I have one thing to say about breakfast with kids in Flagstaff: “Bradys” I wouldn’t go anywhere else.
I cannot speak highly enough about this place. Located at 1500 E. Cedar Ave, Brady’s Restaurand and Bakery, an award-winning breakfast venue, is casual and busy, but very accommodating for families with children. My little ones are picky eaters, and Brady’s offers things that they love, such as applesauce and yoghurt with honey. They will cook your eggs any way you like them and provide fast, friendly service. When my four year old ordered an egg cooked “sunny side up” but thought he was ordering one scrambled, they cheerfully exchanged it for him.
I would try to get there before 10:30, if possible, because it can get a little crowded after that. However, even if you arrive later, the tables turn pretty quickly. We have never experienced a long wait.
Before you head out for a day of Flagstaff adventures, it is advisable to make a quick stop the Convention and Visitor’s Center. This is where friendly and helpful hosts can answer any questions you might have about what is going on in the area. They can also supply you with maps to help you find your way around. Flagstaff often has festivals and kiddy concerts and other family-oriented events that you can learn about at the center.
My kids enjoyed the fact that the center is located in what was once the Flagstaff train station. When it was renovated, the contractors preserved as much of the original architecture as possible, so it still looks like a train station. There are lots of pictures of trains on the walls, which are admittedly, cheap thrills, but my kids enjoyed them. The place is easy to find at the junction of Rt. 101 and Rt. 66. They are open daily between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Speaking of trains, the Grand Canyon Railway from Flagstaff is a fun, affordable way to take the kids to see the Grand Canyon. Prices vary according to the types of seats you prefer and the time of year you travel. They do offer special packages and discounts from time to time.
The canyon is only a little more than an hour from the center of Flagstaff. Taking the kids there on the train makes it twice as much fun. The train is great for parents, too, because there are clean restrooms, nice, wide isles, and an observation car that allows views of the breathtaking scenery along the way. A disadvantage is that, unless you are planning to take your au pair along to help care for the kids during the trip, only one adult at a time will be able to go into the observation car, because they don’t allow kids. The whole family can eat lunch together right there on the train, however.
We enjoyed the fact that neither of us had to drive, and that we could spend time pointing things out to the children and showering them with attention along the way. By the time we arrived, we were well rested and ready for a day of fun at the canyon.
First things first: There is safety fencing everywhere to assure toddlers don’t take a tumble, so don’t worry! Kids of all ages love the Grand Canyon. As for admission fees, I advise you to visit the park service’s information page on the web because there are many different fee options that depend on different factors.
If your children are under age 4, I advise taking a day trip. However, if the little ones are ages 4-7 you might want to consider staying a night or two at the park-run Grand Canyon Lodge. There is a free shuttle that runs from the lodge to the canyon, so you can go there on the train and be all set to see as much of the canyon as you wish and return to the lodge when the little ones get tired.
The lodge has Native American dancing at night, and my kids got up and danced right along with everyone else. It was a great way for them to burn off some energy and have some fun in an interesting venue that is steeped in history and tradition.
At the canyon itself, there is a Junior Ranger program that kids ages 4 and up enjoy. This is a free program that is informative and fun without being the least bit boring. I liked it because it stressed the importance of nature conservancy and a respect for our natural resources. My kids liked it because they got a badge at the end of it all and they got to pet a horned toad.
The Grand Canyon has offerings for everyone, including a lot of free things to do for families who are on budgets. When our eldest son was 5, we took one of the helicopter tours. I’ve never seen a more excited kid in my life. My husband and I loved it, too.
Flagstaff has a lot of nice play spaces for children. One that we really liked was The Guidance Center. Did you ever play the game, “Chutes and Ladders” when you were a kid? That is what The Guidance Center play space reminds me of. There are brightly colored, “chutes” to slide through, and all kinds of wacky, fun pieces of playground equipment for the little ones to enjoy. My sons loved plastic boulder, “rock blocks” and the “critter crossing,” and my little girl’s favorite was the arched bridge.
Frankly, I wish they had given the play space different name, because every time I hear it, I think of a counseling venue for aspiring ministers. The truth is, however, that the Guidance Center is one of the most enjoyable treats a little kid can have in Flagstaff. Located just off of East Industrial Drive at 2187 N. Vickey St, it is a play space that makes their little eyes light up just to hear it mentioned.
Arizona Snowbowl is a fun for kids over the age of 3, but I don’t recommend it for wiggly toddlers. Babes in arms are fine, if they are small enough to ride on their parent’s laps. The Snowbowl offers a beautiful and thrilling chair lift ride up to the top of beautiful Agassiz Peak. The ride is $9 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6 and up and free for the little guys.
Finally, the Flagstaff Gymnastics Center is another place that has a lot of cool things to offer children who are 4 and older. For example, if you visit Flagstaff during April and May, they offer a “Parent’s Night Out” event from 6-9:30. This can give the parents a chance to catch a nice dinner out while the children are being kept busy doing all sorts of fun tumbling and dancing and rope climbing. It costs $16 for the first child and $12 for each sibling, but is well worth the cost. Our kids had a great time. Located at 2366 North Steves Blvd, Suite B, you should call 928-226-0696 for reservations and information about their other fun activities for children.