Flagstaff, located at the intersection of Interstate 17 and
I-40 is the largest city and is the regional center of northern Arizona.
It is the county seat for Coconino County, the second largest county
in the U.S., with 12 million acres. Flagstaff, at 7,000 feet, is one of
the highest U.S. cities and its breath-taking backdrop is even higher.
The community sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, Arizona’s
highest point at 12,633 feet. Flagstaff is a year-round Mecca for visitors. Many Arizonans maintain second homes here. Summer temperatures average 20
degrees cooler than Phoenix, which is 146 miles south on Interstate
17. In winter there is skiing, ice skating, and hunting.
Flagstaff has long been a transportation hub. Located along an
old wagon road to California, Flagstaff began after the railroad
arrived in 1881. Today the town links I-40 to I-17, Highway 89 to
Page and Utah, and Highway 180 to the Grand Canyon. Historic
Route 66 passes through Flagstaff.
Flagstaff’s name comes from a tall pine tree made into a flagpole
in 1876 to celebrate the Declaration of Independence
Centennial. Flagstaff is a governmental, educational, transportation, cultural
and commercial center. Tourism is a major source of employment.
Traditional economic activities continue to employ people.
New scientific and high tech research and development industries
have located in Flagstaff. Approximately 16,000 students
attend Northern Arizona University. More than 100,000 people do
business in Flagstaff, both in the historic downtown area and at several
shopping centers. Most of Flagstaff is a designated Enterprise
Flagstaff and the surrounding area are abundant with attractions.
The Grand Canyon is the top area attraction with some 5 million visitors
annually. Other popular sites nearby are the dormant volcanoes at
Sunset Crater National Monument, the Indian ruins at Wupatki and
Walnut Canyon, Meteor Crater (the world’s largest), Oak Creek’s red
rock canyons and Monument Valley. The San Francisco Peaks attract
people all year. Aspen forests sport bright yellow colors in the fall and
wild flowers appear each spring. In winter, there is abundant snow.
Many recreational activities are found in the city itself. Lowell
Observatory, with both historic and modern telescopes, is open to the
public. The planet Pluto was discovered at the observatory.
The Museum of Northern Arizona features Native American displays.
Riordan State Park features a mansion built by two brothers prominent
in the lumber industry. Flagstaff’s locales also attract the film and still
photography industry. Flagstaff Winter fest is held annually to celebrate
There were four military surveys that passed through Flagstaff before the town came into existence. The first was by Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves and Lieutenant James Simpson in 1851. Then in 1853, Lieutenant Amiel W. Whipple journeyed through the area. The next survey was in 1858 with Lieutenant Joseph Christmas Ives. Finally, Lieutenant Edward F. Beale came through with camels used as beasts of burden. All of these military surveys proved to be beneficial when it came to the railroad heading west.
However, it wasn’t until 1876 when the first group of Bostonians arrived to start a new life in the west. This group did not last long. After being disappointed with the farmland and not finding any gold they headed back. Then in 1876, another group from Boston arrived. It was with this group that the name Flagstaff was created. There are many stories surrounding the manner in which Flagstaff got its name. However, this one story seems to surface most frequently. The story refers to a lofty pine stripped of its branches and used to hang an American flag with rawhide strings for a Fourth of July celebration. The Flagstaff became a symbol for the valley and could be spotted miles away. It was said that that journeying west was told to travel straight west until you come to a Flagstaff where you will find a good place to camp. Still, the second group of Bostonians did not like the area and them to left too.
However, it was in this same year that Thomas F. McMillan arrived and set up his home near a spring. He is recognized as being the town’s first permanent settler. He built a cabin at the base of Mars Hill. Then in 1881, the first post office opened and the railroad barreled into town. Flagstaff began to grow. The town had timber, sheep, and cattle and by 1886 Flagstaff was the biggest city on the main line between Albuquerque and the Pacific coast.
By 1891, Flagstaff had grown to 1,500 and Coconino County was established. The county soon became the second largest county seat in the United States. The famous Lowell Observatory was built in 1894. Dr. Percival Lowell chose Flagstaff for its great visibility. This proved to be correct when the planet Pluto was discovered at the observatory in 1930.
In 1899, Flagstaff was home to the Arizona Teachers College. Later, in 1966 it became Northern Arizona University and is still regarded as one of the best small colleges in the United States.
