As an Arizona native I have been to Flagstaff many times over the years. I stayed there for a summer after I graduated high school. Up and back in the same day for events. But this trip I took a whole new look at this city through the eyes of children. Two year olds to be exact. Actual full size trains, cold weather that involves a jacket and moving into a hotel all became adventures.
Our journey up north started promptly after breakfast. Me being the crazy OCD packer that I am had almost everything in the car the night before and packed the last minute items, stopped for coffee and we were off.
We stopped at Montezuma’s Castle to explore and stretch our legs a little bit. The kids had fun running around the trail and it broke up the drive enough for them to not complain about wanting “out”. There are places to stop for fry bread, beef jerky as well as seasonal specials along the path to the castle as well. I also noted that you could stop at Sunset Point, right before the exit for Sedona or on the Yavapai / Coconino border scenic overlooks if needed. Fortunately my kids are great in the car and I didn’t even need to grab one of their toys for an emergency.
When you first get into town there are numerous places you could stop if your kids need out of the car immediately or it’s too early to check into your hotel. McDonald’s and Chick Fil A have play places in them, Bookmans is right off the highway as well as Target, Barnes and Noble and many other names your kids would recognize right away.
We went straight to our hotel. I chose Drury Hotel because of it’s convenient location walking distance to downtown Flagstaff and convenience right off Milton. We booked a suite, this way the kids could sleep in the bedroom while Mom and Dad stayed in the living room to hang out and enjoy our complimentary happy hours drinks after bed time. I knew the layout was perfect. The bathroom was in the living area which meant no reason to go into the bedroom and disturb the kids.
The kids attempted a nap, mostly they laughed and giggled, way too excited to sleep. We got changed and headed out to the Grand Canyon Deer Valley Farm in Williams. Although they started out nervous about the deer, the kids warmed up to them and had fun feeding them and seeing all the other animals on the farm. If you plan to visit here I do suggest a change of clothes. Deer are known to try to nibble on you if they don’t get food. I also threw everything in the diaper bag, nothing hanging out or they may try to eat it. Next time I will probably not bring anything inside with me. I was grateful for wipes and hand sanitizer after my son fell in the mud. A quick wash in the bathroom cleaned us up. (Read more about the deer farm in this post about fun in Williams, AZ.)
We headed back to downtown Flagstaff afterward for a little exploring. We ended up running around Heritage Square and eventually eating at Il-Rosso. We needed a quick kid friendly place and although this doesn’t initially look like a kid friendly place, they were great. Also loved that they had vegetarian options. For a girl who is allergic to pork, Italian food can be tough. We enjoyed the food, especially the eggplant cutlets.
With that, we headed back to the hotel. No nap days mean early bed times. So a way too much fun bath and then the kids passed out. I am very lucky to have kids that sleep great so no worries! Mom and Dad proceeded to relax….. and go to bed at 9pm!
The kids enjoyed their first buffet breakfast at the hotel. All that food and all they wanted to eat was the marshmallow part out of Lucky Charms. Oh well. Enough to get them going on our day of adventures. Book Nest Toy Store was hosting a Neighborhood Toy Store day with all kinds of events. We got to ride trains, race cars and meet Elsa!
I heard about the window to watch the book return at the library so I wanted to stop by and check it out. I had no idea there was such an amazing youth are for all ages. Not to mention free story times, activities and so much more. Click here for more.
There were no events scheduled at Wheeler Park the day we were there, but we stopped by to have a snack and do some climbing and running around before heading back to the hotel for the kids to nap.
After naps we headed out to The Pioneer Museum. I absolutely love this place, but the kids were a little too young to enjoy the history side of it. They did love the children’s’ play room and exploring the trains!
Next stop, the Flagstaff Visitors Center. Outside the visitor center there were games set up which we played until the train came. My son was speechless while the train passed, then he looked down the tracks and said “more”. Lucky guy, a train came going the opposite direction only a few minutes later.
The day we were visiting there was a Walk the Mother Road route 66 celebration going on. So we walked around to see some fun spots around downtown. Probably would have stopped for a drink at each place if we didn’t have two very high energy kids not wanting to sit still for long. The coolest part was getting a Route 66 passport for the kids. You get is stamped at each location along the route so to not forget it. There are 28 unique stamps along the route as well as free souvenirs or discounts.
Altitudes Bar & Grill was our last stop. They offer train shots for $2 any time the train passes by. I did not get any train shots but a delicious burger and my daughter ate her weight in mac and cheese!
By this point when we arrived at the hotel I’m pretty sure the kids thought we lived there now. They knew exactly where to go and even which door in that long hall was ours. I’m sure they would have loved to run around and explore the hotel even more.
Sunday we had no set plans and yet managed to have lots of fun. Mom and Dad got coffee from one of the dozens of drive through coffee spots around town. Then we went to Thorpe Park where we swung, rode, climbed, played and even attempted a hike.
Then it was off to downtown Flagstaff to do some exploring. Bright Side Book Shop where we found a stuffy of our friend Pete The Cat who had to come home with us. The Sweet Shoppe for a souvenir Cactus Candy. And lunch at the Downtown Diner.
After lunch we started our trip back to the valley, this is the time my kids usually nap so it worked out for them to nap/rest in the car on the ride home.
We had such a fun weekend exploring Flagstaff with our kids and going on all kinds of new adventures!
More fun ideas for your next family Flagstaff getaway can be found here!