Family Fun in Flagstaff

Discovering Flagstaff’s Lunar Legacy

With its exciting history, towering pines and mountains, and multitude of eateries, there are plenty of things to do with kids in Flagstaff. Flagstaff’s Lunar Legacy adds a fun twist on a visit to Flagstaff to learn about space, the moon and what it was like to train as an astronaut in the 1960s.
July 20, 2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon. Flagstaff has all sorts of activities planned to help celebrate this huge moment in history including:

• Exhibits about astronaut science training and lunar mapping
• Self-Guided tours at United Stated Geological Survey (USGS)
• Lunar themed art exhibits
• A monthly Lunar Lecture Series
• Tours at Lowell Observatory

For more details on the activities, visit

I am excited to share our Flagstaff Family Adventure! For even more photos and details, check out our blog:!

United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Our visit started with us heading straight to the USGS Branch of Astrogeology. This is the home to one of the lunar rovers—Grover—that was actually used for training in the 1960s in preparation for man’s first walk on the moon. 

In addition to Grover, you can see Neil Armstrong’s handprint (and other astronauts, too), models of a tiny rover and rockets, and current research and displays from the scientists working in the office. A huge panorama of Mars complete with 3-D glasses to feel like you are walking on Mars was certainly a highlight!

Downtown Flagstaff

After getting our first taste of the Lunar Legacy Flagstaff had to offer, we headed downtown to the Flagstaff Visitor Center located at the historic train station on Route 66. Here we were able to officially look the part in the astronaut selfie booth. 

We also picked up some memorabilia that was for sale inside the center. 

Our guided tour of downtown told of haunted hotels over 100 years old, local shops, delicious eateries, and the murals of Flagstaff. We definitely could have spent a lot more time shopping, walking, and snacking! A highlight of our tour was a chocolatey treat at The Sweet Shoppe! Yum!

Lowell Observatory

We closed out our evening with a self-guided tour of Lowell Observatory. The amazing telescopes available at Lowell Observatory allowed the moon to be captured in detail to ensure the moon landing was successful. We looked into the Clarke Telescope that night, the same telescope used for much of the moon research!

As luck would have it, we also visited on a day with a full moon and a clear sky. This allowed us to look through all three telescopes at the rising moon as well as some far away stars. It really made us feel very tiny in the universe!

Sunset Crater National Park

On the final day of our trip we visited Sunset Crater National Park and hiked the lava flow trail. We saw what the trail of lava left behind when it erupted nearly 1000 years ago including lava rock, cinders, and “squeeze ups” (where lava is pushed up through the ground). 

Sunset Crater, as well as Meteor Crater, was used by the astronauts as a training ground due to the similarity to the landscape of the moon. This might be the closest we ever get to walking on the moon!

Other Kid-Friendly Activities

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is a place that is simply breathtaking! Neither Jeremy nor the kids had ever been there, so this was definitely a favorite! The drive was an easy 90-minutes allowing us to eat breakfast in Flagstaff, have some easy snacks during the trip and return for dinner to continue enjoying the eateries in Flag.

We were lucky to be in the Grand Canyon National Park not only during National Parks Week and the year that the Grand Canyon turns 100 years old (as a park of course) but also during a big Earth Day celebration focused on protecting the Earth and amazing wonders like the Grand Canyon. 

Buffalo Park

Buffalo Park was purchased by the City of Flagstaff from the National Forest Service as a public park. Buffalo Park is an easy two-mile loop with views of the San Francisco Peaks. Buffalo Park is just one of many hikes that is all part of the Flagstaff Urban Trail System or FUTS.

Wupatki National Monument

These 800-year-old walls of rock were pretty unbelievable. I was impressed with how well preserved they were based on their age. We learned how the people lived, traded for goods, gathered and worked over 800 years ago.

A highlight for the kids was the blowhole. Cool air blows up from the ground like nature’s air conditioning from caves under the earth! The kids laughed and laughed standing over this blowhole!

Museum of Northern Arizona

We finished out our trip north at the Museum of Northern Arizona. When we arrived, the kids received a packet with challenges to find different colors, shapes, and animals within the exhibits. The favorite was the animal challenge in the Babbitt Gallery where they had to find twelve different animals incorporated into the exhibits. 

All the kids had a great time in the ant exhibit, especially being able to watch a real ant colony in action. This area was really nicely geared towards kids with a video about ants, books, games, and cozy places to sit.

They also loved the two huge dinosaur exhibits and all the prehistoric bones!

Where We Ate

Sweet Shoppe Candy Store

Ice Cream, chocolate treats, and fudge oh my! The kids were thrilled to make a stop here! They heartily recommend the marshmallows dipped in Oreo cookie and wrapped with a gummy worm!

Diablo Burger

We had many recommendations to try Diablo Burger and were not disappointed! The adult burgers were amazing, made with grass fed beef and cooked to perfection. Even the kids scarfed their burgers and grilled cheese!

Bigfoot BBQ

Located in the basement of the Old Town Shops and at the back end of a boutique, Bigfoot BBQ is definitely unexpected!

We chose the pulled chicken sandwich, sweet potato fries covered in cinnamon and sugar, the tri-tip grilled cheese, and some good local beer on tap served in a mason jar. It was perfect!

The kids loved that their meals were served on top of a frisbee they could take home!

Beaver Street Brewery

For lunch on our last day, we chose Beaver Street Brewery which is one of the top eight rated breweries in Flagstaff. 

We started with an order of big soft pretzels which hit the spot! The kids ordered kids meals and we tried out a few more burgers, the Beaver Street Burger and the Lumberjack Burger, both of which were great!

Toasted Owl

Recommended to us for breakfast, this breakfast and lunch restaurant was filled with kitschy owls. The kids devoured the smiley face pancakes and eggs. Jeremy loved the Spanish omelet, and I loved my basic egg breakfast.

Where We Stayed: Sonesta ES Suites

When you are a family of six like us, hotels can be a challenge. Our oldest is only nine so a second room is not the best option unless it is connected. Enter the recently renovated Sonesta ES Suites.

The two-bedroom king suite was the perfect solution for our large yet young family. It gave us two rooms, three beds, and two bathrooms plus a full kitchen. 

Here are a few more things to love:

  • They are pet friendly
  • They have a basketball court with balls you can borrow right from the front desk (Kaden used this option several times)
  • There is an outdoor pool and hot tub
  • They have onsite laundry
  • They have free breakfast (our kids recommend the French toast and I loved the eggs with fresh salsa)
  • They have happy hour and dinner on select nights (score!)
  • We thoroughly enjoyed our adventures through Flagstaff, AZ and learning about Flagstaff’s Lunar Legacy. 

For even more photos and details about the trip, check out our blog (link to!

About the Author

Lori Oberbroeckling

Lori Oberbroeckling is the owner/writer of the blog Glutton for Chaos based out of Phoenix, AZ. Glutton for Chaos is a family and lifestyle blog that focuses on travel, parties, food and fun to be had as a large family with four small kiddos. When not blogging, you can find Lori honing her photography skills, taking adventures with her family, and evaluating just how many Dairy Queen Blizzards per week is too many. Lori can most often be found on Facebook@gluttonforchaos and Instagram@gluttonforchaos sharing life's fun!

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