Grand Canyon with young children??

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by twinspluscade, May 24, 2007.

  1. twinspluscade

    twinspluscade DIS Veteran

    Feb 11, 2006
    **I posted this also on the family board**

    Dh and I are trying to decide where to go for our family vacation NEXT summer (2008).

    I suggested the Grand Canyon. None of us have ever been there, and we would love to go. Dh however thinks the kids will be too young--he wants to wait until they are at least 10 or so. If we go, they would be ages 6,6, almost 5. I think they would be old enough to enjoy it; he thinks they would be bored.:confused3 . I should add that we wouldn't be doing any hiking, but would just be sight-seeing.

    Has anyone taken kids roughly these ages? Did they enjoy? Is it a good age to go, or would you recommend waiting until they are older? Any other advice for me regarding Grand Canyon area with kids?


  2. casaazul

    casaazul DIS Veteran

    May 30, 2005
    My son has gone at age 2, 3, 5, 7 and each time we had an enjoyable time. I think we had the best time at age 5, did the Junior Ranger program, did a little walk into the canyon (maybe 1/4 mile), spent time in the Desert View Watchtower and explored the Tusayan Ruin. We usually camp, so that was also fun. Campfires, pitching the tent, star gazing.

    Also in the town of Tusayan there is the National Geographic Visitor center with lots of activities, IMAX etc.

    Near Flagstaff are 2 national monuments, Wupatki and Sunset Crater. Lots of fun for kids, visiting Wupatki's ancient ruins and the lava flows at Sunset Crater.

    Have fun.
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  4. Barbday62

    Barbday62 DIS Veteran

    Apr 13, 2004
    I live in Arizona and the Grand Canyon is a day trip for us. We recently took our grand kids ages 3 and 5 1/2 to the South RIm. The 5 1/2 year old was observant enough to say thats beautiful. We also took my mom (their great grand mom) and she asked my grand daughter to take pictures for her so I think that was the highlight for her. Neither kid was bored. We stopped at many of the pull offs. (WE have handicap so we was able to get a pass to skip the bus and drive our own vehicle) We spent maybe 5 to 15 minutes at each pull out and the kids ran and ran. It was a 3 1/2 hour drive to get there for us so they needed to run.
  5. munchkinsmom

    munchkinsmom Mom to DD12 and DS9

    Jul 28, 2005
    Would your family be interested in something like this?

    There are also hotel packages that include staying at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams (near Flagstaff), Arizona and a hotel inside the GC National Park, depending upon the package you choose. It also includes some meals and a narrated bus tour. Friends of ours took their family on this a couple of years ago and enjoyed it.

    AAA and Costco have discounted rates.

    We're looking forward to doing this with our kids sometime soon.

    Have fun! The Grand Canyon is definitely worth visiting!
  6. minkydog

    minkydog DIS Cast Member

    Dec 8, 2004
    We are staying at the Grand Canyon Railway Resort right now and i can confirm your advice--this is a neat place. We are staying in the RV park adjacent to the hotel, but we are allowed access to all the hotel amenities(indoor pool, hot tub,restaurant, on-site kennel). They have several packages available which make the trip affordable.

    The train ride is a lot of fun. My kids are 14 & 12, but the 12yo is mentally handicapped, more like a 1-2yo. He enjoyed the wild west show before the train departed as well as the cowboys who wander the train with their guitars, singing cowboy songs. The ride is about 2hrs long and we saw some antelope right outside our window. They give you about 3hrs in the Canyon, or you can make arrangements to stay overnight in the park and come back on the train the next day. From an adult point of view, 3hrs is not a lot of time. From a child's point of view, it was plenty. You can eat in the restaurants there, but we decided to take our own picnic. We sat under a tree and ate, gazing at the canyon all the while. My son couldn't take his eyes off it. We do not hike due to DS & DH disabilities, but we walked along the rim until they were both tired and breathless. On the way home the train car was very quiet. A combination of sun, high altitude, and activity worked its magic on the kids. As you near the end of the train ride watch out for "bad guys". They board the train and rob everyone. It was great fun and even my oh-so-cool 14yo got into it. When you get back to the hotel you can go eat supper at the restaurant, Max & Thelma's. They have a great buffet or you can order from the menu.

    Everyone tried to talk us out of taking this trip--DH would need oxygen(he did), DS would be too tired(he was), it would be too hot(it was 85 degrees), too crowded(nothing like WDW!) But it was worth every bit of difficulty. In three hours, the canyon colors change a lot. If we could go without the kids, DH & I would definitely stay over and take it all in. With the kids, probably not. But your family may feel differently. My one piece of advice: hold hands. The rim has a low stone guardrail, but it would be easy to fall off. We saw several adults and a few kids climbing over the rails to get pictures or just to look over the edge.:scared1: We had a strict rule of no running and no horsing around.

    I hope you go and have a great time!
  7. karla63

    karla63 Mouseketeer

    Apr 10, 2006
    Yes, I totally agree that the colors can change within a 3 hour time frame. Last summer we were there during a lightning storm. We were waiting for our table to come available at the restaurant on the south rim and it was rather interesting to watch the storm come in from the north and across the canyon. Only bad thing, was it ended up knocking out the power to all the hotels, so we had to go into Tuscayan for supper. Great pictures tho of the lightning. We first went in March 2001 when our ds was just 4.5 We hiked about 2 miles into the canyon that trip. Then in July 2005 we went and hiked 3 miles into the canyon. Different trail. Next summer we are planning on taking the mule ride to stay at Phanton ranch and then do a whitewater rafting trip.

    Just one word of caution, don't ket the kids run loose anywhere near the edge. The railings are few and far between.

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