Last month we traveled to Scottsdale, AZ as a family. It was a wonderful trip! I shared many of the reasons why, in a post about the Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North. In addition to all of the amenities for kids that the hotel provided, Scottsdale & the surrounding area have so much to offer. These are a few of the places we enjoyed, off the resort:
When we told Maggie we were going to Arizona, she had 2 requests: See a lizard (which we found plenty at the pool) & to ride a really big horse. For the horseback riding we found MacDonald’s Ranch, which was close to our hotel, in North Scottsdale. We went early in the morning to beat the heat. Both Maggie & Alex loved the ranch. We thought only Maggie would ride the horses (they were very big), but when she got down, Alex put the helmet on & said “turn?”. I couldn’t believe how well they both did! The people that worked there were all so nice & patient. Maggie wanted to know each & every horses name & they kindly told her. After we met all the horses & pet them, we walked around the ranch & ended up at the petting zoo. At home, we are used to petting zoos where you stick your hand through a fence & pet the animals. This was: walk in with ALL of the animals & hang out with them while you pet. Maggie could not have been any happier. MacDonald’s Ranch was a very memorable part of our trip.
When I told people we were going to Scottsdale with the kids, so many people recommended we stop at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. I almost skipped it because our girls are not really into trains. I am so glad we went! It was an awesome! There is so much to do & it’s free to enter (you pay for the carousel & to ride the train). There are a bunch of great playgrounds to enjoy. You can walk around & see the trains, ride the carousel, take a train ride & get ice cream. There are also model trains, but we didn’t get a chance to see them. The Railroad Park was a great family activity!
One night we took the kids to dinner at Isabella’s Kitchen. It was recommended by a mom of young kids. She was right when she told us it was “kid friendly & delicious”. It’s on the Grayhawk Golf Club, but it’s very casual. Request a spot outside. Our kids ran around on this giant lawn the entire time we enjoyed drinks & conversation. Then they ran over when their dinner arrived, ate & went back to playing. There were many other kids running around with them. They had a blast & we enjoyed a meal out! The food was fantastic: pizza, pasta, salads etc. Be sure to get there by 5 to get a table outside or call ahead.
We stopped at Sea Life on our way to the airport. We didn’t fly out until 9pm, so we had some time to spare once we got close to the airport. Sea Life is in the Arizona Mills Mall in Phoenix. It was a fun little aquarium & a good indoor activity. We had planned on going to the Phoenix Zoo, but it was way too hot (about 110 degrees), so we opted for the air conditioned aquarium instead.
Last, but not least: Butterfly Wonderland. If you are in the Scottsdale/ Phoenix area, be sure to stop by. This is a place for people of all ages: our family ranges from 1-35 & we were all in awe. Butterfly Wonderland had just opened when we visited Scottsdale. Our hotel concierge recommended we stop by & i’m so glad we did. When you arrive, you start with a 3D version of Flight of the Butterflies. The video is incredible & gave me a newfound fascination with butterflies. It was Maggie’s 1st 3D movie. She kept the glasses on & was trying her best to catch the butterflies that were flying out of the screen. After the movie, there is a lot to explore, but our favorite was The Conservatory. It’s America’s largest butterfly atrium. There were hundreds of butterflies flying around. If you held really still, some would even land on you! Maggie, my little nature lover, thought it was the most magical place ever. I couldn’t believe how many butterflies she got to land on her tiny fingers! We all had an amazing afternoon at Butterfly Wonderland.
For more on traveling to Scottsdale, AZ with kids, be sure to check out this post!