July in Phoenix is a scorcher. OK, so I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.

But I would like you to know that the people who plan things to do in Phoenix for kids and families have planned ways to cool off with splash pad parties across the Valley and a couple of events that bring snow to the desert, including Phoenix Zoo’s Winter in July with snow and cool treats for the animals.

This month also has a good mix of free events, some inside cool air-conditioned environments and some outside with water features. Find our full listing of free things to do at azcentral.com/things-to-do/kids.

MORE WAYS TO COOL OFF: Best attractions at metro Phoenix water parks

July 13-22: ‘Disney’s The Little Mermaid’

This fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs, including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.” Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above, bargaining with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to trade her tail for legs. But the bargain is not what it seems, and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends, Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea. This Theater Works production incorporates puppets during underwater scenes.

Details: July 13-22. 7 p.m. Fridays; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, 8355 W. Peoria Ave.$38 for adults, $33 for seniors, $16 for students and youth. 623-815-7930, theaterworks.org.

July 16-20: Sharks4Kids at OdySea

Sharks invade OdySea Aquarium during the month of July with special programs and education activities. One activity is a shark feeding at noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and at 3:30 p.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Sharks4Kids is a special, returning educational program about shark tagging and conservation that is offered three times daily. 

Details: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday. OdySea Aquarium, 9500 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale. $34.95 adults, $24.95 children. 480-291-8000. odyseaaquarium.com.

July 16-Aug. 16: Free teacher tours of Taliesin West

Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s desert laboratory in Scottsdale, is offering a summer discount to honor the famous architect’s 151st birthday. He was a legendary teacher himself so it’s fitting that the promotion offers all teachers with ID a free tour of the property. Bonus: Arizona residents receive 50 percent off the 90-minute Insights Tour through August

Details: Tours start at 8:45 a.m. Taliesin West, 12621 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale. Insights Tour prices start at $35. franklloydwright.org/taliesin-west/tickets-tours.

July 20-22: Diamondbacks: Kids get in free

The Arizona Diamondbacks are offering up to two free tickets for children 15 and younger for the weekend series with the purchase of a full-price adult ticket. The tickets are for select selections in the park including Bleachers, Bullpen Reserve, Club Reserve, Infield Reserve and Outfield Reserve. The weekend matchup features the Colorado Rockies and includes the Saturday, July 21 game in which 20,000 fans will receive a Jake Lamb Bobblehead, courtesy of Arizona Milk Producers.

Details: Game start times: 6:40 p.m. Friday, July 20; 5:10 p.m., Saturday, July 21; 1:10 p.m. Sunday, July 22. Chase Field, 401 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. Adult tickets for the games start at $22. 602-514-8400, dbacks.com/kidsfree.    

July 20: World Jump Day

Sky Zone Peoria will celebrate World Jump Day by offering guests buy-one-get-one free jump passes. The park features gravity defying attractions including the Freestyle Jump, Sky Ladder, SkyJoust, Warped Wall and Foam Zone. The park also features  the Ultimate Dodgeball and a boulder experience with Free Climb. 

Details: Noon-5 p.m. Friday, July 20. Sky Zone Peoria, 9040 W. Larkspur Dr., Suite 134, Peoria. Ticket prices range from $8-$20. skyzone.com/peoria.

July 21: #DiscoverChandler Scavenger Hunt

In celebration of Park and Recreation Month we’re challenging you to #DiscoverChandler. Find all the best sights and hidden recreation gems in Chandler with your kids, friends or family! Armed with your smartphone as your tour guide, you’ll locate hotspots, unlock challenges and climb the scoreboard. Finders, keepers. One super team will win the ultimate parks & recreation treasure – valued at $2,500! Uncover a lifetime of discovery, and register today at chandleraz.gov/parkandrecmonth!

Details: 8 a.m.-noon, Saturday, July 21. Chandler City Hall, 175 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler. Free. 480-782-2735, www.chandleraz.gov/parkandrecmonth.

Through July 25: Westgate Wednesdays

Celebrate summer with princesses, pirates, dinosaurs and more characters at Westgate’s splash pad amid prize giveaways, music and dancing. The guest list for this Wednesday night party is different each week and includes: Rapunzel; Anna and Elsa; Belle; Cinderella; Superman; and Captain America. Take home a downloadable photo with the character guest.

Details: 6-7:30 p.m., Wednesdays June 6- July 25. Fountain Park at Westgate Entertainment District, 6751 N. Sunset Blvd., Glendale. Free. westgateaz.com/summer

Through July 26: Summer Splash Thursdays

Kids get to meet their favorite princesses and superheros while playing in the splash pad and enjoying free food, dancing, prizes and entertainment. For the months of June and July, children can meet and pose for pictures with characters like Batman and Moana and take home a free downloadable photo.

Details: 6-7:30 p.m., Thursdays June 7-July 26. Near the Barnes & Noble at Tempe Marketplace, 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe. Free. 480-966-9338, tempemarketplace.com

Through July 26: Summer Band Concerts

Glendale presents eight weeks of concerts at the E. Lowell Rogers Amphitheater in Murphy Park. The Glendale Summer Band is a community band of almost 100 musicians who play marches, polkas, movie medleys and other tunes. The summer tradition is more than 50 years old. 

