Golfland Family Entertainment Center
New attractions here have turned a fun but standard amusement park into the ultimate kiddy attraction. Golfland/Sunsplash is a one-stop entertainment center that will manage to please vanloads of multi-aged kids with different interests. Golfland, which is open all year and charges fees in the neighborhood of $4 to $6.25 for each activity, has old standbys like miniature golf (three courses), bumper boats, miniature race cars, a 200-game video arcade and laser tag. Sunsplash, with 10 water slides, a 450,000-gallon wave pool and a river ride, is open only in the summer and charges $17 for adults and $14 for kids 4 to 11 (free for ages 3 and under). Adults can pay $5 and a refundable $12 deposit for a "spectator" ticket if they're just chaperoning the little ones.

As soon as you walk in the door, you can tell that Cowtown Skateboards is run by a bunch of skateboard-loving purists. What gives us that notion? Ah, could it be the unavoidable wall-o-boards, covered from floor to ceiling in colorful, shiny new decks? Everything else in the store is secondary to the amazing array of skateboards on display. No inline skates here, baby. Of course, you could also try on a badass tee shirt or a pair of sturdy sneakers made for grinding. You could crash out on a couch in the back and watch skate videos, or buy one for your personal collection. The hipsters behind the counter would be happy to recommend a good set of wheels and dole out hardware advice. And don't forget to look up to admire the shelf of battle-worn, old-school boards on exhibit like pieces of pop-culture archaeology.

Parents can get a bite in edgewise at Chevys because the kids will be happily occupied with an assortment of activities. Chevys goes beyond the standard crayons-and-placemat handouts, throwing in a ball of raw tortilla dough (sometimes the crayons are stuck in it) that doubles as Play-Doh when the placemat coloring is finished. If the little nios are still antsy, they can go watch tortillas being made or play with complimentary balloons. Generous kids' plates come with French fries, mini ice cream cones and a serving of fresh fruit. A healthful kids' side dish? What a concept!
Never having another kid's birthday party at home, even if the stains did come out of the rug after the umpteenth cleaning? Looking for something more memorable and, God forbid, more meaningful than cardboard pizza and head-splitting video games at the usual locales? For little ones 10 and older, this north Valley shop will host a "Bubblemakers" Party, a terrific and carefully supervised introduction to scuba diving for $250 for up to eight children. It all takes place in the shop's heated indoor pool, with the kids donning gear and experiencing the thrill of hanging out underwater. Partygoers get a "skill certificate" at the end of the day, which is almost as exciting as the obligatory cake, cookies and other goodies provided.
This wonderful store with the awkward name (most patrons just call it "Piggy" and leave it at that) has the funkiest, hippest collection of clothes for the preschool and grade-school set. Grown women have been heard requesting some of the more fashion-forward girls' items in grown-up sizes, but the real test of a kids' clothing store is what it's got for boys. And "Piggy" delivers: no drippy Little Lord Fauntleroy getups in sight, no precious Mama's boy ensembles that only a grandmother would love (or buy). The store's buyers have clearly scoured the market for the most colorful, imaginative and coolest duds for both sexes. A big bonus for beleaguered parents dragging around uncooperative offspring is the bounty of toys the store also sells, and the cozy playroom where kids can sample these wares -- not to mention the cheery staffers who don't seem to mind restoring order to the occasional toy explosion.
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
The summer heat demands that you keep the kids inside, hour after pent-up hour, day after frustrating day. Don't throw yourself under the wheels of a train. Just throw yourself near the train -- in this pretty park with a restored historic train depot, an antique carousel and a clock tower. On Saturday evenings in May, June and July, the City of Scottsdale sponsors a summer concert series at this oasis. You can bring your picnic basket and spacious blanket and mercifully decompress with others of your age group while the little ones run freely and safely in the park's wide-open spaces.

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