Interactive activities are a hallmark of this facility, which is designed to inspire children of all ages to experience their world differently through art, creativity and imagination, with an emphasis on science and technology. Sci-Fi: Fantasy to Reality, through Sept. 11, celebrates science fiction stories and the imaginative inventions in these stories that in some cases have come true. Tu-Sa, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Su, noon-4 p.m. $8. 150 W. Pepper Pl., Mesa, ideamuseum.org, 480-644-2468.
Zany barnyard fun is on tap in this sing-along show featuring Old MacDonald and his farm animals. W-F, 10 a.m.; Sa, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Su, 2 p.m. $10, adults; $7, children 12 and younger. Great Arizona Puppet Theater, 302 W. Latham St., Phoenix, azpuppets.org, 602-262-2050.
Set in the 1950s, this madcap comedy centers on a down-and-out theater troupe, whose aging stars still dream of making it big in Hollywood. Call for times. $22-$25. Desert Stages Theatre, 4720 N. Scottsdale Rd.,Scottsdale, desertstages.org, 480-483-1664.
Pint-size chefs learn basic and advanced culinary techniques, knife skills and table etiquette in weekly sessions designed for youths ages 8 to 17. Each day focuses on a different theme, ranging from baking andhomemade pasta to French fare.M-W, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. ages 8-12; 2 p.m.-4 p.m. ages 13-17. $100 per three-day session. Classic Cooking Academy, 10411 E. McDowell Mountain Ranch Rd., Scottsdale, ccacademy.edu, 480-502-0177.
Hands-on learning adventures are on tap as children ages 5 to 8 enjoy a variety of theme-based activities, art lessons, free play and special presentations. Green ambassadors, time travelers, little authors and summertime sleuths are among the themes. Call for times and registration fees. Children’s Museum of Phoenix, 215 N. Seventh St., Phoenix,childrensmuseumofphoenix.org, 602-253-0501.
Designed for children pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, this weekly program features a story read by local Arizona authors, followed by craft activities related to the themes and characters of each tale. Sa, 10 a.m.-noon. $5. Pueblo Grande Museum, 4619 E. Washington St., Phoenix,pueblogrande.com, 602-495-0900.
This popular program continues at 16 participating theaters withKung Fu Panda 2, through July 1;The SpongeBob Movie, July 4-8;Hotel Transylvania 2, July 11-15;Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, July 18-22; Walking with Dinosaurs, July 25-29; andMadagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, Aug. 1-5. M-F, 9:45 a.m. $2. Harkins Theatres, Valleywide,harkinstheatres.com/smf.
Theater professionals lead a variety of summer sessions for children ages 3-18. Camps range from one-week specialty courses to three-week camps culminating with a full stage production. Call for times and prices. Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, 8355 W. Peoria Ave., Peoria, theaterworks.org, 623-815-7930.
The World of Giant Insects,through Sept. 5, showcases six common insects of gargantuan proportions, including a desert locust, Chinese praying mantis and other creatures shown 40 to 120 times larger than in real life.Daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call for admission prices. 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix,azscience.org, 602-716-2000.
Focusing on learning through play, the museum offers hands-on, interactive exhibits designed for children from birth to age 10, with an emphasis on early childhood education and school readiness. Tu-Su, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. $11. 215 N. Seventh St., Phoenix,childrensmuseumofphoenix.org, 602-253-0501.
SRP, local fire departments, city pools and other community organizations present swimming lessons and CPR demonstrations to build awareness of water safety basics. Music, refreshments and raffle prizes are included. July 2, 5 p.m.-7 p.m., free, Falcon Pool, 3420 W. Roosevelt St., Phoenix; July 23, 1 p.m.-3 p.m., free, Maryvale YMCA, 3925 N. 67th Ave., Phoenix; and July 26, 2 p.m.-5 p.m., $9.83 with coupon available on website, Sunsplash, 155 W. Hampton Ave., Mesa,srpnet.com/safesummer.
