flashlight nights

Desert Botanical Gardens Flashlight Nights

With children being off from school in the summer, it can be a challenge to get them away from the TV or video games. These are some events that encourage kids to have new experiences and try new things.


Desert Hills Community School of Music Summer Camp Program

From June 5 to June 9, Desert Hills Community School of Music will engage young people with a variety of musical instruments. Their two-part summer camp will feature a summer band camp for young people 10 to 17 and a string instrument workshop for children 8 and older. The summer band workshop is open to beginning to intermediate-level woodwind, brass and percussion players. Through the workshop, middle and high school students can further develop in their ability to play with ensembles, as well as learn group piano, conducting or music theory. On the Friday of the workshop, student ensembles will perform pieces they have worked on throughout the week. The intergenerational string workshop, which is also open to adults, is designed for those who want to learn to play the violin, bass, viola or cello. They get a chance to work up to scales and simple songs and prepare to join their school’s orchestra with the ability to already play music. 

Desert Hills Community School of Music, 34605 N. Tom Darlington Drive, Scottsdale, $375 for summer band camp, $200 for string camp, 480-869-7660, deserthillsmusic.org/summer-camp


Desert Foothills Theater Summer Theater Camp

This summer throughout June, Desert Foothills Theater will host summer camps for 4 to 6, 7 to 13 and 12 to 17 year olds. It will also have July workshops for kids 7 to 13. The summer camps have been expanded to two locations: the Holland Community Center and Notre Dame Preparatory High School. Participants have a chance to learn acting, dance, music and vocal skills. The camps also include dance parties, games, talent shows, and arts and crafts activities. Children will put on productions of shows such as “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Encanto.” 

The Holland Community Center, 34250 N. 60th Street, Building B, Scottsdale; Notre Dame Preparatory High School, 9701 E. Bell Road, Scottsdale, prices range from $200 to $295 for weeklong class and $585 for two-week class, 480-488-1981, dftheater.org


Carefree Church Summer Blast

From June 12 to June 16, Carefree Church will keep kids of all ages engaged with its weeklong Summer Blast event. The church will have Bible stories, songs, games, crafts, skits and snacks. The event will include Twists and Turns, a gaming celebration featuring tabletop and video games. Summer Blast is open to all children, regardless of church affiliation, ages 3 through fifth grade.  

Carefree Church, 5025 E. Carefree Highway, Cave Creek, $25 for one child, $50 for families, 480-488-5565, carefreechurch.com


Phoenix Zoo

In addition to learning more about animals at the Phoenix Zoo, children can cool off in splash pads throughout the summer. The zoo offers Yukulla Caverns, a cave with stalactites and stalagmites, for children 5 and older, and Leapin’ Lagoon, a fun spot for the little ones. The zoo also has giraffe encounters, camel rides, an endangered species carousel and chances to feed stingrays. 

Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, $34.95 to $39.95 for adult admission for 14 and older, $24.95 to $29.95 admission for 3 to 13, 602-286-3800, phoenixzoo.org 


Desert Botanical Garden Events 

Through May 14, the Desert Botanical Garden will present its “Majestic Mariposas” spring butterfly exhibition. Guests have a chance to see up close over 2,000 Southwestern butterflies, learning more about different stages of their lives and conservation efforts designed to protect them. 

From May 26 to August 25 on select dates, children education associates at the Desert Botanical Garden will lead story time for toddlers to children up to 5 years old. These story times incorporate themed readings, songs and playtime. 

From June 3 to September 2, the garden will host its annual Flashlight Nights events. During these special nights, families are encouraged to bring their flashlights to explore the garden. The garden will also have performances, hands-on activities and creature features. On June 17, dads will receive free admission with a paid child admission. 

Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, $16.95 general admission from June 1 to September 4, 480-573-2715, dbg.org


MIM events

Every Tuesday to Saturday throughout the summer, the Musical Instrument Museum will host Mini Music Makers. These early childhood music and movement classes introduce children to music, dance, crafts and instruments from different parts of the world. This program was designed for toddlers to children up to 5. 

