Visiting an amusement park is a vacation that families sometimes spend years saving for, especially at some of the biggest parks in the country (think Disneyland). In Arizona, several amusement parks may not be on the same scale as Disney, but can still give a day or two of, dare I say, amusement.
Amusement parks usually have attractions that range from roller coasters, water slides, mini-golf, adventurous fun, and more. Arizona is obviously pretty hot for most of the year, so you’ll want to visit the non-water parks during the cooler months for maximum enjoyment.
There are roller coasters for all levels of riders, from the little kids to the big thrill-seekers. Some of the more adventurous activities include rope courses high in the trees, giant trampolines, and speedy go-karts.
Due to Arizona’s relentless heat, outdoor amusement parks are few, but several of them have both a water park section and a more traditional amusement park section. I’ve also included smaller indoor venues with games, activities, and even small rides that are usually found at theme parks. Year-round fun can be had both inside and outside in Arizona, you just have to plan accordingly!
So without further ado, here are the 11 best amusement parks in Arizona.
1. Castles N’ Coasters
One of Arizona’s only true amusement parks, Castles N’ Coasters has several big roller coasters, many of your usual state fair-type rides, smaller rides for the younger crowd, arcade games, and minigolf!
With over 20 rides and attractions, there are more rides at Castles N’ Coasters than at any other amusement park in Arizona. You could easily spend hours playing arcade games, including classics like PacMan and Skirball. With 4 different mini golf courses (all 18 holes!) your group could take each other on in a friendly game.
Playing this hard is sure to make you hungry, and luckily Castles N’ Coasters has six different food and drink snack bars, complete with funnel cakes, shaved ice, hamburgers, waffles, and churros! Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll find something to satisfy that sweet tooth.
The Desert Storm coaster is sure to thrill you with steep drops, several spins and loops, and high speeds. Test out your driving skills on the Go Kart course, and challenge your friends to a race! The Free Fall Tower drops you from dizzying heights for a total of 5 drops per ride! For a walk down memory lane, relax with the little kids on the carousel.
2. Enchanted Island
The shining star of Enchanted Island is the ⅓ size replica of the C.P. Huntington train, which was built in 1991 and takes visitors on a 7-minute leisurely ride around the entire park. The Encanto Carousel is another historic fixture of this park and has been in continuous use for over 50 years in several different locations.
Smaller children will especially love to spend the day at Enchanted Island Amusement Park, with 7 rides specifically engineered for the little ones to enjoy. This park is geared towards families with young kids, but there’s something for the whole family to enjoy.
If you have kids who want to try a roller coaster but are still a little nervous, the Dragon Wagon is the perfect ride for them; with gentle drops and turns, but enough speed to get the excitement flowing, your kids will beg to ride this one again and again. On warm summer days, the kids will especially enjoy the bumper boats!
Another great summer feature at Enchanted Island Amusement Park is the Splash Zone, this fun splash pad/mini water park has fountains, water spouts, and dumping buckets that can provide hours and hours of fun in the sun!
3. Wildlife World
Although primarily a zoo, I added Wildlife World to this list of amusement parks because they also have several rides and other attractions that make it so much more than your usual zoo! There are several unique ways to see the animals throughout the park using trains and trams, and there’s even a roller coaster for added excitement!
The African Safari Train and Trams take you among the African animals, and helpful narration from the conductors helps to educate on the creatures that you’ll see. The Skyride takes you over a large part of the park in a 15-minute sky-lift style ride, allowing you to see incredible birds-eye views.
The log-boat Flume Ride is especially unique, taking you past 3 primate islands, then through a giant aquarium where you can see the underwater creatures up close. The grand finale is a fun 3-story drop down into a splash pool below (be prepared to get wet!). Another exotic water ride is the Australian Boat Ride, which cruises among the kangaroos, emus, and more.
For those that want even more adrenaline-pumping fun, try the zipline or the soaring tower swings called Vertigo. Just like any zoo, there are hundreds of animals to see and learn about in addition to all of these cool extras that you just don’t get anywhere else. Wildlife World is an amusement park perfect for animals lovers.
