Family-friendly museums

Updated as of Jan. 11, 2021 to reflect continuing COVID-19 conditions. Policies can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please call ahead to verify hours and prices.


Arizona Capitol Museum

Temporarily closed to the public. Four floors and more than 20 exhibits describe Arizona government past and present. See the Arizona flag created from 113,998 Lego bricks (one for each square mile in the state). Trace Arizona government from territorial times to statehood and beyond. Explore the Capitol Mall and Wesley Bolin Plaza monuments. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday (all year), 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays (September through May only); closed on state holidays. Free; donations welcome. 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix. 602-926-3620 or azlibrary.gov/azcm


Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum

Climb aboard real World War II bombers and cargo planes. Visit a working hangar and hear the engines roar. Book ahead and you can even take to the skies on one of seven vintage aircraft. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. $15 ($12 for ages 62+ and veterans); $5 ages 5-12, free for children ages 4 and younger. 2017 N. Greenfield Road, Mesa. 480-924-1940 or azcaf.org


Arizona Doll and Toy Museum

Antique and collector dolls, miniature metal vehicles, model train cars, Star Wars figures, nesting dolls and dollhouses. Highlight is a replica of a one-room schoolhouse from more than a century ago. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. $5; $1 for children. 5847 W. Myrtle Ave., Glendale. 623-939-6186 or facebook.com/Arizona-Doll-and-Toy-Museum


Arizona Heritage Center at Papago Park

Explore Arizona’s history in Centennial Museum, which takes you from western frontier days to war times and the post-war building boom. Learn how water makes life possible in the desert and discover the beauty and variety of Arizona’s vast natural resources. The exhibit “Still Marching: From Suffrage to #MeToo” explores the struggles, triumphs and resilience of Arizona women in their journey to effect change. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. $12 ($10 ages 65+); $6 for ages 7-13, free for ages 6 and younger. 1300 N. College Ave., Tempe. 480-929-0292 or arizonahistoricalsociety.org/museums/tempe/


Arizona Museum of Natural History, dinosaur museum, Mesa museums

Arizona Museum of Natural History

Exhibits explore Arizona through time through permanent exhibits related to natural history (Dinosaur Hall,  Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona through Time, Paleo Dig Pit), Southwest cultures (Native Peoples of the Past), Mesoamerica and South America (Ancient Cultures of Mexico, Early Cultures of Central America, Classic Maya, North Coast of Peru) and Arizona history (Fun with Arizona History, Heritage Wall, Sirrine House). Current/rotating exhibitions include Cultures of the Ancient Americas and Crtacious Seas. Visit the Lost Dutchman’s Mine, Territorial Jail, a gold-panning experience and more.  10 a.m to 4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 12-4 p.m. Sunday. $6.50; $3.50 ages 3-12, $2 EBT card holders, free for children younger than 3. 53 N. Macdonald, Mesa. 480-644-2230 or  azmnh.org


Arizona Science Center

More than 300 hands-on STEM exhibits, an IMAX theater, planetarium and CREATE Makerspace. Permanent exhibits focus on the body (how it works and functions), the science of flight, forces of nature, the brain, financial literacy, electricity, digital communication technology, renewable energy and more. 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Monday. $19.95; $14.95 ages 3-17, free for ages 2 and younger (additional charges for SkyCycle, IMAX and planetarium shows). 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix. 602-716-2000 or azscience.org


ASU Art Museum

Offers a variety of free programs each month in conjunction with current exhibitions. Creative Saturdays offer art-making activities guided by museum ambassadors. Family Days (with art stations for children ages 4-12) are scheduled throughout the year and revolve around current exhibitions. Free timed-entry tickets. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (except university holidays). Nelson Fine Arts Center on ASU’s Tempe campus, 51 E. 10th St., Tempe. 480-965-278 or asuartmuseum.asu.edu


Children’s Museum of Phoenix

Open only for Outdoor Adventure Play until further notice. Hands-on, interactive, learn-by-play exhibits specially designed for ages 10 and younger. Enjoy the bike track, mud kitchen, Ssssand Pit, Bubbleopolis, and more — all designed to get kids minds and muscles moving and grooving. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday and select Monday holidays. Free with admission: $14.95; free for babies younger than 1. Children’s Museum of Phoenix, 215 N. Seventh St., Phoenix. 602-253-0501 or childrensmuseumofphoenix.org


