17 Membership Options for Kids in Phoenix
Original blog post (February 2017) by Jana Tingom, 2019 update by Lindsay Lutes
With kids that have a toy room filled, Christmas and birthdays always make me a bit nervous! That is why a great gift option for these special times are memberships to some of our favorite local spots! These experiences will last much longer than the season’s “hot toy”, so why not ask family members and friends to consider giving a membership or season pass to an event instead of toys!
Every year, my children’s grandparents gift them with at least one family membership and it is so nice to have somewhere to go with the kids and not have to spend a lot of extra money. Also, kids love to visit these local spots and there is always something new to do!
These gifts can provide year-round joy for kids and give them the opportunity to learn and explore outside of their own home! Below are some great Phoenix spots to consider putting on your membership wish list!
Also, please let us know if you are members of any other great kid places in Phoenix and we’ll add it to the list!
Phoenix Area Zoos & Gardens
Butterfly Wonderland– A butterfly oasis located at Odysea at the Desert. The kids will love watching the butterflies interact with the world and may even have a butterfly land right on them! Read our review here.
Wildlife World Zoo– Located in the West Valley and includes both a zoo and aquarium. This zoo is known for a nursery filled with baby animals, a kangaroo walkabout, sea lions, a safari park, and a lot of big cats! Read our review here.
Out of Africa– This zoo is located about 90 minutes north of Phoenix, but it is definitely worth considering! This zoo features a Tiger Splash, Safari ride, and various other shows!
Desert Botanical Garden– The perfect spot for a gorgeous desert stroll. Filled with different garden trails highlighting the native plants of Arizona. In the Spring, they have a butterfly exhibit where you can learn all about the butterfly life cycle!
Sealife Aquarium– Located in AZ Mills in Tempe, AZ. This is a smaller aquarium but makes a great start to a mall visit or works great when combining a play day with Legoland Discovery Center right across the way- consider doing a dual membership. They are running a special right now for the combo membership! Read our review here.
Odysea Aquarium– The largest aquarium in the Southwest which features penguins, sharks, sea lions, stingrays and more! This aquarium is apart of Odysea at the Desert and is a great place to visit again and again. Read our review here.
Children’s Museum of Phoenix– One of our family favorites! Three floors of endless fun for kids and they are always hosting special events as well as special daily activities including cooking classes, acting/music classes, and art activities! Read our review here.
I.d.e.a. Museum– Located in Mesa and is the perfect place to play and explore. It has an area designed for kids 5 and under, as well as great rotating exhibits. With a membership here, admission to the AZ Museum of Natural History (see below) is half price- and vice versa. Read our review here.
AZ Museum of Natural History– AKA the Dinosaur Museum to most kids under the age of 10! Educational and fun! As mentioned above, a membership here allows for half-price admission to the i.d.e.a. Museum right up the street. Choose one location to get a membership for (unless you visit both frequently), and take advantage of the half-price admission.
Arizona Science Center– Filled with many hands-on science exhibits. It also features a planetarium and IMAX theatre, which you can add to your visit for a discounted member price. There are always special exhibits visiting, and until May, you can meet Victoria the T. rex, the second most complete T. rex skeleton on record! These special exhibits are also discounted. Be sure to check Groupon, as they run membership deals all the time! Read our review here.
Legoland Discovery Center– Another great place to visit at AZ Mills! The center features two rides, multiple building centers, a 4-D theatre, an “Arizona Miniland”, and a play structure. Again, don’t miss the combo deal with Sealife! Read our review here.
Musical Instrument Museum– A great place to explore many different musical instruments. Hosts various children’s classes.
Phoenix is filled with many play centers, trampoline parks, and other places for kids. Although not all of these spots offer memberships, there are punch-passes and gift cards available!
Season tickets to a local children’s theatre can be a great deal!
Valley Youth’s Theatre- Performances are done exclusively by youth actors! Great packages for multiple shows! Read our review here.
East Valley Children’s Theatre- Located in Mesa. All acting is done by children! Single tickets still left for the 19-20 season! Read our review here.
Outdoor Parks and Entertainment
Desert Breeze Railroad Park & Freestone Railroad Park– Both parks have a railroad and carousel, but Freestone has a few additional rides. Both offer yearly memberships. Read our reviews of Desert Breeze and Freestone here.
Local Swimming Recreation Centers– Most city pools and water recreation centers offer annual passes. These are typically available in the Spring and we will send out a separate post early 2020.
Local music, gym, art, swim or sports classes– Don’t forget you can always ask for a contribution towards a class your little one is taking or wants to take! Last year, my children were gifted swim lessons for their birthday and it was an excellent birthday gift that we all enjoyed!