From coyotes, javelinas and other desert wildlife to science-filled exploration of aircraft, biospheres and planets, Tucson attractions include a wide variety of options. Every family will find plenty of things to do in Tucson with kids.
Things to do in Tucson with Kids
Are you looking for things to do in Tucson with kids? Luckily most Tucson attractions are very family-friendly. The variety of fun options including museums, festivals, and outdoor adventures. Check out this list of 17 things to do in Tucson with kids to get your Southern Arizona vacation planning started.
Tucson Attractions: Museums
There are a wide variety of museums available in Tucson but, because most aren’t overly large, you can likely visit two in one day depending on your schedule and interests. A few of the most kid-friendly museums are listed below.
The Sonora Desert Museum often ranks as one of the top zoos and museums nationwide. Beyond the unique desert creatures you’d hope to see, you’ll also find an aquarium and stingray touch experience.
Pima Air and Space Museum is one of the largest aviation and space museums in the world and features an aircraft graveyard.
Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures offers an amazing collection of contemporary and antique miniatures, including some from the 18th century.
Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium offer lots of fun interactive exhibits and puzzles that my kids love.
Children’s Museum Tucson is a fun stop for kids up to age 12. Tots up to age 5 will enjoy its satellite location in Oro Valley.
Tucson Attractions: Outdoors
With over 350 days of sunshine, spending time outdoors in Tucson is a no-brainer. Even during the hot summer months because many Tucson attractions have special evening events to take advantage of the cooler nights. Keep a few tips in mind to stay comfortable and safe while hiking and exploring outdoors.
We always love visiting the local zoo while traveling, and Reid Park Zoo is fun for visitors and locals alike.
While Kartchner Caverns is technically outdoors, it’s constant moderate temperature underground makes it an excellent Tucson area attraction year-round.
Biosphere 2 was developed in the 1980’s to research space colonization technology. Scientists were sealed inside during the 1990’s. Now you can tour the facility and learn more about their research.
Mission San Xavier del Bac is a 17th century Catholic Mission that is a must-see for historical or architecture buffs.
Old Tucson Studios is a fun way to step back in time and experience life in a Western town 150 years ago. Built by Columbia Pictures as a set for movie Arizona, the Studios has expanded and was renovated multiple times over the years for various films and shows. It now offers rides, shows, and dining, making it a staple Tucson attraction for locals and visitors alike.
Tucson Attractions: Active Ideas
Horseback Riding in the desert is a beautiful experience. There are multiple venues that offer horseback riding including stand-alone stables, local resorts, and dude ranches.
A drive or hike at either Saguaro National Park East or West offers for amazing views of the Sonoran desert including a forest of saguaro cacti and excellent wildlife viewing depending upon which one you visit.
Another awesome hiking opportunity is available at Sabino Canyon which includes a stream and sometimes pools of water during the rainy season.
Tucson Attractions: Special Events
With beautiful weather almost year-round, Tucson is home to many festivals and special events. I recommend planning your trip around one of these awesome events if possible.
Walk, bike or skate your heart out at Cyclovia Tucson. This event features several activity hubs with live music, booths, and activities while you exploring Tucson neighborhoods free of cars.
Billed as one of largest literacy festivals, Tucson Festival of Books seeks to increase the literacy of children and adults. Over 350 authors participate in talks and demonstrations over the two-day event.
La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Tucson Rodeo has been held in Tucson since 1925. Most noteworthy is the parade, billed as the world’s longest non-motorized parade each year.
The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is fun for all ages, with a special area for kids that includes education and free specimen samples.
Where to Stay in Tucson
There are a wide variety of hotel options in Tucson. From budget-friendly motels to family-friendly resorts, everyone should be able to find accommodations that fit their needs. If you dig luxury but need to save money, consider visiting Tucson during the summer when resorts like the Hilton El Conquistador offer great deals. If you plan on visiting during the winter, be sure to book your room early as hotels fill up fast during the busy festival and event season.
One unique family accommodation idea is staying at one of Southern Arizona’s dude ranches. The most popular options are the White Stallion Dude Ranch and Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. Both offer kids activities, horseback riding and more.