Details: 8 p.m. Thursdays, June 7-July 26. E. Lowell Rogers Amphitheatre in Murphy Park, 58th and Glendale avenues, Glendale. Free. glendaleaz.com/events.

July 27: ‘DEEP TIME: Imagining the Ancient Sea’

Meet a paleontologist at the “DEEP TIME: Imagining the Ancient Sea” exhibit inside the Scottsdale Civic Center Library. The exhibit explores when the Sonoran Desert was underwater. The paleontologist will lead a workshop and participants can paint replicas of dinosaur teeth to take home. While there, explore the exhibit that resembles an underwater environment of kelp towers, coral reefs, a bioluminescent tunnel and a large sea beast.

Details: 2-3 p.m. Friday, July 27. Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd. Free. scottsdalepublicart.org.

July 28: Kids’ Harry Potter Party

Visit the Changing Hands bookstores in Tempe and Phoenix to find out which Harry Potter character you are, whether you’re prefect material or if you have the stuff to be a Quidditch team captain. This party includes games, crafts, activities and a test of skill about the history of magic, charms and potions. Witches and wizards can earn galleons to spend at the pop-up Honeydukes. 

Details: Saturday, July 28. 2-4 p.m. at Tempe location, 6428 S. McClintock Dr. and 5-7 p.m. at the Phoenix location, 300 W. Camelback Road. $8, plus fees. Register at 480-730-0205 or for the Tempe event at changinghands.com/potterkids2018-tempe and the Phoenix event at changinghands.com/potterkids2018-phx.

July 28: i.d.e.a. Museum Family Day

Children and adults are invited to a day of imaginative play and hands-on activities to enjoy together. The day also includes vintage toys and a chance to design toys as part of the museum’s new exhibit, “Artful Play! Games & Toys.”

Details: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 28. i.d.e.a. Museum, 150 W. Pepper Place, Mesa. $9 for ages 1 and older. ideamuseum.org/family-day.html.

July 28: Grateful Saturdays in the Park

Families can have an evening packed with fun at Los Olivos Park in Phoenix, thanks to Change Your Stars Foundation, Inc. Free bounce houses, games and a concert by hip-hop artist Sincerely Collins are included. Amore Soccer and Small Goal Soccer offer a free soccer camp to kids ages 5 to 18 and the first 200 campers will receive a free T-shirt. Be among the first 250 and get free Greek food from HummusKing.

Details: 4:30-8 p.m. Saturday, July 28. 2802 E. Devonshire Ave., Phoenix. Free; donations accepted. 806-441-8230, cysfoundation.org.

Through July 29: ‘Bring it On the Musical’

Campbell has been named cheer captain, and senior year is going to be cheertastic! Until redistricting forces her to move. Our plucky gal finds her way into a new crew of hard-knock dancers and forms an alliance with their tough leader to set a course for the National Championships.

Details: June 29 through Sunday, July 29. Showtimes 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. $15. Desert Stages Theatre, 4720 N. Scottsdale Road, inside Scottsdale Fashion Square. desertstages.org/bring-it-on-the-musical

Through July 29: ‘The Big Radio Broadcast of 1941’

This family friendly nostalgic musical comedy is about a small, independent Midwest radio station in 1941 that is all set to finally ‘go national’ with a live show when a sudden freak snowstorm occurs. Four employees realize they can’t receive the national feed, but they can still broadcast. Can just four dedicated employees recreate an entire evening’s national radio broadcast? Can they save the station? Can they do it without falling in love? Well, if not, it won’t be for lack of trying!
Details: June 29-July 29. 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Fountain Hills Theater, 11445 N. Saguaro Blvd. $30; $12 for 17 or younger and students with ID; veterans offered two-for-one discount through box office. 480-837-9661, fhtaz.org.

Through Sept. 1: Desert Botanical Garden Flashlight Tours

Discover the desert at night during a self-paced walk through Desert Botanical Garden. People may bring their own flashlights or buy one in the Garden Shop. Listen to the chirps, whirs and flutter of the creatures that still stir and witness the night-blooming plants. 

Details: 7-9:30 p.m. Saturdays, May 26-September 1. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix. $24.95, $12.95 for ages 3-17, free for ages 3 and younger. 480-941-1225, dbg.org.

Through Sept. 3: Free entry at Phoenix attractions for military families

Phoenix-area attractions and museums are offering military families free admission through Labor Day. Known as the Blue Star Museums program, attractions such as the Arizona Science Center, Heard Museum and i.d.e.a. Museum offer free general admission to active active duty military, spouses and up to five family members. 

