Sunday, February 24, 2013

Arizona Adventures

I took Friday, February 15, off work for a fun four-day Valentine's/Presidents Day weekend.  Darren and I are approaching our year anniversary as Arizona residents, and we wanted to see some more of the sites this great state has to offer.  Visiting the Grand Canyon was high on our list since neither of us had been there.  Darren did a little research and found an awesome Bed and Breakfast in Flagstaff (about 1 1/2 hours from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon) called the England House (does he know me or what?).  I also got a tip from some students and work colleagues to visit a drive-through wild animal park near Flagstaff called Bearizona.  We had such a fun time!  A special thanks to our parents who gave us some travel money at Christmas for just such a trip.

BEARIZONA: Our first stop on the way into Flagstaff was this amazing animal park

The tour started with some good-sized mountain goats.  It was so exciting to see these animals up close!

Coming to say hello
This little guy got so close to the car it was hard to get a picture.
American Burros


Darren got this awesome shot of one of the gray wolves:

Some of the White Bison got a little close for comfort:

This guy was right outside my passenger side window.  
The car in front of us was sure having a good time. :)

Big Horned Sheep:

Black Bear:  I definitely let out a few anxious squeals in this part of the park.  When we first entered the bear territory, we could only see the bears from a distance.  As you can tell from the pictures, though, we quickly got a closer view!

We ended our visit in the walk-about part of the park in which we were allowed out of the car to see a few more species of animals.

We then checked into the charming England House Bed and Breakfast.  The house was built by a British architect with the last name of England in the early 1900s.  The couple who owned the Bed and Breakfast were so sweet and served some amazing breakfasts.  They had also done an excellent job restoring the house while still keeping many of the original features (such as the pressed-tin ceilings).


Our room
150 year old claw-foot bath tub ... um, yes!

Native American Ruins/Grand Canyon

Our B&B hosts suggested we hit some old Native American ruins on our way up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  They also told us about a "secret spot" we could hike to with amazing views of the Canyon.

Wukoki:  Hopi word for "Big House"--this was once home to two or three Indian families from 1120-1210.


This was a gathering place for those living in the area about 900 years ago.  The area included market-type structures and ball courts.

South Rim of Grand Canyon from "secret spot"

Lowell Observatory

On our last night in Flagstaff, we visited the Lowell Observatory near our B&B.  Lowell Observatory is where Pluto was discovered.  They offered a constellation course and had telescopes set up that allowed visitors to view Jupiter, the moon, and the Orion Nebula.  It brought back wonderful memories of the constellation cruises I took with my Dad during our summers at Stanford Sierra Camp on Fallen Leaf Lake.

Overall, it was an awesome weekend that allowed us both to appreciate so many of our Heavenly Father's creations.  What a beautiful world in which we live! 
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