Grand Canyon National Park
This was our first visit as a family to the Grand Canyon. The boys were both really looking forward to seeing it. We had been reading and re-reading a book about it weeks before we had arrived. It just so happened that the weather turned outrageously cold, with highs in the 40’s and a chilly wind. The sky was beautifully clear. However, we were very glad that we had brought along heavy coats, hats, and gloves.
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It still happened to be very crowded for a chilly day in November. The Grand Canyon is so massive. Driving from our base of Camp Verde, we entered the South Entrance of the park. I was hoping to see the Grand Canyon skywalk, but it ended up being very far from where we were. Several inches of snow the previous week were still lingering as well..
Instead we hopped on one of the free shuttles, and stopped off at a few viewpoints. Our picnic lunch was quick and chilly, and then we attended an excellent Ranger Talk about the California Condor. Although we picked up the Junior Ranger booklets, we did not even try to complete them in our short time there. Instead we took the book home with us, and completed them later in the week. I was able to mail in the completed books, and they mailed us back the badges.
All in all, we had a very nice day at the Grand Canyon, although the weather did make it difficult to linger too long at each stop. Next time I hope to hike at least one partial trail down into the canyon.
Click here for Grand Canyon Accommodations.
Flagstaff Extreme Obstacle Course Adventure
It was really by accident that I stumbled upon the website for Flagstaff Extreme, and boy was that a lucky day! We planned a day trip to Flagstaff the following week, only an hour from where we were staying. Tentatively, I asked the boys if they’d like to try this obstacle course in the trees (since they are huge American Ninja Warrior fans.) They both said ‘yes’, and my little one just barely made the height restriction.
The boys had their own private training guide since we were the only ones there, and they had his undivided attention. They loved every minute. Harnesses and tethering themselves to each obstacle with 2 different lines took a little maneuvering at first. Once they got the hang of hooking and unhooking their lines, they were able to relax and have fun. We had previously cut the fingers off of their baseball-type gloves (for gripping). So they practiced first on a training course, which was not too high off the ground.
Then they went to the main course and got to zip line, walk across suspended bridges, walk tight ropes, crawl through a suspended tunnel, and run through a netted obstacle. They were actually able to complete the entire course three times. It ended up taking about 2.5 hours, and for $25 a child, I thought that was an awesome price for a challenging and memorable experience!
The second time around the course, the guide challenged them to use no hands (to my horror) although they were still tethered to the line above. My youngest took rose to the challenge immediately. You can see him (above) walking a rope with no hands. Even my older son walked across the suspended bridge backwards the second time.
This was such an awesome experience for the boys, and we had a blast just watching and encouraging them. I highly recommend this adventure. The adult courses were significantly higher and looked like a lot of fun, too!
Click for information about the kids course and the adult courses.