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Visiting Meteor Crater in Arizona

We had planned to stop at Meteor Crater after Petrified Forest the day before, but our trailer issues stopped us from making it that far.  We were now in day 4 of our visit and had been hanging around the KOA in Holbrook, Arizona all day waiting for the repair person from the trailer frame manufacture to arrive.  After finding out from the manufacture that in fact, nobody was coming today…  (more on this in a dedicated trailer issue post), we jumped in our truck and headed down the highway to see Meteor Crater before it would close for the day.

meteor crater

Getting Into Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater was only a little over an hour away from Holbrook and we would have plenty of time to see what we wanted to see when we arrived.  Meteor Crater is just west of Winslow, Arizona and out in the middle of the desert and only a few miles off the main highway.  A quick note to those looking to visit Meteor Crater.  Meteor Crater is privately owned and operated by the Barringer family and not a National Park, although it is designated as a National Natural Landmark.

meteor crater

Viewing Meteor Crater

There are multiple viewing platforms and a museum for the crater.  We first went to the crater and made our way up to the top platform for the high view.  The crater is not quite a mile all the way across the crater and over 500 feet deep.  We’ve had the telescope out in the back yard with the boys before to see the craters on the moon, so this was a really neat experience for them to see one close up on planet earth.  They had all kinds of questions about the meteor that made this crater, what direction it came from, what was at the bottom of the crater, etc… so we went inside the museum to see what we could learn.

meteor crater

The Museum At Meteor Crater

Inside the museum was a lot of historical information about the the crater and the scientist Daniel Barringer, who was the first to suggest the crater was made from a meteor impact.  It was interesting to read about the original history of Barringer exploring the crater, to find out how it was formed and then proving out that it was formed by a meteor impact.  There was a nice 10 minute movie to watch about it all also.  We arrived too late for it, but there is also a guided walking tour that goes out a little bit around the edge that I am sure provides some more personal explanation of the crater and the history behind the discovery and exploration of it.  Inside the museum is also a big chunk of the crater that is mostly nickel and iron.  Kind of cool to touch something that came direct from outer space!

meteor crater

One Last Look At Meteor Crater

We headed back out to the crater overlooks to try and find some of the spots on the crater that we learned about in the museum.  They had binoculars set up on the platforms to see some of the different spots.  You could find the old trail that was used to haul stuff down into the bottom of the crater and also see the drilling holes from drilling that took place in the bottom during investigation and exploration of the site.  There is a statue of an astronaut with a flag at the bottom as well, to help give a better perception of the size of the crater.  NASA has used the location for various testing operations, so the astronaut and flag statue is fitting.

Final Thoughts

It was a short visit, but I thought it was worth a quick post to share our experience.  If you are passing through the area or within a couple hours, I think it is worth your visit.  I wish we would have gotten there early enough to make the guided tour and spend a little more time in the museum.  My mind was also a bit preoccupied with our travel trailer issue, so I wasn’t as focused on the crater visit as I would like to have been.  That being said, the kids thought is was really cool and enjoyed the museum portion.  There was a few interactive things in the museum and I think they really enjoy learning about things up close and personal and on site.

I shared this photo, because I thought it was kind of a cool little natural photo frame of the desert view just outside the museum…

meteor crater

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