Tag Archives: grand canyon railway

Northern AZ Weekend Trips - EAZ Fall-Winter 2012

Grand Canyon Railway Polar Express tickets on sale

They say “It’s Christmas in July.”  This may just be true as many parents and children already have visions of sugar plums dancing through their heads. Ticket sales for The Grand Canyon Railway’s popular Polar Express™ are on sale, and selling they are, at a record pace.

Back by popular demand, the Grand Canyon Railway Polar Express experience will be offered from November 6 through January 3, with special trains running from Williams, AZ to the North Pole nightly at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Additional matinee journeys will also be available on select dates.

The Polar Express is a holiday-themed train adventure for guests of all ages, following the storyline of the children’s book written by Chris Van Allsburg. A family favorite, guests will embark upon a magical, train adventure to the North Pole – featuring holiday songs, lively elves, cookies and hot cocoa, a special reading of “The Polar Express”, and of course a visit by Santa himself.

The evening starts with a special light show at the historic Williams Depot, before passengers board the train for their journey to Santa’s Village, made faster by traveling through the Magic Tunnel. Upon arrival at the North Pole, Santa Claus and his top helper, Elf Bernard, welcome passengers to the village, illuminated with festive storefronts and bright lights.

Before the train sets off on its return journey, Santa boards the Polar Express and joins his visitors for their return trip to Williams – making his way through the passenger cars and greeting every child with a special gift, a jingle bell signifying their belief in Santa Claus.

Prices for evening departures Sunday through Thursday are $29 for kids ages two to 15 and $39 for adults. For tickets on Saturday and Sunday prices are $35 for children and $45 for adults. Matinee tickets are also offered on select dates at 3:30 p.m. ($24 for children, $34 for adults Sunday through Thursday and $30 for children, $40 for adults Saturday and Sunday). The Christmas Eve Limited on December 24 is priced at $69 for adults and $55 for children and includes special mementos. Polar Express reservations may be made by visiting www.thetrain.com/polarexpress or calling 1-888-848-3511.

The Grand Canyon Railway also offers a Polar Express Package, which features overnight accommodations as well as Polar Express Train tickets for guests. Included in this package is the Polar Express train excursion, a one-night stay at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, and breakfast and dinner at the Grand Depot Café. The package price for two adults and two children is at $394 and does not include taxes. Polar Express passengers also receive a 50 percent discount on a regular every-day future train trip to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon valid 60-days from their Polar Express experience and train ride.

Northern AZ Weekend Trips - EAZ Fall-Winter 2012

Race pits cyclists against Grand Canyon Railway

It’s an epic race that last took place 25 years ago, and now it has returned to take on a new group of challengers. Man (or woman) vs. Machine. Steam vs. Muscle. On Saturday, September 26, 2015 the Grand Canyon Railway, in partnership with Grand Canyon Racing, will fire up its venerable steam engine #4960 – a 310-ton behemoth built in 1923 – to take on hundreds of intrepid bicyclists on a 54-mile course that will climb 2,023 feet starting at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to iconic Williams, Ariz.

Last held in October 1991, the race has become the stuff of legend.

The race will begin on Highway 64 in Tusayan, Ariz., departing the Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon at 1 p.m. PDT. From there the course will travel 50 miles south on Highway 64, before merging onto historic Route 66 for the last four miles. The finish line will be at the intersection of Second Street and Route 66 in Williams.

Hosted by Grand Canyon Racing, and sponsored by the Grand Canyon Railway, the event is fully permitted by the Arizona Department of Transportation, and traffic control and law enforcement will be on site for the entirety of the event.

Adding to the excitement and festivities, spectators will be given the opportunity to purchase tickets to ride the train the day of the race and as it competes against its two-legged and wheeled competition. Round-trip tickets are available for the train, which will depart the Williams Depot on September 26 at 8:00 a.m. PDT, arriving at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon at about 11:30 a.m. The train will depart the Grand Canyon at 12:30 p.m., and the race will officially begin at 1 p.m. The train will be composed of Pullman Coach Class cars, a café car, and a Luxury Parlor car. A photo run-by will be featured on the North Bound trip for rail enthusiasts. Rates will be $75 for adults and $45 for children 16 and under.

