Detouring to Meteor Crater

Kenneth Sitjar

5/29/20233 min read

Have you ever heard the saying, "Getting there is only half the fun!"? Well, on our journey westward, before heading to the Great White North, brought us face-to-face with enticing billboard signs on I-40 advertising "Meteor Crater." Intrigued by this natural wonder and with a few hours to spare before reaching our destination in Tuba City, AZ, where the majestic Grand Canyon awaited, we couldn't resist the temptation to make a detour. A quick check on Google Maps revealed designated parking areas for RVs and buses adjacent to a colossal crater—how could we possibly say no to such an opportunity?

Humphreys Peak

As we ventured along I-40 West, the magnificent snow-capped peaks of Humphreys Peak in Flagstaff dominated the landscape. Upon arriving at Meteor Crater and finding a parking spot, we couldn't resist capturing the moment with a few photographs. Even within the Barringer Space Museum, a section of the wall adjacent to the iconic Apollo 11 Space Capsule was thoughtfully dedicated to framing the breathtaking view—an ideal photo opportunity. But I digress...

Admission and Guided Tours

Upon entering the museum, we were informed that there was an admission fee of $27 per adult and $18 per child. Luckily, our youngest, being only five years old, enjoyed free entry. After purchasing our tickets, the friendly staff provided us with information about the schedule of events, including a short movie screened in the theater upstairs, conveniently located near the gathering point for the guided tour. Unfortunately, due to time constraints and our impending journey to Tuba City, AZ, we had to forgo the guided tour, but we truly would have relished the opportunity. The tour guide explained to the assembled group that once the tour commenced, individuals were not allowed to wander or return on their own, as it could compromise everyone's safety and necessitate the group's return.

The Crater

For those who prefer to explore independently or are unable to commit to the hour-long guided tour, there are several observation decks offering stunning views of the crater. As we made our way to the observation deck, I believed I was prepared for the sight that awaited me, but I quickly realized I was mistaken. Just before reaching the deck, where the tour group convenes, a fragment of the meteorite was on display—a tangible piece of history that visitors could see and touch. Reading the accompanying information, we learned that this rock was composed of approximately 92% iron and weighed over 1,600 lbs (726 kg). Astonishingly, the meteorite was estimated to have been the size of a bus when it entered the Earth's atmosphere. The sheer magnitude of the resulting crater left me awestruck. Binoculars were available for visitors to examine different aspects of the crater, but it was hard to resist the temptation to focus on the mineshaft and pump, remnants of the original excavation. They served as a reminder of the earlier efforts to uncover traces of the meteorite.

Other Attractions

Meteor Crater offers more than just the awe-inspiring crater itself; there are additional attractions to captivate visitors. One such highlight is the 4D space simulator, which provided a thrilling experience for the kids. This interactive "ride" took us on a seemingly benign journey through space until we were called upon to save the Earth from imminent destruction as a meteor hurtled toward us. It may not rival Disney World, but it certainly provided a great deal of enjoyment for our little ones.

Before concluding our visit, we made a stop at the small gift shop, where we purchased a magnet and a few other souvenirs to commemorate our time at Meteor Crater. Given more time, we would have gladly embarked on the guided tour and prepared ourselves for the sun's rays with ample sunscreen. Nonetheless, our trip to Meteor Crater was undeniably worthwhile—a sight that will forever remain etched in our memories.


Plan your own expedition to Meteor Crater and prepare to be astounded by the natural wonders that await. The saying holds true—getting there is only half the fun, but the experiences and sights that await you will make the journey truly unforgettable.