Teenagers can be challenging to entertain, but you'll find a myriad of opportunities in the Valley of the Sun that will put a smile on almost any teen's face. Whether you are looking for a unique desert experience during your Arizona vacation, or you have visiting relatives with teens looking for something that captures their attention, you are sure to find the perfect escapade — or maybe two or three!
Some of these activities have age restrictions and may require a parent's waiver. These are all year-round activities unless otherwise stated. They appear here in no particular order.
Topgolf isn't just a driving range where you can hit a hundred balls. It's also a place where a group of friends or family can play target golf in friendly competition utilizing user-friendly technology. This isn't simulation — you'll hit real golf balls with real clubs (they provide them) but you don't have to deal with weather, walking a course, or hitting out of a bunker! All levels of golfers will have fun.
You don't have to be in the greatest shape, but most of the watercraft you can rent here require pedaling or paddling. Teens will probably want to try out the paddleboards or kayaks. If you don't want to spend hours driving back and forth to one of our central Arizona lakes, Tempe Town Lake is on the Light Rail line. There are also small motorized boats for fishing. No water skiing or swimming is permitted here.
If your teen is a golfer, your job is an easy one. There are hundreds of public golf courses in Arizona, and many of them are right here in the Phoenix area. Groupon often has deals for discounted golf, clinics, and lessons. If you are looking for clinics or developmental golf programs, check out the Southwest PGA Junior Programs.
There are two places in the Phoenix area where butterflies reign supreme. At Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale, you can learn how and why butterflies migrate and visit the butterflies year-round in their climate-controlled atrium, one of the largest in the U.S.
At Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, the Spring Butterfly Exhibit is typically open from March through Mother's Day in May.
"MIM" is a one-of-a-kind experience in North Phoenix; there's nothing like it elsewhere in the U.S. Whether you are an accomplished musician, or you simply enjoy your tunes, this museum provides insight into the history and importance of thousands of instruments, arranged into geographical subsets. Special exhibits and collections are often geared toward a youthful audience.
If your teen feels the need for speed, this may be just the place. Octane Raceway in Scottsdale has an indoor/outdoor track. There are no age restrictions to drive the go-karts, but there are the minimum height and maximum weight restrictions, so this isn't for little kids.
Modern Round, located in Peoria (West Valley), and is fun for all ages. Teenagers are likely to have blast at this virtual shooting range, where they rent a shooting lounge and use replica firearms to test their skills at hitting carnival-type targets, evil gunslingers, hidden objects. and zombies. People under 18 must take a class first.
Archery is hot in the Phoenix area, and you can find both indoor and outdoor facilities that provide lessons, clinics and hourly rates for archery fun. The staffers at Archery Headquarters in Chandler are very helpful in getting beginners started.
The minimum age is 16, but no experience is required. Beginners (take the Tempe tour) will receive instruction on operating the Segway.
This wildlife park is about a two-hour drive from most points in Phoenix, but it makes a great day trip for any family that includes teens. Not a zoo, this is a preserve where you'll feel like you have been transported to the Serengeti.
In the northwest part of town, in Surprise, Uptown Alley has entertainment for all ages, including bowling, laser tag, billiards and electronic games. There is 14 movie theater screen with an IMAX within about a block at the Digiplex Surprise.
On the very opposite end of the Valley, in Maricopa, the UltraStar Multi-tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle has the same amusements but also has a 12-screen movie theater in the same building. It's a whole day of entertainment.