It’s all too easy to just chill out in the cozy, air-conditioned confines of your condo or rental home when you take a summer vacation in AZ, and when you do venture out in the heat of the day, chances are it’s to a temperature-controlled shopping center, museum or movie theater in downtown Phoenix. Those things are cool and all, but if you don’t get out a bit when you visit Scottsdale in the summertime, you’re not seeing everything the Southwest has to offer!  If you avoid the heat like a desert pocket mouse, just check out one of these three family-friendly nighttime adventures instead.

  1. Second Friday in Downtown Mesa. On Friday, August 9, the streets of Mesa will be full of vendors, merchants, music, art, dogs in costumes and kid-friendly activities. Yep, it’s Second Friday, and that means you’re in for a guaranteed good time. Come out to buy some local art, chow down at a food cart or let your kids dance along to a live band. The festivities start at 6 p.m. on Main, between Center and Country Club. See you there!

  1. Movie Night at Goodyear Ballpark. Phoenix baseball is a great nighttime activity when you and your family are on vacation in AZ, but Movie Night isn’t your average night at the park. Stop by the Goodyear Ballpark on Friday, August 16, for a free scoreboard screening of “Rise of the Guardians,” a 2012 animated fantasy film that’ll make you feel like a kid again, no matter what your age. Parking is free, and you can bring in your own snacks or buy a treat at the concession stands. The movie starts at 7 p.m., so get there early if you want the best spot on the outfield grass.

  1. Desert Botanical Garden Flashlight Tours. When the Desert Botanical Garden brags about Scottsdale nightlife, they’re talking owls, nighthawks and tortoises instead of a jazz quartet and a fine vacation in AZ family nightscotch. The Garden is open every Thursday and Saturday night in August for night tours, and it’s a fun way to learn about local wildlife. A guide will show you the snakes and scorpions if you’re adventurous, but your family can stick with the night-blooming flowers if you’re not looking for a rush. The desert is a fascinating place, and it really comes to life at night. Bring your own flashlight or buy one in the Garden Shop to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

After-hours fun for the whole family can be one of the big highlights of your vacation in AZ. But even though the temperature drops at night, don’t forget that you’re still in the desert. Make sure the kids stay hydrated during the day when you visit Scottsdale, and you’ll be ready for nights that are just as fun as any daytime adventure!