arizona
Arizona - Northeast

Northeast Arizona is the land of the Hopi and Navajo peoples. It's also an ancient landscape, with rocks of the Painted Desert, dinosaur tracks, petrified forests and meteor craters in the desert.


Canyon de Chelly
Petrified Forest Nat'l Park
Dinosaur Tracks - In the Triassic period, big dinosaurs roamed the Painted Desert, leaving their tracks and eggs to be turned into stone. You can walk on a self-guided path, but it’s better to have a Navajo guide, who will point out all the tracks in the desert (they aren’t that easy to spot if you don’t know where to look). Kids will get a kick out of tracks described as a small T-Rex, claw marks of raptors, remnants of dinosaur eggs and domes of dinosaur poop! (although there seems to be come question as to whether the eggs, poop and T-Rex are actually that).
The dinosaur tracks are on Highway 160 going in the direction of Tuba City, 4 miles east from Highway 89, on the north side of the road. This is a gem!
First, Second and Third Mesa - For centuries the Hopi have lived in villages perched on three mesas, adobe buildings blending into the sandstone rocks. If you want to visit a Hopi village, you'll need a guide, and Walpi on Second Mesa is your best bet. In Walpi, go to the Ponsi Hall, tours are 10 - 3 in winter, 9:30 - 5 in summer. Photography is strictly prohibited in all the villages.
Hopi Cultural Center (Second Mesa) - For a taste of Hopi life, it's well worth a visit to this homey cultural center on Second Mesa. Kids will see a totally cool model of Walpi, dioramas of Keet Seel, Hopi clothing and pottery (plus steps in pottery making), Kachina dolls, baskets and jewelry. Have lunch in the restaurant, with traditional Hopi dishes such as lamb or pinto and hominy, fry bread dishes, plus buffalo burgers and the usual kid-friendly food.
Hubbell Trading Post (Ganado) - John Lorenzo Hubbell set up a trading post in 1876. Here the Navajo came to trade their blankets, rugs, wool and jewelry for tools and groceries. The trading post was also a place visit and socialize. The Hubbell Trading Post is little changed from a century ago, with Navajo rugs for sale, baskets on the ceiling, shelves filled with grocery items, along with period furnishings of the Hubbell home.
Meteor Crater - The meteor crater is big, 4,000 ft across, 2.4 miles in circumference and 550 ft deep. You can't go down into the crater, but there are great viewing platforms with telescopes of specific features in the crater. Kids may think the crater looks like the moon, and it does - this is where the Apollo astronauts trained for their moon missions.
The Learning Center has a large meteorite kids can touch, plus hands-on exhibits, make your own crater and simulations of how the crater was formed by the impact of the meteor. There's a real Apollo test capsule out in front.
Rim hikes - Every hour, there are guided hikes along the rim of the crater, a half mile mile out, half mile back, closed-toed shoes are required (no sandals).
Fun food
Kids will have fun with Navajo tacos - fry bread topped with ground beef and cheese. For a sweet treat, deep-friend sopapillas with honey or powdered sugar are delicious.

Shopping
Cameron Trading Post (in Cameron, intersection of Highway 89 and 64) has a really great selection of bows with feather arrows, dream catchers, dolls in Navajo dress, painted horses, carved animals and jewelry.


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