As for your question, "What to do for kids in the Phoenix and the Scottsdale area for toddlers?"
Well, there is a "open" train ride which I am sure your kid will enjoy (because I have 4 yr old twins)--- it is in a park at the intersection of Scottsdale Road (nearer the northern end of Scottsdale Rd) and I think Indian Bend --- the park is on the southeast side of that intersection. The ticket is only $1-2 for the ride, very cheap, and there's also a big park around the train area --- and yes, a carousel too!
Along 101 Freeway, exit Tatum, there's a nice outdoor shopping complex for you to buy some stuff, and your kid might enjoy the video arcades too but it might be too advanced for a 3 year old. But, it's nice walking around this place.
And yes, the Phoenix Zoo is #1 place for kids - kids always love the zoo! And on the west side, the World Zoo exit at Nothern Ave I think Exit 8. where your child can feed a giraffe! My son enjoys doing that! We also ride an open cable seat that hovers over the whole zoo (if you're not afraid of heights).
Also at Exit 7 which is Glendale Ave, do not miss the Stadium (University of Phoenix) where we held the Superbowl this year 2008!!! It's awesome - and beside the stadium is the Westgate Plaza where there is a water fountain where kids can get wet -- but since it is getting cooler now, it might be off. But still, the Westgate is a great place to walk around in. Have Fun in Phoenix/Scottsdale! Cheers, :jumpingnorman
The Phoenix Zoo is one of the Nation's leading private non-profit zoological parks and home to more than 1,300 animals. Open every day! The parking lot is very comfortable with a lot of space. The Zoo makes a huge area with Safari Trains, cosy places with benches for just sitting around and relax, then there are many gifts stores, options to rent strollers or wheel chairs, many dining options such as Savanna Grill, Cafe Lobo with Mexican dishes, and Crossroads with fresh pizzas and Italian subs. Events at the Zoo are i.e. the Baboon, Elephant, Squirrel Monkeys, and Giraffe Feeding. The most I liked, was being in the huge bird cage where the visitors can walk through or just sit there and listen to the birds' talk. We actually walked all the offered trails such as the Africa Trail with Meerkats, Baboon, Oryx, Lion, Rhino, Tiger, Bighorn Sheeps and Warthog, then we've been at the Savanna Trail with Giraffe, Eland, Zebra, and Flamingos, then we've been at the Main Lake with Spider Monkey, and Tropical Flights, then we've been on the Tropics Trail with Galapagos Tortoises, Monkey Village, Bears, Orangutan, and Elephant. We missed the Arizona Trail with Coyotes, Mexican Wolves, Mountain Lions. And the most of all we've enjoined the Otters. Visiting this Zoo is very joyful for a day trip with or without children. Yet I thought the cages looked rather small seized (except those of the birds).
I am not a big zoo lover. I love animals but I prefer to see them in there natural environment free.
Phoenix zoo has lots of animals and most are in big enclosures. It is split up into different themes such as the african section, giraffe pictured below. galapogos tortaises, baboons, over 1300 animals in total
admission for adults was $14 look out for discount coupons in the botanical gardens. There are several attractions all in one spot in Papago Park Its well worth buying an annual pass. Basic pass is $50 for 1 adult (named), an additional adult is $15 (guest), you may add upto 2 guests on the basic, you also get 2 free entrance tickets as well as unlimited access to the zoo, so it doesnt tak many visits to get your money back
Since we live in Phoenix, we have been here several times. The kids always love the zoo. See all your favorite animals here. This is the largest non profit zoo. Over 1200 animals. A few years back they created "the enchanted forest" which is directly to your right when you enter. Basically a large play area with a tree house, a tiny stream, logs,etc for kids to play on. This is a big hit with our kids.
They are working on another play area shaped like Noah's Ark last time I was there.
