There’s so much to see and do in Arizona. Among those is a hidden gem located just outside of Winslow, AZ. It’s not every day that you can say you’ve been to a meteor crater. If you’re in the area, take the short drive (approximately 30-45 minutes) to the site- sandwiched comfortably between Flagstaff and Winslow.
Interstate 40, Exit 233
Winslow, AZ 86047 USA
800-289-5898 (Toll Free)
The meteor crater is massive! Based on calculations made a long time ago, the meteorite(s) hit at a speed of about 26,000 miles per hour, weighing several hundred thousand tons. You can imagine what kind of shockwave and impact it would have on the surrounding area and our planet. With that said, the evidence of such a massive disturbance lies in the outstretch of Arizona. Over the years, with the shifting of the earth’s surface, the crater is currently about a mile wide, over 2 miles in circumference, and 550 feet deep. While there are much deeper crevices and canyons, the meteor crater is still impressive!
Plan for about 2 hours, especially if you take the guided rim tour. My recommendation would be to see the crater and maybe take the guided tour then finish off in the visitor’s center. However, take time out to explore the exhibits, gift shop and rock shop inside. Our kids loved seeing and touching the fragments from the meteorites. There was a captivating video that even intrigued the boys. The visitor’s center also has clean restrooms and a Subway restaurant.
Outside the visitor’s center, there are a group of steps that lead to the overview of the crater. Depending on how high you want to venture, there are another group of steps that lead to a higher outlook. There are handrails along the way but if you have a fear of heights, you may want to stop at the first overview. I wouldn’t recommend bringing strollers along the path. If you make it to the very top, bring some quarters to look through the telescopes perched in perfect position to view the crater and the entire area surrounding. If you look closely, you can see artifacts left from previous studies of the crater.
If you have a larger family, the admission can get pretty expensive. For adults, you will be paying about $18, $16 for seniors, and $9 for juniors (6-17 years of age). If there are 8 or more paying for admission, the price drops slightly. Active military are able to get in for free with the proper ID and there are discounts for non-active military/ military youth. With these prices, you get access to the interactive Discovery Center, the movie theatre showing “IMPACT” twice an hour, a guided tour on the rim of the crater (weather permitting), telescopes on the viewing platforms, and 3 lookout points along the rim.
If you are planning a trip during the non-summer time of the year, keep in mind that the site closes earlier.
Check their website for updated business hours:
Non-summer hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Summer Hours: Memorial Day to Labor Day we will be open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Holiday Hours: Thanksgiving Day 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM; Closed Christmas Day
We never saw it, but there is an RV Park just outside of the crater. For more information, check out their website at www.meteorcrater.com.
We had a great time experiencing the meteor crater and learning how the magnificent hole came to be and how it continues to change over time! For more information on the meteor crater, visit their website at www.meteorcrater.com.