Karla’s Top Ten Things To Do With Kids in Phoenix Part 4
This is the forth installment in a Five Part Serial regarding fun things to do with kids in Phoenix by Phoenix.org staff writer Karla Lant.
Part IV: Big Nights Out
Every once in awhile you want to take your kids to do something really special, looking sharp and feeling the excitement. It’s sort of like date night but for the family: sometimes you just need to go all out. Here are some of my favorite things to do for that night on the town with the family.
The golden oldies are still a lot of fun, even for very young kids. Treat them to a theme day/evening with you on a blast through the past. This is one of my daughter’s favorite series of things to do!
First, check out a car show. Car shows happen all over the Valley nearly every week. Your kids will love the crazy colors and vintage styles of the cars, and many shows have music and activities too. Most car owners will let you take a photo of your child in the driver’s seat, and this shot will be a prized possession for your hot wheeler.
Next, stop by The Sugar Bowl in Scottsdale or MacAlpine’s in Central Phoenix for old timey treats like burgers, patty melts, egg creams and ice cream sundaes. Sit at the counter for even more fun—that is, assuming your child notices the seating once they see the ice cream menu at either place.
Finally, roll on over to the drive in! Most kids today don’t have a lot of drive in movie experience and that’s a shame. There’s something truly unique and entertaining about piling into the family car and watching a movie together. Drive ins across the Valley have closed over time but there are still a few great options. Your kid won’t forget her trip to the drive in with you.
This kind of night out is especially suited for our lifestyle here in Phoenix. Our mostly sunny days mean that car shows and outdoor movies are almost always a go. And here in the land of wide open spaces and long stretches of road, the classic American automobile has a special place in our culture. Check it out with your children!
A perennial favorite for kids is Teppanyaki. An exciting, multicourse meal prepared right at your table plus fire, throwing and catching food and an onion volcano? How can you go wrong?! Another benefit to Teppanyaki style dining is that, amongst the excitement, you’re sneaking in a very healthy meal for your kids. My little girl likes to go to Teppanyaki so much that it was her before surgery “last meal” this past spring—and she was only two years old at the time.
Although eating Teppanyaki can be expensive, I really recommend the Happy Hour menu at Sapporo in Scottsdale (daily from 3:00pm to 7:00pm). This allows you to treat your family to the experience for a lot less while treating yourself to a glass of wine, for example. You can also order sushi here at the Happy Hour price and get it alongside your Teppanyaki. Yum! The kids’ teppan with chicken or shrimp is only $10 at Sapporo and it’s $14 or $15 for beef. This may seem like a lot for a kid’s meal, but it’s real Teppanyaki and each meal includes a shrimp starter, soup or salad, fried rice, meat, vegetables and sorbet for dessert. It is well worth the money and your child can try her hand at catching a piece of food with their mouth.
After lunch or dinner, expose your child to some culture with one of the stage offerings in town specifically geared towards kids. I recommend Childsplay, “Arizona’s Professional Theatre for Young Audiences and Families” and Copperstar Reperatory Theatre in the East Valley. This year’s season for Childsplay includes the shows “Rock the Presidents,” “Rock Paper Scissors” and “A Wrinkle In Time,” amongst other great shows. Each show also comes with opportunities to tour backstage and engage in related activities. For example, for “Rock the Presidents” the theatre invites you and your child to read fun historical facts related to the content beforehand, and come to the show early to write a letter to a president or first lady as well as participate in kids’ voting activities. The shows are high quality and fun for a wide variety of children.
Earlier this year I took my daughter to see Seussical performed by Copperstar Rep along with some good friends. Even our two year olds sat rapt, watching the show, and the majority of the cast was composed of children, which fascinated our kids. The costumes, sets and music were high quality and the children in the audience enjoyed walking up to the stage and peering down into the orchestra pit. I would recommend shows put on by Copperstar Rep and Childsplay both for this kind of very special experience.
Who knows—you might plant a seed in your child that blossoms into a love for being onstage. Or a desire to become a chef!