This vast natural formation, often considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is actually a gorge carved out of the region's sandstone bluffs by the Colorado River. Visitors can access the Grand Canyon on either the North or South Rim; the former is more remote, and the latter provides tourists with a variety of ways in which to take in this breathtaking formation. Mule rides are a popular way to experience the Canyon, though visitors also enjoy the many hiking trails that are available.
People flock from all over the world to experience Sedona's gorgeous sandstone formations. In the rosy glow of sunrise and sunset, the rocks appear even more brilliant. Combined with the arid desert atmosphere, Sedona's environment lends itself to spiritual practices and draws thousands of people each year for yoga festivals and synchronized meditation. More conventional spirituality resides in the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a chapel built into the surrounding rocks. There are also a variety of music festivals, including bluegrass, jazz, and chamber music, held each year.
Even if you've never been to Arizona, you'll likely have seen Monument Valley in a number of popular films. Situated in the midst of Navajo territory, the sandstone eminences have become the defining feature of the American West due to films such as Once Upon A Time In The West, Stagecoach, and The Searchers. Various features in the valley have attained their own fame because of their recognizable shapes, including The Mittens and The Totem Pole.
This feat of modern engineering was constructed in 1931 and completed during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was constructed as a means by which to contain the flooding of the Colorado River, as well as to provide water to the desert inhabitants surrounding it. There is no shortage of impressive trivia regarding this structure. It contains enough concrete to run a two-lane road across the entire United States from Seattle to Miami, is thicker at its base than two American football fields put end-to-end, and stands taller than the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.
This privately owned non-profit zoo is the largest of its kind in the United States. Animals in the zoo's collection hail from various regions of the world, including Africa and the tropics, and even featuring a section dedicated to the animals of Arizona. Visitors experience these different regions via trails that make up 2.5 miles of walking area throughout the zoo. Arguably the zoo's most famous resident, Ruby the Elephant gained a reputation in 1973 for her ability to paint with a brush and canvas.
This striking waterfall stands nearly 100 feet high, cascading down from blood-red sandstone into a beautiful blue pool. People who come to visit Havasu can explore the site on their own or avail themselves of one of the many guided tours around the park. The nature of the sandstone means that the falls are subject to a greater degree of change when floods and rains occur. The park's website features a picture of the falls when it was known as Bridal Veil, and a picture of its current appearance. No matter how it changes in the future, it is always a beauty to behold.
Divided into two districts, this national park prominently features its namesake cactus, the saguaro, as well as many other species native to Arizona. A variety of other flora and fauna, including coniferous forests andendangered species of bat and owl, can also be found here. The Tucson Mountains and the Rincon Mountains both reside within the borders, which also features 150 miles of hiking trails. Backcountry campsites are available to hikers wanting to spend more time in the arid beauty of this gorgeous park.
This breathtaking canyon epitomizes the American West. Its sandstone walls contain evidence left by ancient indigenous people, making it a prized piece of history. The most striking feature here is known as Spider Rock, which figures into Navajo folklore as being the home of Spider Woman, the creator of the world. Whether or not you believe it, the area reverberates with energy. Take a tour deep into the park and explore Mummy Cave, featuring different types of structures built at various points throughout history.
This hands-on science center beckons visitors to get involved and get excited about science. Housing 350 permanent exhibits, there is no shortage of things to explore. Kids and adults can play with gravity, electricity, and magnetism in the Get Charged Up exhibit, or explore the human body in the All About Me section. Forces of Nature puts visitors in the middle of severe storms, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. There is no shortage of fun and excitement here.
Visitors to this part of the United States who are eager to learn more about the area's native wildlife would do well to visit this museum. Comprised of an aquarium, zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, and art gallery, it is a comprehensive collection of the flora and fauna of the surrounding desert and its various climates, assembled for visitors to examine and understand more completely. Big cats, raptors, and reptiles are on display, and there is a cave in which to explore fossils and geological features. A trip to this museum is a fine complement to your visit to the desert.