Take Your Pick
Bisbee, AZ
The Grand Canyon of Copper Pits
Lavender Pit/Queen Mine - Sure, the Lavender Pit/Queen Mine is no Grand Canyon, but it certainly is a grand pit. This copper mine was operated by the Dodge Phelps Corporation from 1879-1975 with the open pit mining beginning in 1951. The pit envelopes roughly 300 acres and is nearly 1,000 feet deep. In addition to copper coming from the mine, some of the finest turquoise in the world called "Bisbee Blue" is found here. Pick some Bisbee Blue up at the Lavender Pit Viewpoint on the north side of the giant hole.
Camp Verde, AZ
Montezuma Didn't Sleep Here
Montezuma Castle - Built into a cliff-side 100 feet above the ground is a 20 room structure constructed around 1100 AD. Originally it was thought Aztec Indians built this dwelling and it was misnamed Montezuma Castle in honor of the famous Aztec emperor. It was later learned that Southern Sinaqua Indians built this five-story dwelling and used it to house up to 50 people. Two other Sinaqua sites are nearby and worth the trip, Montezuma Well and Tuzigoot. If nothing else, visit Tuzigoot just to say the name Tuzigoot.
Chinle, AZ
Arizona's White House
Canyon de Chelly National Monument - Canyon de Chelly offers some of the most stunning views of thousand foot cliff faces in Arizona. In the side of one of those cliffs is the White House Ruins, an Ancestral Pueblo Indian cliff dwelling built in the 12th century. In all, five Native cultures have inhabited the canyon, Archaic, Basketmaker, Pueblo, Hopi and Navajo. This string of inhabitation starting in 2,500 BC makes this region one of the longest continuously inhabited areas in North America. When visiting the park, the White House is the only area in the canyon that can be hiked without a Navajo guide. It is a tough 2.5 mile round trip hike that had this little monkey breathing hard. Bring water!!!
Flagstaff, AZ
Up at Lowell Observatory
Lowell Observatory - The Lowell Observatory was founded by Percival Lowell in 1894, making this one of the oldest observatories in the United States (the oldest is Hopkins Observatory in Massachusetts - 1836). Some very important astronomical discoveries were made here including, our 9th planet Pluto, the rings of Uranus, and the red shifts of galaxies. Can you tell I want to say something about the rings of Uranus? At this time I will speak no evil. Today when visiting the observatory you can enjoy films, touch a 500 lbs meteorite and look through an assortment of telescopes at Uranus.
Grand Canyon, AZ
The Grand Canyon of Grand Canyons
Grand Canyon National Park - Considered by some to be not only Arizona's number one attraction, but the USA's number one attraction. The Grand Canyon is a gorgeous display of buttes, carved rock, and breath-taking chasms created by the desire of one river and six million years of work. The canyon truly deserves its rank as one of the "Seven Natural Wonders of the World". The grandeur runs over 200 miles long, 5-20 miles wide, and up to 5,000 feet deep. The colors are created from various shades of limestone, sandstone and shale all ever changing as the sun works its way across the sky. There are many hiking trails around and in the area or if you don't mind getting a little wet, a white water rafting adventure is a blast.
Grand Canyon West, AZ
Walk on Glass
Grand Canyon Skywalk - What is the best way to see the Grand Canyon? While suspended over it at a height of 4,000 feet on a glass bottom bridges of course. Opened to the public in March 2007, this u-shaped skywalk will make you a little weak in the knees if you are afraid of heights. Located about 4 hours and a long dirt road away from the south rim of the Grand Canyon, it is difficult to get to, but worth it. Ask to have the photographers to take some action photos of you on the skywalk, they turn out great.
Lake Havasu City, AZ
It Ain't Falling Down, My Fair...
London Bridge - London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London Bridge is falling down, my fair monkey. That's how I learned it anyway. Now, London Bridge is in Arizona, purchased from the Brits for about $2.5 million in 1962. The entire bridge was disassembled with each stone numbered, then reassembled in Lake Havasu City. The bridge was reopened in 1971 and is now the second biggest attraction in Arizona behind the Grand Canyon. Around the bridge is a cute little English town with water activities and some fun restaurants. You gotta get some fish and chips.