Registration is now open for the race, and participants may register for the race at www.GrandCanyonRacing.com. Race fees are $60 until July 14, and $80 from July 15 through September 24. Registration will close on September 24 at 10 a.m. PDT. Race registration will include a link for discounted lodging at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel.

For more information on the train, visit www.thetrain.com. For more information on the race, watch the official race video here.


Kids with a View! Grand Canyon Railway Welcomes Families

For the first time ever this summer, the Grand Canyon Railway (GCR) welcomes children ages two to 15 years old to its Observation Dome-class cars. In addition, the GCR  debuts a sixth class of service in Pullman cars for an affordable $59 for adults and $29 for children round-trip.

From the day’s start to finish, guests will be captivated with the splendor of the passing landscapes of the Colorado Plateau and wildlife during a 65-mile journey to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.  Prior to boarding the train, an interactive Wild West show gives guests a taste of history and sets the stage for entertainment throughout the trip, which includes strolling musicians and knowledgeable train attendants.  Children aboard the train will also enjoy coloring books and puzzles throughout the ride.

106459071Guests may choose from six classes of service, from vintage 1920s Pullman class to varying levels of Coach, Observation Dome to Luxury Parlor.  The Pullman class is the newest class of cars to be offered to guests of the Grand Canyon Railway. Fares are an affordable $59 for adults and $29 for children ages 15 and younger.   On the first Saturday of each month through September, guests may experience the Grand Canyon Railway by a steam engine, which runs on recycled waste vegetable oil and offers all six classes of service.  A special steam run on September 21 is also available to honor the train’s 112th birthday.

Observation Dome-class service allows passengers to ride in a 1950s era glass-enclosed streamliner with sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding countryside in the comfort of padded high-back chairs while enjoying light refreshments, snacks and a sparkling wine toast on the return trip. Should riders wish to experience a different class of service while riding the Grand Canyon Railway, upgrades are also available for one direction of travel.  Upgrading to a different service must be scheduled prior to boarding the train.

Trains depart daily at 9:30 a.m. from the Railway’s historic 1908 depot in Williams, Arizona and return at 3:30 p.m. with a three-and-a-half-hour period to explore South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Overnight packages and in-park tours are also available featuring Maswik Lodge accommodations. From now through October fares for the Observation Dome-class round-trip rides are offered at $170 for adults and $140 for children ages 2 to 15 years old.  These fares also apply to the steam locomotive excursions on the first Saturday.

Top 5 Weekend Destinations (Spring-Summer 2012)

Top 5: Weekend Destinations (Spring-Summer 2012)

The Top 5 Weekend Destinations — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:

Canyon de Chelly

Visitor Center is 3 miles from Route 191 in Chinle
Chinle, AZ 86503
The cultural resources of Canyon de Chelly include distinctive architecture, artifacts, and rock imagery while exhibiting remarkable preservation integrity that provides outstanding opportunities for study and contemplation.

Grand Canyon Railway

233 N. Grand Canyon Blvd., Williams, AZ 86046
Book your Grand Canyon
vacation online and enjoy
historic train travel on one of four classes of service on a vintage train from Williams to Grand Canyon National Park.

Lake Powell

P.O. Box 1507,
Page, AZ 86040
More than 400 feet deep, 150 miles long with nearly 2,000 miles of shoreline. Spectacular rock canyons, sand beaches and activities such as boating, fishing, swimming, hiking or four-wheel driving.


P.O. Box 1866,
Tubac, AZ 85646
Tubac has a 250-year-old Spanish history. Tubac is the perfect shoppers’ paradise with more than 80 galleries and shops that feature hand-crafted items, sculpture, paintings, clothing and some of Southern Arizona’s
best import shops.


523 W. Second St.,
Winslow, AZ 86047
Take just a moment to stop and look around, and you’ll discover a whole new dimension to this unique Western city. Winslow is home to The Standin’ on the Corner Park, which has become a draw for music fans who remember the line “standin on the corner in Winslow Arizona,” from the No. 1 hit “Take It Easy,” by the Eagles.

Experience AZ Spring-Summer 2012

corporate team-building - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

All Work And Go Play – Corporate Team-Building Activities

Corporate team-building activities abound from Old West hootenanny’s to serene red-rock settings to zipping around a race track

Great teamwork builds business faster than any technology. And as we slowly emerge from the Great Recession, corporate team-building activities are making a comeback.