Chandler Museum

Chandler Museum

The Chandler Museum exhibit hall features six to eight exhibitions each year, including a combination of in-house produced exhibits exploring Chandler history topics and nationally traveling exhibits showcasing culture, history and art. Current exhibits include “Bigger than Boxing: Zora Folley and the 1967 Heavyweight Title” (through Aug. 21). Coming Feb. 3-March 10: “Young at Art: A Selection of Caldecott Book Illustrations.” 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Free. 300 S. Chandler Village Drive, Chandler. 480-782-2717 or chandlermuseum.org


Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve

Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve

This archeology museum and 47-acre Sonoran Desert preserve features the largest concentration of Native American petroglyphs in the greater-Phoenix area. 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday-Friday. $9; $5 ages 7-12, free for ages 6 and younger. 3711 W. Deer Valley Road, Phoenix. 623-582-8007 or shesc.asu.edu/dvpp


Desert Caballeros Western Museum

Desert Caballeros Western Museum

Art exhibitions and educational programs that preserve the cultural legacy of the West. Permanent exhibits include works by Wickenburg High School art students, gem and mineral displays, historical dioramas, American Indian art and artifacts, a small-scale ranch and a life-scale reconstruction of parts of the town as it looked 100 years ago. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Sunday; closed Mondays from Memorial Day to Labor Day; closed Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day. $12 ($10 seniors); free for ages 17 and younger and active military. 21 N. Frontier St., Wickenburg. 928-684-2272 or westernmuseum.org


Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting

More than 100 fully restored pieces of fire apparatus dating from 1725-2004 originating in America, England, France, Austria, Germany and Japan. The National Firefighting Hall of Heroes honors firefighters who have died in the line of duty or been decorated for heroism. Another gallery explores the history of wildland firefighting in the U.S. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. $12; $10 ages 6-17 and 62+, $6 ages 3-5, free for ages 3 and younger. 6101 E. Van Buren, Phoenix. 602-275-3473 or hallofflame.org


HD South: Home of the Gilbert Historical Museum

Thousands of artifacts are displayed in themed rooms, recreating life in early Gilbert. The museum site is the original Gilbert Elementary School, built in 1913. Find displays of vintage farm equipment in the courtyard. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; closed Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and holidays. $6; $3 ages 5-12; free to ages 4 and younger. 10 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert. 480-926-1577 or hdsouth.org


Heard Museum

Celebrate traditional and contemporary American Indian art and cultures. Includes hands-on interactive art experiences for children that reflect themes in current permanent and traveling exhibitions. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. $20; $9 ages 6-17, free for ages 5 and younger. Free general admission during First Fridays (does not include admission to specially tickets exhibitions or events). 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. 602-252-8848 or heard.org


Historic Sahuaro Ranch

The 17-acre ranch features 13 original historic buildings and structures, a rose garden, barnyard and orchards. Lush grounds include citrus, figs, date palms, olives, apricots, peaches, pecans and grapes. Visitors will see peacocks, chickens and small animals. Activities, exhibits and guided tours keep the history of early settlement in the Valley alive. 6 a.m. to sunset. Free. From September through July, main house tours are available each half hour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. The main house is closed in August and the first weekend in September. 9802 N. 59th Ave, Glendale. 623-930-4200 or glendaleaz.com


i.d.e.a. Museum

Art and hands-on activities are designed to support early learning, nurture creativity and engage families. Build projects on Rigamajig, develop stories at the Animation Station, create with light pixels, gears and more in Wee Design (part of ArtVille, a socks-only imaginative space designed for ages 0-4). Exhibitions change out three times a year. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 12 p.m. to 64 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday-Wednesday and most holidays. $9; free for infants younger than 1. 150 W. Pepper Place, Mesa. 480-644-2468 or ideamuseum.org


Musical Instrument Museum

More than 6,500 instruments from around the world, classes for kids, concerts, signature cultural events and more. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. $20; $15 ages 13-19, $10 ages 4-12, free for children 3 and younger. 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix. 480-478-6000 or mim.org


