We had spent the morning in Petrified Forest National Park and were headed to Meteor Crater. In looking at the map, we noticed Winslow, Arizona. We are big Eagle fans and have enjoyed them in concert several times. We decide to make a brief stop at “Standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona”. This is from the Eagles hit song, Take It Easy.
The town has set aside an entire corner, recreating the song lyrics. It was dedicated in September of 1999.
A gift shop across the street, plays Eagle songs on outdoor speakers. It was not the atmosphere we expected, but we loved every minute, and yes we bought a few souvenirs.
It was on to the Meteor Crater. The signs leading to the visitor center are awesome
This is a privately owned attraction and when we were there, it cost $22.00 per adult to enter. The crater has gone by numerous names, such as Franklin’s Hole and Coon Butte. Due to it’s circular shape, it was thought to be an extinct volcano. In 1902, Daniel Barringer, a mining engineer, became interested in the site for iron. He became convinced that it was a meteor impact site and that the meteor was buried deep at the bottom of the crater. He spent 26 years attempting to find the meteorite and filed 4 mining claims to the crater and dug several mining shafts of the crater floor. The Barrington family owned the rights to the crater but the Bar T Bar Ranch owned the land surrounding the crater. In 1941, both parties entered into a lease for access to the crater. In 1955, a separate corporation was formed, Meteor Crater Enterprises. This corporation runs the tourist activities.
Due to Mr. Barringer’s research, it was learned that the meteorite disintegrated into smaller pieces upon impact.
In the foyer of the visitor center there is one of the meteorite fragments on display.
There the visitor center has a gallery full of information on meteors.
United States astronauts even came here to train
The crater was formed 50,000 years ago when a meteorite estimated to be 150 feet across and weighing 200,000+ tons, hit the desert. It was travelling 26,000 miles an hour and the explosive power upon impact, is estimated at 20 million tons of TNT. An enormous volume of rock completely fragmented and ejected, resulting in a giant shaped bowl cavity. The crater was 700 feet deep and 4000 feet across.
There are several overlook areas that you can walk to view the crater better. Normally, there is a rim walk, lead by one of the attraction’s rangers, but high winds cancelled the walk the day we were there.
The discolored area in the center of the crater, is where the mine shafts are located. It is discolored as one of the drills hit water and it caused a small geyser. At one time, a small tourist plane crashed in the crater and rather than salvaging the parts, they were put in one of the shafts.
There are telescope so that you can view the crater floor.
One of the telescopes is focused on a cutout of an astronaut, to commemorate their training here.
The last thing we did, that was included in our admission was the 4D Space Adventure with Commander Perseus and First Officer Jackie. We were able to fly down into the Crater and then saved the earth from an asteroid. 🙂
It had been a long day, but a day full of adventure…Petrified Forests, an Eagles song, and an impact crater. Wow we were all over the spectrum, but loved every minute.