Visit the African animals, The Savanna,as well as monkeys,bears,and a big old farm with a petting zoo. I would recommend taking the train ride-you will learn some interesting facts and it cuts down on some of the walking especially if it is a hot day. The Zoo has aprox 2.5 miles of walking trails and it encompasses 125 acres of land. Giraffes always attract a crowd- especially when the babies are born. The petting zoo is another big hit with the kids. There are tractors and swings down there to play on too. There is a small water play area with fountains for the kids to run through (so bring swimsuits for them) Be sure to check the schedule for various Animal Encounters, Keeper Talks and Animal Feeding Times. You can see some creatures up close. Check out the Desert Tortoise when you go he is huge!
You can either visit two different Zoo in Phoenix, one is located in the Papago park, also home of the Desert Botanical Garden and the Hole in the Rock, where you can find a partial nice view of the city...
The other Zoo is the Wildlife Zoo, located in the very west of the city, you will find couple interesting difference, both options seems to offer something else to do, but Phoenix Zoo is definately bigger and is home of a larger number of species. I found they do their homework by taking care of them and allow, in most of the cases, enjoy a refreshing oasis in the middle of this desert.
The Phoenix Zoo is not just an ordinary Zoo, it's a place for the whole family to spend a day. They have programs for kids, teens, adults. http://www.phoenixzoo.org
If your into antiquing...Glendale is the place to visit. Just west of Phoenix, Glendale is the antique capital of ...something...Downtown Glendale is a historic district with all kinds of quaint little shops and bed and breakfasts.
Mountains are abundant...here in the 'valley.'(hence the term... valley) Squaw Peak(renamed Piestewa... i think it should have been renamed "peace peak" and "peace parkway" ... but hey, who am I, right...) and South Mountain are popular and nice scenic hikes located right in Phoenix. There are several mountains with all different levels of hiking available.
A mixture nature amongst the bustling 'city' of Phoenix.
And don't forget that Arizona is where the lowell observatory in Flagstaff, where they discovered the, now "un"planet of Pluto. This place IS AWESOME with hands on interactive activities for ALL AGES and a fun little play with audience participation can be attended. They also have a midnight viewing through the 24 inch Clark Telescope... the very telescope used to map the moon, and by astronauts before every moon venture!!! It is privately owned check out the website... http://www.lowell.edu
Another Observatory on the other end of the state in Tucson is the Kitt Peak Observatory... http://www.noao.edu/kpno
The Phoenix ZOO is smallish, but has a number of different 'Encounters' at specific times, such as the Giraffe Encounter and Petting Zoo, as well as a Safari Train, Monkey Village and Yakulla Caverns.
Also there are a number of kiosk areas for snacks, drinks and lunch with toilet facilities, as well as souvenirs, hats, sunglasses, lotion and gifts at the Marketplace near the entrance.
Hours are 9am - 5pm, except from 1st June-31st Aug, 7am - 2pm
Phoenix has a small but very nice zoo. Besides traditional displays it has a large central savanna area with many types on non-predatory African animals in an open display. The zoo has early morning hours (8 AM) to alow you to visit prior to the hottest hours of the day.
This zoo is quite different from many of the zoos on the east coast of the USA. This zoo covers much more wide open space and is a joy to walk through. It was really interesting to see some of the more 'local' animals, such as the mountain goats.
More photos from in the zoo available here:
Located west of Phoenix is the the Wildlife World Zoo is home to arizona's largest collection of exotic animals. over 2400 individual animals representing more than 350 different species. Feeding the giraffes is always the highlight for my kids.
I found this place kind of pricey i think it was around $15.00 per person, but often you can get buy 1 get 1 free coupons in the papers and local magazines. Kids loved feeding the Giraffes, watching the kangaroos, Every so often they have a new litter of White Bengal Tigers. These are truly beautiful creatures with big blue eyes. Take a train ride to see the different animals eating,sleeping,etc, They also have animal shows throughout the day and a train ride. They even have penguins here which is funny being in the desert and all.
The zoo of here lays emphasis on the precious animal reproduction as well as San Diego, too.
The individual which increased here comes back through particularly Arabian- Orix slowly in the desert of the Arabian Peninsula.
(But, I heard that the number of crowds who returned to Arabia decreased now.
It is worry......)