Located in central Arizona, Prescott is equidistant from the cities of Phoenix, Sedona, and Flagstaff. Prescott retains much of its Gold Rush-era charm, which you can observe in the historic downtown district. The panoramic Bradshaw Mountain views and the uniquely formed Granite Dells make Prescott a great place for a family vacation. Just steps from your Prescott vacation rental are an abundance of entertaining, recreational, and educational kid-friendly activities. Check out some of the most exciting ones.
1. The Square
The historic hub and heart of the city of Prescott, the Square is a great place to relax as you marvel at the lush one hundred-year-old trees, throw a frisbee on the lawn, and enjoy an ice cream while sitting the Courthouse steps. During the summer there’s always free entertainment, including cowboy poets. The Square hosts year round festivals, antique and craft shows dot the grounds, and, there are plenty of boutiques where you can shop for souvenirs or buy a summer hat. There’s something for everyone at the restaurants in the Square from vegetarian to pizza to duck burgers and fries.
2. Mike Fann Community Skate Park
Let the little ones burn off some excess energy and make some new friends at this cool community skate park. The well-maintained city park is suitable for all skill levels, whether the kids are riding bikes, in-line skating, or skateboarding. There’s a park right next door, so you can relax with a cold drink and enjoy the show.
3. Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary
This beautiful wildlife sanctuary overlooks Willow Lake and has a nice picnic area with a splash pad and playground. However, there are no snack bars, so bring some water and snacks. This sanctuary provides large, respectful, and natural habitats for native and exotic animals rescued from inappropriate situations, or those who were injured or ill. You can take a guided tour or just visit the animals at your leisure. The sanctuary also has several educational events throughout the year for your enjoyment.
4. Kalusa Miniature Airplane Collection
This fascinating collection of more than 5,000 model aircraft holds a Guinness Book of World Record for the largest collection in the world. All of the models are handmade by former World War II photographer and aircraft mechanic, John W. Kalusa. The collection is located at the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott campus, which is a working college library, so visitors are encouraged to quietly enjoy the collection.
5. Freedom Station Family Fun Center
Join the kids in a lively game of laser tag in this 40,000-square-foot fun center. Climbers love scaling the challenging rock climbing walls, and, there’s a miniature golf course, air hockey, and lots of popular arcade games. You can treat everyone to a cold drink or ice cream in the center’s full-service cafe.
6. Watson Lake Park
Head four miles north of downtown Prescott for a wonderful day at Watson Lake Park. You can follow the Peavine Trail that runs along the lake and takes you into the scenic Granite Dells, the exposed and eroded bedrock and granite boulders that have a lumpy, rippled appearance. The trail is level and easy to maneuver for bikers, joggers, bicyclers, and horseback riders. If you love to bird, bring your books and spend some time doing some Audubon-endorsed bird watching in the 140-acre Watson Woods Riparian Preserve near the Peavine Trail. There are hundreds of species in the area, including pelicans and eagles.
7. Lonesome Valley Trails
Commune with nature as the family takes a horseback ride or hike through this 10-mile network of trails and pathways. You path winds through meadows, large forest areas, along streams, by granite faces, and near waterfalls.
8. Prescott National Forest
Spend some leisurely time with nature as you explore this 1.25-million acre national forest with eight designated wilderness areas. You can horseback ride or hike along numerous trails, boat on a lake, or throw your fishing pole in the nearest hole where you are likely to catch largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, crappie, and catfish.
9. Smoki Museum
Storytellers make this museum an interesting experience for youngsters as they relate how young Native Americans children in Arizona spent their youth and what their lives were like. You can view more than 2,000 Native American artifacts, including hand woven baskets, beaded clothing and accessories, and handmade pottery.
10. Prescott Frontier Days
Prescott Frontier Days, established in 1888 and known as the World’s Oldest Rodeo, takes place annually over the July 4th weekend. Eight fantastic rodeo performances, including favorites such as bull riding, barrel racing, wild horse racing, and steer wrestling, never fail to thrill enthusiastic audiences. During the annual festivities, take the kids to the popular rodeo dance on Thursday night for family-friendly entertainment.
11. King Gold Mine and Ghost Town
Have some fun at the King Gold Mine and ghost town where prospectors expected to find copper and were very disappointed to find only gold. Now a museum, you can enjoy the demonstrations of the antique mining equipment and turn-of-the-century sawmill operations as well as take a look at the world’s largest gas engine. You can walk through the mine shaft, pet and feed the animals, and marvel at a circa-1901 blacksmith shop.
12. Full Swing Sports Center
Kids enjoy testing their skills at the five indoor batting cages, or they can check their swings on the golf simulators. Let them bounce on the bungee trampoline, gape at the spider wall, and use the 6-in-one sports simulator while you enjoy the spectacular view of Prescott Valley and the surrounding mountains.
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