On our way from Winslow, AZ to Williams, AZ, we decided to stop at Meteor Crater, just off I-40. While on the family road trip 20+ years ago, we stopped here as well. Back then, it was mainly a large hole in the ground, where they took you around the rim and talked about what they thought created it.
In the intervening 20 years, they have created a multi-level museum, gift shop, tour stop with movie center. The site is privately owned and was, at one point, a mining center. It is not a National Park, since the government would have to own it, but in 1967, it was named as a National Natural Landmark.
It is believed that the crater was created about 50,000 years ago, during a time when the Colorado Plateau would have been much cooler and wetter. The area was likely inhabited by wooly mammoths and giant ground sloths. Due to erosion since the formation of the crater, it is believed to have lost between 50 and 60 feet of height at the rim, but it is still rather formidable.
The museum also has on display items from NASA, including one of the Apollo modules.
I asked Mom if this is how she got to Earth. For some reason, she didn’t find this funny.
It really is an amazing sight that should be viewed if you’re traveling through Arizona.