During the 1920’s, Route 66 was built and passed right through town making Flagstaff a popular tourist stop. It also became an important source of income for the town. Flagstaff was incorporated as a city in 1928.
Flagstaff continues to grow today. The city has so much to offer with outstanding outdoor activities minutes away and many attractions surrounding Flagstaff.
Things To Do In & Around Flagstaff
Walnut Canyon National Monument
A hike down into Walnut Canyon National Monument will take you back in time. The canyon walls hold the ancient cliff dwellings of nearly a thousand years ago. Walnut Canyon National Monument is one of the most well-preserved cliff dwellings of the Sinagua people. Sinagua means “without water” in Spanish, which refers to their method of farming.
From 1120 to 1250, the Sinagua people chose this ideal spot to build their home, with the cool stream at the bottom of the 400-foot gorge. Their dwellings are located under the natural overhangs of limestone and sandstone along the canyon walls. The Sinagua’s used stones and mortar to close on the exposed sides of their dwellings. If you look carefully, you might find the handprints in the mud left behind by the builder. At one time, there were 300 rooms at Walnut Canyon. Today, visitors can see 24 rooms.
The Visitor Center has lots of information about the Sinagua people. There are displays and artifacts recounting their existence. A showcase holds a variety of flora found in the canyon. Many of the single-family dwellings are visible from the Visitor Center. There are picnic facilities outside the Visitor Center.
At the Visitor Center, the Island Trail down to the dwellings begins. The hour long Island Trail hike into the canyon is a must. The hike includes a 250-step downward path with handrails and several resting spots along the way. It is a hike offering wonderful natural views and glimpses of cliff dwellings. There is another easier hiking trail around the canyon rim. The Rim Trail takes you to two viewpoints and two dwellings. Along the trail, there are signs describing the plants and wildlife. Please allow 30 minutes for the half-mile loop Rim Trail. Both trails can be closed if snow and ice are present.
The monument is open every day from 8:00 to 6:00 June through August, 8:00 to 5:00 September through November, 9:00 to 5:00 March through April and the rest of the year, except Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Island Trail does close one hour before the Visitor Center closes. The admission is $3.00 per person and children under 17 are free. If you would like more information, you may call 520-526-3367.
Walnut Canyon National Monument is located seven miles east of Flagstaff, just off of Interstate 40. If you are coming from Phoenix or Tucson take Interstate 17 north to Flagstaff. Once you are in Flagstaff, take Interstate 40 east out of town. You will travel for approximately seven miles until you come exit 204 and the signs for Walnut Canyon National Monument.
Almost 100 years ago, geologist Daniel Barringer developed a theory. He believed that a meteor had slammed into the earth and created the crater just outside of Flagstaff. Those around him did not agree. They felt that the area around Flagstaff was known for its volcanic activity. A volcanic eruption was a better explanation of the crater’s creation. Barringer disagreed and staked a mining claim on the crater. He also began a search for iron and nickel, which he believed lay at the bottom of the crater. Barringer was partially correct about the crater. A meteor had created the crater, however, the minerals he was in search of were never discovered. Today the Barringer family has opened the crater for visitors. You can see it for yourself.
Meteor Crater is a gaping hole in the ground, nearly 570 feet deep and more than 4,000 feet in diameter. This hole was made by a several hundred thousand ton meteorite, which came crashing to earth at 40,000 mph, nearly 50,000 years ago. Meteor Crater is considered to be the best-preserved impact site on earth. The sheer size of this hole is hard to imagine. Try and picture a chasm deep enough for a 60-story building and wide enough for 20 football fields. It is an amazing sight!
The terrain of the crater is similar to that of the moon. This similarity interested NASA and in the 1960’s NASA decided to use the Meteor Crater for training. The Apollo astronauts used the crater as a practice ground for the moon landing.
At Meteor Crater visitors can see exhibits, movies and listen to talks about the crater. Meteor Crater’s Museum of Astrogeology gives a presentation on meteor devastation, along with the role it plays in the study of earth and space science. The largest meteorite ever found in the area is on display to see and touch. Meteor Crater honors the brave Americans who have ventured into space. The Astronaut Hall of Fame commemorates space flight. There are photographs, spacesuits, and other exhibits honoring space missions. An Apollo Space Capsule can also be seen at the crater.