As part of MIMkids Musical Adventures, children 6 to 10 have a chance to go on a musical journey as they make music, craft musical instruments and explore the museum. Each class focuses on a different part of the world and its music. The museum will host a Brazil-focused class on June 10 featuring a rocar rattle craft, an Indonesian-focused class featuring a gamelan puppet activity on July 8, and a USA-focused class on August 12 incorporating a pie-tin banjo craft. 

As part of the MIMkids Junior Museum Guides program, young people in grades 6 to 12 can become junior museum guides who lead tours of the museum’s galleries and exhibits. They can participate in music-making activities and learn about cultures and instruments from different parts of the world. There are upcoming classes for junior museum guides on May 6, May 13 and May 27, and June 3.  

On June 10 and June 11, the MIM will highlight blues music. The musical genre has its origins in African American communities in the South in the late 1800s. Prominent blues artists include B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Howlin’ Wolf, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Etta James and Stevie Ray Vaughan. 

Experience the Caribbean on May 13 and May 14 will give visitors a glimpse into the different musical styles and influences of the Caribbean. On July 15 to June 16, Experience France will highlight the music and culture of France. Experience events often have performances, hands-on craft activities, special menu items at the café, and lectures. 

Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix, free for members, $20 general admission, $15 for teens 13 to 19, $10 for children 4 to 12, free for children 3 and under, $40 per session for junior museum guides, $12 per class for Music Adventures, 480-478-6000, mim.org


Musical Theatre of Anthem’s summer offerings

This summer, the Musical Theatre of Anthem will have summer workshops of “Disney’s My Son Pinocchio Jr.” and “Cats Young Actors Edition.” As part of the workshops, children and teens will get the experience of rehearsals and performances. The “Pinocchio” workshop is open to youth people ages 8 to 18, with everyone getting cast. The workshop will run from June 5 to June 17, with performances from June 15 to June 17. The “Cats” production is for teens 13 to 18, with everyone also getting cast. The workshop will run from July 17 to July 29, with performances from July 27 to July 29. 

From August 3 to August 6, the theater will hold the Summer Performing Arts Institute, which will be broken down by age and skill level. Children can choose to go through training only or take part in training and performances. As part of this institute, participants can get training in areas such as ballet, tap dance, movement for acting, improv, acting through song, vocals, hip-hop or Fosse dance and/or character development. 

Musical Theatre of Anthem, 4220 N. 41st Drive, Suite B100, Anthem, $375 for “Pinocchio” and “Cats” workshops, $150 for classes only and $275 for elective classes and performances for institute, 623-336-6001, musicaltheatreofanthem.org


Anthem music and holiday events 

Throughout the month of May, Anthem will be filled with lively music on Friday nights as part of Music in May events. During these free events, families can bring a blanket and a picnic basket, sit outside, and enjoy music from local Arizona groups. A variety of different bands will perform throughout the month, and food and ice cream trucks will be out at the event. 

Community Park Amphitheater, 41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem, free, onlineatanthem.com/events/music_in_may.php. 


On July 3, Anthem will celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, rides, waterslides and festival fare. A performance of the national anthem will precede the fireworks display. 

Community Park, 41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway, free, onlineatanthem.com


Desert Foothills Library summer reading program

Throughout the summer months, the Desert Foothills Library will encourage children to read through its summer reading program. From June 1 to August 1, young people can win prizes based on the amount of time they spend reading. This year’s theme will be “All Together Now/Todos Juntos Ahora,” which promotes kindness, community and collaboration. The library will kick off the summer reading program with a bubble and foam party on June 2. Throughout the summer, the library will also have presenters such as the Arizona Curriculum Theater and a local puppeteer, family story times on Tuesdays and Thursdays, STEM programs, Teen Thursdays and Lego challenges. 

