Everything from hands-on activities to appearances from storybook characters abounds at The Everything Kids Fest, a two-day celebration of the whimsical minds and innocent hearts of children. Among the many activities, kids and their families can construct new worlds at the Legoland California build arena, explore their fantasies at the Peter Pan pirate playground, and absorb animal-kingdom gossip from sheep, chickens, and goats at the petting zoo. Meanwhile, fairy-tale favorites such as Beauty from Beauty and the Beast, Tinker Bell, Cinderella, and the Fairy Godmother perform perform on the main stage. Local plush athletes including the Coyotes' Howler and the Suns' Gorilla ruffle each other's foam during competitive events.
Nestled on the Pleasant Harbor Marina, Go Kayak Arizona sends paddlers pushing out into the still, 10,000-acre expanse of Lake Pleasant atop easy-to-maneuver kayaks. After setting up each visitor with an appropriate watercraft, paddle, and life vest, the friendly staffers send explorers off to explore the hill-lined aqua-scape or drag race rival canoes by the hour or day.
At Jambo! Park's two locations, children uncork bottled up energy as they spring across an indoor playground sprawling with jungle-themed rides, family-friendly games, and towering play structures. The fun factory's Phoenix locale manufactures raucous laughter and endless enjoyment with myriad attractions, including the Safari Train, a circle of spinning swings, and high-flying rides atop gravity-defying elephants. Families can settle disputes over who's the favorite child in a pirate-themed laser-tag arena or club their way through the greens of a mini-golf course. The Mesa location supports the same brand of excitement with a lineup of attractions illuminated by a brightly lit carousel. Miniature pilots control their altitude as they circle around the Jets Abouts ride, and responsible drivers exchange car-insurance information after collisions on the bumper-car track. A three-level play structure festooned with tubes and slides welcomes climbers and sliders, and more than 90 nonviolent video games jangle merrily in the arcade. Adults can wile away the time in the Lion's Den, which is furnished with plasma televisions, pool tables, and foosball tables.
Situated across from the food court at the mall, Picture Show Entertainment's Paradise Valley Stadium 7 screens first-run pictures for audiences seated in high-backed leather rocker seats. The seating ascends diagonally in a stadium arrangement in each theater, each of which also houses a digital screen, while in the lobby, a behind-the-counter staff is presented in crystal-clear 3-D.
At Scuba Specialties, experienced instructors lend their nautical know-how to diving greenhorns age 10 years and up during Discover Scuba classes. Each introductory session—lasting 60–90 minutes—instills plunging pupils with the proper utilization of equipment, as well as tips and trips for making small talk with bashful snorkels. After gleaning basic fundamentals, students don diving duds and step into the shallow tides of an indoor heated pool, where newly acquired techniques are practiced in the safety of shallow waters. Instructors volunteer careful guidance as divers hone subaqueous skills, helping them master the art of breathing underwater for future undersea explorations and nightly tug of wars with stubborn bathtub drains.
A Peoria fixture since 2004, Arizona Broadway Theatre combines performances with fine dining, a marriage that helped garner the title of Best Playhouse from PHOENIX magazine in 2010. Curtains open to a cast of talented performers, who were culled from auditions in New York and the Valley of the Sun, and have belted out Broadway staples such as Grease, Fiddler on the Roof, and Singin' in the Rain. Servers glide through the tiered theater hall prior to performances, peppering white tablecloths with platefuls of American fare. Previous show's menus have included such dishes as steak diane's sliced tenderloin paired with sautéed shallots and lyonnaise potatoes, which entertain patrons' stomachs without forcing them to eat the show's program.