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Free Things to do in Phoenix With Kids: Museum Edition

Time for a quick list of free things to do in Phoenix with kids, museum edition! There are actually quite a few museums in Phoenix that are always free, giving families the opportunity to learn local history without breaking the bank. Below you’ll find the location and a brief overview of each museum, as well as a list of other museums with low cost admission.

It’s worth noting that while these museums are free, they are run by donation and volunteer basis. If you enjoy your visit, considering donating even a $1/person to allow the museum to continue to be part of the community.

Free Museums in Phoenix

Tempe History Museum (809 E Southern Ave, Tempe, AZ 85282) – 10am to 5pm, Tuesday -Saturday, and 1-5pm on Sunday, closed Monday. This is a cozy museum covering Tempe history, with a kids area that includes interactive displays and a climbable truck and police motorcycle! They also host fun kid friendly events.

Scottsdale Historical Museum (7333 E Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale, AZ 85251) – 10am to 5pm, Wednesday-Saturday, 12-4pm on Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday. This small museum is packed full of fascinating information about Scottsdale, past and present, and a great addition to visiting Old Town. Kids will love ringing the bell!

Arizona Capitol Museum (1700 W Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007) – 9am to 4pm, Monday-Friday. This restored early 1900’s building offers information about Arizona history through artifacts, programs and technology. There are hands on activities in various rooms to keep kids interested. This museum is an excellent way to get an overview of the amazing state of Arizona.

Chandler History Museum (300 S Chandler Village Dr, Chandler, AZ 85226) – 10am to 5pm, Monday-Saturday, and 1-5pm on Sunday. With a combination of displays and art, visitors will gain a better understanding of the development of Chandler and surrounding area. Another great local museum!

George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center (415 E Grant St, Phoenix, AZ 85004) – 10am-4pm, Thursday-Saturday. Learn more about the African-American heritage in Phoenix. Special programs are also offered.

Phoenix Police Museum (Historic Phoenix City Hall, 180 W Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85003) – 9am to 3pm, Monday-Friday. Children will love this museum! There’s a old police car and motorcycle to play on, plus fascinating displays about the Phoenix Police Department. Be sure to ask for the kid packets to take home!

Martin Auto Museum (17641 N Black Canyon Hwy, Phoenix, AZ 85023) – 10am to 5pm, Monday-Friday. Wonderful collection of old restored cars! This is definitely a no touch museum, but kids are welcome.

Phoenix Trolley Museum (1117 Grand Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85007) – only open on Saturdays, 9am-4pm, October-May. Did you know Phoenix had a fully functioning trolley at one time? Tours are short, but informative. Combine it with other nearby museums for a family outing!

Fiesta Bowl Museum (7135 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251) – 8:30am to 5pm, Monday-Friday. This collage football museum has fiesta bowl memorabilia and 120 subdivision team helmets. Great little place for a budding football lover.

Wells Fargo Museum (145 W Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85003) – 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Just up the street from the Police Museum, the Wells Fargo Museum is another fun place with hands on activities for kids to learn about the development of communication in the West. Take a ride in the stagecoach, learn Morse Code, learn about mining, and more! There’s some fun photo ops too.

Salt River Project Heritage Center (SRP’s Project Administration Building lobby, 1500 N. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281) – 10am to 5pm, Monday-Friday. This short and sweet museum offers a unique insight into the canal and energy system in the Phoenix area. The VR experience at the Roosevelt Dam was the highlight for the kiddos! This isn’t a museum geared for kids, but school age children will likely enjoy the brief tour. (Note: to enter, adults are required to show an ID. All guests will receive a temporary badge and must go through basic security. It’s worth a call ahead of time to confirm the museum availability because it also doubles as a conference room.)

Arizona Military Museum (5636 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85008) – 1-4pm, Saturday and Sunday only. This museum is small but packed full of gems of military history!

Adobe Mountain Train Museum (23280 N 43rd Ave, Glendale, AZ 85310) – only open on Sundays, 12-4:30pm, September-May. Learn about railroad history and get a ride on a small streamer.

Museums with Specific Free Days

There are a handful of museums in Phoenix that have free days! Note that these days can get extremely busy and crowded. Call ahead to confirm free days/hours.

There’s also the Culture Pass, which offers free admission to a handful of museums if you have a local library card. Learn more here!

Children’s Museum of Phoenix (215 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034) – free on the first Friday of every month, 5-9pm. Kids ages 10 and under will love the three story tree climber, art studio, free play areas, and more!

Phoenix Art Museum (1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004) – free on the first Friday of every month, 6-10pm; also discounted admission on Wednesdays after 3pm. There is a scavenger hunt page to keep interest and teach kids about various types of art.

Heard Museum (2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004) – free on the first Friday of every month, 5-10pm, Native Americans always free. Learn about the first people and how they thrived in the desert. This is a great place to take first time Arizona visitors!

Arizona Science Center (600 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004) – Fry’s Free Weekend, September 14-15, 2019, learn more here! From electricity to Ham Radio, the wonders of the human body to weather patterns, this hands on museum is fun for all ages.

IDEA Museum (150 W Pepper Pl, Mesa, AZ 85201) and Arizona Museum of Natural History (53 N Macdonald, Mesa, AZ 85201) – part of Mesa’s free Sunday program, learn more here. Both museums are within walking distance of each other! The IDEA Museum offers endless creativity projects and more, and the natural history museum has impressive dinosaur exhibits as well as hands on activities to learn about local history.

Other Low Cost Museums

Cave Creek Museum (ages 12 and under free)

Arizona Railroad Museum

River of Time Museum (ages 5 and under free)

Glendale Doll Museum

Pueblo Grande Museum (ages 5 and under free)

Irish Cultural Center

Don’t miss Part One in this series: Free Things to do in Phoenix with Kids: Mall Edition.

Jana Tingom

Jana is a homeschooling mother of three children, and lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Chris. She enjoys traveling, reading and coffee. Follow @phoenixwithkids on Instagram for daily photos around Phoenix!

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