A few days ago I shared a blog post on our recent visit to Grand Canyon West. This blog post is about the Grand Canyon Railway that offers rides from Flagstaff, Arizona to the canyon's south rim and back. I have seen many articles highly recommending this! However, it is on the national park - south rim of the Grand Canyon which was further than we decided to travel during our last vacation.
So why am I writing about this when I didn't actually go on the train myself? Close family members just participated in this adventure. They LOVED it and shared their experience with me. If you go to the south rim (the national park side) you really should consider the train ride!
The family that went on the train ride also met up with us a couple of weeks earlier to explore the west rim with us. They considered the south rim of the Grand Canyon to be much more amazing than the west rim. Sometimes it hard to capture such beauty in pictures (unless you are a professional photographer) but they shared these with me.
The train experience:
When they arrived to the station (reservations recommended) that morning they were treated to many fresh baked pastries and beverages. They also had a gun fight to start the entertainment.
All of the railway staff were dressed in "old west" clothing. Each car of the train had a staff member to entertain and educate the guests. They also rotated singing staff to entertain everyone. They are very interactive with the guests which made the ride a very memorable experience. During the train ride they even have cowboys on horses ride up to stage a robbery. Tips are appreciated (they cover that in a very entertaining way during your train introduction).
Once you arrive to the south rim you are given 3 hours and 45 minutes to explore, shop, eat.... There are 3 main places to eat at the park. One is a high end/fancy restaurant, one is a nice sit down restaurant, and one is a grab and go type of restaurant.
Once you return to the station in Flagstaff you are treated to an impressive variety of snacks and beverages.
Bring kids? The train ride would be very interesting for kids. The time at the canyon might be a little long (since many little ones don't understand the amazement and beauty of the grand canyon - at least for that long). I'm sure you could easily bring some stuff to entertain your littles ones to keep them happy while you explore. The comparison was mentioned between the west and south rims when it comes to kids. The west rim has a lot of historical tribal displays that little ones can play in (a variety of housing options they used that are cool "forts" for kiddos to explore). From what my family members saw (who did not have kids with them) they didn't have a lot for kids to do at the part of the park they were at. So, make sure you have something fun to keep them happy as a back-up.
I am excited to hopefully experience the railway during my next trip to the Grand Canyon! Of course that will have to be a while from now. We have so many other areas of the world to explore ;-)