Desert Foothills Library, 38443 N. Schoolhouse Road, Cave Creek, 480-488-2286, dfla.org


Arizona Diamondbacks promotions 

Throughout the summer, the Arizona Diamondbacks will host events that incorporate themed in-game activities, ceremonies and performances. This will include a Pacific Island heritage celebration on May 12 featuring postgame fireworks, an Asian heritage celebration on May 13 that includes an anime player tee giveaway, Native American Recognition Day on June 3 featuring a tribal cap giveaway, Pride Night on June 17 with a pride-themed bag giveaway, Mexican Heritage Night on September 2 with a postgame concert, and Hispanic Heritage Weekend September 15 to September 17 featuring Hispanic heritage and Serpientes cap giveaways. 

The D-Backs will host “Star Wars” Night on July 29 featuring a Tatooine haboob globe giveaway and a 25th anniversary celebration on August 12 with a throwback jersey giveaway. 

During Faith and Family Night on August 25, there will be a postgame concert.  

Chase Field, 401 E. Jefferson Street, Phoenix, various times and pricing, dbacks.com


McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Children’s Learning and Play Festival

On June 24, the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy will educate and engage families with the Children’s Learning and Play Festival. Activities during the event promote learning, health, wellness, active play and exploration in a hands-on way. One activity called Ecosystem Jenga will teach young people about the Sonoran Desert ecosystem through blocks, which represent animal species and resources. There will be children’s authors, illustrators and STEM educators in attendance. The event will also have performances and live animal exhibits with reptiles and birds. Children have the chance to take part in workshops and see exhibitions focused on science and technology, art, engineering and literature-related topics. 

WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, free, 480-998-7971, mcdowellsonoran.org


McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park summer events

The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park will celebrate Independence Day early on July 2 with Red, White and Choo and Choo. This event will feature bounce houses, waterslides, foam canons, field games, a pie-eating contest, a mechanical bull, train and carousel rides, DJ music and fireworks. 

On August 5, the park will hold Slide the Rails, a family-friendly event with obstacle courses, water slides, a bubble foam pit and cool treats. During the event, families can also take unlimited train and carousel rides with the price of a wristband. 

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, 7301 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale, $15 for people 13 and older and $5 for kids 3 to 12 for Red, White and Choo and Choo, $10 for wristband for Slide the Rails, therailroadpark.com


Anthem splash pads

Through October 23, the splash pad at Anthem Community Park is open each day from 10 a.m. to sunset inside Adventure Playground. The park also has a catch-and-release pond, pickleball courts, an amphitheater, ramadas, basketball and volleyball courts and a skatepark. 

The splash pad at Liberty Park is also open 10 a.m. to sunset daily through October 23. This park also offers ramadas, seating and picnic areas, a sports field and a playground. 

Anthem Community Park, 41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem. Liberty Bell Park, 4106 N. Liberty Bell Way, Anthem, onlineatanthem.com 


Sonoran Arts League Art workshops and camps

Through the Sonoran Arts League’s art workshops and camps, children can explore their creativity and try new techniques and mediums. The last Second Saturday workshop of the season, open to third through eighth graders, will be held May 14. Workshops will resume September 10. The arts league will also hold a summer arts camp for kindergarteners through eighth graders in June and July. 

Sonoran Arts League Arts League Studio, 7100 E. Cave Creek Road, Suite 144, Cave Creek, 480-575-6624, sonoranartsleague.org


Pioneer Living History Museum 

Throughout the summer, from June 1 to September 5, the Pioneer Living History Museum will be open from 7 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. The open-air museum features 20 historic 19th century buildings, including the log cabin where Arizona’s first senator grew up and the home of Pleasant Valley War victim John Tewksbury. Visitors can also explore replica blacksmith, carpenter and dress shops. 

Sometimes, volunteers dressed in costume will interact with guests. The museum was designed to educate visitors about Arizona’s days as a territory from 1863 to 1912. 

Pioneer Living History Museum, 3901 W. Pioneer Road, Phoenix, $12 for adults, $10 for children 5 to 16, $8 for veterans, first responders and seniors, 623-465-1052, pioneeraz.org