Phoenix With Kids

Best Park in Scottsdale for Kids: McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Chris and Jana Tingom
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

What’s the best park in Scottsdale for kids? Without any question it must to be McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. This park is so popular that if you want to reserve a ramada (picnic table groups under a roof) for a birthday party, or group barbecue you’ll need to do it 6 months in advance. Here’s a map of the park.

So, what is it about this park that makes it the best for kids? Easily, it’s the railroad that circles the park. The train ride costs only $2 each and children under 3 ride free with a paying adult. What a deal. The train rides run continuously during the weekends and every 30 minutes on weekdays (except Thanksgiving and Christmas).

Entrance to the park is free, but there is a small fee of $3 for rides, and you can also buy a all-day-wristband for about $10.

The above video from YouTube shows the steam powered train with passengers at the park. It’s a wonderful train and is very popular.

But wait, that’s not all!

In addition to the train rides, kids can also:

  • Ride a carousel ($3 each)
  • Enjoy a picnic on the grass, or an open picnic table
  • Ride a smaller train called the Live Steamers Doubleheader (Sundays from noon to 5pm)
  • Enjoy the very large and shaded playground area
  • Play on the old miniature western town
  • Sports (bring your own, there’s lots of grass)
  • Monkey bars
  • Walk through The Roald Amundsen Pullman Car (used by Presidents’ Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower) (small fee, click here for a PDF), children under the age of 13 are free in the Historical Railroad Exhibit
  • Visit the Model Railroad Building which holds 10,000 square feet of model railroads (four model railroad clubs using HO, O, N, and SLS gauge)
  • Host a birthday party or other special event
  • Get an ice cream cone at the snack stop (operating out of a caboose)
  • Shop in the general store (food, beverages, merchandise)
  • Xeriscape Arboretum

See the park web site for a list of special events including an October Railfair, a November Veterans Day performance, as well as December Holiday Lights.

You can purchase discounted ticket books at the main office in the park.

The Fowler McCormick’s donated 100 acres of their McCormick Ranch to Scottsdale in 1967 and construction began on the park which opened on October 4, 1976. They had stipulated that the new land should be used to make a park. Apparently the land value at that time was 1 million dollars. The land that was donated includes the stretch of land you can see on the west side of Scottsdale Rd. This land is still vacant to this day and affords beautiful views of Camelback Mountain from the railroad park. The park was originally planned to be on the west side of Scottsdale Rd., however that land is in the town of Paradise Valley and they put up a big stink at the time, and thus the park ended up where it is today, in Scottsdale. For those of you interested, the land on the west side of the street was sold to a developer several years ago.

The Scottsdale library hosts story time at the McCormick Stillman Railroad Park during the cooler months of the year. 10:30 am on the third Tuesday of the month September through April (unless it falls on a holiday, then you need to check the website). Located to the left of the park entrance, in the cool shade of the grass near the model train room. Stories are appropriate for ages birth to five. The librarian gave all the kids tambourines to play along. There are stories, finger plays, rhymes, music, and sing alongs.

The best part is with the cool weather, you can stay and enjoy all the park’s amenities. We enjoyed multiple train and carousel rides, the spray poles, playground and of course the swings! Click here for the park’s information.

(by Kim Gundykunst-Ollerhead)

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
7301 E. Indian Bend Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Phone: (480) 312-2312

  • Chris and Jana Tingom

    We live in Scottsdale, AZ and have three children, ages 10, 7 and 3. They are full of energy, and so we're always looking for new things to do. Come join our family adventures!

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