First, I can say is “Wow”! The Arizona Museum of Natural History in Jam packed with things to do and play.
Some of the things are not for hands on activities. If you have a wee one that likes to grab or dash on you, this may be a museum that you would like to wait on. Strollers are allowed, however, there are a lot of places it is hard for strollers to go. I highly suggest wearing babies if possible, wait on kids under three if possible as there are MANY nooks and crannies for little ones to run (and hide) and climb. For the most part, climbing is not a good thing in this museum!
Arizona Museum of Natural History is located in Mesa, very close to the I.D.E.A. Museum and is run by the city.
Parking is available East of the museum off W Pepper Place. On Weekends parking is free. There is also a lot to the south of the museum, but I am sure that fills up. Unfortunately, the parking garage is the furthest place from the entrance to the museum, so it may be a little bit of a walk for little legs (Entrance is on MacDonald).
The entrance hall/ Cenozoic Lobby to the museum was HUGE and had lots of things to look at (and not to touch..careful with those grabby little ones) and the area to purchase passes, and of course a gift shop!
This was a nice, cool lobby to wait in and check out all the exhibits. One exhibit off to the left was closed as they were updating it (it was a huge room! I’m intrigued to see what goes in there after August 2017).
No water bottles allowed. Nada. There are water fountains around the facility and many bathrooms. Phew!
Just amazing!! (but not a place to climb, watch out for little ones). There was even staff showing kids some items that were touchable. There are also a lot of stairs going up and down, but there is an elevator as well. Bathrooms were also located in the Dinosaur hall.
Dinosaur Mountain is AMAZING! Some of the dinosaurs move and make some noise. It is viewable from about 3 levels. Absolutely gorgeous!
The Museum has a flow to it, but how you visit the museum may be different than how we did. There are semi circles and circles all over the place, which is one reason having a kid that is a runner may be problematic. There are LOTS of places to run and hide in the museum!
My kids kind of whizzed through this area (Arizona Through Time )as dinosaurs are our main interest these days, but this was from the minerals collection.
This was the Native People of the Past exhibit that had dwellings (I was too tall for them!) and a look into what they would look like inside. There were also puzzles and games to play and a little cave for the kids to explore (run around in circles)!
We next went to the jails, which is part of “Fun with Arizona History“. I think this is where my “wear your wee one or watch out for the runners” really hit full force. We had four adults, three kiddos and still we had kiddos going every which way. Between the excitement of Arizona in the Movies area (where kids get to be on a green screen in front of an old movie and see old props), to the jails to the mining caves, it really was an easy way for wee ones to wiggle out of sight. It also was hard to navigate if you had a stroller (room for one way traffic only).
We also went outside for a hot minute (seriously, a hot minute because it was 112 out) and the kids did a little gold panning and “dino digging” and there was a little slide from the gold panning area to the dino dig area.
The last area we visited was the Dino Zone (the Exploration Station was not open). There were things to climb and play on, a video screen to interact with and a few make your own dino “puzzle”. A theater was also in the back area, but we didn’t go in to watch the video. It was a huge room with just a few chairs (also, there is a bathroom in the next room where the Exploring Arizona’s history in the Movies was).
There is just so much to see at this museum, one post really isn’t enough. The outdoor area in itself could probably keep your kids busy for hours.
I truly recommend going to this museum, no matter what the distance you have to drive to get there. The price is totally reasonable for all that it has to offer as well.
My blog post can’t completely cover everything that is in this museum, so I have linked to every area that I could find on their site for more detailed information. The Arizona Museum of Natural History also has free days, so make sure you look out on their Facebook Page or our Facebook Page (where we have events we share!) for that info as well!
Arizona Museum of Natural History
53 N Macdonald