The largest (and best preserved!) meteor crater in the USA is located in Winslow Arizona. We were on the beginning of our 9000 mile road trip which began in the Chicago area across Route 66 headed to the Grand Canyon.
We were exhausted. The 3 kids and I had been in the car for countless hours so I wearily gave them the option of whether or not they wanted to visit the meteor crater. They eagerly said yes and I’m glad they did! It was totally worth the stop to visit the crater!
Driving out to the crater, it felt like we were never going to get there! The beautiful scenery of nothingness was mesmerizing and certainly kept my kids guessing when we’d actually see it! The price is a bit steep and was a deterrent for a while but ultimately I’m very glad we paid the price and felt it was worth the trip.
Interestingly enough this giant hole in the ground was used in the Apollo era! Future astronauts conducted mapping and surveying drills in and around the crater. It’s still a field trip destination for NASA trainees today.
Inside the Museum:
I recommend visiting inside the museum first otherwise you will miss some of the COOL features outdoors! Did you know that NASA actually used this meteor crater for practice for its Apollo missions?
Honestly that’s probably the only thing I actually remember from the museum (remember this stop was in the beginning of a 9000 mile road trip so we saw A LOT!) but once you walk through the museum you’ll see the crater through a panoramic window!
Outside at the Meteor Crater:
We visited in early June and it was CRAZY WINDY! I highly recommend bringing a jacket or sweatshirt and leaving your hats, sunglasses, and anything else that could fly off in the car!
How big is the meteor crater in Winslow, Arizona?
The meteor crater in Winslow, Arizona is nearly one MILE across, 2.4 miles around the rim, and over 550 feet deep! It is a seriously impressive place to see. I’m terrified of heights and had to gulp a little bit as I followed my kids around the edge of the crater but it was a stunning experience I won’t ever forget.
There were telescopes positioned perfectly at various places inside and around the crater which was fascinating. It truly was an amazing experience and I’m so thankful that we made the decision to stop regardless of the price and distance.
Although the day we went it was cancelled, normally they offer a guided rim tour (included in admission) that takes up to an hour. I thought I would be disappointed that we didn’t have a tour but honestly it was SO amazing that just the various observation decks were great for us on our limited time.
It was CRAZY windy the day we went (remember you’re high up!) so I HIGHLY recommend NOT wearing hats, sunglasses, or anything else that could possibly fly off. We had to hold on to the railing the higher we went to view the telescopes – it was a wild experience!
There were plenty of telescopes and viewing areas to move around between and we never had to wait long at all. Several of the telescopes are pointed down at the bottom of the crater featuring an old mine, a NASA astronaut sign, flag, and other areas of interest. One of the telescopes however pointed to a seemingly smallish rock up near the rim of the crater…..which was the size of a HOUSE! What?! It was wild!
What else is there to do at Meteor Crater?
You can watch a film, do the indoor museum, 3 lookout points in the outdoor observation areas, guided rim tour, the gift shop, eat at their bistro, or try out the 4D Experience Room (separate price).
Was it worth the price to visit the Meteor Crater in Winslow Arizona?
I was very particular about where we spent our money because we were on such a LONG road trip (42 days worth!) so budget was a big issue. Cost and distance out of our way were my biggest concerns for visiting the Meteor Crater but I KNEW I wouldn’t see anything like this again which of course was the biggest draw.
Ultimately, I’m absolutely thrilled we stopped and would have been disappointed to not see it. It’s like nothing you’ll probably ever see again. Wrapped up in it is the history of NASA Apollo mission trainings and even mining in the crater for ore, this attraction definitely did not disappoint. It was worth our time and money to visit!