Flagstaff with Kids: A Perfect Family Day

by Susan Lanier-Graham, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Oct 19th 2010 04:22 PM

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Flagstaff with Kids: A Family Vacation

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Flagstaff is a mountain town in northern Arizona, rich in natural beauty and culture and an ideal place for family vacations. With a little planning, trips to Flagstaff with kids will allow you to create the best family vacation memories ever.


Morning


Crown Railroad Café is a great place to start a family vacation in Flagstaff with kids. This café near the famous Route 66 offers 66 different kinds of omelets. The train memorabilia and miniature trains are sure to please kids.

Crown Railroad Café
2700 Woodlands Village Boulevard
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
928-774-6775
Daily 7AM-8PM

A visit to Flagstaff with kids must include a look at the culture and unique geology of the area, so after breakfast, head north 12 miles to the Sunset Crater-Wupatki National Monument Loop Road. To ensure the best experience, pick up bottles of water before leaving town and put on sunscreen. It's hot and dry on the valley floor.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is home to an inactive volcano. The Lava Flow Trail is great for kids. The easy trail is a one-mile loop that takes about 30 minutes, but the first quarter-mile is paved and perfect for strollers.

After leaving Sunset Crater, continue along the Loop Road to Wupatki National Monument. This large pueblo, now in ruins, was once home to native cultures. A paved, fully accessible trail leads from the visitor center to the 100-room, three-story pueblo structure. The trail is half-mile long and takes about 45 minutes.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Sunset Crater-Wupatki National Monument Loop Road, 12 miles north of Flagstaff
928-526-0502
http://www.nps.gov/sucr
Scenic drive and trails open all year, sunrise-sunset; Visitor center: Nov-Apr daily 9AM-5PM, May-Oct daily 8AM-5PM
Adults $5 for 7 days, children under 16 free; admission is good for both Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument
Sunset Crater-Wupatki National Monument Loop Road, 12 miles north of Flagstaff
928-679-2365
http://www.nps.gov/wupa
Scenic drive, trails and pueblos open all year, sunrise-sunset; Visitor center daily 9AM-5PM
Adults $5 for 7 days, children under 16 free; admission is good for both Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument


Afternoon


An off-the-beaten-path spot for lunch in Flagstaff with kids is Brandy's Restaurant & Bakery. Featured on The Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, Brandy's offers food for the entire family, including homemade breads and desserts. Art from locals decorates the walls.

Brandy's Restaurant & Bakery
1500 E. Cedar Avenue
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
928-779-2187
http://www.brandysrestaurant.com
Tue-Sat 6:30AM-9PM, Sun & Mon 6:30AM–2:30PM

After lunch, head to the Arizona Historical Society's Pioneer Museum. This old stone building highlights the area's history. Kids will enjoy the barn, old cabin, root cellar, fire truck, steam locomotive, caboose and wagon.

Pioneer Museum
2340 N. Fort Valley Road
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
928-774-6272
http://arizonahistoricalsociety.org/museums/flagstaff.asp
Mon–Sat 9AM-5PM
Adults $5, children 12–18 $4, children under 12 free

Family vacations to Flagstaff with kids would not be complete without a trip up Flagstaff's ski mountain, Arizona Snowbowl. During the summer, the Skyride carries visitors up to the 11,500-foot summit. After a 25-minute ride, a Forest Service specialist is there to answer questions. Allow 90 minutes for your visit. Remember that it will be cooler at the top of the mountain. Depending on the season, a light jacket might be necessary.

Arizona Snowbowl
Snowbowl Road
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
928-779-1951
http://www.arizonasnowbowl.com
Seasonal hours
Adults $12, children 8-12 $8, children under 8 free


Evening


A Flagstaff tradition and family-friendly place for dinner, the Horsemen Lodge Restaurant has served Western-style meals for more than 30 years. The restaurant offers great food for adults, specializing in barbecue and steaks, but also offers a full kids' menu.

Horsemen Lodge Restaurant
8500 N. Hwy 89
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
928-526-2655
http://www.horsemenlodge.com
Mon-Sat 5PM-10PM

If the kids are still up for it, end your best family vacation in Flagstaff with a visit to the Lowell Observatory. In the evenings, kids can enjoy telescope viewing, widescreen multimedia shows and a 3-D space theater.

Lowell Observatory
1400 W. Mars Hill Road
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
928-774-3358
http://www.lowell.edu
Seasonal hours
Adults $8, students $7, children 5-17 $4, children under 5 free
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