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Best Attractions: Phoenix, Arizona Metro Area


Part 1 of 2

A few years ago I was thrilled to be heading to Phoenix AZ for some spring training games.   While this wasn't my first trip to Arizona, I have not spent a lot of time there. Therefore on this trip, I wanted to check out the top things to see in Phoenix Arizona (besides spring training of course). I had a great time researching and came up with a guide of some of the best attractions in Phoenix Arizona. Here is part one of the two posts I am sharing.

Many people ask "What are the best attractions in Phoenix?" Well I think that depends entirely on what each person or group enjoys, and want to see.  With that in mind, I created this guide of the best attractions in Phoenix with a diverse list of things to see and do. Therefore my list includes indoor activities, outdoor activities, and attractions for families. No matter what you like to see and do, there is something the whole family can enjoy on my guide of the top 10 things to see in Phoenix Arizona.

Arizona Natural History Museum

Natural HIstory Museum

While not exactly in Phoenix, but still in the metro area, the Arizona Museum of Natural History is the premier natural history museum in Arizona. It is dedicated to inspiring wonder, respect, and understanding of the natural and cultural history of the Southwest.  While visiting the museum, you get to explore Arizona and the Southwest from the creation of the earth 4.5 billion years ago to the present. As a guest, you will get to see the origins of life on earth, meteorites, and minerals.  Don't forget to check out the Dinosaur Hall and discover some of the biggest dinosaurs that ever lived. On Dinosaur Mountain see how some appeared and sounded in a natural context. If that's not enough to see and learn in one visit, take a Walkthrough Time to explore ancient Arizona's Paleozoic Seas, Triassic Petrified Forest, monsters of the Cretaceous Seas, and the first animals to fly. One more thing you must check out is their newest exhibit, Rulers of the Prehistoric Skies. In this exhibit, they share the amazing diversity of Pterosaurs, the flying reptiles of the Mesozoic. Neither dinosaurs nor birds, Pterosaurs ruled the skies from about 225 to 65 million years ago. Definitely a museum worth adding on to your to-do list while in Phoenix.

Visitor Information

Address: 53 N. Macdonald Mesa, AZ 85201

Phone: (480)644-2230

Hours: Tues - Fri: 10 am - 5 pm  Sat: 11 am - 5 pm Sun 1-5 pm


  • Adults: $12
  • Seniors (65+) $10
  • Students (13+ With ID) $8
  • Children (3-12) $7
  • Children (Under 2) Free
  • Parking Free

Arizona Science Center

Arizona Science Center - Pam

No matter your age, your imagination comes alive at the Arizona Science Center. When visiting, you get the chance to embark on hands-on learning and create a memorable experience that will last a lifetime. Not surprising as this 140,000-square-foot building creates an intriguing environment of investigation and discovery. There are four levers to this huge museum filled with exciting “hands-on” exhibits, a state-of-the-art planetarium, and a 5-story high giant-screen theater. I was so looking forward to visiting this museum and was happy that a friend who lives in the area was able to go with me. We had a great time learning and exploring. I love visiting science centers. Make sure to check out my visit to the Saint Louis Science Center and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. This Science Center is definitely one of the best attractions in Phoenix Arizona. Here is a link to my Arizona Science Center visit.

Visitor Information

Address: 600 E. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85004

Phone: (602) 716-2000

Hours:  Open daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Pricing: General Admission – Not for special event or Planetarium

  • Adults: $18
  • Children (3-17) $13
  • Children (Under 3) Free
  • Parking Hourly up to $8 for full-day

Desert Botanical Garden

desert botanical garden

The Desert Botanical Garden states that they offer the world's finest collection of arid plants from deserts of the world in a unique outdoor setting.  With more than 50,000 desert plants on display, it’s hard to disagree. Make sure to check out their five thematic trails that illustrate topics such as conservation, desert living, plants and people of the Sonoran Desert, and desert wildflowers. You can also learn about desert landscaping, nature art, cooking and wellness, and more through the Garden’s various lectures and workshops. Check out their website for information on specialized tours, special events, seasonal exhibits, concerts, and family activities. You will also find information on Gertrude's restaurant and Patio Café, as well as the Garden's gift and plant shop.

Visitor Information

Address: 1201 N. Galvin Parkway Phoenix, AZ 85008

Phone: (480) 941-1225 or Toll-free: (888) 314-9480

Hours: October – April 8 am to 4 pm


  • Adult $24.95
  • Youth (3-17) $12.95
  • Children (Under 3) Free
  • Military (With ID) Free
  • Parking Free

Heard Museum

Heard Museum - Bowls 2

Interested in learning more about American Indian Art and American Indian people? If so, you definitely have to check out the Heard Museum. They present stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective, as well as exhibitions that showcase the beauty and vitality of traditional and contemporary art. To achieve this they collaborate with American Indian artists and tribal communities. Today they are known internationally for the quality of its collections, world-class exhibitions, educational programming, and its unmatched festivals. Check out my post on the Heard Museum to learn more about my visit. This museum has to be one of the best attractions in Phoenix Arizona for all the culture, history, and knowledge it brings to the area.

Visitor Information

Address: 2301 N. Central Avenue  Phoenix, Arizona 85004

Phone: 602-252-8840

Hours: Mon-Sat 9:30 am-5 pm Sun 11 am-5 pm.  Free on 1st Friday on each month 6 pm-10 pm


  • Adults $18
  • Seniors (65+) $15
  • Students (with college ID) $7
  • Children (6-17) $7.50
  • Children (Under 5) Free
  • American Indians (With Tribal ID) Free
  • Parking Free

Legoland Discovery Center

Lego - Legos

Looking for something fun to do with the kids? If so, I would suggest a visit to the Legoland Discovery Center in Tempe (in the metro area) It is a 40,000 square-foot indoor attraction featuring more than one million Lego bricks, Lego-themed rides, a 4-D cinema, and themed build-and-play areas providing a world of creativity and learning for young children. Families with young children can explore their imagination, color, and build in the ultimate indoor Lego playground. FYI, the Legoland Discovery Center is designed specifically for children aged 3-10 years to enjoy. Everything is kid-sized and adults must be accompanied by a child.   On a side note, while Gene and I were in New York we stopped into a Lego Store and it was so fun to see all the different types and colors of Lego.

Visitor Information

Address: 5000 Arizona Mills Circle, STE 135  Tempe, Arizona 85282

Phone: 855-450-0558

Hours: Mon-Sat 10 am to 7 pm Sun 11 am to 6 pm


  • Adults: $29.95 or $24.95 Online
  • Children (3-12) $24.95 Save 15% online
  • Children (Under 2) Free
  • Discounts for combo packages to SeaLife
  • Parking Free

Phoenix - Batters Eye

There you have it, the first 5 of the best attractions in Phoenix Arizona (besides spring training games, lol). While a few of them are not right in the city of Phoenix, they are in the metro area and still the Phoenix top things to do.  What have I missed? What do I need to include? Please comment below and let me know what you've enjoyed, or what I should add to this list.  Thanks in advance.


Images (6)
  • Phoenix - Batters Eye
  • Natural HIstory Museum
  • Arizona Science Center - Pam
  • desert botanical garden
  • Heard Museum - Bowls 2
  • Lego - Legos

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