The Museum of North Arizona is located on US Highway 180 on the Northwest side of town heading towards the Grand Canyon. The museum has several well-presented displays including ones on: Geology of the area; Archaeology; Ethnology displays (about the Hopi, Navajo, Pai, and Zuni peoples); the Kiva Gallery; a nice collection of Navajo weavings; Indian pottery and ceramics; and a very nice Discovery Room (a hands-on area for kids) along with temporary displays. There is also an overlook for viewing the Flag River and a Nature Trail on the grounds. Hours are 9 AM to 5 PM daily (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day). Admission is $7 for adults; $5 for seniors; and $4 for kids 7 to 17.
There is a nice veterans memorial dedicated to area veterans especially those that have paid the ultimate price defending freedom. The memorial is located in Wheeler Park across from the Flagstaff City Hall.
The Orpheum Theater is one of the interesting buildings in the historic district and was built in the early 1900s. Today it hosts a variety of locally and nationally known acts, film festivals, private parties and more.
Another good place to stop and get information about Flagstaff is the library located across the street from the Flagstaff City Hall. You can also get on the Internet here to post your tips on VT and access your e-mail.
Although Flagstaff was not "officially" established until the 1890s, in 1876 a group of pioneers going through the area raised a U.S. flag up a pine tree here and "flagstaff" was born. The tree became an area attraction. Today Flagstaff is a city of over 60,000. It's location in Northern Arizona, along with its proximity to a number of area attractions, make it a very nice tourist destination. It is also at a high elevation so the summers here are much, much milder than in Phoenix. Flagstaff is the county seat of Coconino County. There are two courthouses in Flagstaff; the old Coconino County Courthouse built in 1884 and a more recent one. The newer one is several blocks away from the old part of town.
There are signs directing you towards the historic old part of Flagstaff. There are trendy shops and restaurants in the area. there are quite a few intersting buildings here both historically and architecturally. Many of them (like the Federal Building built in 1936) are on the National Register of Historic Places. Definitely worth a stroll down the roads.
We finally decided to go up to Mars Hill where the Lowell Observatory is located. It has been at the forefront of astronomical research for 115 years. When we arrived a quarter to 11 AM, it was perfect timing because there was a guided tour to see the facility and the big telescope....this happens every hour until 4PM! Cool!
We were greeted by a nice man with a cheery low voice (Tim I think) and we paid only $6 for adults and kids below 5 year old were free! First thing we did was look through the exhibit for about 10 minutes which explained the different planets and there were also meteor rocks made of hard mettalic iron on display - including the 535 pound Verkamp Meteorite which you can actually touch! Unfortunately, the John V McAllister Space Theater was under repair (I think this was donated by his wife).
With about 10 other people, our guide showed us the grounds and explained the history of the museum and structures in the observatory, showing a reflecting telescope and finally the huge refractory telescope which is still being used at nights for star sightings.
There are evening programs, with telescope viewing and closing times being weather dependent. And there are no weather-related refunds.
There's also a gift shop to buy you space/star-related gifts and toys!
Sometime around 1125, a few decades after the eruption of the Sunset Crater Volcano, the Sinagua (Spanish for Without Water) began to build three different kinds of dwellings (Cliff, cave, and pueblo) all along the Walnut Canyon. They occupied the area until around 1250. The remains of these dwellings, along with the natural and rugged beauty of the canyon itself, are easily accessible from Flagstaff. The exit for Walnut Canyon National Monument is a short 10 miles away at Exit 204 from Interstate 40. For more information about Walnut Canyon National Monument see my page coming soon.
Lowell Observatory was built in 1896 due to the efforts of Percival Lowell, who hoped to prove there was life on Mars. Now it's considered to be one of the major astonomical research facilities in the United States.
We visited in the evening for a program which began at 7:30 p.m. A guide illustrated various constellations and planets in a lecture hall setting. Following this, we moved to the rotunda where we found vintage photos, historical records and read about discoveries at the observatory.
Among the objects on display were:
(picture 2) A portrait of Percival Lowell
(Picture 3) Percival Lowell's first telescope received at the age of 15
(Picture 4) In his efforts to find the perfect location for an observatory, Lowell transported this telescope in two coffin-size boxes
(Picture 5) Lowell's historic 24" Alvan Clark refractor-using a lens created in 1896, which is housed in a building constructed by two bicycle repairmen who claimed they could build anything--which they did in a year's time
The sky was not clear that night, but as the moon clouded over and reappeared numerous times, all who stood in line had an opportunity to view it.
My particular interest in the observatory was that the late Eugene Shoemaker and his wife,Carolyn were associated with it. They, along with another colleague, David Levy, discovered and named a comet which spectacularly careened into Jupiter in 1994. Mrs. Shoemaker continues to be involved with Lowell Observatory.
Daytime hours are Noon-5pm (Nov.Feb.); 9 am-5pm (Mar.-Oct.)
Evening hours are 5:30 pm Wed/Fri/Sat. from Sept.-May. No admissions after 9:30 pm
5:30 pm Mon.-Sat. from June-Aug. No admissions after 10 pm.
Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for ages 5-17 and $5 for student/senior/AAA discount
I grouped these since I only ate at one and had a beer, but there are maybe 20+ restaurants in the historic district. They were all packed with crowds at happy hour. Collins Irish Pub was where I ate and it was an okay burger with fries. The price was $8 and they and a lot of other bar food fare on the menu. Located at 2 N. Leroux St by Rte 66. Most of these eating places are really there for the drinking, and the university crowd is what is mostly down here. May get roudy later on in evening.