Adventures in Arizona, Part 3

We found a great RV park in Williams, Arizona... home of the Grand Canyon Railway.  The kids have been bugging us for a while about riding a train, and since we didn't want to drive our whistling truck all the way up to the Grand Canyon, this was a great option... an expensive option, but still a great one.  In the morning before boarding the train, the show starts with a funny cowboy shootout skit in Williams:

The kids kept asking what was real and what was not.  The even asked if the horse poop was real. :)

Once the show was over the kids were so excited to board the train and show their tickets for entry...

They were waiting for the conductor to punch their tickets (like on Polar Express)...

The conductor wasn't punching tickets, but she did stop to talk with them, which was neat:

There was a musician on board to entertain us, and Aaron & I enjoyed singing along to the Johnny Cash songs:

On the long train ride up (2.5 hours which we didn't realize until boarding) we saw a controlled burn in the middle of nowhere (ironically after the musician sang "Ring of Fire":

We finally arrived and the kids immediately ran to the wall to check out the view:

Aaron was in teacher mode, explaining to the kids the geology of the Grand Canyon and why it's so cool:

Here's Aaron taking his beloved photo-sphere:

Here's the result (it's much cooler when viewed on his phone)!:

This was as close to the edge as I would go:

Aaron then took my camera to get a shot of me taking in the view:

Both Aaron and I have seen the Grand Canyon before, but it's a different experience with kids...

Somebody was nice enough to snap a pic of our family with Aaron's phone... and I'm so glad they did because we didn't end up getting a shot of the official Grand Canyon National Park entry sign, since we came in on the train:

The following photos are single shots I took along the Grand Canyon's South Rim:

We didn't end up hiking down into the canyon at all because they warned us that the trails still had some ice and were not safe for young children.

Here are a few HDR shots I took of the Canyon (3 photos merged together to achieve a high dynamic range), which I uploaded here in low resolution for now:

Every once in a while, we'd take refuge from the cold wind inside one of the several gift shops surrounding the South Rim.  This building is a replica of a Hopi house and serves as an art & gift shop:

Sometimes the magic of the Grand Canyon seemed lost on the kids, as they preferred to stay inside and play:

However, with the promise of ice-cream, the kids were more than willing to humor me and sit nicely for a photo:

It didn't matter that it was freezing out... the treat of ice cream trumps weather every time:

When it was time to head home on the train, we were all ready.  We got in a little trouble for the following photo op... Oops!

Right after we took off, we all saw a gang of elk:

We also saw some antelope racing away from the oncoming train:

The train ride was long, and the kids barely made it all the way home...

But things got exciting again when the cowboys arrived!

They ended up boarding our train and robbing everyone! ;)

When the sheriff came around to investigate, Simon was quick to point out the direction the bad guys went:

After all those shenanigans, we watched the sun set as the train eventually rolled back into Williams.

Originally, we didn't even plan on visiting the Grand Canyon.  We didn't even plan on heading up to Northern Arizona.  I'm so glad we did though, as I'm sure this trip will be very memorable for the kiddos. :)

March 26, 2016

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