4. Gravity Extreme Zone and Adventure Park
One of the highest-rated trampoline parks in Arizona, Gravity Extreme Zone, and Adventure Park lets you fly high on dozens of trampolines, climb up rock walls, challenge your friends to dodge ball, and so much more! The number of activities available here is almost limitless.
This 40,000 square foot facility is big enough for huge family get-togethers, corporate gatherings, and birthday parties. One of the favorite attractions is the Skywalk, which is a ropes course 18 feet up in the air and is the largest indoor ropes course of its kind in Arizona. Another popular one is the American Ninja-style obstacle course, letting you test your agility as you jump from ledges to different types of trapeze and punching bags in the air.
For the smaller kids, there’s a toddler play area with shorter obstacles and slides for crawling babies and little toddlers to test out their new walking and climbing skills. There’s even toddler time on the trampolines every day, providing a safe environment for your little ones.
If you have high-energy kids or need to get some energy out yourself, head to Gravity Extreme Zone and Adventure Park! You’ll have up to 2 hours of play each time you come, and there are even annual memberships available.
5. Makutu’s Island
This jungle-themed indoor adventure park is filled with towering climbing structures, a toddler area, an arcade, “caves” to explore, a cafe, and private party rooms for groups. For birthday parties, consider reserving a private room and you get your own party host who takes care of all your needs and makes birthday parties a breeze!
Kids will be endlessly entertained by all the activities to do here, and the crowning centerpiece is the giant “tree”. The tree is filled with tunnels, mole-holes, tubes, and slides, perfect for kids to get all their energy out and play for hours.
All good indoor adventure parks have a designated toddler area, and Mukutu’s Island is no different! Your little ones will love climbing up small obstacles and going down the slides over and over again. When the kids get hungry, Kiki’s Cafe is stocked full of delicious pizza and other tasty fares.
Makutu’s Island is one of the best places to host a kid’s party in the whole valley, and it would be a birthday that your children will never forget! Parents will enjoy watching their kids have fun in a safe and clean environment.
6. Golfland Sunsplash
Golfland Sunsplash is Mesa’s premier water and amusement park, with attractions for year-round fun. The Golfland section is open all year long, has several mini-golf courses, and in the winter it is turned into a winter wonderland with thousands of sparkling lights! Golfland also has laser tag, arcade games, bumper cars, go-karts, and much more.
Th Sunplash part of Golfland Sunsplash is open in the summers and has some of the best water slides, wave pools, and other water park fun that Arizona has to offer. Thunder Bay wave pool produces waves up to 4 feet high, and you can test your body surfing skills at the wave break line. The Master Blaster ride is one of the first “roller coaster” like water slides, with water propelling you up and down the slide for an exciting, heart-pumping ride.
Another favorite is the Lazy River, perfect for those who just wish to relax for a while after playing hard. The toddler pool is designed and safe for the younger kids, with smaller slides and a shallow pool for wading and playing in. For those who crave an adrenaline rush, try the near-vertical drops of the Bonzi and Double Dare slides.
7. Hurricane Harbor
Hurricane Harbor is owned by Six Flags; they are renowned for their incredible roller coasters at different amusement parks around the country, and their water park in Phoenix is no different. The water slides and attractions here are some of the most thrilling and exciting ones you’ll find anywhere in the country.
Adults and older kids will love the thrill rides, including the Anaconda (long, fast, and winding water slide), Mammoth Falls (like white water rafting? Try this!), and the Tornado tunnel. The kid’s areas are safe for ages 3 and up and include several splash pads and small water slides into shallow water.
The Lazy River and Hurricane Bay wave pool allow families to relax and have fun together, with plenty of space for all to enjoy the cool water during the hot Arizona summer months. The Big Kahuna slide even allows for giant, 6-person tubes allowing the entire family to ride together!
After playing hard, stop by any of the dozen restaurants and snack stand options for a full meal or some shaved ice, churros, ice cream, or funnel cakes. Hurricane Harbor is an expansive and exciting water and amusement park that will have you coming back again and again!
Perfect for families year-round, this indoor and outdoor adventure park has something fun for every age. The Alien Laser Tag is especially fun for teenagers as you try to score the most points against the opposing team. The outdoor Speedway is the longest go-kart course in Arizona, with sharp curves and fast cars! The double cars allow all ages to get in on the action.
