This February marked the 100 anniversary of the Grand Canyon being named a U.S. national park. A year-long celebration showcasing northern Arizona’s iconic natural landmark, which also is a UNESCO World Heritage site, is in full swing.
In addition to enjoying the festivities connected to the centennial, student groups visiting the Grand Canyon have no shortage of ways to experience the park’s history, geology and natural beauty.
The Canyon Field School offers single- and multi-day, curriculum-based environmental education programs for students from middle school through university level. Options through the school, which is part of a collaboration between the National Park Service and its nonprofit partner the Grand Canyon Conservancy, include backpacking trips, day hikes, rafting excursions and cultural exchanges.
For groups seeking an alternative way to see the canyon’s South Rim, Bright Angel Bicycles offers tours and rentals. As bicyclists pedal along the paved Greenway Trail system, they can take in the scenery from a number of the top viewpoints located along the canyon rim.
The National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program provides another way for school groups to enjoy some in-depth learning about the famous canyon. The program leads participants through a series of four educational activities on the South Rim, including attendance at one of the daily ranger talks, such as Geology Glimpse, Critter Chat and Desert View Cultural Demonstrations.
Top Educational Attractions
Tusayan Ruins & Desert Museum
Yavapai Geology Museum
Planes of Fame Air Museum
Top Recreational Attractions
Pink Jeep Tours
Top Local Festivals
Grand Canyon Centennial Celebration (June 22–29)
Tusayan July 4th Parade and Laser Light Show
Top photo: Student program with Canyon Field School
Photo by Canyon Field School