Start today with a visit to Butterfly Wonderland
, a rainforest experience in the middle of Arizona. The main attraction is the 3,000 or so butterflies that live here. In addition to seeing some of them in every stage of life, from caterpillars to cocoons to winged insects, interactive displays and a 3D movie provide engaging introductions to butterflies. They share this attraction with other costars: the Spineless Giants exhibit includes some of the world’s largest beetles, walking sticks, and other arthropods; the new Rainforest Reptiles section houses lizards, snakes, and other amphibians that live in tropical environments; and Tropical Waters of the World focuses on colorful freshwater fish that can be found in the Amazon and other rivers in warm climates.
If butterflies produce eyerolls from any of your kids, they may be more interested in your next stop, Pangaea: Land of the Dinosaurs (located within the same Odysea in the Desert
complex as Butterfly Wonderland). Life-size recreations of dinosaurs include the tank-like Ankylosaurus; the enormous Quetzalcoatlus, with its 35- to 40-foot wingspan; and the giant Diplodocus, which was around 90 feet long. Informative displays and fossil dig stations give an educational spin to the attraction, introducing topics related to paleontology in an engaging, kid-friendly way.
You can have lunch at Odysea, but be sure to leave some room for a snack at Sweet Republic
, where handcrafted ice cream is made with fresh, local ingredients. Having to choose between unique flavors like Earl Grey Tea and Honey Lavendar may be the toughest decision you have to make all day.
In the afternoon, AZ on the Rocks
offers a chance for everyone in the family to learn a new skill: rock climbing. The 14,000-square-foot facility includes climbing walls and terrains designed both for beginners and more advanced climbers. No experience is necessary, and the staff will guide you through everything you need to know before attempting an ascent. If parents want to skip the climbing, kids can join a summer camp program while the adults attend a yoga class—several different ones are offered throughout the day.
Eat an early dinner tonight at Craft 64
. This pub in Downtown Scottsdale is known both for its pizzas, cooked in a wood-fired oven, and its long menu of Arizona-brewed craft beers. The selection changes regularly, but you can typically expect around 30 of the state’s best ales, lagers, and other beers to be available.
After dinner, see a Broadway musical or other show at the Desert Stages Theatre
inside Scottsdale Fashion Square. This theater company has a mission of introducing young actors, and audiences, to the magic of theater. New shows debut regularly, and with four different performance spaces, you’ll often have a selection to choose from on your night out. If you have an aspiring young thespian in your family, a night here is a must; and if you don’t, the performance may spark a new interest.