At Grand Canyon, family fun goes deep, with bottomless opportunities for educational exploration (although the kids will only see it as endless fun!) Your kids are only young for a short time, but the memories made on an extraordinary family trip will last a lifetime.
National Parks offer the best of the best in terms of family vacations, beautiful sights, excitement and adventure; and Grand Canyon National Park provides the opportunity to learn about the ecology and history of one of the world’s greatest wonders.
Check out our Top 5 things to do with the family when visiting Grand Canyon with kids.
- Become a Junior Ranger
Junior Rangers help to preserve and protect our National Parks, a very important job! Through learning about nature and history and exploring the park, Junior Rangers get an immersive and educational view of the Grand Canyon.
Pick up a Junior Ranger Activity Book at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, Verkamp’s Visitor Center Park Headquarters, or Tusayan Museum near Desert View. Kids then complete the requirements listed in the book for their age group (with requirements ranging from attending a ranger-led program, to drawing pictures and creating poems), while learning lots of super cool info about the beautiful landscape surrounding them.
Once you’ve finished your activities, bring your completed booklet to a Visitor Center for review by a ranger. Kids take a pledge and receive an official Grand Canyon Junior Ranger badge and certificate, which if you ask us, is basically the coolest souvenir around!
The Junior Ranger program is free. Get all the details here.
2. Discover the Grand Canyon with Sesame Street
Prep the littlest adventurers for their trip to the Grand Canyon with an amazing online series from Sesame Street that features Elmo learning all about Grand Canyon National Park. Introduce preschoolers to the natural world of seasons, animal families (like our beloved California Condor families) and habitats with six short videos that include hands-on activities and lots of fun!
When you’re finished watching the videos, parents can download several fun activities like a nature journal, a scavenger hunt and an iron on nature badge to take along when they visit the park. It’s the perfect intro to a vacation kids will remember forever.
3. Explore the Old West at Desert View
Desert View not only offers some of the most stunning views of the Canyon that the South Rim has to offer, but it provides a fantastic look at the historic Watchtower and the Tusayan Museum, delivering learning that’s so fun, your kids won’t even realize it’s happening.
From the observation deck of the Watchtower designed by Mary Colter, you can see over 100 miles on a clear day. Then head over to the nearby Tusayan Museum which focuses on the prehistoric Ancestral Puebloans who built a thriving community in this beautiful place, over 800 years ago.
Learn more about this special piece of the Grand Canyon here.
4. Attend a Ranger Talk
Take advantage of the opportunity to hear about the Grand Canyon’s history, geology and wildlife from those who know it best – our Park Rangers. Covering fascinating topics with an expertise and love for the canyon like no other, ranger talks like Geology Glimpse, Kolb Studio Tour, and History Program present the canyon in a new light, creating an interesting and fun view of this majestic park.
Kids love the daily Critter Chat that talks about some of Grand Canyon’s diverse wild inhabitants, and the Evening Program which can include star walks, night hikes, cemetery tours and more.
Check here for the most updated schedule of talks during your visit.
5. Try a Grand Canyon Day Camp
Grand Canyon National Park Service offers free five-and-a-half-hour day camps throughout the year for visiting youth ages 7 – 12 years old.
Kids spend the day with a Park Ranger exploring the park by walking and by bus. They’ll play games, do activities and discover all kinds of cool information about Grand Canyon’s plants, animals, rocks and people. It’s an up close and personal look at the park, especially for kids!
Get details on Day Camps here.
The Grand Canyon offers endless, fun adventures for families with kids of all ages. Prepare for memories to be made, little brains to be stimulated, and eyes to be filled with awe and wonder. Looking for in-park lodging that provides a central starting point, Yavapai Lodge offers great rooms for families with kids, including bunk beds, a restaurant nearby and gorgeous scenery!