By Jill “MamaBug” Frier

Summer is in full swing and, as all Phoenicians know, it will be a hot time in the Valley for the next several months. Even with the heat of the summer, Phoenix has tons of fun nature, science and learning activities for people of all ages. Here is a list of a few activities to help you keep cool during the hot summer months!

Wildlife World Zoo
This is one of our family’s favorite places to visit, all year round. While much of the zoo is outside in the heat, it has one very important feature to make it appealing in the summer months – air conditioned indoor aquariums. This zoo has something for everyone – animals and a petting zoo, as well as a playground, safari tram, train, sky ride, log ride, boat ride and dozens of new amusement park rides in their new Adventureland area. With the largest collection of exotic animals in Arizona, $40 per adult and $20 per child may be a little pricey, but it is well worth the cost. Plus you can almost always find good discounts and coupons online and around town, and the annual membership pays for itself in as little as three visits.

SeaLife Aquarium
There are many things to love about the SeaLife Aquarium, located in Arizona Mills shopping center. One of the best things about it during the summer is that it’s indoors. The aquarium prices are $19 per person, but run as low as $11 when tickets are purchased online in advance. SeaLife also offers discounts for combination tickets with Legoland Discovery Center, as well as group packages and memberships.

Legoland Discovery Center
The Legoland Discovery Center, located in Arizona Mills, is a fantastic adventure for Lego-loving kids and grown-ups alike. With two rides and about 10 different build and play zones, the Legoland Discovery Center is a fun and unique indoor venue to get kids out of the summer heat. Tickets are $22 at the door, but discounted when purchasing online in advance or in combo packages with the SeaLife Aquarium.

Butterfly Wonderland
Butterfly Wonderland is America’s largest butterfly conservatory and is definitely a great experience for the whole family. This indoor venue is $21.95 for adults and $14.95 for children, but be sure to look for discounts online. The facility is located right next door to the new OdySea Aquarium and combo packages are available for both venues. They also host birthday parties and other activities.

OdySea Aquarium
Next door to Butterfly Wonderland is the newly opened, state of the art OdySea Aquarium. The largest aquarium in the southwest, it boasts two million gallons of water, 60 exhibits and over 30,000 sea creatures. Ticket prices start at $34.95 for adults and $24.95 for children 3-17, but combo packages and annual passes are also available, as well as discounted evening hours and Family Meal packages. Separate tours and encounters are available for an additional adventure, including a Behind the Scenes tour, an underwater SeaTrek, and a special Penguin Interaction Program. OdySea is worth the visit and a great place to escape the heat of summer.

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