Tucson is a great place for a family vacation, especially if you’re traveling with toddlers! There are many children’s activities in Tucson that even the older kids will enjoy so the whole family stays happy.
Many of the things to do in Tucson are outdoor activities – after all, it is a mecca of hiking and trails, state and national parks, and scenery you won’t find anywhere else. But don’t worry, there are plenty of places to escape the summer heat too.
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Whether you’re looking for more laid-back activities like a stroll through the zoo or an afternoon spent at a museum, or you want to experience life on a dude ranch or go on an exhilarating hike, the city of Tucson has it covered!
Here are just a few of the best things to do in Tucson with kids – toddlers and big kids alike!
Meet the Animals at Reid Park Zoo
One of the fun things to do with toddlers in Tucson or any location is to check out the local zoo. The Reid Park Zoo may not be the largest in the country but it is still well worth the visit.
The 24-acre zoo is open every day from 9 am to 4 pm and offers exhibits with animals from around the globe. Some favorites include lions, jaguars, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, grizzly bears, elephants, and more. Be sure to stop by the gift shop to pick up a souvenir to remember the occasion!
Discount tickets: Get the Southern Tuscon City Card which will give you 2-for-1 entrance to Reid Park Zoo.
Address: 3400 Zoo Court in Tucson.
Learn About Planes at the Pima Air and Space Museum
If your toddler is in the phase of being obsessed with planes and spaceships, you must visit the Pima Space Museum! The museum features both indoor and outdoor exhibits that get you up close with a number of aircraft. For those kids who are constantly asking why and how every time they see a plane, this museum will become their favorite place!
Discount tickets: Get the Southern Tuscon City Card which will give you 2-for-1 entrance to the Pima Air & Space Museum.
Address: 6000 E Valencia Road in Tucson.
Here is my article on my day at the Pima Space Museum.
Stay on a Dude Ranch
For an absolutely unforgettable family vacation, spend a night or two at a working dude ranch, like White Stallion Ranch. While toddlers are not quite old enough to go horseback riding, they can participate in many of the other ranch activities.
An overnight at a dude ranch is perfect for adventurous families too, since the other activities include things like hiking, archery, rodeos, and more. You won’t have to worry about cooking either, as all meals are included!
Address: 9251 W Twin Peaks Road in Tucson.
Get Hands-On Learning at the Children’s Museum Tucson
Everything at the Tucson Children’s Museum is aimed at toddlers and small children. It’s the perfect place for them to release some energy and get hands-on with their creativity and imagination while learning about the world around them.
While toddlers can enjoy almost all of the interactive exhibits, the Wee World was made especially for them. This exhibit alone has so much for them to do, from taking care of a baby to playing dress-up to climbing. There’s also a reading corner for those in need of a breather!
This is one of the best places for young children in Tucson, not to mention the perfect way to escape the summer heat during the afternoon!
Address: 200 S 6th Avenue in Tucson.
Ride the Tram at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
Active families can enjoy the hikes at Sabino Canyon but those whose tots aren’t quite ready for lots of walking or who don’t feel up to carrying them on their backs will still enjoy the tram ride on the Sabino Canyon Crawler.
The tram takes visitors through the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains and 9 different stops where you can get on and off. Many of the steps have restrooms and water, as well as access to some easy family-friendly trails. Some of the trails even have wide, paved paths that are perfect for the stroller!
Discount tickets: Get the Southern Tuscon City Card which will give you 2-for-1 entrance to the Sabino Canyon Crawler.
Address: 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road in Tucson.
Learn at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum is a one-stop shop for so many things. It’s a zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, natural history museum, and art gallery all rolled into one. Note that many of the exhibits are outside over 2 acres so be sure to bring the stroller and lots of water!
If doing all the things seems a little overwhelming for one visit, don’t worry. You don’t have to do it all. Just pick one or two things and enjoy!
Address: 2021 N Kinney Road in Tucson.
See the Saguaros at Saguaro National Park
While you’re at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, you might as well swing by the Saguaro National Park since you’re already so close to the western entrance. Saguaro are the largest cacti found in the United States, a symbol of the American west, and they grow only in certain areas.
You can choose to take either a driving tour or a small guided hike or walk, or simply take some epic family photos. You can even find a picnic area to enjoy lunch as well.
Directions: Here is info with directions from multiple locations.
