I need suggestions for activities with grandchildren ages 9-16 en route to and at the Grand Canyon (and in surrounding areas outside of the park). Also would appreciate your suggestions for reasonable hotels and motels.
-Sharon, Sun City West, Ariz.
For children 12 and under, the Grand Canyon National Park offers the Junior Ranger Program for free. The Ravens, Coyotes, and Scorpions program has kids write about their observations, answer questions about the park, write poems, and attend one of the Ranger-led programs—the Phantom Rattler Junior Ranger program, in which kids will visit Phantom Ranch and complete an activity booklet.
Children 12 and under also will enjoy the Grand Canyon Railway. In the summer, it takes kids from Williams to the Grand Canyon. They will see a cowboy show in the morning, and on the way back, they experience an exciting holdup and hear a band play. Williams is on Route 66, so you and the grandkids could grab a shake and burger at Twisters, a ‘50s diner with an old-fashioned soda fountain and a gift shop.
If the kids are interested in hiking, then follow the Lava Flow Trail at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, a volcano that was created from a succession of eruptions between 1040 and 1100. The hike is one mile roundtrip, and if you request a trail guide, he or she will teach you about the landscape.
Apache Stables offers horseback rides that trot in the ponderosa pine forest not far from the canyon’s rim. Although you won’t see the canyon’s vistas, the horseback ride is a great way to view the countryside.
Please see the list below for affordable accommodations (per night per, per person) in the park this summer. Each additional person is $9.
- Maswik Lodge Cabins: $86
- South Room with two queen rooms: $86
- Bright Angel Lodge and Cabins, Standard room with private bathroom: $86
- Historic Cabin: $106