Grand Canyon South Rim with children
The Grand Canyon is a paradise for experienced hikers and adventurers. But there is also plenty to do for families with (young) children in Grand Canyon National Park. We visited the Grand Canyon with our 2 and 4-year-old children. We and the kids thoroughly enjoyed the impressive Grand Canyon!
There are different ways to explore the Grand Canyon, depending on the age and interests of the children. The Grand Canyon South Rim is the most accessible rim of the Grand Canyon. On this page, you will find 8 things to do in the Grand Canyon with kids!
Helicopter flight Grand Canyon with children
During our road trip through the American West, we took a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon with our children, who were 2 and 4 years old at the time. They both loved it. Our 2-year-old son immediately wanted to do it again.
A helicopter flight is suitable for children of all ages. Children aged 2 and older require their own ticket and will have their own seat. Children younger than 2 years old are allowed to sit on the lap of one of the parents.
Hike or bike along viewpoints on the South Rim
The Grand Canyon South Rim is highly accessible for families. There are numerous viewpoints offering the most beautiful views of the Grand Canyon. Parking is often available near the viewpoints, there are restroom facilities, and the hiking trails are well-maintained.
The most popular viewpoint on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is Mather Point, located near the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. This viewpoint offers a stunning panoramic view of the canyon. There is a large parking area, and from Mather Point, you can easily visit several other viewpoints, such as Yavapai Point (1.1 kilometers one way).
Mather Point is also one of the first viewpoints visitors encounter when entering the park. It can get crowded, so it is best to visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Visit the IMAX Theatre
In the town of Tusayan, near the southern entrance of the Grand Canyon, you will find the Grand Canyon IMAX Theater. This large cinema showcases the 35-minute film “Grand Canyon: Rivers of Time.”
The film takes you through the history of the Grand Canyon and the story of early civilizations that once inhabited it. The film is suitable for all ages and is screened multiple times throughout the day. It is both inspiring and informative, making it highly recommended to watch before venturing into the Grand Canyon. Check the current showtimes on their website, and you can watch the trailer below.
Word een Junior Ranger!
The Junior Ranger program is an interactive and educational program for children aged 4-14. It includes various activities and tasks that children can complete to earn a Junior Ranger badge. Junior Rangers help preserve and protect the National Park. Children learn about nature and history, making it a fun and educational activity!
The Junior Ranger activity booklet can be obtained at various locations in Grand Canyon Village, such as the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, Yavapai Geology Museum, Kolb Studio, or at the Grand Canyon Conservancy. After completing the activities in the booklet, children receive a real Junior Ranger badge. Learn more about the Junior Ranger program on the National Park Service website.
Take on a challenging trail
For older children, it can be a lot of fun to embark on a real hike into the Grand Canyon. So, venture off the beaten path of the South Rim and conquer the rocks!
A popular hike is the Bright Angel Trail. For example, you can hike to the “1.5-Mile Resthouse” point. 1.5 miles is approximately equal to 2.4 kilometers. Keep in mind that you also have to hike back, making the total length of the hike approximately 4.8 kilometers. This is often manageable for older children with good fitness!
Another enjoyable and challenging hike with children is the South Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge. The South Kaibab Trail offers fantastic views (including the beautiful “Ooh Aah Point”) of the Grand Canyon, but the trail is narrow and rocky, which can be challenging for some hikers. However, the hike to Cedar Ridge, which is about 3 miles (4.8 km) round trip, is a good option for families with older children. The trail is well-maintained, and there are restrooms and shaded areas to take breaks at Cedar Ridge.
Ensure proper preparation for your hike, especially when going with children. For example, bring an ample water supply, apply sunscreen generously, and avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day. Temperatures in the Grand Canyon can soar during the summer months.
Drive in an open Hummer.
Take a seat in a large Hummer and drive along various viewpoints along the Grand Canyon South Rim! It’s a fun tour that allows you to see a lot of the Grand Canyon in a short amount of time. The enthusiastic guidance of the guide makes the tour extra enjoyable and interesting. This tour is particularly suitable for children. There is a lot to see, you occasionally get out of the vehicle, and the large open Hummer is really cool.
The Hummer tour starts from Buck Wild Hummer Tours in Tusayan. From there, you enter the Grand Canyon National Park through the South Entrance. This tour can also be booked for sunset (the “Sunset” tour), when the colors of the Grand Canyon are at their most beautiful. And if you’re with a large family or group of travelers, take a look at the “The Signature Private” tour, where you have the Hummer and guide all to yourselves.
You can view and book the Hummer tours here.
Visit the Yavapai Geology Museum
Located a 20-minute walk from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, you’ll find the Yavapai Geology Museum. The museum is dedicated to the geology of the Grand Canyon and offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about the history and formation of the Canyon. The museum features various exhibition spaces with interactive displays, models, and videos. It’s both fun and informative for children!
Situated on a hilltop, the museum offers a stunning view of the Grand Canyon. Visitors can look through the windows of the museum and enjoy the breathtaking canyon view. The walk to the museum (Rim Trail) is suitable for children and even strollers/buggies, thanks to well-maintained paths.
Admission to the museum is free. Please check the current opening hours on the National Park Service website.
Grand Canyon Railway
The Grand Canyon Railway is a historic train journey that begins in the village of Williams and ends at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The train, fully restored, offers visitors an authentic and nostalgic experience while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Arizona.
Originally built in 1901, the Grand Canyon Railway was the primary means of accessing the Grand Canyon. Today, it is a tourist attraction that attracts thousands of visitors annually. The train offers both first-class and coach seating, with comfortable seats and large windows to enjoy the view. During the train journey, live entertainment is provided, such as cowboy shows and musicians playing traditional folk songs.
Upon arrival at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, visitors have several hours to explore. The Grand Canyon Railway offers a unique and nostalgic way to explore the Grand Canyon and enjoy the stunning scenery of Arizona. And how cool is it to experience this activity with children! You can book tickets for this fun tour at www.thetrain.com.