Island (Arizona only) – Price isn’t listed on their site, but I did find a site indicating $8.50 per kid; $3.50 per adult; and under 1 free.
The Play Factory (Arizona only) – $9 per child for all day play (for ages walking to 12)
Pump It Up – Depending on location, the price per child varies. A quick search resulted $7 or $8 per kid (depending on location).
Big Surf Waterpark (Arizona only) – $25.00 online or $27.95 at the gate; $19.99 for ages 3 up to 4 feet tall; $19.95 for seniors; $2.95 for children under age 3; and $25.00 for a no swim day pass
Golfland SunSplash (Arizona only) – Prices vary depending on the attraction. Golfland SunSplash has a water park, arcade, laser tag, mini golf and more!
Public Pools – I suggest using Google with the term “public pool in” and use your city. I know in my city, there are a small handful of them. They typically cost less than $3 per person for admission (some are less than $1).
Museums – Science museums, art museums, children museums… take to Google and see what is available in your area!
Roller Skating – You will have to take to Google again to find one near you, but I know that we had them in Minnesota growing up and we have them here in Arizona (even by the same name!) Plus side, younger kids can learn to roller skate – some offer PVC pipe made “walkers”!
Ice Skating – Same as above, but if Arizona (the desert) has them, I’m sure you do too!
Sea Life Aquarium – Depending on location, tickets tend to be anywhere from $10 and up depending on location and age. I will say that it appears you save the most money purchasing your tickets online prior to going!
Amazing Jakes – Prices depend on location, but it appears the best price for the Texas location is $25.99 and for Arizona, it varies depending on what you plan on doing. Admission comes with the buffet, games and rides are additional in cost.
Batting Cages – I have never been to one that did not cost money in some form another, but it is a fun way to spend the hot days (especially if they are indoor batting cages).
Castles~n~Coasters (Arizona only) – Passes range in price from $24.99 to $34.99. Without the passes; rides, mini golf, and arcade games are all priced differently.
Cracker Jax (Arizona only) – They did not have their pricing online, but the best value is their unlimited 4 hour wrist band that varies from $15 to $25 depending on the day of the week.
Enchanted Island (Arizona only) – Admission is always free, but attractions range in price from $1.15 for a single ticket to $14.25 for an all day pass (although they have a special on Friday nights that from 5pm to 8pm it is $6.50 for unlimited).
Arcades – Arizona has Gameworks but there is also Peter Piper Pizza and Chuck E. Cheese’s. Consult Google to find other arcades in your area.
Bowling – My kids got free summer passes for bowling this summer for school. In addition, our local bowling alley is running some awesome summer specials for the kids! Check around and see what your local bowling alley is offering for summer vacation!
Go Karts – I’m aware of two in the Phoenix area and one in the Burnsville area in Minnesota. Consult with Google to locate one near you!
Pottery Painting – Arizona has As You Wish. I remember attending something similar growing up in Minnesota and have heard them called other things in other states. There is usually a “studio” fee and then the fee of the project, but it can still be a reasonably priced project for the kids.
Movie Theaters – It is air conditioned and can provide a couple hours of respite from the heat!
What are your favorite indoor ideas for beating the heat?