Lukeville, AZ
Listen and You'll Hear an Organ Pipe Cactus
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument - The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument isn't quite the draw his big brother Saguaro is, but it's still worth the trip to see him. The Organ Pipe Cactus (OPC) is very rare in the USA and nearly all of these Cactuses are housed inside the park. In addition to the OPC, there are a large variety of other desert plants and animals too, including Ocotillo, Engelmann Prickly Pear, Gila Woodpeckers, and Coyote. Because of the park's proximity to Mexico, the border patrol are everywhere. Even I was stopped while visiting the park.
Monument Valley, AZ
Where are my Mittens?
Monument Valley - Monument Valley offers some of the best views of rock buttes, mesas and canyons in the USA. With each movement of the sun and clouds the light on the valley affects your perception making you see it differently each time you look. One of the best views of the park is from the Visitor Center overlooking the east and west mittens, and Merrick Butte. Monument Valley was made famous by John Ford, the director of the John Wayne Western classics, "Stage Coach", "The Searchers", and "Cheyenne Autumn". The park is run by the Navajo Nation which allows access to its 17 mile scenic road or you can opt for a private tour to some of the more remote areas.
Petrified Forest, AZ
Giant Trees of Rock
Petrified Forest National Park - The Petrified Forest National Park features one of the world's largest and most colorful concentration of petrified wood as well as a huge collection of fossils. Originally this was a tropical area covered with trees. Over the years the trees floated down a river and became buried in volcanic, silica rich soil. After thousands of years, the wood was replaced by silica and colored with iron and manganese oxides. The entire park covers 218,533 acres, and contains a nice little hike on the south end to the Agate house.
Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Capitol Building
State Capitol - The Arizona State Capitol Building with its distinctive copper dome opened in 1901 and is now primarily used as the Arizona Capitol Museum. The Senate, House and Governor currently reside in the Executive Tower in the back. Inside the four floor museum are displays for the USS Arizona, the State's Symbols, and many others. At one time the state asked for designs to build a new state capitol and Frank Lloyd Wright submitted a rather progressive design. This is only one monkey talking, but the state should build a new Capitol and honor Wright by using all or a portion of his original design.
Phoenix, AZ
I Heard this is a Great Museum
Heard Museum - The Heard Museum features one of the best collections of Southwest Art in the USA. The collection includes sculptures, pottery, jewelry, Hopi Kachina dolls, and painting with nearly 40,000 works of art on display. Dwight and Maie Heard, pioneers and Southwest art collectors, founded the museum in 1929, to display their large collection of archeological materials to the public. The gift shop is a great place to buy authentic handcrafted jewelry and decorative pieces.
Scottsdale, AZ
Frank Lloyd Wright's Winter Home
Taliesin West - Taliesin West was the winter home, designed, built and occupied by Frank Lloyd Wright. A tour of the property displays the genius of Wright, with the trademark small doors and low entry ceilings, the use of natural and artificial light, and the interplay between form and function. Besides his genius another great thing about the tour is you can sit in the chairs, touch the walls, and are made to feel at home on the property. Today Taliesin West is not only a National Historic Landmark, but is also a school for architects carrying on the designs and dreams of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Sedona, AZ
Attractions of Sedona
Chapel of the Holy Cross - Completed in 1956, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is one of Sedona's top attractions. The church is beautifully constructed and designed to enhance the surroundings as well as being enhanced by them. The architect, Marguerite Brunswig Staude was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and uses some Wright's design techniques in her work. Regular church services are no longer held in the chapel, but there is a prayer service every Monday. Other attractions in Sedona include spas, Pink Jeep Tours and beautiful sunsets.
Shiprock, NM
Four States at One Time
Four Corners Monument - The Four Corners Monument is the only place in the US where you can sit your monkey butt down in four states at the same time. Then you can say your butt is so big it hardly fits in four states. Anyway, at this point Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico all come together at right angles to each other. There are several Navajo vendors located around the monument selling handmade jewelry and miscellaneous crafts. And don't miss out on a piece of Navajo fry bread.