Spending on business group travel and activities increased nearly 8 percent in 2011, according to the Global Business Travel Association, and it is expected to rise again in 2012.

If you’re looking for places to take employees for some team building and brainstorming time, the Valley offers a full menu of opportunities.

Here are a few:

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort
The Fairmont Resort has much to offer for corporate outings with its Fairmont Signature Series. Packages in the series include Tequila 101 & Competition, Mimosas & Crepes, DC Ranch Cycling and the Ultimate Western Experience. During the Ultimate Western Experience, participants do a little of everything — from 4×4 excursions and pistol shooting to bow and arrow shooting and horseback riding. Just tie in a team-building platform, and everyone is ready to go.

Loews Ventana, Tucson
Loews Ventana Canyon offers the ideal setting for an Old West-themed, Tucson-style party. Your group can enjoy the night sky and the sounds of a saloon, or ride the mechanical bull until dinner is served. This is a guaranteed great time with a throwback to the Old West right down the interstate in Tucson.

Enchantment, Sedona
At Enchantment in Sedona, you can reward colleagues with a program designed to improve wellness that will pump them up. Enchantment also offers exploration expeditions for strengthening problem solving methods. Participants can expect all of this along with the great scenery, amenities and the beautiful red rocks of Sedona.

Bondurant Raceway
If your fellow office employees have the need for speed, Bondurant Raceway is the place to race off to. The ProKart Enduro package is specifically designed for team building; it starts with a ground school, followed by an open practice session to get comfortable with the track. Then, teams can get together for a few minutes to determine strategy for race time.

Bucca Di Beppo
The spirit of Italian culture in the room makes an outing at Bucca Di Beppo a festive and fun one. With dishes served family style and endless Italian options, there is something for everyone, including banquet packages available for groups of 20 or more, different menu options and themed dining rooms within which to enjoy dinner.

Mesa Arts Center
Searching for more of a theatrical outing for your company? Then search no further than the Mesa Arts Center. It has ongoing shows, offering a 10 percent discount on ticket prices for groups of 20-49 and a 15 percent discount for 50 or more. With upcoming shows such as “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “Rock of Ages” and “Ragtime,” a toe-tapping time is guaranteed and will have the office singing show tunes the next day.

Musical Instrument Museum
Enjoy sounds other than office noise at the Musical Instrument Museum. With more than 5,000 musical instruments and musical history from around the world, there will be no awkward silences. Guided tours can last up to about an hour with an overview of the world’s music. Guided tours are free with just cost of admission, which is $15. Don’t miss the opportunity to listen to music you may have never known existed.

Talking Stick Resort
Talking Stick Resort is the place to really let all that hard work pay off with a night out with fellow employees. With endless entertainment activities of which to take advantage, including entertainers such as Jay Leno and Smokey Robinson in the Salt River Ballroom or endless gaming action in the casino, there is something for everybody’s liking. Reward your employees, and make it a TSR night; experience Scottsdale like never before.

Red Rock Balloon Adventures
Fly away on a Red Rock Balloon Adventure in Sedona, and see the sights in a whole new way. Start off with a morning drive to the location, watch the sunset during liftoff and, before you know it, you will get to witness the glorious red rocks, wildlife and much more that Sedona has to offer in a calm balloon ride. When you land, a commemorative picnic awaits. This isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s an adventure that’s will be talked about at the water cooler in the office for the next couple of weeks. Get ready for a magical getaway.

Phoenix International Raceway
Rev up your office mates by letting them enjoy the NASCAR experience at PIR. Not only will they get to see great races, they will also enjoy great food and drink, games and good company. With basic seating to high-end luxury seating available, Phoenix International Raceway will fit the needs of your corporate outing, and, as a result, they will never want to leave.

Granite Creek Vineyards
Looking for more of a peaceful, laid back setting for employees? Then Granite Creek Vineyards is bliss. Granite Creek offers Block Six Catering that custom designs each menu to the party’s desires — even a menu specifically designed to be paired with a Granite Creek Wine selection. So take it easy with a glass a wine, and escape if only for a day.

