We started by visiting the Meteor Crater just outside of Winslow, Arizona. Meteor crater is a bit weird. It is privately owned, but they seem to want to conceal this, as their staff are all dressed like pretend park rangers. It is also quite expensive – $16 for adult tickets. They have a small museum, which Chris describes as a pretty good 12 year old’s science fair project. A lot of the text panels and information seems to focus on what a great service the owners are doing for science and how much they have done to further knowledge of meteors. This seems to be hiding the fact that you were just charged $16 for a bug hole in the ground.
Anyway then there is the crater. It is pretty big and very well preserved, as the crater owners explain. There are a few viewing platforms that allow you to get a good view of the crater. It is interesting to see and certainly shows the damage which can be done by outer space rocks.
The national parks service has established several shuttle bus services which transport visitors around the town and to key scenic points around the canyon. They also have rangers available to help plan hikes or trips to see the canyon. We took the orange bus which travels to a few look outs and a geology museum.
The Grand Canyon is inconceivable. It is massive. Just when you think you have seen the whole scope of the canyon, you realise it is deeper or wider or longer. It is also quite frightening in some places – the edge just drops away to 2000m of nothingness. In several places you can seethe great Colorado river as it cuts through the canyon. The vista is amazing and awe inspiring.
We then visited the National Geographic visitors centre. You can purchase gifts, tours or pizza. We saw the IMAX presentation on the Grand Canyon known as hidden secrets. I wold not be exaggerating when I say this would have to be the worst IMAX movie of all time. For the first few minutes I thought it was a joke and the real film would start. It is almost as though they found a bad nature documentary from the 80’s and reshot it for IMAX without improving the narration, acting, script or music. It just comes across as weird and melodramatic. I spent most if the film wondering what was going on.