Phoenix Art Museum

American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, fashion and photographs. To make your visit more meaningful for kids, pick up a Scavenger Hunt card at Visitor Services. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; closed Monday-Tuesday. $23; $18 for ages 18-21; $5 ages 6-17, free for ages 5 and younger. 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. 602-257-1880 or phxart.org


Phoenix Police Museum

Exhibits include a mock-up of an early 1900s police station, a police car, motorcycle, bomb robots, helicopter and a 9/11 memorial display. Learn about SWAT training and how technology is used in law enforcement. Children can try on real Phoenix Police uniforms and get “sworn in” as police officers while visiting the museum. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday; closed on all City of Phoenix holidays Free; donations are appreciated. 17 S. Second Ave. Historic City Hall 1st Floor, Phoenix. 602-534-7278 or phxpdmuseum.org


Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park

Located on a 1,500-year-old archaeological site left by the Hohoham culture, the museum features a fully accessible 2/3-mile trail through prehistoric ruins with a partially excavated platform mound, ball court and replicated houses. Three indoor galleries display Hohokam artifacts and a children’s hands-on gallery offers activities to help kids understand the science of archaeology. 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1-4:45 p.m. Sunday; closed on major holidays and on Sundays and Mondays from May through September. $6; $3 ages 6-17, free for ages 5 and younger. 4619 E. Washington St., Phoenix. 602-495-0901 or pueblogrande.com


River of Time Museum

Exhibits explore canal building by the Hohokam, mining, ranching, Salt River Project dams and lakes, the Central Arizona Project and even the Fort McDowell U.S. Army Post established in 1865. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (October-May); Closed on Sundays, Mondays and all scheduled Library closures. $5; $3 students and ages 6-12; free for Veterans and children 6 and younger. 12901 N. La Montana Blvd., Fountain Hills, 480-837-2612 or rotmuseum.org


museums, Arizona, Rosson House, Phoenix

Rosson House Museum

Temporarily closed to the public. A restored Victorian-era home depicting Phoenix life during late territorial times. Children ages 4 and older will receive an activity backpack to guide exploration of historic rooms and artifacts. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; noon-4 p.m. Sunday; closed on holidays. $9; $4 for children. 113 N. Sixth St., Phoenix. 602-262-5070 or heritagesquarephx.org


Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Temporarily closed to the public. A museum dedicated to contemporary art, architecture and design. The SMoCA Young@Art Gallery (seasonal) displays teen artwork from Valley high schools. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Wednesday-Saturday; closed Monday, Tuesday and major holidays. $10; $7 students. 7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale. 480-874-4666 or smoca.org


Shemer Art Center and Museum

Traditional and non-traditional works by Arizona artists. Also offers art-instruction classes for adults and children. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; closed Sunday-Monday. Free; suggested donation of $7 per person or $10 per couple. 5005 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 602-262-4727 or shemerartcenter.org


Superstition Mountain – Lost Dutchman Museum

Museum is open but all events, and lectures are cancelled for January. Explores the history (and mystery) of the Lost Dutchman Mine, plus geological exhibits and rock samples from around the area and Native American exhibits dating back 12,000 years. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. $7; $4 ages 11-17, free for ages 10 and younger with paid adult. 4087 N. Apache Trail, Apache Junction. 480-983-4888 or superstitionmountainmuseum.org


Tempe History Museum

Temporarily closed to the public. Exhibits feature Tempe history and contemporary life. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, closed Sunday, Monday and major holidays. Free; donations are appreciated. 809 E. Southern Ave., Tempe. 480-350-5100 or tempe.gov/museum


Wells Fargo History Museum

Exhibits include an authentic 19th century stagecoach, a replica stagecoach children can board, an interactive telegraph and the largest public display of N.C. Wyeth’s western-themed work. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; closed on bank holidays. Free. Wells Fargo Plaza Building 145 W. Adams St., Phoenix. 602-378-1852 or wellsfargohistory.com/museums/phoenix


Western Spirit – Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

Permanent exhibits feature paintings, sculptures, saddles, spurs and other quintessentially western items. Photographs feature people past and present who have made contributions to the American West. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; closed Monday, Tuesday and major holidays. $20; $9 ages 6-17, free for ages 5 and younger. 3830 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale. 480-686-9539 or scottsdalemuseumwest.org


More things to do with kids in Arizona

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