We got up and at ‘em early! Packed the van, (see itinerary ) checked out of the Wyndham, and headed for Meteor Crater!
What is Meteor Crater?
Meteor Crater (Barringer Meteorite Crater) formed 50,000 years ago when an asteroid plunged through the Earth’s atmosphere and crashed into what would become central Arizona. Because of the crater’s young age and the dry climate Meteor Crater is the best-preserved impact crater on Earth. No humans were living in the region when the impact occurred. The asteroid was small in astronomical terms just 150 feet (45.7 m) across. Traveling at around 8 miles per second (12.8 kps) the force of the asteroid’s impact on the ground was tremendous. In just a few seconds millions of tons of rock were flipped over and the great chasm was excavated. (source)
Address: Interstate 40, Exit, 233, Winslow, AZ 86047
Hours: Daily 7AM-7PM except
Phone: (928) 289-5898
Admission: Adults (14-59)-$23, Seniors (60+)$21, Juniors (6-13)-$13, 5 and under are free (they also have family pack discounts, see website)
As we made our approach to the entrance I suddenly felt like I was walking on the set of movie production. Between the storm lurking overhead, the suspenseful music escaping the speakers, and the overall surreal feeling of the moment I had to pinch myself to confirm I wasn’t dreaming. We managed to get indoors with only a second to spare before the first downpour occurred.
We paid, grabbed the Meteor educational packet, and headed for our first attraction, Collision 4D Theatre (this is included with the cost of admission and I highly recommend it.
Collision 4D Theatre….
We were invited to be an integral part of the flight mission to save the Earth! To come aboard you had to first pass through the biometric hand scanner for clearance. Once cleared you’re welcomed on board!
This HD experience has special effects, and full motion seats, and is a fun immersive 4D experience the entire family will enjoy. Your experience begins by being introduced to the crew, and you then join the commander on a flight in and around the crater as well as into space to help intersect an asteroid that is headed right for Earth!
After we saved planet Earth from the asteroid the timing was perfect for catching the next movie, Impact, The Mystery of the Meteor Crater (shows every ½ hour and is included with admission).
IMPACT! The Mystery of the Meteor Crater Movie…
The movie was really informative. It addressed the history and the geological impact and how Daniel Barringer eventually proved that it was a meteor site. The added interest, if you follow our itinerary when you go to Arizona and visit Lowell Observatory first you’ll notice Clark Dome and the 24” refracting telescope in the background.
After the movie, we headed to the hands-on educational Discovery Center.
Discovery Center & Space Museum…
We fully immersed ourselves in the history and science behind the crater with all the great hands-on activities. And it was here that our youngest filled in the majority of her Meteor Crater booklet, (that she turned into the gift shop for a prize when it was completed! Worth it.)
And then, finally, the piece de resistance, the Meteor Crater!!!
It stopped storming for a bit so we could safely walk outside to the observation deck…it is covered slightly, but you still need to be mindful of lightning.
I couldn’t get over the size, the pictures didn’t do it justice. And the storm heading in overhead I think almost helped vignette the crater beautifully. Again, between the music, the view, and the overall feeling of the day, it all seemed so surreal!
Apollo 11/NASA Astronaut Training…
Did you know that in the 1960s NASA astronauts came to Meteor Crater to help prepare for landing on the moon? They explored the unique and rugged terrain in order to help them have a better understanding of what they might experience on the moon. Apollo 11 Austraonats, Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Micheal Collins all used Meteor Crater as their moon training site.
Last stop (well, second to last stop, before the restrooms of course-by the way they are extremely clean, the best restrooms on the entire trip thus far!). So we have been in and out of a few gift shops along our journeys and we just pursued and didn’t purchase at the other shops and I’m glad we waited, this gift shop has it all…Route 66, Arizona, Naive American, Meteor Crater paraphernalia, you name it…and something for all ages, kiddos saved their money and spent it here!
I must admit I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Meteor Crater, it’s not just a tourist destination, it’s a landmark that helps establish its vastness, and yet, after much research, the mystery and uncertainty that still exist regarding the of the universe.
Next stop, Sedona, Arizona, red rocks!!!