Especially for kids
Here are a few suggestions especially for our youngest visitors - follow links to our destination section and add your picks to a custom Yuma itinerary!
If your kids have never gone swimming where they can let the mud squish between their toes, try Gateway Park. There’s a sandy beach for castle building, picnic ramadas, restrooms – even an outdoor shower to rinse off before you load up the car. West Wetlands Park also has a swim spot - discover Centennial Beach next to the boat launch.
For more river fun, make a floating date with Yuma River Tubing. Tube rentals include life vests and a shuttle upriver for you and your gear – tubes for your cooler and even the family dog also available to make it a complete family outing.
For clear and chlorinated water fun, head to Waylon's Water World, where kids of all ages can stay cool and happy spring through fall with a huge lazy river, 15 mild-to-wild tubes and slides, and a ginormous water play area and splash pool.
For a quick cool-off, check out the water play areas at the city’s Friendship and Carver Parks. Just push a button to start things squirtin’ – these free play areas are perfect for toddlers and nonswimmers, but provide cool fun for big kids, too.
City pools charge admission, but are still a great bargain – the newest addition is Valley Aquatic Center, which includes a huge pool and water play area. Kennedy Pool has a multi-story water slide - and usually hosts a just-for-pets "Woof Splash" canine swim party just before closing for the season.
Though they may not linger over the exhibits in the museum, there’s nothing like the dark cell at Yuma Territorial Prison Museum to give kids a creepy thrill. Let ‘em pretend-fire the Gatling gun, lock their siblings in a cell and take an old-timey mug shot wearing prison stripes. For spooky holiday fun, don’t miss trick-or-treating through the cell block on Halloween!
The ghostly Western town at Castle Dome Mines Museum is like a Western movie come to life, perfect for a make-believe shoot-out. Older kids will like the hike through the mine area – complete with “Boot Hill” – but keep a grip on little ones and watch out for mine shaaaaaaaafts!
Be sure to read Alice McLerran’s book “Roxaboxen” before visiting Yuma's “natural desert park” of the same name. The imaginations of McLerran’s mother and her sisters and friends transformed this rocky Yuma hillside into a world of their own – see if your modern-day kids can manage the same trick. The city celebrates a Roxaboxen festival annually, call the Yuma Art Center for more info.
Play & Pet
Yuma has one of the biggest – and coolest – creative playgrounds in the country. Local school kids helped design Stewart Vincent Wolfe Memorial Playground at West Wetlands Park. From a towering dragon slide to a Marine fighter jet to a miniature western town, this one-of-a-kind playground encourages imagination and exploring.
We’re in the desert, so it’s the perfect place to meet a camel. And you can, at Wildlife World Zoo & Camel Farm. Besides the herd of dromedaries (the one-humped kind), this working farm has more than 200 animals and 25 other species. Buy a cup of treats and prepare to meet and greet!
For close encounters of the feathered kind, visit the duck pond at Yuma Conservation Garden. This garden is home to desert tortoises, too, and you can explore the walking paths through native Sonoran desert plants and antique farm machinery.
Let’s face it – sometimes it’s just too hot to play outside! When you need a cool alternative for a hot afternoon, consider these:
The eight branch libraries (Main, Heritage, Somerton, San Luis, Foothills, Wellton, Roll and Dateland) of Yuma County Library District offer great programs and activities for kids and adults all year round.
Get creative with a crafty class at Dreams on Paper or Yuma Art Center downtown, or check out other recreational offerings around town from the city's Parks & Recreation Department.
Run wild inside at Cocopah Wild River Family Entertainment Center or Z Fun Factory. Wild River has laser tag, 24 lanes of bowling and a video game arcade, Z Fun Factory has an indoor climbing structure, Skeeball and a variety of video games.