In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of fun things to do with kids while visiting the Grand Canyon. The majestic Grand Canyon attracts visitors from around the globe, including children. What will interest them most? Maybe the suggestions on this page will give you some ideas your young ones might enjoy.
Planning for a fun Grand Canyon visit...with kids
Visiting the Grand Canyon is a trip to remember a lifetime. With children along, it also can leave you with memories of high-quality time spent with your family, as well. But, will you kids enjoy the Grand Canyon...and will YOU? After all, with youngsters along, you won't be hiking to the bottom of the canyon and back; or rafting on the white-water in the river below. But, don't worry; kids DO enjoy the spectacle and grandeur of the canyon...along with the National Park's exhibits and displays about it. Your Grand Canyon roadtrip can easily be tweaked to become more child-friendly...and an occasion for your family to talk about for years to come.
There are several places near the Grand Canyon where you can find activities that kids can enjoy. Obviously, the Grand Canyon National Park is one of them. BUT, before you even reach the Grand Canyon, you'll probably go through both Williams and Tusayan, Arizona...where you can find still more kid-pleasing things to do.
Williams, Arizona is the "gateway" city to the Grand Canyon from I-40. There are other ways to get to the Grand Canyon, of course (and you can see our Driving to the Grand Canyon page for maps & more information about routes.) But, Williams, AZ is where many people leave Interstate 40 to head towards the Grand Canyon, and it the town where the most tourist attractions have sprung up which cater to Grand Canyon visitors. Among those attractions are several which have special kid-appeal...and so the next section on this page will talk about them.
Before you reach the Grand Canyon you'll reach Williams, AZ...home of
Bearizona, a new drive-thru wildlife park!
Bearizona is one of the Grand Canyon-area's attractions that is sure to please most kids. And actually, animal-lovers of all ages visit Bearizona. You'll see everyone from infants to teens to seniors among the crowd...including groups without children, as well.
Bearizona is a drive-through wild animal park featuring an animal that kids always find riveting: bears. The entire Bearizona experience can be enjoyed in about 2 hours. This includes the time you'll spend on the "drive thru" portion of the park, as well as the attractive zoo area that you may explore on-foot.
First, upon arriving at the park, you'll pay your admission, then head into the driving segment of your tour. Like other drive-through wildlife parks you may have visited, you'll stay inside your car while motoring slowly through large animal compounds. There's plenty of room to roam, and so you may not be able to view some of them very closely. Other animals, more curious, will stay closer to the roadside.
Not all of the animals that you'll see are bears. You'll also pass by mountain sheep, donkeys, wolves, and a very interesting display of rare white buffalo. The park saves the bear compound for the very last...and the suspense is worth it. The park's bears are handsome animals and give onlookers a sense of admiration and wonder.
Next, it's time to park for the walking part of the tour. There are plenty of other animals left to see. A highlight is the baby bear cubs, whose antics are sure to delight your children. These little cuties stay in near-constant motion. In fact, watching the baby bears reminds a person of watching a human pre-school...with the kids buzzing here and there, and finding everything about the world simply fascinating.
The bear cubs tussle with one another, then explore a stick. Then they wrassle again, and go on to climb a rock. Then, it's back to the stick, or ahead to climbing a tree, or investigating a little cave. They're simply too darling for words!
Strolling along the park's paths will bring you to the compounds of other animals such as the bobcat, javalinas, raccoons, foxes and barnyard favorites (such as chickens and ducks.) After enjoying stretching your legs, you can enjoy a bird show, where trainers will fill you in on all sorts of interesting details while showing off Bearizona's feathered friends.
Bearizona's address: 1500 E. Route 66 Williams, AZ 86046. It's easy to find this location. Take I-40's Exit 165 and head south to the park's entrance drive.
Bearizona phone number: (928) 635-2289. For more info about planning your trip to Bearizona, you'll most certainly like to browse through the informative www.Bearizona.com website.
A few miles from Bearizona, you'll find another kid-favorite:
The Grand Canyon Deer Farm
The Grand Canyon Deer Farm is another highlight for kids. Specifically, most kids love feeding animals, and here they can enjoy feeding deer to their heart's content. Not only will you find deer here, but you'll also enjoy viewing a selection of barnyard animals and other herbivores...close-up and at eye-level.
It takes about an hour to tour the deer farm if you're moving slowly and feeding the deer as you go. (Or...if not, perhaps a half hour would do.) There are more animals than just deer to see and photograph...including bison, llamas, a camel, and more. A gift shop with interesting animal-themed souvenirs is also worth browsing around before or afterwards.
Grand Canyon Deer Farm address: 6769 E Deer Farm Rd, Williams, AZ 86046. To reach this location, take I-40's Exit 171 (Ponderosa Rd) and head north. The route will dead-end in a block or two. Turn left, but then quickly make a 2nd left turn. You will then be on Deer Farm Road, which will take you to the park in less than a mile. (Note: if you reach a small airport, you've gone the wrong way. Simply backtrack; the signs for Deer Park Rd are actually easier to see in the return direction.)
After you leave I-40 at Williams, Arizona, you'll head north on Highway 64 towards the Grand Canyon. Most of this road is rather ho-hum...and a good time to pull out a movie or start a family sing-along.
However, before arriving at Grand Canyon National Park, you'll reach the little tourist town of Tusayan, where you will find at least one attraction appealing to kids...and even more, if your budget will allow.
The Grand Canyon IMAX Theater
The Grand Canyon IMAX Theater (inside of the National Geographic Visitor's Center) shows a movie that's both informative as well as action-packed. For adults, the Grand Canyon IMAX movie is very helpful in understanding more about the canyon. (It does not repeat the movie & displays inside the park, but it does add to what you'll see there.) Kids may not understand everything about what they're viewing...but they'll have their eyes glued to the screen, nevertheless.
The theater's seats are steeply banked, so that kids should be able to have a good view of the screen, no matter who ends up sitting in front of them. After the show, there's a gift shop to explore and a few displays to look at.
Later, when your kids are older & have more endurance and a greater attention-span, they might enjoy a mule ride down into the heart of the Grand Canyon. For now while they're young, a short trail ride may be all they're up to...and you can find hour-long horseback rides through the forest surrounding the Tusayan. These begin and end at the Apache Stables. There are no glimpses of the canyon, and no particular narration of the scenery is given. And yet, kids often enjoy the thrill of simply riding on a horse; it's a new and exciting experience for them. Wagon rides are also available.
Helicopter and small airplane rides
For hikers and mule-riders, it takes a full day to get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Then, it takes another full day (and lots of endurance) to get back up to the rim. If you've got small kids in tow, how can you still see the glories of the canyon up close & personal?
Helicopter and/or plane rides can take your group over the rim to see and explore much more than is possible from standing at a viewpoint. There are several companies operating out of Tusayan, each with different packages and price ranges (although, ALL of them are relatively expensive...but "worth it" if you've got the price covered in your budget.) Despite the hefty fees, these are popular tours and you should make your reservations as soon as you arrive in the area (if not beforehand.)