One of the most exciting experiences at the crater is the rim walk. The rim itself is about 150 feet above the surrounding plateau and 570 feet above the bottom of the crater. The sides are practically vertical below the rim. You can take the three and a half mile rim trail at the top of the crater, weather permitting. Hikers do need to have the proper footwear for the walk. However, hikers are not permitted into the crater.
Astronaut Park is available for picnics and relaxing after an exciting day at the crater. The gift store has many unique items to take home. There is also a Coffee Shop on the grounds to sit and take in the experience.
Meteor Crater is open all year round. During May 15 through September 15, the hours are 6:00 to 6:00 and during September 16 through May 14 the hours are 8:00 to 5:00. The admission charge is $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for individuals over 60 and $4.00 for children 6 to 17. It is important to allow two hours for your visit to Meteor Crater. If you would like more information, you may call 520-289-2362.
You can get to the crater from Flagstaff by taking Interstate 40 east out of town for 22 miles. Then take exit 233 and follow the signs. It is only minutes south off of Interstate 40. If you are coming from Phoenix or Tucson take Interstate 17 north out of town to Flagstaff. Once in Flagstaff, take Interstate 40 east out of town. When you come to exit 233 take it and follow the signs to Meteor Crater. You can get to the crater from Winslow by taking Interstate 40 west out of town for 20 miles. Then follow the signs for the turnoff from the Interstate.
Museum of Northern Arizona
The Museum of Northern Arizona is the best place to visit and learn about the Native American cultures of Northern Arizona. The museum is internationally recognized for its research on the Colorado Plateau. The Plateau includes Northern Arizona and the Four Corners region taking in the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks, along with the Hopi and Navajo Indian Reservations. The museum is devoted to the geology, anthropology and fine arts of the area. One of the most popular exhibits at the museum is the “Native Peoples of the Colorado Plateau”, which shows the development of the people from the Anasazi to the Native Americans of today.
The museum was constructed in 1928 to house the galleries and ever changing exhibits. The Exhibit Building covers nearly 13,000 square feet. Children will enjoy seeing the life-sized model of Diloposaurus, a carnivore dinosaur, who once roamed Northern Arizona. There is something that will interest all who come to visit. During the summer, the museum has demonstrations and dances done by Native Americans. This is a must see if you are in the area at this time. You will want to call in advance to find out exact times and events.
The museum boasts a reproduction of a Hopi Kiva. The kiva is a circular meeting room. The Kiva has a loom and rug making a display, along with information about the native people who used the kiva.
The gift shop has numerous authentic Native American art pieces for sale. There is a large selection of Indian arts, books and other items that will remind you of your visit. Outside the museum, there is a half-mile nature trail, which takes you along a creek and a canyon rim.
The Museum of Northern Arizona is open daily from 9:00 to 5:00, except on New Year’s Day, Christmas and Thanksgiving. The cost of admission is $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for seniors over 55, $3.00 for students with an ID, $2.00 for children ages 7 through 17 and children under 7 are free. You can find out more about the museum and special activities by calling 520-774-5213 or 520-774-5211.
The museum is located at 3101 North Fort Valley Road. You will take U.S. Highway 180 north out of Flagstaff for about three miles until you come to the museum on your right. If you are coming from Tucson or Phoenix take Interstate 17 north out of town to Flagstaff. Once you are in Flagstaff, travel through town on Milton Road and continue heading north on Humphrey’s Road/Fort Valley Road or U.S. Highway 180 to the Museum. The museum will be on the left side of the road, approximately two miles from downtown Flagstaff.
Riordan Mansion State Historic Park
Timothy and Michael Riordan built the Riordan Mansion in Flagstaff in 1904. The Riordan’s were owners of Flagstaff’s logging company and their wives were sisters. The brothers built two large mansions side by side on a 50-acre low grassy hill. The mansion was first called Kinlichi, which is Navajo for the red hill.
Charles Whittlesey was the architect for the mansions. Whittlesey later went on to design and construct El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon. The craftsman style of architecture is evident in both homes and in El Tovar.
The mansions used pine, native volcanic rock, and stone for its construction. Each of the two story homes includes approximately 5,000 feet and 40 rooms. A single story recreation room or billiard room connects the two homes.
Riordan Mansion opened as a state park in 1983. Tours are offered daily. During the tour, you will see original artifacts, furniture, and mementos left by the Riordan Family. The home contains a collection of furnishing from Edison, Stickley, Tiffany, and Steinway.
