Visiting the Phoenix Art Museum with kids isn’t the first place families consider, at least not with younger children. But it’s actually a great way to expose children to different types of culture, history and of course, the wide variety of aspects that art means. Did you know it’s the largest art museum in the Southwest? That’s worth a visit in of itself!
There are two items for families to look for at the front desk. First, the “I’m Here With Kids” booklet gives an overview of each section and might help plan your tour better. I loved an opening statement saying that it’s ok if you don’t know much about art – learn and ask questions together! This was definitely us. Also, ask for the scavenger hunt page. It has seven items to find as you walk around, along with a question to ponder. This really motivated our six year old to look carefully at every display, and both kids enjoyed the search.
There is no right or wrong way to tour the art museum. We spent a little over an hour (mom could have stayed longer, ha, but I didn’t want to push my luck at our first visit!), and saw every exhibit. There were a couple under construction, making us curious to return soon. You’ll find exhibits on Asian art, including beautiful vases, European paintings, a unique collection entitled “In the Company of Women”, photographs, and more.
Our favorites? For sure the amazing floor to ceiling butterflies near the front desk. The kids kept stopping to look up and marvel. Our son liked the Asian armor and swords, of course, and our daughter was completely fascinated by the bonnets made entirely out of…well, you’ll have to visit the museum to see! The oversized Big Mac hamburger was also a hit. Mom’s favorite? The Monet painting for sure. We had a good discussion about impressionist paintings and how they were made.
Why take your kids to an art museum? Here are three thoughts to consider:
- In this day of fast paced entertainment, it’s often difficult for children to slow down. Studying art, even for a minute, challenges the brain to think differently. Information isn’t just handed to them, it’s sought out.
- It’s never too early to introduce children to the various types of art. It’s not just paintings! It can be architecture, photography, pottery, mosaic, conceptual and more. This opens up a new world of discovery.
- Asking questions is good! Several times my daughter outright said “I don’t get this” at a few displays. It forced both of us to think a little deeper beyond appearance.
The Phoenix Art Museum is kid friendly. Strollers are welcome, and the employees are very helpful and kind. This said, the atmosphere of an art museum is on the quieter side. You know your child best. If they are unable to keep their voices low, this might not be the best option for them. (I know our son wouldn’t have lasted 10 minutes at age two! At 3.5, he did fine.) Also considering visiting on the museum’s special family event days, especially Make It!, where there are crafts available. With this extra family friendly vibe, it might not be so intimidating to bring young children.
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Hours of the museum vary, from 10am-7pm on Tuesdays-Fridays, to shorter hours on the weekends. Adults are $18, students are $13, and children 6-17 are $10. Under 6 is free.
Don’t forget: from July 1-September 30, 2018 children 17 and under are free! See their website for more information! They also offer free First Fridays, and discounted admission on Wednesdays starting at 3pm. Library card holders can also get two free tickets with the Culture Pass.
Phoenix Art Museum
1625 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004