Grand Canyon Railway
Arizona companies can enjoy the Grand Canyon Railway with fellow employees by qualifying for a discount of 20 percent on train rides and 10 percent off packages. What better way to escape the office and view the great sights of the Grand Canyon with coworkers than on the Grand Canyon Railway.

iPic Theaters
iPic Theaters in Scottsdale offers a discount for employees who work at the Scottsdale Quarter. Members also enjoy perks, such as discounted pricing Monday-Thursdays, and every Tuesday, members get discounted pricing on drinks and food. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Make your corporate outing a memorable one at Fleming’s. Fleming’s can custom design your night out with either a choice of three different set of menus or build one that everyone can enjoy. Or, enjoy a wine tasting with small plates. Either way, you’ll forget about all office work with this night out at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.

Phoenix Zoo
You think your office is a jungle? Then enjoy a fun outing with “real” animals at the Phoenix Zoo. The Phoenix Zoo offers full-catered company picnics along with team building activities outdoors. With discount admission from $18 to $12 for adults, the Phoenix Zoo offers a one-of-a kind adventure for your corporate outing, and animal company at the same time.

Pink Jeep Tours
What better way to take in the beautiful sights of Sedona than with a Pink Jeep Tour. Pink Jeep Tours offers a discount of 20 percent off for groups of 12 or more. Groups can customize their tours by including a BBQ cookout or box lunches, team building activities, scavenger hunts and more.

Taliesin West
Discover the masterpiece Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built in 1937. Tours can be custom designed for prearranged groups. With a group of 15 or more, take a 1 1/2-hour tour along with additional options, such as renting out space in the evenings, to take in the night sky with a catered dinner. Have your coworkers experience Frank Lloyd Wright’s personal home in the beautiful Sonoran desert.

Just take your group north of Tucson, and there you will find Biosphere2, a one-of-a-kind location where your coworkers learn more about the future of the planet as it unfolds right in Tucson. For groups of about 20-30, take part in a 2 1/2-hour private tour, leading your group all through Biosphere2.

Throw on your best cowboy boots, and saddle up because Rawhide offers a new program that provides Arizona companies’ employees with a discount on attractions and at the Steakhouse. Companies can enroll and employees can receive 2-for-1 attraction town passes and 10 percent off in the Steakhouse. So come and experience this unique Western town like you were back in the 1880s. Yee-haw!

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

Grand Canyon Railway

All Aboard The Grand Canyon Railway! [PHOTOS]

All aboard the Grand Canyon Railway!

Visitors from all over the world come to Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon, whether it be via flight, road trip or bus ride.

But one of the most calming, scenic ways to get the Grand Canyon is the Grand Canyon Railway — a two-and-a-half to three hour ride through the mountains and plains with musical performances, games, trivia, folklore and history, and surprises along the way — including an old-fashioned shoot out and train robbery!

According to the Grand Canyon Railway’s website, each train engine and each train car has been restored to its original state by the staff.

Once we all made it to the Grand Canyon we were free to roam the area for about three hours before we had to be back on the train. This gave us all plenty of time to soak in the sights and really enjoy the whole experience.

If you’re interested in going, here are the rates:

 Coach ClassAdults: $75.00 | Children: $45.00 First ClassAdults: $140.00 | Children: $110.00
Observation DomeAdults: $170.00 Luxury Parlor ClassAdults: $190.00

Check out these photos from this very family-friendly tour as well as my stroll at the Grand Canyon:

Grand Canyon Railway

For more information about the Grand Canyon Railway, visit thetrain.com.


Grand Canyon Railway, Arizona

An Afternoon Riding On The Grand Canyon Railway

I officially have one item checked off my “see the seven wonders of the world” list.

Six more to go.

For anyone living in Arizona, it’s pretty common to make at least one trip to the Grand Canyon. However, not everyone is lucky enough to take an entertaining train ride from the town of Williams, right up to this awe-inspiring mass of land.

A calming ride via the Grand Canyon Railway through open plains and forested mountains left me relaxed and ready to see what the Grand Canyon had to offer. Along the way there were musical performances and trivia games to keep the passengers entertained.

Once we all made it to the Grand Canyon, we were free to roam the area for about three hours before we had to be back on the train. This gave us all plenty of time to soak in the sights and really enjoy the whole experience.

[slickr-flickr tag=”GrandCanyonRailway” items=”20″ type=”galleria” id=”62045641@N08″]

The Grand Canyon National Park makes a great day trip.

