This post documents our activities from November 20, 2021 to November 27, 2021.
On Saturday November 20, it was time to move to our next destination, Williams, AZ. Pull thru site 327 would be our home for a week at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park where they still offered a reduced rate to Passport America members. Regular daily rate is $59.99, PA rate is $30 and it was good for the whole week! Grand Canyon Railway not only has an RV Park but a hotel, several restaurants and a train depot where visitors can hop on a 2 hour 15 minute train ride to the Grand Canyon. Maybe the train ride is a fun family adventure but being on the train for 4 1/2 hours with only a 3 hours to actually spend at the canyon for us is a deal breaker. Instead we prefer to drive (2 hours round trip) so we can spend an unlimited amount of time at the canyon.
Yes we’ve been here numerous times in the past, but we so love this cute little town from the bygone Route 66 era! As mentioned in our post written in 2017, this town didn’t fade into the sunset when the town was bypassed by I-40 in 1984. Instead it “made lemonade out of lemons”, turning itself into a very popular tourist destination, specializing in all sorts of Route 66 memorabilia. It should be on every RV’ers bucket list!
We had considered driving to the Grand Canyon on Sunday but after watching the webcams at the South entrance showing the very heavy traffic and long lines, we decided to wait until Monday. Instead we enjoyed breakfast at Pine Country Restaurant where I had the Classic breakfast and Rob had his usual Corned Beef Hash. Excellent!
That evening we strolled to the historic Williams train depot next to the RV park and into town, enjoying very festive Christmas lights and decorations.
On Monday morning, we were up and out early, arriving at the South Entrance around 9:30 a.m. Woohoo, there was no traffic and no wait! We breezed right through with our Federal Senior Pass, it always helps to have your pass and ID ready before you get to the booth.
Our strategy was to immediately drive to Yavapai Point thinking it would be less busy there since everyone typically heads to the Visitor Center and Mather Point. That turned out to be a great strategy!
Visiting the canyon never gets old or boring. Whether it is your first visit, your 10th or your 50th, the magnificence, the beauty and the splendor are totally awe inspiring every time.
It was a beautiful day although a little chilly. A great day to walk the Trail of Time.
Back at the car and now hungry, we drove along AZ-64 towards Grand View Point, thinking it would be less crowded so we would find a scenic overlook to eat the lunch I had packed. Less crowded? No such luck!
Finally it was time to head back to Williams. Oh boy, look at the traffic now at the Entrance Station – it was backed up to Tusayan, about 2 miles.
On Wednesday we did something new. Bearizona Wildlife Park, located about 3 miles east of Williams at the intersection of I-40 and US Hwy 64 (Route 64), had always intrigued us but we had never found the time to visit the attraction. Plus at $27 (senior admission), it seemed a little pricey. But this year after reading the very favorable reviews, we decided to see what it was all about. So glad we did!
According to their website, “Over half of the animals that call Bearizona home are rescued or rehabilitated animals. Once here, they will spend the remainder of their lives in large naturalistic enclosures; digging, climbing, swimming, and playing with one another.”
Posted on the Bearizona website is an interesting video about how they acquired three orphaned grizzly cubs from Montana, which they later named Hanna, Sky and Crockett. And here they are in action:
If you visit, realize that the park is divided into two sections (see map):
A 160 Acre Drive Thru Area
Guests follow a 3 mile road (speed limit is 15 mph but slower is better) through the Arizona Ponderosa Pine wilderness. Along the road, visitors will witness North American animals in natural habitats – all from the comfort of their own private vehicle. If you don’t see all the animals, drive the trail as many times as you like. Although it was slow because the park was crowded (it was the day before Thanksgiving after all). It was very cool, seeing bears, wolves, burros and bison roaming about in their designated areas. Unfortunately, although I took videos, between the sun glaring on the windshield, none of them are very watchable.
A 20 Acre Walk Thru Area
Fort Bearizona is a separate walk-thru area, located directly after the drive-thru portion of the park. This is where all of the shows and animal encounters occur daily such grizzly encounters, otter feeding, animal training, Jaguar chat, etc. There is also the “Bearizona Barnyard” petting zoo and a Mine Shaft Experience, which houses some nocturnal animals as well as some creepy, crawly critters. And of course, a huge gift shop!
For a list of all the animals that you might see in either section of the park, click here.
On November 27th, we sadly said bid adieu to Williams. But no worries, our next stop was just as entertaining!
Additional photos of our stay can be found here.