The Valley of the Sun is known for its high temps during summer months, but the desert doesn’t have to be a barren place for visitors. Families find plenty of activities out of the summer sun—and even a few in it, splashing down a twisting and turning waterslide, of course. Stay cool, reach high and take aim at these 22 Valley attractions.
The 150,000-square-foot Ice Den Scottsdale facility serves as the practice rink of the NHL Arizona Coyotes, houses two restaurants—Over Easy and 18 Degrees—and a gym. The Ice Den Chandler location has an express version of 18 Degrees and a soccer turf. Open-skate hours are twice daily at both locations with Friday nights featuring requested tunes spun by a DJ, laser lights and prizes, and family night on Saturday. Phoenix’s Arcadia Ice Arena offers morning, midday and evening public-skate times (check website for weekly schedules). And AZ Ice Peoria hosts pick-up hockey games and free ice-skating lessons on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Guests have been sliding and surfing Big Surf Waterpark’s rides and waves since 1969. Catch a wave on a personal air-filled raft (or a surf board during designated hours) in the Waikiki Beach wave pool, race down the enclosed Tornado Twisters or daredevil Hurricane Slides, and fly across the new Mauna Kea zip line. Hold on tight during the Thunder Falls raft ride, slip down the five-story Sidewinder half-pipe or relax around the lazy river at Mesa Golfland Sunsplash. Those needing a break from the water can play a round of mini golf, arcade games or laser tag and race go-karts. The Valley’s newest water park, Wet ’n’ Wild Phoenix, challenges adrenaline junkies to race up and down the Maximum Velocity jetted water slide, and spin around the Tornado funnel slide in a two- or four-person tube, while younger kids play in the junior park.
Spring from a trampoline and soar through the air to score a slam-dunk or tumble into an 800-square-foot foam pit at AZ Air Time. Little jumpers have their own area, and teen nights are held every Friday and Saturday night. Jump across 20,000 feet of wall-to-wall trampolines and participate in mock stunt jumps and mechanical bull riding at Chandler and Glendale’s Jumpstreet. Among the trampoline jumping, dodgeball matches and basketball shooting, Jump City has a supervised open-gymnastics area to practice tumbling on Saturdays; Peoria’s Sky Zone offers SkyRobics fitness classes; and at Flip Dunk Sports, fitness is expanded with gymnastics, yoga and a variety of dance classes.
Tie in to one of 56 top ropes and climb the 30-foot rock walls or conquer the two-story bouldering walls at Phoenix Rock Gym. Take a youth or adult rock-climbing class at Mesa’s Focus Climbing Center, or sign up for a lead-climbing class and tackle the 45 lead-climbing routes at Tempe’s Climbmax Climbing Gym. Rappel from the climbing walls at AZ on the Rocks and join a class at Yoga on the Rocks inside the upstairs studio. Classes are geared toward various levels of yogis.
Sneak through the fog to find opponents at Laser Quest Phoenix; check the online calendar for summer specials and late-night events. Strobe lights, black lights and a state-of-the-art sound system are featured inside the 13,000-square-foot laser tag arena at Stratum Lasertag, where players search for opponents among bridges, ramps and towers to complete 15 levels of play. At FlipSide in Gilbert, challenge friends inside the two-level laser tag facility, and jump, duck and cartwheel through the laser maze. A full arcade, kid-size and full-size bowling alleys, billiards room and children’s activities are also on-site. Or head to Main Event, where family members can partake in laser tag, bowling, mini golf, rock climbing and more.
Indoor Paintball & Airsoft
Secure your mask, load your hopper with bright and colorful paintballs, and take aim from behind the bunkers, towers and air obstacles on an indoor paintball field at Xtreme Pursuit. Don't want to be covered in paint by the end of the day? Tempe Airsoft & Paintball’s indoor facility houses separate paintball and airsoft fields and features a special kids’ (ages 7-12) paintball session Sundays 10 am-1 pm.