10 fun July events for kids in Arizona

    Free Summer Sundays at the Heard Museum

    knightsTake advantage of free admission on Sundays throughout July and participate in cultural performances, artist demonstrations, crafts and more. Watch award-winning hoop dancer Derrick Suwaima Davis perform July 5 along with Navajo textile weaver Marilou Schultz. July 12 events include the YellowHouse Dancers, Hopi basket weaver Janette Chimerica and others. Enjoy performances by the Native Spirit Dancers and basket artist Anthony Belvado on July 19 along with the Yellow Bird Indian Dancers and pottery artist Lucille Maho on July 26. Children can participate in scavenger hunts and create their own superhero costumes.

    Details: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays in July. The Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. Free; $5 for Super Heroes exhibit. 602-252-8840, heard.org.

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    Medieval Mayhem Renaissance Faire

    You know why people love to re-enact the medieval period? Because you can go back in time and take indoor plumbing with you. Dress up in period clothing, or strap on armor and a sword, safe in the knowledge you won’t be pelted with the contents of a slop bucket. The festival includes food, music, merchants and sword-fighting demonstrations.

    Details: July 10-12. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Mountain Meadows Recreation Complex, 1101 N. Woodland Road, Pinetop-Lakeside. $10; $5 for children 5-13. www.azmayhem.com.

    ‘Learn Your Lizards’ walk

    Catch a good look at a Gila monster, collared or side-blotched lizard, Western whiptail or even an ornate tree lizard on the monthly “Learn Your Lizards” walks at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. The walk popular with kids but great for all ages. Casa Grande reptile enthusiast and educator “Wild Man” Phil Rakoci will lead the July and August tours with reptile wrangler and researcher Abi King from the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Tucson author Larry Jones will lead the final tour for the season. The walk is included with admission, and the arboretum is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

    Details: 8 a.m. Saturdays, July 11, Aug. 8 and Sept. 12. 37615 U.S. 60, Superior. $10; $5 for ages 5-12. 520-689-2811, ag.arizona.edu/bta/index.html.

    Chris Colfer

    Best known as Kurt from the hit TV show “Glee,” this Golden Globe-winning actor is also a best-selling children’s author. He will be signing copies of the latest entry in his “Land of Stories” series, about a pair of kids who have adventures with their favorite fairy-tale characters. “Beyond the Kingdoms” follows Alex and Conner Bailey as they chase a mysterious masked man through Oz and Neverland, aided by Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood and Mother Goose. It’s “Once Upon a Time” for the tween set.

    Details: 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 15. Dobson High School, 1501 W. Guadalupe Road, Mesa. Ticket required, free with purchase of book; $18 for book. 480-730-0205, changinghands.com.

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    Winter in July at the Phoenix Zoo

    Saturday’s forecast calls for cooler weather at the zoo as more than 40 tons of snow cover sections of the park. Grab your gloves and enjoy while select animals chomp on icy treats and stomp around. The event includes a toddler snow pile, snowball target area, DJs, the Phoenix Fire Department giving an elephant a shower and educational talks.

    Details: 7-11 a.m. Saturday, July 18. 455 N. Galvin Parkway. $20 for ages 14 and older; $14 for ages 3-13; free for ages 2 and younger. 602-286-3800, phoenixzoo.org.

    Christmas in July

    Santa’s taking a break from toy-making and list-checking to get away from the North Pole’s melting ice caps and soak up some of our summer heat. Get your picture taken with Santa, decorate cookies and get a little early shopping in as Glendale begins to install the 1.5 million lights that will make it glitter during the holiday season. Get there early: The first 200 visitors can spin the prize wheel at the Glendale Visitor’s Center, 5800 W. Glenn Drive.

    Details: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 18. Downtown Glendale, 58th and Glendale avenues. Free admission. 623-930-4500, visitglendale.com.

    Little Mermaid Tea Party

    If your little one is obsessed with dressing like a princess, here’s the perfect opportunity. Let her put on her favorite party dress to meet the Little Mermaid Princess, who will be singing, dancing, reading stories and hosting a craft project at Toys and Playtime Oasis. Cupcakes and drinks will be served. Advanced registration is required, and children must wear socks to play in.

    Details: 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Sunday, July 19. 13802 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. $12.50 per person. 480-948-4630, www.azdollhouse.com.

    ‘The Monkey and the Pirate’

    This “rollicking and rambunctious” original puppet show stars a monkey, a pirate and a valuable banana treasure. Laughter is guaranteed at this performance, which is fun for the whole family. Arrive early to make your own paper-sack puppet in the craft area and peruse the puppet-filled gift shop.

    Details: Through -July 19. 10 a.m. Wednesdays-Fridays; 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Closed Saturday, July 4. Great Arizona Puppet Theater, 302 W. Latham St., Phoenix. $10, $7 for ages 13 and younger. 602-262-2050, azpuppets.org.

    Butterfly walk

    Learn to identify an Empress Leilia, queen or Spring Azure butterfly on this laid-back walk. The monthly guided walk takes visitors through the hummingbird-butterfly garden and children’s gardens at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Adriane Grimaldi, education director at Butterfly Wonderland, leads the July tour; ASU Professor Ron Rutowski and Grimaldi lead the August tour; and Gail Morris, coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Butterfly Migration Research Project, leads the September tour.

    Details: 8:30 a.m. Saturdays, July 25, Aug. 22 and Sept. 26. 37615 U.S. 60, Superior. $10 adults; $5 for ages 5-12. 520-689-2811, ag.arizona.edu/bta/index.html.

    Night Wings at Pima Air and Space Museum

    As temperatures climb, fewer visitors linger amid the aircraft included in the museum’s large outdoor display. Although it may be nice to watch the sun set over the Stratofortress, it will be even nicer was temperatures dip with the sun as Pima extends its hours for an evening. The event includes trams until sundown and activities for kids. As a bonus, the Flight Grill will be open 5-9 p.m. for dinner.

    Details: 5-9 p.m. (last admission at 8 p.m.) Saturday, July 25. 6000 E. Valencia Road, Tucson. $10; children 12 and younger free after 4 p.m. 520-574-0462,www.pimaair.org/edu/scheduled-museum-events/event/505-nightwings.

    Ashley Whalen, Michael Senft and Scott Craven contributed to this story.  Courtesy of AZcentral.com

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