Musical Instrument Museum

#3 in Best Things To Do in Phoenix
Musical Instrument Museum picture
Courtesy of Musical Instrument Museum

Key Info

4725 East Mayo Blvd.

Details

Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.1scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

The Musical Instrument Museum, located about 20 miles north of downtown Phoenix, invites visitors to check out its collection of more than 6,000 instruments from around the world. On the first floor of the museum, guests will find instruments, concert footage, clothing of renowned musicians and more. Visitors can see how instruments are preserved and restored in the first-floor Conservation Lab before actually playing instruments in the Experience Gallery, also on the first floor. Many parents said their children especially enjoyed experimenting with the instruments in the Experience and Encore galleries (the latter of which is geared toward kids prekindergarten to second grade), advising future visitors to make it the last stop in the museum because the kids will not want to leave.

On the upper floor, rooms are divided by geographic region, with each offering a unique collection of instruments. In each section, instruments are accompanied by streaming audio and video of the instruments being played to help put them in cultural context. The museum also showcases live music, hosting approximately 200 concerts every year in its theater. The featured artists represent an eclectic variety of genres. You can access a full concert schedule and buy tickets on the museum's website. In addition to general admission, the museum offers summer camp, school tours and group tours.

Adults can purchase general admission tickets for $20; tickets for teens 13 to 19 are $15, admission for kids ages 4 to 12 is $10, and children ages 3 and younger can visit for free. The museum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On-site facilities include a cafe, a theater and a gift shop. Parking is free.

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#1 Desert Botanical Garden

The desert may seem like the last place you'd expect to find flora. Yet the Desert Botanical Garden is home to thousands of species of cacti, trees and flowers from all around the world. The garden's brightly colored plants sharply contrast the Sonoran Desert's cinnamon-red buttes, and numerous hiking trails like the Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert and the Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop trails allow you to experience the region's natural wonders the way early settlers once did. The Desert Botanical Garden also hosts numerous events, including culinary demonstrations and outdoor concert series.

Recent visitors said the garden is fascinating and highly recommended seeking out the special exhibits when available. Several reviewers suggested visiting after the sun sets to see the garden illuminated, while others appreciated the groomed paths and well-marked signs. However, some travelers bemoaned the entrance rates and were disappointed the zoo and the garden do not offer a combined admission since they sit less than 2 miles from one another.

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Courtesy Desert Botanical Garden
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