Oro Valley Children's Museum

May in Tucson means one thing: The beginning of summer. 

More specifically TRIPLE DIGIT TEMPS. (crying while we melt)

It's obviously too hot to take the kids outside for any amount of time, so we put together a list of indoor places you can take them.

They'll get to run around and you'll get to chill without racking up your own electric bill. Win-win. 

Packrat Playhouse

The Desert Museum's new air conditioned 4,000 square foot indoor exhibit shrinks you down to the size of a packrat so the kiddos can see what it's like to be tiny in the desert. 

A toddler area has an enormous rattlesnake to crawl through, a giant mama scorpion with babies on her back and a Gila-monster slide. The bigger kids can scale a towering prickly pear cactus (with rope netting suspending them high in the air) and scamper down the cholla skeleton slide. And, there are tons of tunnels to climb through. 

Where: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road

Cost: Free with museum admission of $16.95; $8.95 children 3-12

Info: Click here

Roller skating

You might get a little nostalgic taking the kids skating. We sure do. In fact, some of us even join the kids on the rink. Great exercise, fun music and it's exhausting. Win, win, win. Pro tip: Check the calendar for dollar night, tiny tots or family night. 

Cost: Prices vary, depending on when you go. Family night is $12 for a family up to six people. Skate rental is $3.

Lance Ryberg, right, herds children towards the skating rink during his daughter's birthday party at Skate Country on Sunday Nov. 20, 2011. Daughter Jillian Ryberg, 6, foreground leads the way. 

Trampoline park

This is the ultimate energy zapper. They can jump, do an obstacle course, play dodge ball, basketball or climb a rock wall. Of course it depends on which place you go to. There are two trampoline parks to choose from here. Get Air has the obstacle course and AZ Airtime has the rock wall. 

Cost: $7 for kids under 46" tall and $12 for everyone else for one hour at Get Air; $8 for ages 6-and-under and $13 for 7-and-older for two hours at AZ Air Time

Damian Walters Jr., 4, hits a trampoline at Get Air Tucson.

Pump it up

If the trampoline park isn't your bag, you can play in a warehouse full of giant inflatables. What we love about Pump it Up is that it allows kids to play on the inflatables by age, so you don't have to worry about your toddler getting trampled on by older kids. Plus you get to play free with your child's paid admission. And, it offers sensory jump time. 

Cost: $10 for open jump time; $7 for Toddler Time, which is for ages 5-and-under; $9 for Sensory Jump Night

Jump, Family Entertainment Center

This 14,000 square foot facility on the south side includes four inflatable obstacle courses, a slippery slope, jumping pillow, Toddler Town and an Interactive Beam video game system with 33 different games. There's also a concession stand with hot dogs, nachos, soda, pizza and other snacks. 

Where: Jump, Family Entertainment Center, 5120 S. Julian Drive

Cost: $9 per child. Parents play for free.

Info: Click here

Caroline Pertile, 14 months, left, and Quinn Kvaran, 19 months play in Toddler Town at Jump: Family Entertainment Center, a new place for kids to play.

Go to the mall

No matter what part of town you live in, there's a close mall. The children's areas are great to let the kids run around, play and make new friends. Take a seat and let the children be free. Also, make sure to check the mall calendars for kid's events. Pro tip: Kid areas are kind of enclosed but not hard to escape, so make sure you're watching. 

Where: Tucson Mall, 4500 N. Oracle Road; Park Place Mall, 5870 E. Broadway; Foothills Mall, 7401 N. La Cholla Blvd.

Cost: Free 

Joan Cass introduces kids to a great horned owl. The owl has been with the Tucson Wildlife Center for about 11 years.

Laser tag and other games

In laser tag, they can run around, yelling while trying to shoot each other's targets with laser guns in a dark, air conditioned space. These places also have arcade games including ski ball and air hockey. 

Cost: Laser tag is $7.99 per person at Funtasticks and $7.25 per person at Golf N' Stuff. Pro tip: Thursday nights are family nights at Golf N' Stuff. You can get a two-hour unlimited-use wristband for $17 per person. Laser tag at Funtasticks lasts longer and is inside the main building, making it a great option for summer time. 

Michael Alvarez sticks out his head for a breath of air as he takes a break from his laser-tag battle.

Learn something

Learning can be fun and it doesn't have to be quiet. The Children's Museum Tucson has lots of hands-on activities and exhibits for the little ones to learn through play. 

Cost: $9 for adults and children. Pro tip: The 3rd of each month is $3 admission day.

Gaige Rose, 4, hangs on to a weighted wheel, part of a new exhibit at the museum.

The Children's Museum Oro Valley is geared more towards toddlers and babies. 

Where: Children's Museum Oro Valley, 11015 N. Oracle Road

Cost: $7; Free for babies 1 year and younger; $2 on the first Tuesday of each month.

Info: Click here


There are LOTS of places to go bowling. Five of them participate in the Kids Bowl Free Program, where kids can get two free games of bowling every day all summer. You have to sign up though. Do that here. You can play with the kids or just take advantage of the excellent people-watching opportunity.

Cost: Free for two games if you're registered for Kids Bowl Free.

Alicia Shanklin, 12, takes a crack at bowling at Fiesta Lanes during a meeting in September of the Tucson Roadrunners Chapter of Little People of America Association.

You can also check out Bedroxx Bowling. It has bowling, pool tables, arcade games and food. 

Mondays are Family Movie Night, where you can get two hours of bowling with shoe rental, a 12-inch pizza, popcorn and free showing of a selected movie for $25 for a family of four. It's $30 for a family of six. 


Family Playtime

Enjoy playing together at an indoor playground. Playformance is an indoor parkour and play-based fitness program that helps kids build character and strength through play. There are colorful tumbling mats, obstacles and more. The facility has several programs to choose from, including Family Play, which is from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and 10:30-11:30 a.m. every Saturday. There's free coffee involved.

Cost: $15/hour per child or you can get a Play Pass for $100, which is good for 10 hours of open play. Adults are free. 

Imaginative play

Our Play Place is an interactive indoor children's play and party space designed to encourage a young child's sense of independence, exploration and creativity. There are structures, slides, play houses, activity boards and a craft area. 

Where: Our Play Place, 3951 W. Costco Drive

Cost: $10 per child; sibling discount of $3 off each additional child. Parents and caregivers are free to play.

Info: Click here

Children can pretend they're building a house on the "construction site" at Our Play Place.

Pizza and games

We'd bet that most kids love pizza and playing games. Although these places are super loud, they offer kids the chance to hang out, make some noise and maybe win some prizes. Pro tip: We like the fact that Chuck E. Cheese won't let your children out with anybody whose stamp doesn't match theirs. Also, games are only one token there. 

Where: Chuck E. Cheese, 6125 E. Speedway. There are several Peter Piper Pizza locations around town. Click here for the one nearest you.

Cost: Click here for Chuck E. Cheese's coupons. Click here for Peter Piper Pizza deals.

Katie Bellisario helps her son three-year-old Liam with the dolphin ride Tuesday at the newest Peter Piper Pizza, 4731 W. Ina Road.

Angela Pittenger | This Is Tucson