Tombstone, AZ
Marshall Socko Earp
Gunfight at the OK Corral - On October 26, 1881 at straight-up 3:00 PM, the most famous gunfight of the old west took place at the OK Corral. The good guys, Wyatt Earp, Morgan Earp, Virgil Earp and Doc Holliday took on the bad guys, Ike Clanton, Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury, and Billy Claiborne. All the men were within a few feet of each other when the bullets started flying. After only 30 seconds, both McLaurys and Billy Clanton were dead. You can visit the OK Corral and see daily reenactments of the fight and watch a Vincent Price narrated movie in the theater. On the north edge of town is the Boothill Grave Yard where you can pay your respects to Frank, Tom and Billy.
Tuba City, AZ
Dino Was Here
Dinosaur Tracks - Just off of Hwy 160, about 5 miles west of Tuba City you can walk where dinosaurs once played. The numerous Dinosaur Tracks now encased in sandstone were formed nearly 200 million years ago and are in very good condition. A Navajo "guide" will happily show you around the site pointing out the tracks and pour water on them to make them show up better.
Tucson, AZ
A Multi-Armed Saguaro Cactus
Saguaro National Park - Saguaro National Park is broken in two parts - Saguaro East and Saguaro West. Combined they encompass over 90,000 acres of the Sonoran Desert. Inside both areas are thousands of distinctively old west saguaro cacti. These cacti are the largest cactus native to the US growing as tall as 50 feet, weighing up to 10 tons, and living nearly 200 years. The saguaro grows incredibly slowly taking nearly 100 years to grow its first "arm". Desert animals including the Gila Monster, roadrunner, Javelina, and desert tortoise can also be spotted in the park. The best time to visit, when it is a little cooler, is during the winter months, but each season offers something great.
Tucson, AZ
The Biosphere Diet
Biosphere II - Biosphere II was designed as a self-contained and self-sustaining biosphere that would support plant and human life simultaneously. Construction was completed in 1991 and the first two year mission began that year. A total of eight Biospherians were sealed in the huge greenhouse-like structure, and though they were able to make it the entire two years, they came out kind of skinny. They weren't able to grow enough food to completely sustain themselves in a healthy manner. The University of Arizona now owns the property and conducts tours where you can see the apartments, farm area and kitchen where the Biosphere experiment was conducted.
Willcox, AZ
Balanced Rock in Chiricahua
Chiricahua National Monument - The Chiricahua Apache called this area the land of "standing up rocks", when visiting Chiricahua National Monument it will be easy to see why. The landscape is covered with pinnacles of eroded volcanic ash deposited 27 million years ago by an ancient volcano. Everywhere in this 12,000 acre park are balancing rocks, face-shaped sculptures, and spires reaching for the sky. The best way to see the park and all its beauty is by foot. Trail guides are available with hiking trials for the tender foot and the professional.
Winslow, AZ
Meat Eater Crater or Meteor Crater?
Meteor Crater - Meteor Crater was formed about 50,000 years ago by a 30,000 mile per hour several hundred ton iron-nickel meteorite smashing into the rocky plains of Arizona. The impact created a 700 foot deep and 4,000 foot wide hole with a blast equivalent to 20 million tons of TNT. Because of the limited rain in the desert, Meteor Crater is the best preserved impact site in the world. At the bottom of the crater is some leftover mining equipment. For 26 years Daniel Moreau Barringer mined this hole looking for the iron, unfortunately for him, the iron-nickel was blown apart on impact.
Winslow, AZ
Come on Baby, don't say Maybe
Standin' on the Corner Park - The hit song "Take it Easy" written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Fry, and most notably recorded by The Eagles, contains the line "Well, I'm standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona". So the town of Winslow decided to create a statue of a guitar carrying hitchhiker on the corner hoping the girl in the flatbed Ford will save him. In addition to the statue is a mural wall and a flatbed Ford. And the entire time I was there, my monkey ears picked up the sound of an Eagles CD playing in the distance.