Details: Now through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3. Find a museum offering the deal near you. arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums

Through Sept. 30: Phoenix Art Museum’s free summer admission for kids

Now through Sept. 30, children younger than 18 are invited to visit the Phoenix Art Museum for free. Current exhibits include, “To Be Thirteen,” which chronicles the lives of 250 13-year-olds across the country through photography and video and “In the Company of Women,” featuring the work of female artists such as Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Faith Ringgold and Erica Deeman. The special admission was made possible by a Steele Foundation grant.The foundation provides education funding to nonprofits that safeguard children from abuse, neglect and hunger.   

Details:10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesdays; noon-5 p.m. Sundays; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on the first Friday of the month. 602-257-1880, phxart.org

Through March 2019: ‘Bodies Revealed’ at OdySea in the Desert


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Visitors get a view at what lies beneath at “Bodies Revealed” at OdySea in the Desert. The temporary exhibit includes more than 200 whole or partial body specimens that display the intricacies of bones, nerves, organs and muscles. Visitors walk through nine self-guided exhibits.

Details: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays through March 2019. $79.95 adults, $54.95 ages 2-12. odyseainthedesert.com/stores/bodies-revealed.

Events that happened earlier this month:

July 7: Family Art Workshop: Giant Spirals and Mandalas

Tempe’s artist-in-residence Kyllan Maney and local artist Jaime Glasser invite anyone who enjoyed making spiral doodles as a kids to make their own Zen-inspired mandalas and spiral drawings with a hand-made giant spiral graph machine. All ages are invited to this workshop.

Details: Noon-2 p.m., Saturday, July 7. Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway. Free. 480-350-2822. tempecenterforthearts.com/gallery/gallery-at-tca.

July 8: Phoenix Art Museum Free Sunday

Gain free admission to the Phoenix Art Museum the second Sunday of the month. Children can participate in scavenger hunts, watch live performances, hear storytelling, get free tours and more. They also get to make or participate in art with a featured local Valley artist, like a muralist or dancer.

Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, July 8. Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix. Free. 602-257-1880, phxart.org/events/family.

July 14: Queen Creek Luau Party

Queen Creek invites you to a celebration in honor of Park and Recreation month at a Luau Splash Pad Party. Everyone is welcome to join in the festivities that include hula dancing, a fire dance demonstration, food, games and music.

Details: 6-8 p.m., Saturday, July 14. Founders Park, 22407 S. Ellsworth Road, Queen Creek. Free. 480-358-3000, queencreek.org.

July 14: All About Scorpions talk

They are terrifying to discover in your house. But if you ever wanted to know more about scorpions then now is your chance. Usery Mountain Regional Park’s Ranger B will discuss how scorpions survive and thrive in the desert and how to project yourself from them.

Details: 6:30-7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 14. Usery Mountain Regional Park, 3939 N. Usery Pass Road, Mesa. The talk is free, $7 vehicle entry free to the park. 480-984-0032, maricopacountyparks.net.

July 14: Christmas in July

Visit with Santa, play in the snow and get a taste of the holiday treats you love as historic Glendale celebrates Christmas only 100-plus days early. The annual Christmas in July celebration in Old Towne and Catlin Court includes make-and-take crafts, holiday-themed gift items to buy and treats.

Details: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 14. Free. 877-800-2601, visitglendale.com.

July 14: Phoenix Zoo’s Winter in July

The Phoenix Zoo transforms into a winter wonderland with 50 tons of snow for kids to play in. Animals enjoy icy treats like frozen melon for herbivores. Among the activities are a cornhole snow toss, a toddler snow pile, a DJ, a winter games backdrop for photo opportunities and tons of snowy creature features.

Details: 7-11 a.m. Saturday, July 14. Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway. $24.95 adults, $14.95 ages 3-13, 2 and under are free. phoenixzoo.org.

July 14: H2Oasis at CityScape

Slide down more than 10 giant inflatable water slides and enjoy a variety of family friendly activities at CityScape.  Now through Aug. 11, CityScape will be transformed into a veritable waterpark on the second Saturday of each month. CityScape is partnering with the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA, which launched the “Safety Around Water” program last year. 

Details: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.  Saturday, July 14. CityScape, 1 E. Washington St., Phoenix. $5 minimum donation with proceeds donated to the “Safety Around Water” program. cityscapephoenix.com.

July 14: ASU Art Museum Family Day

Spend a day at multiple art stations making, learning and playing. The art stations are set up throughout the galleries and are led by local artists. Visitors also will get a sneak peek at the upcoming “Indwelling” exhibition by Yuri Kobayashi, a contemporary artist who combines traditional woodworking practices and refined Japanese aesthetics to create sculptures that reflect her identity, experiences and thoughts.

Details: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 14. ASU Art Museum, 51 E. 10th St., Tempe. Free. asuevents.asu.edu/content/family-day-2.

Through July 15: ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’

The classic tale of a growing beanstalk, a curious boy named Jack and a giant is told through hand puppets at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater. The show is aimed at ages 4 and older.

Details: Showtimes are 10 a.m. Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturdays  and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Great Arizona Puppet Theater, 302 W. Latham St., Phoenix. $12 adults, $8 children 12 and younger. 602-262-2050, azpuppets.org.


Jessica Suriano contributed to this article.

Reach the reporter at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter at @sonjahaller.

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