This is a list I sent to a friend with a 15 month old son, she was looking for things to do near the South East corner of Gilbert, where we live. Perhaps this list might help you?
1. Queen Creek Library is a pretty library. It has beautiful decorations inside–beach themed area, hot air balloons dangling from the ceiling, a fun bathroom with grass tiles and a nifty entrance to the story time room shaped like an igloo. We follow children’s programming. The Friends of the Queen Creek library has inexpensive titles (think 50 cents and a dollar) so I pick up my guilty pleasure beach reads here.
2. Organ Stop Pizza….cash only. We like to sit upstairs or under the bubble machine. If you don’t want to spend on dinner, this is a nice place for ice cream!
3. Hangar Cafe…Not free but second floor balcony is a good viewing area for watching planes take off and land
4. Phoenix Art Musuem free every Wednesday post 3pm to closing and first Friday night
5. Take the Hole in the Rock hike at Papago Park, but keep a hold on your little one. It is only 1/8 of a mile hike with spectacular photo op payoff, can combine with duck feeding at Zoo on bridge nearby. Bring bread for the ducks and turtles. Free.
6. Veteran’s Oasis Park at Chandler Heights and Lindsay has it all, creek to wade in, nature center, AC, play areas inside, animals, programming, live music, ramadas, walls to climb, sand to dig in, bird watching, fishing, indoor bathroom. Free. Our favorite is the Solar System Walk, follow the signs.
7. Follow Living Social, Deal Chicken, Groupon for 1/2 price on outings. I notice that before break times their are great family friendly outings.
8. Take Apache Trail to Tortilla Flat, sit on saddle at bar, eat ice cream, tape money on wall. I learned to love the Superstition Mountains from reading Tom Kollenborn’s facebook page.
9. Olive Mill for gelato, picnicking outside, running around Olive Grove, live music sometimes. We take out of town guests here, buy hostess gifts here.
10. Pueblo Grande Musuem Kids free on Sunday October through April. Stroller Friendly Grounds. Adults are free on certain days, like International Museum Day on May 18, 2013, mark your calendar. Every March is Arizona Archeology and Heritage Month so there is always a calendar of free archeology related events in March. Deer Valley Rock Art Center is free on March 23.
11. Casa Grande National monument, free about 11 times a year–look for list of National Park free admission days 2013. Stroller friendly nature center and grounds. Free or very inexpensive.
12. Heard Musuem free on Smithsonian Museum day. Print out tickets on Smithsonian Museum day website.
13. Dinosaur dig covered ramada and stroller paths at Riparian preserve. The observatory has great star gazing programming. They have cool festivals, follow their calendar. The park is next to South East Regional library, another great library.
14. McCormick Stillman Railroad park, They have a cool model railroad building. The Cardon Children’s Medical Center has an awesome railroad layout too and free to visit. There are lots of amazing train activities in the area around Christmas, the best one is The Dennis Sirrine Train Garden, a free railroad layout by model railroad enthusiast. You want to set up a google email alert to trigger at Christmas so you remember to go.
15. Vertuccio Farms for toddlers, scale is smaller than Scnepf. Not free, but if you follow them on Facebook they have deals sometimes.
16. Live Music at Mesa Arts center, plus sign up for activities, they have many festivals that are free and have great design/art on grounds. The boys like splashing in the fountains. Sign up for email alerts from them. Mirazozo has come every year for the past few years, they have an amazing art installation.
17. Vision Gallery, chandler. Always free, exhibitions vary, are always good. Not toddler friendly but it is free and stimulating for you. Fun parking garage with fountain next door we always climbed all over the garage. Free
18. Go to Sky Harbor airport, park in short term parking on roof, bring bubbles, picnic, watch planes take off. Run around. Pay for parking.
19. 3/15- 3/17 Thunderbirds “Lightning” Air show Luke Air Force Base. Free. the come every year to Yuma, Tucson or Phoenix you can google Thunderbirds or Blue Angels 2013 schedule and find them. I also follow them on Facebook and the air bases to stay on top of their happenings.
20 Follow plane activity at Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport on Power road by liking their Facebook page. Free (this past weekend they had Harriers and C130s)
22. Arizona Falls, cool and breezy even in Summer, 56th and Indian School Road. A drive to find it but very cool to see, a GR Herberger park is across street to play with play structures.
24. This is directions to a creek in Lost Dutchman area,-we always want a creek to wade in. You can buy a Tonto Pass at gas stations.
- Go the 202 to Ellsworth, up Ellsworth north to Bush highway….over the Blue Point bridge…to the parking lot..just before you start slight ascent to Saguaro lake. It requires a Tonto forest say pass of $6.00
25. In summer we went to McDonalds on Val Vista and Pecos(?) — very close to 202, it had toddler sized climbing play place, also San Tan Village play area and splash pad.
26. So obvious, but what makes a great outing? A morning at the Cosmo Dog Park (you don’t even need a dog!) and then lunch at Joe’s Farm Grill under the beautiful tree. Another fun restaurant is The Spot on Higley and Ray next to the Fresh and Easy.
I hope this list helps you get out and have fun!! Have I missed anything? I have blog posts about many of these places already on my site, if you use the search you can find more information. Don’t be afraid to get out and go! What is your favorite place to go with a little one?