What are the best things to do with kids in Phoenix?

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Family-friendly Phoenix is home to specialty museums and outdoor activities that cater specifically to kids, making family vacations in the Valley of the Sun easy to plan. Here's our list of the best things to do with kids in Phoenix:

1. Go to the Arizona Science Center. A planetarium, IMAX theater and floors of interactive exhibits will keep kids busy all day. They'll learn about everything from how the heart works to how to build a house while taking part in get-the-wiggles-out activities like wheelchair racing and rock climbing.

2. Explore the Children's Museum of Phoenix. Kids are encouraged to touch, play and climb at this hands-on museum, featuring daily story time, art projects and a popular "noodle forest." Frequented by school groups, the museum fills up during the day, so it's best to arrive early to beat the crowds.

3. Check out a farm. Head east for some farm fun at charming Superstition Farms. Hayrides, a petting zoo, a customizable milk bar and once-a-week farmers market make this spot worth the trip. For a taste of rural life and plenty of room to run around, this farm is open for tours on weekends and by appointment during the week.

4. Travel back in time at the Arizona Museum of Natural History. Located in nearby Mesa, this museum brings dinosaurs to life and celebrates the early days of the state. Panning for "gold" in a simulated river is the highlight at this funky little museum, so be sure to pack a change of clothes; the urge to strike it rich typically trumps your little prospector's desire to stay dry.

5. Visit the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Gardens. Built for kids with splash pads, a petting zoo, paddleboats and interactive exhibits, the zoo is a favorite of families. The Desert Botanical Gardens is located just next door, and the open layout of both spaces lets kids burn off energy while parents can enjoy the beauty of the desert landscape. Plan to bring plenty of water however, as both attractions are outdoors.

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