Arizona is filled with fascinating museums and exciting attractions. Historic districts, art galleries, botanical gardens and zoos provide hours (and even days) of fun and learning in Phoenix. The following is a list of must-sees of Phoenix museums and attractions. Before visiting the museums and attractions listed call ahead for hours and fees.
Museums and Attractions
Arizona Science Center600 East Washington St. Phoenix AZ 85004
More than 300 hands-on exhibits are waiting to be explored in this popular four-story museum designed by Antoine Predock. The center’s planetarium has undergone major renovation and has a new seamless dome while the IMAX theatre with its giant screen is the perfect setting for the latest 3D movie.
Arizona State Capitol Museum and Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza1700 West Washington Street Phoenix AZ 85007
Check out the old home of the Arizona Legislature and view memorials to veterans of different wars as well as the extraordinary murals depicting Arizona’s history and its progress from a U.S. territory to a state.
Deer Valley Rock Art Center3711 West Deer Valley Road Phoenix AZ 85308
Managed by the Arizona State University School of Human Evolution and Social Change visitors are allowed public access to the Hedgpeth Hills site that is home to more than 1500 ancient petroglyphs made by the Hohokam and Patayan who were the first inhabitants here.
Desert Botanical Garden Papago Park1201 North Galvin Parkway Phoenix AZ 85008
The Desert Botanical Garden reveals that the Sonoran Desert is home to its own kind of Eden with native trees succulents cacti grasses shrubs and flowers. Walk along one of the four trails that cross these gardens dedicated to the flora of the Southwest and explore a new world of desert beauty. Rare desert plants endangered desert plants and threatened desert plant species are on display.
Fountain Hills Botanical GardenFountain Hills Blvd. at Kingstree Ave.
The Fountain Hills Botanical Garden was founded by Jane Haynes in 1975 as a wildlife preserve and garden. The Garden is 8 acres with elevation from 1696 to 1800 feet. Twenty-nine Sonoran Desert plants are identified along the half mile meandering trail that has been constructed on the desert slopes. The trail allows for interesting views of rock formations desert flora animal life and an abandoned P-Bar Ranch campsite next to the April 25 1941 constructed dam wall. Free Admission.
Goldfield Ghost Town & Mine Tours4650 North Mammoth Mine Road Apache Junction AZ 85219
Revisit the boomtown days of Goldfield during the 1890s when a gold strike made Goldfield a lively mining town. Visitors can explore shops and historic buildings tour the Mammoth Gold Mine pan for gold and ride the state’s only operating narrow-gauge railroad for a short tour of the area. Staged gunfights on the weekends complete the picture of life in the Old West.
Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting6101 East Van Buren Street Phoenix AZ 85008
The Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting is the world’s largest museum dedicated to firefighters. Housed in a warehouse building and sponsored by the National Historical Fire Foundation the museum features five large exhibit galleries of restored and vintage firefighting equipment and history from 1725 to 1969.
Heard Museum2301 North Central Avenue Phoenix AZ 85004
The Heard Museum is internationally acclaimed for its collection of Native American fine arts artifacts and crafts with special emphasis on the people of the Southwest. The museum also features an Education Pavilion as well as three new galleries and an auditorium.
Heritage Square115 North Sixth Street Phoenix AZ 85004
A trip downtown offers the chance to step back in time. Visit the pedestrian-only block of restored Victorian homes that comprise the only residential structures left of the original town of Phoenix. The homes themselves are open to the public. The Stevens House is home to the Arizona Doll and Toy Museum and the Teeter House Victorian Tea Room is a popular stop.
L. Alan Cruikshank River of Time Museum12901 N. La Montana Blvd. Fountain Hills AZ 85268
The River of Time Museum leads visitors through creative informative exhibits that recount the captivating past of the Lower Verde Valley to depict the importance of water in the Sonoran Desert and illustrate how water determines the course of history.
Mystery Castle800 East Mineral Road Phoenix AZ 85042
Built in the foothills of South Mountain Park in the 1930’s from bottles old bricks and pieces of granite the Mystery Castle has been named as a Phoenix Point of Pride. Visitors can explore the 18 rooms of this bizarre structure created as an expression of a father’s love for his abandoned daughter.
Out of Africa Wildlife ParkVerde Valley Justice Court Rd Camp Verde AZ 86322
Nine animal shows tours and more await visitors here at Out of Africa Wildlife Park where animals may be seen in a garden-like setting. View big cats such as rare white tigers lions and cougars while other park inhabitants include coatis foxes bears wolves and exotic birds. Family friendly activities include safari jeep tours for up close and personal viewing of exotic animals.
Phoenix Art Museum1625 North Central Avenue Phoenix AZ 85004
The Phoenix Art Museum boasts of an intriguing collection 17000 pieces of art from several centuries and representing important art eras and styles all housed within the museum’s acclaimed galleries featuring exciting and groundbreaking exhibitions from the four corners of the world.
Phoenix Police Museum17 South Second Ave. Phoenix AZ 85004
The Phoenix Police Museum features an amazing array of displays and equipment used to keep the peace by police officers from a 1919 police car to a three-wheeled motorcycle used by meter readers. A recent museum acquisition is a crossbeam from one of the towers of the World Trade Center attacked on Sept. 11 2001 and on permanent display as part of the museum’s 9-11 memorial.
Phoenix Zoo Papago Park455 North Galvin Parkway Phoenix AZ 85008
Come spend the day at Papago Park home of the Phoenix Zoo voted one of the nation’s top five zoos for kids. At 152 acres and more than 7600 animals the Phoenix Zoo is the largest privately owned not-for-profit zoo in the country with exhibits designed to closely recreate the animals’ natural habitats. Of special note are the zoo’s four trails: the Tropics Trail offers fantastic birdwatching the Africa Trail with its tigers lions and elephants the Children’s Discovery Trail and Harmony Farm with farm animals and butterfly garden and the Arizona Trail featuring Arizona native animals.
Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park4619 East Washington St. Phoenix AZ 85034
Visit the world of the Hohokam Indians the first residents of this area of the Southwest who mysteriously disappeared in the mid-15th century. Check out the indoor displays that detail the Hohokam’s agricultural system and daily life then follow the trails around the ruins of an actual excavated Hohokam village.
Taliesin West12621 Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. Scottsdale AZ 85259
Taliesin West was the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright from 1937 until his death in 1959 and is a perfect example of Wright’s ability to create living space that meshes naturally with its surroundings. Surrounded by suburban development Taliesin West is one of the few estates in the Phoenix metropolitan area that has preserved desert mountain and open space for the benefit of its undergraduate and graduate programs in Architecture K-12 students scholars and visitors. Guided tours are available to those who want to experience Wright’s genius of architectural design.