A girl with a butterfly on her hand at Children's Museum of Phoenix

Explore and learn with educational family fun in Phoenix

Our family took a getaway trip to Phoenix recently, and as always, I decided to scope out some family fun that would also provide an educational opportunity. I found not one but two places our family had not visited before, and we thoroughly recommend both. I also recommend checking coupon sites like Groupon for deals so you and your family can explore and learn together.

Butterfly Wonderland

Visiting Butterfly Wonderland was a no-brainer for our family as our daughter, Olivia, learned about butterflies in kindergarten, and she regularly talks about their life cycle.

Butterfly Wonderland is home to thousands of butterflies in a rainforest-like atmosphere. We watched a 3D film “Flight of the Butterflies” prior to entering the conservatory, where it felt like butterflies were flying right at us!

A young girl looks surprised and happy to have a butterfly land her hand

Then we entered one of the largest butterfly conservatories in North America. It’s very humid inside, so keeping hydrated is a must. Visitors are able to go in and out of the conservatory as many times as they wish. My daughter quickly warmed up to the butterflies and several landed on her hands, making her day!

Butterfly Wonderland is part of the Arizona Boardwalk in Scottsdale, which has more interactive activities for families such as OdySea and Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

Children’s Museum of Phoenix

As an educator, I could not believe I had waited this long to attend the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. You can easily spend an entire day there if you take your time in each of the interactive exhibits, where play and creativity are encouraged.

The first floor includes a massive play area allowing children to climb a wall all the way to the top (3 stories), but the entrance and exit were only on the first floor. I really liked this concept, as I did not have to worry about my children, knowing they would come back to where they started.

A boy sits in a race car for kids at the Children's Museum of Phoenix

The second and third floor had endless interactive activities. One of our favorites was the “car wash” station, where kids ride bikes through an imaginative car wash. My son Logan’s favorite were the giant car tracks, where he was able to launch cars and race his sister.

We ended our journey by creating a thingamabob in the art studio. The only part we did not make it to was their FOAM ZONE, open through Labor Day.

Also, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix offers FREE admission on the First Friday of every month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Incorporate the fun at home or in the classroom

After a family or field trip, engage in furthering a child’s education beyond the event. For example, growing butterflies at home! This Butterfly Growing Kit makes it possible to observe the butterfly life cycle up close and personal. This is a hands-on activity that children or students will never forget.

Where do your family or your students like to explore and learn? Let us know at @ArizonaEducator on Twitter or Arizona PBS KIDS on Facebook.


About the author

Marissa Will is the mother of two, Olivia (6) and Logan (4). Writing was her first passion: she’s a freelance writer and a Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication alumna. Will is currently educating the future leaders of tomorrow: She has spent the past nine years educating third grade with a master’s degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University-Yuma.

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