Grand Canyon / 2016-07-15

This morning we awoke at 6 AM to get an early start up to the Grand Canyon and were able to leave the house by 7:15 AM.  It was a two hour trip from Sedona to the southern rim of the Grand Canyon and we were excited to learn that Emily’s fourth grade National Park Pass afforded us free entry again.  We made our way into the parking areas, hoping that our early start would also result in finding parking, and we were rewarded with a front spot in the first parking lot we came across.  We headed into the visitor’s center and watched the movie.  While in the movie, Weston fell asleep and I worried that he wouldn’t get to see the Grand Canyon at all.  With the double stroller, we had to stay to ADA pathways, which wasn’t an issue as much of the area around the Visitor’s Center was just that.  We first headed to Mather Point to take in the view and get some pictures.

 Tragically, a few days before our visit to the Grand Canyon, an active community Yelper from Orlando and a friend of Brooke’s cousin had fallen off one of the ledges accidentally and died.  We noticed a cautious crowd around the barriers and noted just how easy this accident could have occurred.  We also cautiously took in the amazing views and were awestruck by the sheer size of the canyon and the surrounding area.   It was difficult to leave each view, but we continued down the paths provided.  By this time, our hunger was really kicking in and the kids were hot and tired, so we found somewhere to eat inside at the Yavapai Lodge Restaurant.  We were pleasantly surprised by the prices and quality of this food and had a very nice meal together.  The kids had a great time playing pretend and making videos on the tablet while we finished up our meal.  Weston was back awake, so we decided to take him back out to see the Grand Canyon and get some family photos.
He was not cooperating (to say the least) and while might have gotten one or two shots, his behavior caused both Brooke and I to leave frustrated and upset.
We headed back to the car and out of the park.  We noted that a return trip to the area (without kids) would have to include a visit to Antelope Canyon, a slope canyon famous for the way the lights pour down into the cave and wrap with the floating sand.  It would have been an extra 2 hour trip each way, so we didn’t dare it with kids on the day before our flight home.
On our way back to Sedonda, we debated on another attraction to visit before heading back into town.  We discussed BedRockAZ.com, Bearizona and the Meteor Crater, but eventually landed on visiting the Deer Farm Zoo yelp_icon, because we knew the kids would love the interaction with the animals (and so would Brooke).  We were right about this guess, as the kids loved petting and feeding all the animals; goats, pigs, deer, monkeys, elk, camels, porcupines, birds and bison.
deer_farm_family
The main area allowed the deer to roam “free” and with our deer food in tow, the kids quickly become quite popular.
One deer in particular, who the kids named Buds, was smart enough to follow us around the entire zoo instead of rushing us just at the entry like the rest of the deer.
deer_farm_buds
“Buds” following us around
The kids really wanted to take this one home!  After a thorough hand washing, we left Buds and the rest of the deer behind and sought out dinner.  We ended up at Chick-Fil-A, had a quick dinner and let the kids play at the playground.  We made it back with some daylight left and hiked around the cabin, often finding ourselves in sticking situations that needed “rescuing”.
The kids got baths, we packed up and then spent time outside enjoying the amazing views of the stars.  After getting the kids to bed, Brooke and I reflected on the entire trip, amazed by all we had experienced, and agreeing that the sacrifices and saving that we had done to take this trip were well worth it.  In our minds, it was a trip that would forever stick in our minds and help shape the kind of life we wanted to live going forward.  It was off to bed for us as well, as an early morning of driving back to the airport in Phoenix awaited us and then a flight back home.
This is day 25 on our California Road Trip Summer 2016.  Make sure to check out the entire trip!

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