Learn About Wildlife at the International Wildlife Museum
For the tots who are curious about animals and wildlife, be sure to stop by the International Wildlife Museum. This is a natural history museum dedicated to increasing knowledge about wildlife around the world.
They also offer many special events for the whole family throughout the year so always check the calendar on their site before visiting!
Discount tickets: Get the Southern Tuscon City Card which will give you 2-for-1 entrance to the International Wildlife Museum.
Address: 14800 West Gates Pass in Tucson.
Watch Sunset at the Gate Pass in the Tucson Mountains
Gates Pass is one of the most famous lookout points in Tucson and while it’s a beautiful view anytime (and a great picnic spot), it can’t be beaten at sunset! It’s easily accessible and a great spot for some family photos!
Address: 7799 W Gates Pass Road in Tucson.
Camp at Catalina State Park
The Catalina State Park runs along the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains and is home to many, many saguaros as well as lots of hiking trails and camping spots. They even offer a fun kids program to keep them engaged and interested in learning about the area.
Both RV and tent camping areas are available and set up with BBQ sites, with access to trails of all levels depending on if you want a casual stroll or something more.
Park Entrance Fee: Per vehicle (1-4 Adults): $7.00 or Individual/bicycle: $3.00 Camping Fee is $30 per night.
Address: 11570 N Oracle Road in Tucson.
Jump Around at the Wild Katz Children Adventure Playground
Wild Katz is an indoor playground filled with adventures for kids from 6 months and up. Think indoor trampoline, slides, tunnels, jungle gym, ball pits, and more.
They offer a daily “Tot Time” every morning, where only kids under 5 are allowed to enter. It’s the perfect way to run off some energy before nap time or before a more relaxing afternoon activity. They also offer packages for birthday parties for some extra fun with friends.
Address: 4629 E Speedway Blvd in Tucson.
Take a Stroll Through the Tucson Botanical Gardens
While a stroll through the botanical gardens may not seem like the most exciting activity for children, the Tucson Botanical Garden has taken measures to make it not only a beautiful place but one for families as well.
The Children’s Discovery Garden walks you through the life cycle of a plant and the Butterfly Garden is the perfect place to relax and watch the gorgeous butterflies flittering around. Be sure to check the website before visiting as they often have special family events planned as well!
Address: 2150 N Alvernon Way in Tucson.
Visit the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures
The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures is, you guessed it…full of everything miniature! It’s like walking through a time machine as you walk through real and imagined times and lands.
They have a Tiny Tales for Tots program so be sure to check and see if your trip aligns with one of the program dates. Definitely worth a visit if it does!
Discount tickets: Get the Southern Tuscon City Card which will give you 2-for-1 entrance to the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.
Address: 4455 E Camp Lowell Drive in Tucson.
Check out the Planetarium at the Flandrau Science Center
A visit to the Flandrau Science Center at the University of Arizona is one of the best things to do with kids in Tucson. The exhibits are hands-on and interactive, so even the youngest of visitors are engaged.
The newest exhibit, the Wild World of Bugs, features hands-on activities and larger-than-life models, and the Sharks: Magnificent and Misunderstood is also another popular exhibit.
Perhaps the coolest thing at the science center, though, is the planetarium which offers various shows throughout the day.
Address: 1601 E University Blvd in Tucson.
Enjoy a Storytime at a Local Bookstore or Library
Tucson has a great network of storytimes held around the city, at various bookstores, libraries, and other locations. Most of the storytimes include a read-aloud book, juice, and snack for the kids after and many even include a fun craft or activity. They’re perfect for babies, toddlers, and slightly older children as well.
Note that most storytimes are currently on hold but should be returning soon!
Address: Various locations around Tucson.
Cool Down at a Splash Pad
There are many splash pads throughout the city, which are perfect for cooling down and escaping the summer heat for just a bit. Splash pads are even better than public swimming pools or waterparks for toddlers because they focus more on active activities versus large bodies of water. Even the tots who can’t yet swim or don’t feel comfortable in the water can enjoy it!
Address: Various locations around Tucson.
I hope you found this list of things to do with toddlers in Tucson useful. Keeping the little ones occupied is definitely not a problem in this town!
If you want my FULL Phoenix and Tucson Travel Planner with day trips and things to do in Phoenix and Tucson, it is available for $4.99.
How about you? Have anything else kid-friendly to add? Do share!
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