Meteor Crater is way more than a big hole in the ground, so don’t let that be your attitude if you’re passing by on I-40 in Arizona. It’s pretty cool history, so spend 45 minutes here if you have the time.
Scientists estimate that a huge meteorite slammed into this part of the world about 50,000 years ago. According to the attraction’s website, the crater is nearly one mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference, and about 550 feet deep. It’s too big to get into one standard photo, but the picture below should help with a little bit of perspective.
Notice the observation platform and how small we visitors look on it compared to the crater. There’s also a six foot tall cutout astronaut standing in the center of the crater’s floor. I could barely see it down there, and it doesn’t even show up on my pictures. But somehow, my mom got a good photo of it.
As the pictures below show, it’s easy to make out layers of rock that were immediately pushed skyward as the meteorite slammed into the desert.
Meteor Crater also has a small museum that features several interactive exhibits. I interacted with a large chunk of space rock recovered from the site.
Two unexpected discoveries, located in the visitor center’s courtyard, were the Apollo test capsule (not a replica) and the American Astronaut Wall of Fame.
Travel Tip: If Meteor Crater is on your itinerary, check the website to be sure of its hours (they change depending on the time of year). Also, don’t be shocked at the $16 ticket price. I thought that was a bit high for this attraction, but my “it’s just money, you’ll be dead one day, see something cool” attitude won out — again.
Meteor Crater is located between Flagstaff and Winslow, Arizona. But as you can see from the top of the crater looking out across the desert, there’s a whole lot of space out there.