For younger kids who want to get experience driving themselves, the Jax Trax has slower but still exciting karts, and the bumper boats are available to them as well. Enjoy all your favorite arcade games in Cyber City, and win prizes with your gaming skills.
Batting cages allow athletes both young and old to hone their baseball skills, or maybe learn a new sport in the process. The Amaze N’ Golf course is set up with kids ages 4-10 in mind, with interesting formats and plenty of hole-in-one potential to keep little ones engaged; the bigger minigolf course is great for adults and teenagers alike.
With so many activities and attractions, your entire family will be sure to find something to entertain. You’ll make memories together at CrackerJax and your kids will be begging to come back tomorrow!
9. Funtasticks Family Fun Park
Heading south to Tucson? Make a visit to Funtasticks Family Fun Park for some splash pad fun, arcade games, high-speed go-karts, kid-friendly carnival rides, and bumper boats. Kids will have fun running from activity to activity, it’ll be hard to keep up! There are even two 18-hole minigolf courses and families will have a blast trying to win against each other.
Tucson’s largest laser tag arena is Atlantis Laser tag at Funtasticks, complete with 3 levels of playing space and 5,200 square feet of space to play a high-tech version of hide and seek. The exhilarating go-kart course lets you test your speed and driving skills as you race around the track. The Kiddie Land area has small roller coasters and flying rides, with slower speeds and lower heights perfect for toddlers and younger kids.
Funtasticks is the only amusement park of its kind in Tucson, and is well worth the visit for the whole family!
10. Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs
Everyone knows a kid that is obsessed with dinosaurs (and maybe you’re an adult who never grew out of it!) and this museum/amusement park is the perfect place for the dinosaur lover in your life. With dino-themed attractions, activities, and even an arcade, families will have a great time learning about pre-historic life on Earth.
The interactive exhibits keep kids engaged in learning about all kinds of dinosaurs and how they lived thousands of years ago. Your dino-loving kiddos will especially love the exhibits of real fossils and replicas of what these giant creatures used to look like.
The hands-on activities are especially fun and facilitate more learning experiences; they can etch their dinosaur to take home or learn how to excavate fossils or build their own dinosaurs out of clay. There’s also a magnet wall where you can make your own version of a dinosaur park.
Although this amusement museum is small and you’ll only spend a couple of hours here, for some kids (and even adults!) it’ll be a fun and interactive experience that will help feed their love of pre-historic creatures.
11. Sky Zone Trampoline Park
This indoor activity park has games and attractions that test your agility, speed, and stamina! From wall-to-wall trampolines to zip lines, you’re guaranteed to find plenty of fun at Sky Zone Trampoline Park.
One of the newest attractions is the Wipe Out, an 8 player game that ends with one person standing as a giant sweeper arm swings around, forcing players to jump over or be knocked over! Another new favorite is the steep Mega Launch, a steep slide that you ride down on a slippery mat, getting caught by an airbag at the end. Try to see how much air you can catch!
The Ninja Warrior course really tests your strength (especially grip strength!) and stamina as you navigate the multiple obstacles. This is truly a test for the athletes! There’s a free climbing rock wall that is situated over a foam pit, so if you fall, you have a nice soft landing!
Parents will especially appreciate the Toddler Zone, which is walled off and allows only smaller children to play in a safe environment that is engineered just for them. Toddlers will love learning how to climb and jump to their hearts’ content. The addition of the Toddler Zone makes Sky Zone Trampoline Park great for the whole family and all ages.
Amusement parks as big as Disneyland and Six Flags may be scarce in Arizona, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have fun (albeit smaller) theme parks, amusement parks, and water parks. Plenty of indoor attractions means year-round fun in the desert, and water parks help us get through those long summer months as well.
Castle N’ Coasters may hold pretty much all of the large coasters, but the rest of the places on this list provide plenty of fun in the form of arcades, minigolf, splash pads, water slides, trampoline parks, zip lines, go-karts, and so much more. The entire family can have a blast at any of these places, so pick one and get to have the time of your lives!