The park has a visitor center and picnic tables. The visitor center offers an exhibit area, informative slide program, and a children’s area. Visitors will receive a brochure when embarking on a self-guided tour of the mansion. The brochure describes the mansion and surrounding attractions.
The Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is open every day from 8:00 to 5:00 during May through September with tours at 9:00,10:00, 11:00, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00. During October through April the park is open 12:30 to 5:00 with tours at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00. The cost of admission is $4.00 for adults and $2.50 for children under 13.
The park is located at 1300 Riordan Ranch Street in Flagstaff near the northwest part of Northern Arizona University. You can get to the park from Phoenix or Tucson by taking Interstate 17 north out of town toward Flagstaff. Once you junction of Interstate 17 and Interstate 40 continue to head north approximately a half of a mile on Milton Road. Then turn right on Riordan Road and follow the signs to the park.
It is recommended that you call in advance for reservations and allow at least an hour for your visit. The number is 520-779-4395.
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Over 900 years ago, Sunset Crater Volcano erupted sending ash over 800 square miles and lava down to the base of the crater leaving behind black rivers of hardened lava. The crater spouted great quantities of black ash, which completely engulfed the Indian pueblos, very much as Vesuvius covered Pompeii. Sunset Crater was the last volcano to erupt in Arizona.
In 1892, John Wesley Powell, a Colorado River navigator gave the volcano cone its name. The name came from the way the volcano takes on a rosy shade right before sunset. The cone is dark in color at its base and gradually changes to a red, orange and yellow color leading up to its summit. It is a beautiful sight to behold.
Then in the 1930’s, Hollywood came to Sunset Crater Volcano and proposed using dynamite to create an avalanche for an upcoming movie. Local citizens protested and Sunset Crater became a National Monument. Today, visitors will see a cinder cone rising 1,000 feet above the ground. You can walk trails and stop at viewpoints to see this spectacular crater. The area abounds with fossils of various marine animals, evidence of the great sea that once covered this region. Two interesting volcanic features can be seen at Sunset Crater, they are squeeze-ups and hornitos.
Hiking is no longer allowed on the slopes of Sunset Crater because the footprints made created streaks, which ruin the beauty of the crater. It is important that individuals stay on the designated paths to protect this fragile resource. Hikers should come prepared wearing sturdy hiking shoes.
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument has a variety of trails for hikers. The Lava Flow Trail begins just one and a half miles east of the Visitor Center. It is a self-guided loop trail covering one mile. The trail loops across a lava flow at the base of Sunset Crater. This hike explores volcanic formations. You will need to allow about 45 minutes for this hike. The Lenox Crater Trail begins one mile east of the Visitor Center. It provides a glimpse at the cinder cone. This trail is an easy climb, yet it requires almost an hour to travel round trip.
The Visitor Center should be the first stop when visiting Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. A daily 45-minute program is offered at the center. There is a display showing the range of the volcanic field from Flagstaff to the Little Colorado. A hands-on exhibit allows visitors to see and feel volcanic rocks. The showcases represent a variety of insects and plant life, which live in the area around Sunset Crater. Programs are subject to change, so call in advance for exact times.
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is open every day from 8:00 to 5:00 and during the summer 8:00 to 6:00, except on Christmas and New Year’s Day. The admission charge is $3.00 and individuals under 17 are free. The crater sometimes does close, due to snow in the wintertime. The best time to make a visit to Sunset Crater is during the spring or summer when the weather is mild. The area experiences windy conditions throughout the year. If you would like more information on the monument, you may call 520-526-0502 or 520-556-7042.
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is located 15 miles north of Flagstaff off of Highway 89. If you are coming from Flagstaff take U.S. Highway 89 north out of town, until you come to Sunset Crater-Wupatki Loop Road. Then take this road to the Crater. If you are coming from Tucson or Phoenix take Interstate 17 north out of town and head to Flagstaff. Once you are in Flagstaff travel north on U.S. Highway 180. Then when you come to Sunset Crater-Wupatki Loop Road turn and follow the signs to the Crater.
Both Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Wupatki National Monument are located close together. A 36-mile paved loop road connects the two monuments crossing a lava flow and rejoins U.S. Highway 89. It is a terrific experience if you have time to take in both of these monuments.
