For a weekend trip, our family decided to take the RV to Meteor Crater. The crater is 37 miles east of Flagstaff off I-40. Not a bad drive down the freeway and we stayed in their RV park for the weekend.
The crater is also known as the Barringer Crater and previously as Canyon Diablo Crater. It isn’t owned by the government, but the Barringer family. They run the visitor center and use the money to give the public access to the crater. It was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1967.
The impact site is almost a mile across and 3 miles in circumference and it is 550 feet deep. The meteor was calculated to be about 150 feet in diameter and weighing 150,000 pounds of iron-nickel. It is amazing that such a small rock can create such a large hole in the ground. Standing on the rim of the crater and seeing this hole is worth the price.
Meteor Crater has an RV park right off I-40 at exit 233. The parking spots are just gravel, but they are wide and easy to get into. At the main entrance to the RV park are a gas station and convenience store in case you forgot some supplies. I believe they also have propane for sale, but I didn’t check.
We used the RV park as our base camp and spent a few days in Northern Arizona going to Winslow Arizona and the Petrified Forest National Park. I hope to write a blog post about the Petrieifed Forest in a few weeks (here is the blog post).
Guided Rim Tour
Included in your admission price is the guided tour. We didn’t do this, but when you make it to the top floor of the building (there are stairs, but also an elevator) you can find the daily tour schedule. An employee should be at the top of the stairs and you can ask them where they have the schedule posted.
The Discovery Center
The center is educational for all ages and worth spending a bunch of time in. You learn about the history of the crater, who first discovered it, who came up with the idea that this was caused by a meteor and not a volcanic. A fragment of the meteor that created the crater is on display that you can touch and get an idea of what it is made of.
There is more information in the center than I could possibly explain here. We spent a bunch of time looking at each display and exhibit about the asteroid that made this hole. You will also see many exhibits about space and the solar system that will keep the family entertained. They even have hands-on displays that you can explore.
Impact, The Mystery of Meteor Crater
I strongly advise you to see this short movie explaining the history of the crater. The video goes into detail explaining the history of the crater and what you will be seeing when you finally step outside. Seeing this video is included in your admission price and it shows at a pre-determined schedule. Find out when the next showing will be, then come back and see it.
Collision! 4D Experience Room
Is an immersion ride where the entire family tries to save the earth using a huge screen and seats that move. The Phoenix news channel NBC 12 did a video on the ride and you can see it here. This is included in your admission price, but check the schedule when you first arrive.
The Blasted Bistro
In the same area as the gift shop is their restaurant. It had a wide selection of food available for the family including soups, salads, pastries, coffee, and of course candy.
Souvenir and Mineral Gift Shop
There was everything you could want from a tourist destination. They had a selection of t-shirts, hats, ornaments, something for everyone in the family to take home and remember the crater.
You can also buy minerals to take home including pieces of rock from the meteorite site.
We spent most of our time, outside looking at the crater and taking it all in. There are three different viewing platforms. One up on top of the rim, one down a level, and a further one down. Most of the view platforms have telescopes you can look through and descriptive information about the crater.
Seniors (age 60 and older) $20
Juniors (age 6 to 12) $13.
You can check the current prices and find out what is included here.
If you are visiting Northern Arizona I would put this on your places to visit. It was interesting to see what a rock 150 wide could do. My advice to you is when you first arrive check schedules. Find when the guided tour is running, find out when the “Impact, The Mystery of Meteor Crater” is showing, and when the “Collision! 4D Experience Room” is showing, and plan your stay accordingly.
The museum and video were very educational and fun for the family. It was really nice they had a parking lot big enough for the RVs. It is always hard when you have to pass places because you can’t fit your RV in the parking lot.
Have you visited Meteor Crater? Let me know in the comments below.