Well it finally happened.
Summer got real over the weekend with our first 100 degree day. It's like an annual rite of passage, really.
Those temps aren't going anywhere anytime soon, so we put together a helpful list of indoor places the kids can play.
Let them run around on someone else's air conditioning bill.
The Desert Museum's 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.
The 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 membership or museum admission of $21.95; $8.95 children 3-12
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 $4.
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. Pro tip: Check websites for specials and online deals.
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 $13.50 for 7-and-older for two hours at AZ Air Time.
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. Pro tip: Reserve a spot online and save $1.
Cost: $9 for open jump time; $7 for Sensory Jump Night
Go to the mall
No matter what part of town you live in, there's a mall nearby. 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.
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 $7.50 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.
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: Admission is $3 on Mondays
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.
Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium
The kids will have fun while learning about the earth, science and space at Flandrau with hands-on exhibits and games. There's also a planetarium where you can see a variety of shows.
Where: Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, 1601 E. University Blvd.
Cost: $16 for adults; $12 for kids 4-17 and free for children 3 and under (includes one show, exhibits and mineral museum). Single item pricing is available on request.
Info: Go here
Listen to stories and dance
Reason 4,576 why we love the Pima County Public Library: Storytime.
There's baby time, storytime for toddlers, storytime for families, Spanish storytime and more. And it's not just sitting still listening. Storytimes are interactive and include singing, activities and even crafts.
These are great events for kids and parents to connect with others in the community and they're always free.
There are too many to list here, so we'll just give you this handy link to all of the storytimes at libraries all around Tucson.
While you're exploring, check out other events at the library. There are all kinds of free opportunities for kids of all ages to get out and learn something, create something and just hang out with other kids.
The City of Tucson has opened up 13 of its recreation centers for children ages 17 and under to use for free this summer. They'll be able to play billiards, indoor basketball, exercise and more.
Find a list of centers 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.
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.
Play miniature golf indoors at Glow Zone Mini Golf. Not only is it inside, but it's also dark and cool inside. The course includes 30 holes of extreme black light fun. There are also virtual reality rides.
Where: Glow Zone Mini Golf, 2619 N. Stone Ave.
Cost: $10 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under to play golf
Info: Go here
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 9-10 a.m. or 10-11 a.m. every Saturday. There's free coffee involved. P.S. They also have Nerf battles this summer!
Cost: $18/hour per child and one caregiver or you can get a 5-hour Play Pass for $65, which is good for 10 hours of open play. Adults are free.
Bookmans has a bunch of free kids events during the summer and throughout the year from storytime to crafts to movie nights to gaming. Check out the event calendar to plan your visit.
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.
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. Pro tip 2: We like that Peter Piper has beer.