This post is part of a series sponsored by #ScottsdaleAZ.
Scottsdale Staycation on a budget
Last week I shared all the awesome fun we had while staying at the Westin Kierland Resort during our Scottsdale Staycation. Today I wanted to share all the fun things we did around Scottsdale. Even though Scottsdale, Arizona is known for hot nightclubs, fancy spas and fine dining it also offers a wide variety of budget friendly family activities! Check out my fun ideas for a Scottsdale Staycation on a budget!
MacDonald’s Ranch is a horseback riding stable in North Scottsdale that offers a variety of activities from hayrides, guided trail rides and stagecoach rides to private parties and events. They even celebrate in the fall with their annual Pumpkin festival!
My guys are too little for horseback riding but luckily for us MacDonald’s Ranch offers a variety of fun activities that all families can enjoy! The highlight of the visit was their complimentary pony ride (Just tip the cowboy leading the horse).
The boys also loved roping a steer, driving a wagon and playing cowboy games! There are plenty of fun old West facades to add to the cowboy fun and even a free petting zoo. All of our activities were free except the tip for our pony guide. If you have a wide age range in your group, MacDonald’s Ranch is the perfect activity, the older folks can book a trail ride and the little people can stay back and play at the ranch! Win-Win!
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in the heart of Scottsdale is definitely the coolest park we have EVER been to! You could easily spend all day here and not spend a dime. The park boasts of plenty of grass and two great playgrounds. There’s also a 10,000 square foot model train building that houses four model railroad clubs, three layouts and a variety of exhibits and hands-on amenities with free admission. We had to DRAG the boys out of the model train room. They would have spent hours in there checking out all the fun model trains!
Pack a picnic lunch and you would have a FREE day of fun at the Railroad Park with just the playgrounds and model train building!
There are additional activities that do cost a wee bit but are totally affordable. There are two different train rides at the park. The boys loved both! The bigger train allowed them to sit “in jail” or a little enclosed boxcar. Peter and I sat comfortably in front of it to monitor their antics.
There is also a train museum and carosel ride! We bought 2 books of tickets (24 tickets for a total of $20). With the attractions requiring only 2 tickets each (the smaller train is only 1 ticket) and kids under 3 riding free with a paying adult we actually had extra tickets we passed on to another family as we left.
We could have spent a full day there if we didn’t already have other things planned. I highly recommend visiting the train park and we plan on taking the boys back very soon!
AZ Air Time
We spent one evening at AZ Air Time after finding a groupon deal. The boys had a blast jumping in the foam pit and trampolines. I loved that the indoor entertainment facility offered a separate area for little kids. I wish we had something similar in Tucson, indoor fun for the whole family would be awesome in the summer months!
The Sugar Bowl has been a landmark in Old Town Scottsdale since 1958. I knew it would be a fun place for lunch and an ice cream during our trip. We all enjoyed our lunch but we really LOVED our ice cream. 😉 My Arizona Orange sherbet was delicious! Also make sure you bring some cash, there is also small arcade section that includes a 4 player air hockey table! Our only frustration was finding parking in Old Town but that is mostly our fault since we didn’t figure that out ahead of time, we just winged it.
Our weekend was packed full of fun! I did a lot of research before our trip and had to leave some fun on the table since there are only so many hours in a day. Check out my other Scottsdale Staycation ideas below.
Additional Frugal Fun Activities in Scottsdale
- Penske Racing Museum – We really wanted to check out this free museum!
- Hiking – The Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a perfect place to explore almost year round (albeit during early morning hours in the summer 😉 )
- Scottsdale Splash Pads – The weather was cold and rainy the weekend we were there but splash pads would be fun almost year round in Scottsdale!
If you only thought Scottsdale was for fancy visitors and expensive activities, I hope I changed your mind! You can request a complete visitor’s guide full of lots of info & ideas including fine dining, spa experiences, thrilling adventures and family friendly activities. To learn more about Scottsdale, AZ check out their website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. And when you start planning your trip don’t forget to check their packages and coupons page with all the current deals!
What’s your favorite thing to do in Scottsdale?
Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with the Scottsdale Convention & Tourism Bureau. I received a gift card, along with some complimentary items to experience #ScottsdaleAZ. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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