When our family took a month long road trip last summer, one of our must see attractions was the giant Meteor Crater located 20 miles west of Winslow, Arizona. This privately owned roadside attraction is the world’s best preserved meteorite impact site and certainly worth a visit. After all, where else can you see an fully intact meteor crater of this size?
Since admission to the Meteor Crater is $16 a piece, you’ll definitely want to do more than just walk up to the edge and look down. Here are the five main points of interest you’ll want to check out when visiting the crater.
The introductory movie
The collision that created this crater happened nearly 50,000 years ago when an asteroid traveling 26,000 miles an hour hit the earth, leaving behind a depression that measures a mile across and nearly 550 feet deep. You learn about this and more by stepping in the Visitor’s Center theater where a short 10-15 minute clip will give you some idea of how these collision might have looked and sounded like.
There are several places where visitors can view the crater from the rim. At the rear of Visitor’s Center is an air conditioned, indoor viewing area which is great for seniors, young children and people who hate those high desert temps. There are also three outdoor viewing areas on the east side of the crater. These viewing areas include an upper platform and a lower one where visitors can look through a telescope to pick out mining artifacts and a flag.
Guided rim trail
During different times of the day, there is a guided rim trail that takes you around the west side. We missed out on the tour ourselves though heard from others that it was well worth the time.
After walking around the crater, head back indoors for a look at the interactive discovery center. It’s not a large museum but is interesting and you’ll walk out of there learning a few things. One exhibit definitely worth seeing are the interactive computer displays that simulate different meteor impacts based on the information that you enter.
The gift shop
Our family has probably visited over 50 gift shops on this particular vacation and the one at the Meteor Crater is one of the larger and better ones we’ve seen. They have lots of science toys, tchotchkes, and basic souvenirs that will keep you busy shopping for half an hour or more. It’s worth a stop for sure.
People who visit the Meteor Crater seem to really, really love it or really, really hate it. If you approach your visit as a learning experience and take the time to experience all the interesting features that this facility has to offer, then you’ll enjoy this attraction like our family did.
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