The Grand Canyon for Families

Original open uri20160815 3469 1dq2qci?1471295125?ixlib=rails 0.3
The Grand Canyon for Families
There's no shortage of family-friendly activities around the Grand Canyon. Whether learning, relaxing, or seeking adventure, enjoy being together in this inspiring landscape.
Photo courtesy of Michael Quinn/Grand Canyon NPS
  • 1 / 6
    Original open uri20160815 3469 1dq2qci?1471295125?ixlib=rails 0.3
    The Grand Canyon for Kids
    For children aged four to 14, the Grand Canyon Junior Ranger program offers hands-on activities that teach participants about the park’s wildlife and ecology. Junior Ranger badges and other rewards are given to kids who complete the specified activities. For teens who want bragging rights, rafting the Colorado River makes for lifelong memories. Ranger-led camping trips lasting up to several nights are also an option for active, outdoor-loving kids and their families. Meanwhile, a Jeep safari and South Rim walking tour brings advneture with a side of history, and includes a stop at the famous Kolb Studio in Grand Canyon Village.
    Photo courtesy of Michael Quinn/Grand Canyon NPS
  • 2 / 6
    Original open uri20160815 3469 zfq3vt?1471295129?ixlib=rails 0.3
    The Grand Train Robbery
    Grand Canyon Railway offers a trip from Williams on Route 66 to the Grand Canyon on lovingly restored historic passenger cars; it takes about two-and-a-quarter hours and is accompanied by a banjo soundtrack. But traveling via rail across the Wild West’s high desert plateau does have its risks. On the return trip, look out the window: Masked bandits, closing in on horseback, have their sights set on you. Don't worry: The train robbery is just grand, staged fun. You can either take the train to the Canyon as a day trip—you’ll have about three hours there—or spend several days in the national park before returning to Williams. In winter the train offers a Polar Express Christmas ride, complete with elves and gifts.
    Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon Railway
  • 3 / 6
    Original open uri20160815 3469 11iln2h?1471295134?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Bearizona, a Drive-Through Wildlife Park
    Sometimes kids just won’t be impressed by the landscape the same way grown-ups are. But showing them animals is always a win. So if your children aren’t fired up by the mile-deep geology of the Grand Canyon, drive about an hour south of the South Rim to Bearizona. It’s a drive-through wildlife park—think Jurassic Park but with bison, bear, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and wolves instead of dinosaurs. There are also raptor flights with hawks, falcons, and owls, and even a walk-through section with baby animals. Bearizona is open year-round, but hours vary according to season and weather. Children under four are admitted for free.
    Photo by Derek Bruff
  • 4 / 6
    Original open uri20160815 3469 wtoblq?1471295138?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Swing through the Trees
    Flagstaff Extreme is an obstacle course suspended amongst the trees of the ponderosa pine forest. There are five different circuits available for adults, color-coded for difficulty and elevation, and one for children over seven years old. Each course has a dozen or so obstacles that have to be overcome and that might include rope swings, scrambling walls, hanging nets, wobbly bridges, zip lines, and other suspended surprises. It's a great way to test and renew your agility while bonding with your children, and the surroundings are superb. A full briefing and safety equipment are provided; advance booking is recommended.
    Photo courtesy of Kerrick James/Flagstaff CVB
  • 5 / 6
    Original open uri20160815 3469 1t9o4r3?1471295143?ixlib=rails 0.3
    The Grand Canyon by Helicopter
    On the rim of the Grand Canyon, you’re standing a vertical mile above the churning Colorado River. But if you want to get even higher, consider an airplane or helicopter tour. Few aerial vistas can rival the hypnotic ridges and chasms of the Grand Canyon, and flying above and even down into the canyon will leave your spirits soaring. Tours are available from the small airport just south of the South Rim Visitor Center, from the Hualapai Reservation, and from the Phoenix and Scottsdale area.
    Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon NPS
  • 6 / 6
    Original open uri20160815 3469 yqnppk?1471295148?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Cycling above the Grand Canyon
    If getting on and off the free shuttle buses on the South Rim doesn’t appeal to you, rent a bike across from the Visitor Center. Bike trailers—for hauling around toddlers or camera gear—are also available. The Hermit Road Greenway Trail allows you to ride off the main east-west road and even along the canyon rim itself, and the Tusayan Greenway leads into the national park from the nearby town of Tusayan. Keep an eye out for elk as you enjoy the forest-scented air. And if you’re among those who feel that a national park vacation just isn’t a national park vacation unless you sleep under a tent, reserve ahead of time and you’ll be able to camp within walking distance of the Grand Canyon rim’s endless views.
    Photo courtesy of Michael Quinn/Grand Canyon NPS