Monday, May 23, 2016

USA 2015 - Day 10: Black Friday at Meteor Crater

the boys at the Meteor Crater viewing deck on Black Friday
While everyone was probably up and about before the crack of dawn on Black Friday to beat the rest of the crowd to the shopping malls, we were in our hotel room recovering from the long drive during Thanksgiving and preparing for another day on the road (this time slightly shorter distance).We drove 300 miles north to Grand Canyon passing by Meteor Crater in Winslow, AZ. My cousin Hazel and her family decided to drive up with us to Grand Canyon so we could spend more time with each other. Sweet!

But before our Black-Friday-on-the-road-to-Grand-Canyon day, we met up with my cousin and aunt for breakfast because my Aunt did not see us during Thanksgiving Dinner. She wanted to spend some time with us before we left for the next leg of our trip. We were supposed to drive back to my cousin's place for breakfast but Mark had a headache and needed a few more hours of rest so they drove up to where we stayed for the night in Phoenix and we had breakfast at, where else but, IHOP!
pancakes and hot chocolates/coffee with the company of my Auntie and cousin Heidi
It was a well-spent hours of breakfast time with them. But decades of  being apart requires more time to catch up with each other so my aunt and cousin discussed and decided to drive to Meteor crater with us! The plan was to surprise Hazel and the family because they had no idea her mom and sister would be there. The original plan was that we would just have breakfast so my aunt can be with us for a short time then we would separate ways after. 

At about 3pm we were already at the crater site waiting for Hazel and family who were just a few miles behind. We realized that they were really FAST DRIVERS! 

Interstate 40, Winslow, AZ 86047
Admission fee: Group rate - adult USD16, junior USD7. Children under 6 years old, free.

Meteor Crater is the world's best preserved meteorite impact site on Earth. The crater was a result of an asteroid travelling at 26,000 miles per hour hitting Earth some 50,000 years ago. 

It is about 40 miles from Flagstaff via Hway 180 (formerly known as Route 66). The scenery was mainly flat and nothing in sight until we saw from afar the crater. There were still a number of parking slots when we drove into the lot so we were not expecting a lot of crowd which was good.

We bought tickets for our group and sent the boys in first. We initially had trouble explaining to the ticketing officer (old man) that half of our group was still en route to Meteor Crater and some of us would have to go in first while others had to wait for them. He said it was not possible and that we had to go in all at the same time. As we did not want to hold the line, we left the ticketing booth with our tickets and talked to the lady at the entry point instead. She did mention that some visitors have also complained about how difficult it was to deal with the old man in the ticketing booth. She gladly let the boys in while my aunt and cousin and I waited for Hazel and her family.

Meteor Crater has an Interactive Discover Center with interesting exhibits for the whole family. The boys explored every exhibit and it was a learning experience for everyone of us, even for our relatives who live in Arizona!

Here are some photos we took during our visit and some of the interesting exhibits and facts that struck the Earth and stuck with us. Some of them are hands on exhibits which families can explore together.

Stars fell on Alabama shows pictures of the woman who was, unfortunately, struck by a 8.5-pound meteorite which crashed through the roof of her home. What is the probability of such thing happening to someone, right? It must have been a very horrific experience for her. This happened in November 1954 and was actually the only documented event of its type.

Collision & Impact has a display of the Holsinger Meteorite which is the largest fragment of the 150-foot meteor found.
here's Kelvin having a feel of the actual meteorite
Who's Who In The Night Sky? gives visitors an overview of the differences between the objects travelling through space - meteors, meteoroids, meteorites, asteroids and comets.

Crater Perspectives is a three-minute narration about Grove Karl Gilbert, Daniel Barringer and Eugene Shoemaker on Meteor Crater with the actual artifacts associated with each of them.

Craters of the Moon displays many of the Moon's impact sites. These major craters can be spotted using ordinary binoculars.

These are just a few of the exhibits/displays and activities visitors can see and do at the Meteor Crater. And below were some of the photos taken during our visit there...

poster summary of what's in-store for visitors

looking down to the depth of the crater created by the impact of the meteor on earth
my boys were the first ones to get to the top of the viewing platform

from the main building, visitors would have to walk out and climb the staircase leading to the viewing deck.
It was a very windy day so we had to carefully watch our step as we walked up the viewing deck.

nearly 1 mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep..
I bet you wouldn't see the astronaut standing in the middle of the crater!
by the way, here is the "astronaut" I was referring to earlier
my niece Lilly and cousin Heidi at the souvenir shop
Black Friday at Meteor Crater with family from Arizona
A family photo was a must! We won't know how soon we were going to see them again.

If you still have time or will be staying within the area, and are big fans of the movie "Cars", I suggest you go visit the Wigwam Motel at 811 W Hopi Dr, Holbrook, AZ 86025, USA. It's about 58 miles east along Interstate 40. That's if you will not be able to pass by the one at San Bernardino.

After Meteor Crater, we decided we'd have dinner before we continued our travel north to Tusayan where stayed for 2 nights. That was the last time we spent with my aunt and younger cousin before they drove back to Arizona and the rest of us head up to Tusayan.

Goodbye, Meteor Crater and Route 66. Thanks for the drive down memory lane (that is, America's historic route memory lane and the wonders of Science).

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