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Things Kids Can Do at the Grand Canyon By Marc Gaspian | http://www.grandcanyon123.com Looking for a great place to spend you family trip? Try the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. This National Park is packed with a variety of physical and educational activities that will appeal to kids of all ages. Here's a list of ten activities to get your planning "juices" started: Ranger Programs - Learn from the best. Attend a lecture or workshop by a park ranger. Trained naturalists, they are experts on the Canyon and know how to present it in a fun way. Subjects include geology, archeology, astronomy, among others. The Junior Ranger program takes kids in the field on adventure hikes and teaches them how to use the tools of the trade - binoculars, field guides, and other exploratory tools. Includes games based on the local ecology, too. The course concludes with the kids graduating as certified Junior Rangers. Museums - There are several great museums at the South Rim. Canyon View information Center by Mather Point has series of outdoor interpretive signs. More exhibits inside, including a ranger's desk where you can get questions answered. Verkamps Visitor Center, located near El Tovar Hotel, offers similar services, plus an outstanding bookstore. The Yavapai Observation Center's Museum of Geology is the perfect place for understanding how the Canyon was formed (make sure to check out the view from the station's glass wall). Kolb Studio, near Bright Angel Lodge, was built in 1905 and lives right on the Rim's edge. Its home to a huge early 20th Century movie camera used by the famous Kolb brothers and an art museum. Take a Ride on the Free Shuttle - The Park has an excellent transportation system that's free to all visitors. It stops at the most famous South Rim landmarks (Mather Point, Hermit's Rest, Yaki Point) and trailheads (Bright Angel and South Kaibab). It's comprised of three loops: The Village Route (blue); Hermit's Rest (red); and Kaibab Trail (green). Day Hikes - There are many great hikes for kids. Bright Angel Trail is located next to Kolb Studio in Grand Canyon Village. The well-maintained trail is a delightful stroll down. It's the hike up via steep switchbacks that will determine how far you will go (consider taking the Ranger-led adventure hikes for kids). Two places to consider: Mileand-a-Half Resthouse and Three-Mile Resthouse. The South Kaibab Trail, too, is in excellent condition and offers several outstanding lookout points for kids. The Rim Trail skirts the Canyon's edge from Hermit's Rest to South Kaibab. In general, it's flat terrain and never goes into the Canyon. It's excellent for strolling and includes access to the key


South Rim lookout points. Note: Dress based on the season and bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and foods like salty trail mix. Mule Rides - These trips fill up fast. There's a cancellation sheet maintained at the Bright Angel Lodge, and you might get lucky, but it's not likely as these popular trips are booked 13 months ahead of time. The best trip for kids is the Three Hour Abyss Overlook Mule Ride, which follows the Rim through Ponderosa Pine forest and a Juniper and Pinon Pine woodland chock full of wildlife. Horseback Riding - One- and two-hour trail rides led by Apache Stables, located outside the Park's main gate in Tusayan. These rides traverse the Ponderosa Pine forest outside the South Rim. Twilight trips and wagon rides are also available. Photography Workshops - Limited time only. Call Park to get times and dates. Professional photographers lead photo walks in the Park and discuss the proper way to use your digital camera to take stunning landscape and wildlife pictures. Helicopter Rides - A big favorite with kids, helicopter tours depart daily from the heliport at Tusayan and fly into the Canyon's Dragoon Corridor, the deepest, widest part of the Canyon. The tour continues to the North Rim before flying back over Grand Canyon Village to the airport. If you can swing it, upgrade to the EcoStar helicopters, which are bigger, quieter, and feature stadium-style seats. IMAX Theatre - See in 34 minutes what would take a lifetime! The IMAX screen is huge. Seats are stadium style. The cumulative effect is similar to actually being there. The Theater, managed by National Geographic, features excellent exhibits, an expert staff, and a food court. Raft trips can be booked here as well. Ticket cost: Adults (11 ): $12.50. Youth (ages 6 - 10): $9.50. Grand Canyon Village - The South Rim's been hosting visitors since the early 1900's and has the most amenities of all the Rims. Bright Angel Lodge is the center. It houses the best gift shop (t-shirts, cups, magnets, figurines, and more) and restaurant (huge portions), as well as a museum, snack bar (cheapest eats on the Rim), and lounge. The information center and lodging desk is here, too. The Grand Canyon is an excellent place enjoy your next family vacation. The Park features a variety to activities for kids, ranging from the Junior Ranger program and horseback riding to helicopter rides and day hiking. The opportunities to explore are limitless, specifically if you use the Canyon's free shuttle and visit such famous lookout points like Mather Point and Hermit's Rest. The South Rim, unlike other destinations, is easy on your budget, too. So pack up the family and head over to Arizona. The Grand Canyon is waiting for you. #30#



Things Kids Can Do at the Grand Canyon