Wupatki National Monument
Wupatki National Monument is where the past meets the present. Just about 800 years ago, a largely agricultural community sprawled across the base of the San Francisco Peak Mountains. It was the home for the Sinagua people, who farmed the land and traded with other cultures. Sinagua means “without water” in Spanish, which refers to their farming methods. It is believed that the today’s Hopi Indians are descendants of the original people that lived at Wupatki. At one time, this region must have been one of the most populated parts of northern Arizona.
Today, their masonry pueblos emerge from the rocks standing several stories high. The Pueblos are so well preserved it is hard to believe that they have stood for so many years. One of the most impressive ruins is Wupatki or “Tall House”. It contains more than 100 rooms and towered three stories high. A ball court is at one end of Wupatki. The court is similar to those found in Mexico. An open-air amphitheater is also located in Wupatki. The circular amphitheater might have been used for meetings or ceremonies.
If you look to the north of Wupatki, you will see a mesa about a mile away. On top of this mesa is another ancient ruin. There are hundreds of ruins all within the 35,253-acre National Monument. The Citadel, Nalakihu, Lomaki and the Wukoki are just some of the ruins that can be reached by short, self-guided hiking trails. Remember to please do not pick up any pottery shards. Each shard is an important piece of the past. Take nothing and leave only your footprints.
The Visitor Center has a room that has been built to recreate the interior of a room in Wupatki. There are exhibits describing the Navajo and Hopi people living nearby today. A collection of plant life and insects is also on display. A 15-minute talk about the culture from the past is offered at the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center has books, maps, and posters for purchase. Visitors will find a picnic area available outside the Center.
The monument is open every day from 8:00 to 5:00 September through May and 8:00 to 6:00 June through August, except on Christmas. The admission charge is $3.00 a person and children under 17 are free. You will want to plan for a stay of at least an hour to take in the whole monument. Please call to find out exact times. If you would like more information on the monument, you may call 520-679-2365.
Wupatki National Monument is located 39 miles north of Flagstaff, just off of Highway 89. You can get there from Flagstaff by taking U.S. Highway 89 north out of town until you come to the turn off for Wupatki or Forest Road 545. Turn left and head east following the signs to the monument. If you are coming from Tucson or Phoenix take Interstate 17 north out of town to Flagstaff. Once you are in Flagstaff continue north on U.S. Highway 180, until you come to the junction with U.S. 89. Then take U.S. Highway 89 northeast to the turn off for Wupatki or Forest Road 545. Turn left and head east following the signs to the monument.
Both Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Wupatki National Monument are located close together. A 36-mile paved loop road connects the two monuments crossing a lava flow and rejoins U.S. Highway 89. It is a terrific experience if you have time to take in both of these monuments.
While attending Northern Arizona University, I would head out to Wupatki to study. I found great focus in the winds of a great past.
One of best year round outdoor recreation areas in Arizona is just minutes from Flagstaff. Arizona Snowbowl has it all. Visitors will discover winter skiing, summer scenic sky rides, guided horseback riding and alpine lodging. It has something for everyone anytime of the year.
Arizona Snowbowl is located in the San Francisco Peaks within the Coconino National Forest. The San Francisco Peaks are the highest mountains in Arizona, with Humphrey’s Peak reaching 12,643 feet. Arizona Snowbowl features a 2,300-foot vertical drop and a two-mile long run with an average of 260 inches of snow. Snowbowl has scenic slopes to entertain and challenge. There are 32 trails and four chairlifts to make the trip to Snowbowl fun. Winter visitors can choose from snow shoeing, skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and skijoring.
Arizona Snowbowl is known for having the best learning terrain in the southwest. The Hart Prairie beginning area is ideal for those trying skiing out for the first time. There are a group and private lessons available for all levels of expertise.
Arizona Snowbowl wants to please their visitors, that’s why it offers so many services to its skiers. There is a full-service rental shop, a repair shop, several lodges, shuttle buses, a Terrain Park for snowboarders and skiers plus a ski school.
Ski prices start (call for updated prices) with an adult weekend/holiday all day 9:00 to 4:00 $37.00 or afternoon 12:00 to 4:00 $29.00, adult midweek all day 9:00 to 4:00 $37.00 or afternoon 12:00 to 4:00 $22.00, junior ages 8 to 12 all day 9:00 to 4:00 $20.00 or afternoon 12:00 to 4:00 $15.00, Senior ages 65 to 69 all day 9:00 to 4:00 and afternoon 12:00 to 4:00 $17.00 and both Seniors 70 and older and children seven and under ski free. There are season passes available. The best time to make your ski run is mid-December through mid-April. If you would like more information on skiing call 520-779-1951 or get a snow report call 520-779-4577.
