Image courtesy Hurricane Harbor Image courtesy Hurricane Harbor

Looking for something to do with the kids that doesn’t involve melting in triple-digit heat? The Copper Courier has got you covered!

Summer is typically the Valley’s slow period with snowbirds in cool weather destinations and kids out of school. But families spending the season in the Valley are in luck. Metro Phoenix is teeming with great summertime activities for parents and their kids. From seeing sharks to taking painting classes, here are eight things to do as we all eagerly await cooler weather to return. 

See Sharks at the OdySea Aquarium 

Kids can learn all about the mighty shark as part of Scottsdale’s OdySea Aquarium Summer of Sharks. From now until July 31, children can see more than 40 sharks and 14 different shark species at the only aquarium in the Valley of the Sun. The sharks are located throughout the aquarium and even in the building’s bathroom. Special programming includes a behind-the-scenes 30-minute Shark Waters tour that’s available on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Children can touch zebra and epilate sharks, make shark-themed crafts, participate in scavenger hunts, and join live discussions and Q&As with animal care specialists. Looking to save on admission? After 4:30 p.m. daily, guests can nab tickets for $27 each as part of Twilight at OdySea. Visit www.odyseaaquarium.com for more information. 

Be Awed by the “Immersive Van Gogh” Exhibition 

If you’re looking to teach your kids more about art in a different way, consider attending the “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibition at the Lighthouse ArtSpace Phoenix in Scottsdale. Created by Massimiliano Siccardi, families can watch as iconic painter Van Gogh’s notable works appear on the walls of this space as digital projections that are accompanied by a unique soundtrack. Kids will probably be mesmerized by the vibrant colors and dynamic scenes of Van Gogh’s work including “Sunflowers” and “Starry Night.” Best of all, kids can get up close to the art. Ticket prices start at $39.99. Visit www.vangoghphx.com for more information. 

Courtesy of Immersive Van Gogh.

Bowl for Free at Mavrix 

Scottsdale’s 50,000 square-foot Mavrix offers plenty of fun entertainment options for youngsters. Kids can enjoy arcade games, laser tag, food from the Trophy Room Grill, and even can bowl two free games as part of its Kids Bowl Free program that’s happening every day this summer through Aug. 31. Kids age 15 and younger are eligible for free bowling as long as they register online. Visit www.kidsbowlfree.com/mavrix for more information. 

Take a Dance Class at the Phoenix Center for the Arts 

Kids ages 6 to 18 can take youth art classes in a variety of disciplines at the Phoenix Center for the Arts. As of press time, kids ages 13 to 17 can take a beginner hip-hop dance class for seven weeks starting on July 14. In this class, teens can learn the fundamentals of hip-hop. Kids are asked to bring a water bottle, comfortable clothes, and a powerful attitude. No experience is required. Financial aid is available. Visit www.phoenixcenterforthearts.org for more information. 

See a Play Based on the Beloved Children’s Book Series “Junie B. Jones”

Fans of “Junie B. Jones” book series by Barbara Park will want to consider checking out the play based on four of Park’s books that follow the adventures of Junie B. From Aug. 12 to 28 at the Glyder Theater at the Peoria Center for Performing Arts, watch performances of “Junie B Jones Jr. The Musical.” Here’s the plot: It’s the first day of first grade for Junie B. During this eventful day, Junie makes friends with the new kid in school and may need glasses, among other events. Tickets cost $22 to $26. Visit www.theaterworks.org for more information. 

Take a Painting Class at Brightside Studios 

At Central Phoenix’s creative space Brightside Studios, kids can participate in the studio’s Chameleon Club where they can brush up on their painting skills. On July 10 and 24, kids have a choice of three activities that include the choice of painting a wood birdhouse, blank canvas, or a clay plot, and then planting a flower inside the decorated pot. Tickets cost $15 per person. The activity is available throughout the day. Visit www.brightsidestudios.com for more information. 

Boost Literacy Skills with the Phoenix Public Library’s Summer Reading Program 

If you’re looking to encourage your kids to read this summer, it’s not too late to sign them up for Phoenix Public Library’s Oceans of Possibilities summer reading program. After registering online at www.maricopacountyreads.org, kids can log the minutes they spend reading and then earn prizes and enter into grand prize drawings. Just for registering, kids receive a prize and a gently-used book from the Friends of the Phoenix Public Library. Visit www.phoenixpubliclibrary.org for more information. 

Cool Off at a Water Park 

When those Valley temperatures routinely top three digits, a water park is a great place where kids can have fun and literally cool off in the water. The largest theme park in Arizona, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor offers a white water rafting experience, a dynamic playground packed with water features, a water roller coaster, an adventure river and an oversized wave pool. One of the latest park attractions is Paradise Island. Find sand and clear blue water at this 12,000-square-foot activity pool. For the youngest guests, the Paradise Island pool features a zero-depth entry. From now through Labor Day, customers can purchase summer season passes for $69.99 per person. Visit www.sixflags.com/phoenix for more information. 

More Ideas

Some of the hotels in town also have water parks that are ideal for families and sell day passes. A few options include the Hilton Phoenix Tapatio Cliffs Resort, The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Hilton Phoenix Resort at the Peak, Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, and the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Visit www.resortpass.com to learn more and to purchase passes.