Guests enjoy a catered lakeside barbecue dinner, up-close animal encounters and children’s activities, plus a great view from the zoo of the Tempe fireworks show. 7 p.m.-10 p.m. $45, adults; $35, children 3-12; reservations required. The Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, phoenixzoo.org, 602-286-3800.
Music, dancing, games, prizes and playing in the splash pad highlight this weekly event, which includes appearances by popular superheroes and fairy princesses. This month’s events include a Fairy Fun Day with Tinkerbell and Peter Pan, July 5;Frozen Fiesta with Princess Anna and Kristof, July 12; Super Hero Sensation with Batman and Superman, July 19; and Princess and Pirate Party with Captain Hook and Ariel, July 26. Tu, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Free. Desert Ridge Marketplace at the AMC Fountain, 21001 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix, shopdesertridge.com, 480-513-7586.
Fractured fairy tales intersect through unexpected new plot twists in this witty and irreverent production, which reveals what happens when fairy-tale characters live beyond the page. Call for times. $18. Desert Stages Theatre, 4720 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale,desertstages.org, 480-483-1664.
This interactive astronomy night features hands-on activities, museum tours and a slide presentation on constellations, planets and upcoming sky events. Weather permitting, guests will have an opportunity to look through several different high-powered telescopes at the moon, planets, star clusters and more. 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. $7; free, children 3 and younger. Challenger Space Center, 21170 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria,azchallenger.org, 623-322-2001.
Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation hosts its third annual Backpack and School Supply Drive to benefit foster children in Arizona. Among the requested items are pens, pencils, erasers, crayons, paper, binders, glue sticks, rulers, dictionaries, calculators, flash drives and alarm clocks. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Parking lot of Office Max, Scottsdale Promenade, 16259 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale,backpacksforfoster.com, 602-388-0966.
Good Faith Casting hosts this fun and informative program, which offers practical tips for auditioning for commercial and film projects. Ages 8-11, 9 a.m.-noon, $325; ages 12-16, 1 p.m.-5 p.m., $425. University of Advancing Technology, 2625 W. Baseline Rd., Tempe,goodfaithcasting.com, 602-218-5051.
Children ages 7 to 12 enjoy close encounters and hands-on activities with an array of creatures, including seahorses, sharks, rays and tropical fish in this weeklong adventure camp. 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. $200. Sea Life Arizona, 5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe, visitsealife.com, 877-526-3960.
Inventions, imagination and innovation are explored through science, technology, engineering, art and math activities that tie into the Sci-Fi: Fantasy to Reality exhibition. The program is open to children ages 6-12. 9 a.m.-noon. $65. i.d.e.a. Museum, 150 W. Pepper Pl., Mesa, ideamuseum.org, 480-644-2468.
There’s big trouble for the three bears when the rude little girl with the golden curls visits their house in this slapstick version of the traditional tale. W-F, 10 a.m.; Sa, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Su, 2 p.m. $10, adults; $7, children 12 and younger. Great Arizona Puppet Theater, 302 W. Latham St., Phoenix, azpuppets.org, 602-262-2050.
This sidesplitting tale follows a grumpy yet beloved ogre and his wisecracking best friend Donkey on a journey of a lifetime that includes encounters with a feisty headstrong princess, a short-tempered bad guy, a cookie with attitude and more than a dozen other fairy-tale misfits. Call for times and ticket prices. Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 W. Paradise Ln., Peoria, azbroadway.org, 623-776-8400.
Humor Writes leads this program, which focuses on the fundamentals of improv with specific skills and games to helpcampers feel more comfortable on stage and collaborating as a group. Designed for children ages 8-18, the camp concludes with a performance showcase. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; showcase at 3 p.m. July 22. Call for prices. Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St., Mesa,mesaartscenter.com, 480-644-6520.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the theme of this family fun day, which includes a movie screening, Jedi training, karaoke and crafts. Noon-4 p.m. Free. Pepsi Amphitheater, Fort Tuthill County Park, 2446 Fort TuthillLoop, Flagstaff, pepsiamp.com, 866-977-6849.