During the summer, the Arizona Snowbowl reopens for sky rides to the top of the mountain. The sky rides are available from mid-June through mid-October. Visitors will take a ride up to 11,500 feet. Once at the top, the 70-mile panoramic views are breathtaking. The view covers downtown Flagstaff and even includes the Grand Canyon. Besides taking in the sights, the Forest Service has an interpretive specialist available to answer questions. The specialist will help to answer any biological or geological questions about the area.
The Agassiz Lodge is a terrific spot to rest and eat lunch either before or after the sky ride. There is a display area in the Lodge that offers information on the San Francisco Peaks. Live music can be heard on weekends. The Lodge is open daily from 11:00 to 4:00. A sports shop is also located on the lower level of the Lodge.
The summertime sky rides are open every day starting May 28th through September 6th from 10:00 to 4:00. The days do change after September 6th, to Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only. The scenic sky rides cost $9.00 for adults, $6.50 for seniors 65 and older, $5.00 for children between 6 and 12 and children under the age of 5 rides free when accompanied by an adult. If you are interested in group rates, please call in advance. If you would like more information on skiing or sky rides to call 520-779-1951 or to get a snow report call 520-779-4577.
If a guided horseback ride is more your style, then Arizona Snowbowl has the ranch for you. The MacDonalds Ranch, based out of Scottsdale, Arizona offers horseback riding adventures. Rides travel through the Ponderosa Pines in the Coconino National Forest with experienced wranglers leading the way.
The ranch is located at the Fort Valley Barn on Highway 180 and Snowbowl Road. Rides begin at 8:00 and continue till 5:00. Rides range in price from $24.00 for a one-hour ride to $36.00 for a two hour. The ranch does offer group, party and special event prices.
Hayrides are also available on the first and third Thursdays of the month. These hayrides are topped off with a delicious barbeque cookout amid the pines. Hayrides start at $10.00 per person with a limit of 10 people.
If you are interested in any of the outdoor activities at the MacDonalds Ranch, you may call 520-774-4481 for more information.
You can get to Arizona Snowbowl from Flagstaff by taking Highway 180 north out of town. After traveling for approximately 7 miles, turn right onto Snowbowl Road and follow the signs for 7 more miles to Arizona Snowbowl. If you are coming from Tucson or Phoenix, take Interstate 17 north up to Flagstaff. Then take U.S. Highway 180 north out of town for 7 miles. Once you come to Snowbowl Road turn and head on up to Arizona Snowbowl following the signs.
Percival Lowell founded Lowell Observatory in 1894. He chose Flagstaff to build the observatory because of its clean air and high altitude, which create exceptional visibility. Lowell spent his time learning about the planet Mars. It was through Lowell’s twenty-two-year study of the planet Mars and his theory of the expanding universe that led to the discovery of Pluto, fourteen years after his death. Clyde W. Tombaugh discovered the planet in exactly the position that Dr. Lowell had calculated. The Clark telescope that located Pluto is still at the Observatory, housed in a historic wooden dome.
The Lowell Observatory continues to be active in research and welcomes visitors to come explore the sky. There are hands-on exhibits that will interest children and help explain concepts. The Pluto Walk gives visitors an up close view of the sequential order of planets through the use of models. Tours of the observatory are offered throughout the day. These guided tours begin with a slide show describing the history of the observatory and its founder.
Lowell Observatory is open every day from 9:00 to 5:00 during April through October and 12:00 to 5:00 during the remaining months of the year. The cost of admission is $3.50 for adults, $3.00 for seniors and students with I.D., $1.50 for children 4 to 17 and $10.00 for a family rate.
Night Sky programs are available on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 7:00 and 7:45. These evening programs are becoming increasingly popular. It is important to call ahead for more information at 520-774-2096 or 520-774-3358.
Lowell Observatory is located at 1400 West Mars Hill, near downtown Flagstaff. If you are coming from Phoenix or Tucson take Interstate 17 north out of town to Flagstaff. Once you are in Flagstaff take Milton Road through town until you come to a bend in the road. Take Mars Hill Road on the left and head up to the Observatory.