Do you have a baby or toddler in Tucson? This is a list of “things to do” that you will want to bookmark and share with friends.
Most of these ideas will be applicable whether your baby is 4 months, 14 months, 24 months, or anywhere in between.
Note that these suggestions are especially geared to little ones, ages 2 and under.
1. Walk the paved paths at Sabino Canyon. There are many, many hiking trails to explore in Tucson with your baby or toddler. Being out in nature, with the breeze in your hair and the sun on your shoulders, can be a wonderful way to spend a morning or afternoon with your little one. What makes Sabino Canyon a stand-out options is that there are wide paved paths (bring your stroller!), bathrooms, and small stops to splash along the way. If you want, you can even pack a picnic and venture to the East Dam (lots of fun right after monsoon season!).
2. Clock some miles on an indoor walking track. Too hot outside to take your tyke on a walk? Stash your stroller in the car and drive to one of the three indoor walking tracks in-town – Morris K. Udall Regional Center, William Clements Recreation Center, or El Pueblo Regional Center.
3. Read and sing at storytime. Did you know there are storytimes specifically designed for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers? Check our full list because there are free storytimes every week – at local libraries, bookstores, literacy non-profits, even grocery stores!
4. Take a trip to your local library. Introduce your little one to a love of reading from the start. Library cards are free and you’ll have access to thousands of books, DVDs, magazines, and audio books. Pima County Public Library also offers a free reading program every summer, which is also open to pre-readers!
5. Splash at a pad. Beat the summertime heat by lathering up with sunscreen and running through water fountains at a splash pad. Here are our picks for the 5 best splash pads in Tucson.
6. Register for Swim Lessons. Start your little fish in the water from a young age. Water safety is so important and even very young babies can be taught water safety skills. Most swim lessons for babies under 36 months are dad-and-baby or mom-and-baby classes so be prepared to suit up yourself. Lessons are available from DeMont Family Swim School, Tucson Parks & Rec, YMCA of Southern Arizona, Tucson JCC, Saguaro Aquatics, ISR, Kidtastics, and POPPKiDZ.
7. Wander thru Bookmans. If you’re new to Tucson, you may not have discovered Bookmans yet – a local used bookstore chain with three Tucson locations. Stop in to trade your old stuff. Then, use your credit to buy new-to-you books, movies, games, and stuffed animals.
8. Find Baby Gear & Gently Used Clothing at Little Bird Nesting Co. This local children’s consignment shop in midtown Tucson is a great place to find gently used strollers, car seats, baby carriers, nursing covers, cloth diapers, and clothing at great prices. You can also sell your old gear after your baby outgrows it in exchange for store credit. BONUS: this store also sells new handmade items by local parents!
9. Visit a Breastfeeding Support Group. If you have a baby and you have breastfeeding questions, there are a number of breastfeeding support groups around town that are a helpful resource. Don’t worry – you won’t be put on the spot! It’s just a group of like-minded mamas with a lactation consultant present. Super laidback (and sometimes there are free snacks!).
10. Make a date at La Encantada. Meet up with a friend at Tucson’s upscale shopping center in North Tucson. Enjoy coffee & a treat at AJ’s, play in the courtyard, and then browse the whimsical + wonderful toys at Mildred & Dildred.
11. Swim at a public pool. Admission is free or cheap – and your little one can enjoy the water. Great pools for toddlers include:
- Quincie Douglas Pool (36th & Kino in Southwest Tucson): beach entry, splash pad, water slide, water toys
- Jacobs Pool (Fairview between Prince & Oracle in West Tucson): beach entry, splash pad, water toys
- Edith Ball Adaptive Recreation Center Pool (near Reid Park in Midtown Tucson) – covered, beach entry, water toys, walking channel
- Manzanita Pool (Irvington west of Mission in Southwest Tucson) – zero depth entry, mushroom water feature, waterslide
- Picture Rocks Pool (Rudasill & Sanders in far West Tucson) – zero depth entry, multiple pool water feature, splash pad
- Thad Terry Aquatics Center (Magee & Shannon Roads in Northwest Tucson) – zero depth entry, mushroom water feature, waterslide
- Wade McLean Pool (at Marana High School) – zero depth entry, tumble bucket water feature, waterslide
12. Git yourself over to Trail Dust Town. On select mornings and evenings, you can buy a wristband to ride a miniature train, stagecoach-themed ferris wheel, and carousel in this miniature western-themed amusement park in East Tucson. This is also a GREAT spot to capture photos for Instagram.
13. Go downtown and visit the Children’s Museum. A fun space for wee ones! Your toddler will enjoy shopping for groceries, pretending to be a vet, touching life-size organs, whipping up food in a restaurant, riding in an ambulance, creating in the art studio, and more. There’s even a “Wee World,” designed specifically for ages 4 and under.
14. See animals at the Reid Park Zoo. Located in midtown Tucson, the Reid Park Zoo is a clean and welcoming outdoor zoo with lots of animals to learn about. Alligators, elephants, grizzly bears, lions, zebras, anteaters, giraffes, panthers, jaguars, otters, tigers, and more! There is also a GORGEOUS carousel ($3), miniature train ($3), and an on-site cafe.
15. Take a drive to the Desert Museum. One of the best outdoor places in Tucson is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum! The views are breathtaking, the caves are enticing, and the wildlife is mesmerizing. The desert museum also has a brand new air-conditioned packrat playroom!
16. Swing + slide at a new-to-you playground. There are 128 parks in the City of Tucson and even more in the county. Explore the parks in your immediate area and find a favorite. Fun parks for toddlers include:
- Arthur Pack Regional Park (Hardy & Thornydale in Northwest Tucson): playground with shade, hiking trails
- Brandi Fenton Memorial Park (River & Alvernon in North Central Tucson): playground with shade, splash pad
- Case Natural Reserve Park (Broadway & Harrison in East Tucson): playground, baby swings, butterfly garden
- Children’s Memorial Park (Oracle & River in Northwest Tucson): playground, access to The Loop
- Erik Hite Family Park (Old Spanish Trail & Houghton in Southeast Tucson): playground with shade, baby swings
- Picture Rocks Park (Sanders & Sunset in West Tucson): playground with shade, splash pad
17. Bike the loop. Buy a baby seat, attach it to your bike, and you’ll have hours of adventure ahead of you. The Loop is an obvious pick because…no cars!
18. Hike It Baby. This local non-profit “is a parent group focused on getting families outside together enjoying nature in a safe and supported way.” Join the Hike It Baby Tucson Facebook group to meet up with other parents for hikes throughout the week and on weekends.
19. Join a Bible Study, MOPS group, or Mom’s Class at a Tucson church. There are lots of groups around town that have a mission to help moms connect to each other. Note sure where to start? Drop in at CARE class at the Journey Church, attend a Toddler Time at Pantano Christian Church, join a Bible Study Fellowship class, or search for a MOPS group in your area. All are welcome.
20. Subscribe to TucsonTopia’s “This Week in Tucson” e-newsletter. You’ll receive a weekly calendar in your inbox EVERY WEEK – with restaurant openings, storytimes, hiking trail guides, neighborhood spotlights, resort reports, playground profiles, and more!
WAIT! FIND MORE FUN THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR BABY OR TODDLER IN TUCSON!