Five hot spots for educational activities for the whole family

By Jill Frier
Photos Courtesy of Featured Museums

With the summer heat in full effect , it’s a great time to find fun and educational activities for kids to do indoors during summer break. Here are some excellent museums in the Valley that are cool, fun, and educational for kids and their grownups.

Musical Instrument Museum
The largest bass in the world, the Octobass, has a home in north Phoenix. Visitors can find the Octobass, and many more instrumental oddities, in the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). The MIM is an unexpected and breathtaking surprise for first time visitors. This two-story, state-of-the-art facility is a showcase of instruments and music from every genre and almost every country in the world. The MIM displays more than 6,500 instruments, so visitors can see and hear music and instruments from around the globe. The museum also provides visitors a hands-on experience of playing different instruments, a number of children’s programs, concerts, and other musical adventures for visitors of all ages.

Children’s Museum of Phoenix
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix, which officially re-opened for indoor play on May 29, provides a fantastic world of creative fun, playtime, and imagination for kids everywhere. Recognized as one of the top three children’s museums in the nation, the Children’s Museum is a perfect place to learn, create and play for kids from birth to about 10 years old. Kids can climb, run, touch, feel and pretend throughout the building, located in the remodeled and historic Monroe School Building in downtown Phoenix. The Children’s Museum of Phoenix also offers a variety of children’s educational programs, ranging from math and science to music and art.

Arizona Science Center
The Arizona Science Center is, in a word, amazing! The fun, larger than life, interactive displays throughout the building provide hours of entertainment for kids and adults, with hands-on science experiments ranging from biology to physics and astronomy to engineering. This venue is a fantastic way to get kids excited about science in their everyday lives and a fun way to spend time with your family in downtown Phoenix.

OdySea Aquarium
The state-of-the-art OdySea Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the southwest. OdySea Aquarium “offers an entertaining, interactive, and educational experience for guests of all ages by combining theme-park-style amusement with highly engaging presentations of aquatic life,” according to the aquarium. Six thousand animals call OdySea Aquarium home, including 300 species, and over 70 exhibits in 200,000 square feet of indoor space.

Heard Museum
The Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix is a fascinating, world-class exhibition of Native American art and culture. Recognized internationally for the quality and size of its collections, exhibits, and programs, all Phoenicians should at some point take time to visit this historic and cultural Southwestern icon. The Heard has a variety of educational exhibits specifically designed give children a hands-on understanding of various Native American tribes and cultures. Fun activities for kids include crafts, artwork, and interactive stations for learning. Also be sure to check out the latest events and happenings at the Heard Museum, including art exhibitions and discussions, discounted and free entry days, and one-of-a-kind Pow-Wows and festivals throughout the year.

These are just a few of the awesome museums available in the Valley. See for more fun, adventurous, and educational activities for you and your kids all year round!