Northern Arizona Day Trips

Want to get away, but don’t have the time to plan a vacation? Then a short, fun day trip is the perfect option. Check out this list of northern Arizona attractions to plan a great day trip.

  • Aravaipa Canyon
    BLM Safford Field Office: 711 14th Ave., Safford
    Home to unique plant and fish communities, mountain lions and bighorn sheep, the canyon is protected by the Nature Conservancy and is a federal wilderness area. Historic sites left from thousands of years ago still exist, so visitors should respect any archaelogical sites and artifacts.

  • Canyon de Chelly
    Cultural resources of Canyon de Chelly include architecture, artifacts and rock imagery.

  • Grand Canyon National Park and Monument
    Grand Canyon
    One of the Seven Wonders of the World and one of the most popular attractions in the nation.

  • Grand Canyon Railway
    233 N. Grand Canyon Blvd., Williams
    800-THE-TRAIN (843-8724)
    Following tracks constructed 100 years ago, the Railway offers four classes of daily train service between Williams and the Grand Canyon. Covering 65 miles of high desert plains, small arroyos and portions of the world’s largest Ponderosa pine forest.

  • Hon-Dah Resort & Casino
    777 Hwy. 260, Pinetop
    Play indoors while in the White Mountains area at Hon-Dah Resort-Casino. This casino has 600 of the newest slot machines, Blackjack, poker, dining and accommodations are offered. The Indian Pine Restaurant, located in the casino, offers a full-service menu with a variety of tasty selections. From wood-fired pizzas to gourmet dinner entrees, there is something for everyone.

  • Lake Havasu
    314 London Bridge Rd., Lake Havasu City
    800-2- HAVASU (242-8278)
    Home to the world-famous London Bridge, Lake Havasu offers more than 400 miles of stunning coastline that is perfect for watersports, fishing, skiing, houseboating, camping, golfing and hiking.

  • London Bridge
    314 London Bridge Rd., Lake Havasu City
    800-2-HAVASU (242-8278)
    In 1962, the 130-year-old London Bridge was discovered to be sinking into the Thames. In 1968, the bridge was put up for auction and Robert P. McCulloch was the winning bidder. He spent $7 million to move the bridge to Lake Havasu City, which took three years.

  • Montezuma Castle
    Camp Verde
    A multistoried, 20-room ancient Indian cliff dwelling built more than six centuries ago.

  • Out of Africa
    3505 Camp Verde Bridgeport Hwy., Camp Verdea
    Call us wild! Call us crazy! Just don’t call us a zoo. At Out of Africa, you get a different view of wildlife. Here, exotic animals roam in spacious habitats, so you can see their natural behavior up-close. And, with exciting shows like Tiger Splash and the Predator Feed, Out of Africa is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Painted Desert/Petrified Forest
    One Park Rd., Petrified Forest
    A 160 million-year-old prehistoric flood plain. The largest and most colorful find of petrified wood in the world.

  • Payson
    303 N. Beeline Hwy., Payson
    Considered the Festival Capital of Arizona and situated in the world’s largest group of Ponderosa pines.

  • Red Rock State Park
    4050 Red Rock Loop Rd., Sedona
    Arizona’s famous Oak Creek meanders through this scenic park, creating a diverse riparian habitat abounding with plants and wildlife.

  • Sedona
    331 Forest Rd., Sedona
    Surrounded by magnificent Red Rock formations, Sedona offers the best in accommodations, dining and shopping. Visitors come here for outdoor activities/adventures and top-notch galleries and arts.

  • Slide Rock State Park
    6871 N. Hwy. 89A, Sedona
    The park is named after the famous Slide Rock, a stretch of slippery creek bottom adjacent to the homestead. Open every day.

  • Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
    Wupatki Loop Rd., Flagstaff
    A once-active volcano, the crater is located 12 miles north of Flagstaff on Sunset Crater off Wupatki Loop Road.

  • Tonto National Monument
    Shallow caves overlooking the Tonto Basin in southeastern Arizona shelter masonry dwellings nearly 700 years old, which were home to the prehistoric Salado people.

  • Verde Canyon Railroad
    300 N. Broadway Clarkdale
    Offering one of the most beautiful views of Arizona you’ll ever see. Take a picnic or splurge for first-class cars with appetizers and drinks. However you go, this four-hour train ride takes you through a piece of “natural Arizona” that will take your breath away.