fun to do kids northeast arizona   Travel for Kids
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Arizona - Northeast

Hopi mural
Northeast Arizona is the land of the Hopi and Navajo peoples. It’s also an ancient landscape, with rocks of the Painted Desert, like ice cream melting in the sun in shades of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. Here kids will find dinosaur tracks, petrified forests and meteor craters in the desert, and traditional life of Native Americans.
    Canyon de Chelly
    Petrified Forest National Park
Dinosaur tracks

Dinosaur Tracks – In the Triassic period, big dinosaurs roamed the Painted Desert, leaving their tracks and eggs to be turned into stone. You can walk on a self-guided path, but it’s better to have a Navajo guide, who will point out all the tracks in the desert (they aren’t that easy to spot if you don’t know where to look). Kids will get a kick out of tracks described as a small T-Rex, claw marks of raptors, remnants of dinosaur eggs and domes of dinosaur poop! (although there seems to be come question as to whether the eggs, poop and T-Rex are actually that).

The dinosaur tracks are on Highway 160 going in the direction of Tuba City, 4 miles east from Highway 89, on the north side of the road. This is a gem!

    Hopi First, Second and Third Mesa – For centuries the Hopi have lived in villages perched on three mesas, adobe buildings blending into the sandstone rocks. If you want to visit a Hopi village, you’ll need a guide, and Walpi on Second Mesa is your best bet. In Walpi, go to the Ponsi Hall, tours are 10 – 3 in winter, 9:30 – 5 in summer. Photography is strictly prohibited in all the villages.
      Hopi Cultural Center (Second Mesa) – For a taste of Hopi life, it’s well worth a visit to this homey cultural center on Second Mesa. Kids will see a totally cool model of Walpi, dioramas of Keet Seel, Hopi clothing and pottery (plus steps in pottery making), Kachina dolls, baskets and jewelry. Have lunch in the restaurant, with traditional Hopi dishes such as lamb or pinto and hominy, fry bread dishes, plus buffalo burgers and the usual kid-friendly food.
    Hubbell Trading Post (Ganado) – John Lorenzo Hubbell set up a trading post in 1876. Here the Navajo came to trade their blankets, rugs, wool and jewelry for tools and groceries. The trading post was also a place visit and socialize. The Hubbell Trading Post is little changed from a century ago, with Navajo rugs for sale, baskets on the ceiling, shelves filled with grocery items, along with period furnishings of the Hubbell home.
Meteor Crater
  Meteor Crater – The meteor crater is big, 4,000 ft across, 2.4 miles in circumference and 550 ft deep. You can’t go down into the crater, but there are great viewing platforms with telescopes of specific features in the crater. Kids may think the crater looks like the moon, and it does – this is where the Apollo astronauts trained for their moon missions.
    The Interactive Discovery Center has a large meteorite kids can touch, plus hands-on exhibits, make your own crater and simulations of how the crater was formed by the impact of the meteor. There’s a real Apollo test capsule out in front.
      Rim hikes – Every hour, there are guided hikes along the rim of the crater, ½ mile out, ½ mile back, closed-toed shoes are required (no sandals).

Fun food


Kids will have fun with Navajo tacos – fry bread topped with ground beef and cheese. For a sweet treat, deep-fried sopapillas with honey or powdered sugar are delicious. At breakfast, blue corn pancakes is something different.




Cameron Trading Post (in Cameron, intersection of Highway 89 and 64) has a really great selection of bows with feather arrows, dream catchers, dolls in Navajo dress, painted horses, carved animals and jewelry.



kids books hopi arizona
childrens books navajo The Goat in the Rug  
The Goat in the Rug
Charles L. Blood, Martin Link

One day Glenmae, a Navajo weaver, shears all the wool off her goat. She washes the wool with yucca roots, cards the wool to remove any twigs, then spins and spins the wool into smooth yarn. After the wool is dyed red, white, black and brown, Glenmae weaves a beautiful rug. (Picture book)


The Navajo
Andrew Santella

Pictorial history of the Navajo or “the people” (Dine (accent acute) – from traditional life to the Navajo today, plus fun facts about Navajo culture, rituals, legends, and Code Talkers. (Picture book, photographs)


Fry Bread
Kevin Noble Maillard, Juana Martinez-Neal

Kids will want to try fry bread in your trip around northeast Arizona. This dish originated with the Navajo over 150 years ago, and is popular in Native American communities throughout U.S. Warm and delicious story, plus recipe for fry bread. (Picture book)

P.S. We had tasty fry bread tacos at the Cameron Trading Post.


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