Tag Archives: Williams


Tickets on sale for Pumpkin Patch Train Ride

There is a pumpkin patch that you can only get to by train, where pumpkins for the picking abound. Activities at the historic Grand Canyon Railway Depot in Williams, Ariz., include a haunted railway car, a hay bale maze, and pumpkin arts and crafts in the Harvest Room.

Reserved tickets are now on sale for this very popular autumn activity aboard the Grand Canyon Railway’s annual Pumpkin Patch Train, which runs every Saturday and Sunday in October.

Trains depart Williams for the 90­‐minute holiday experience at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Prices are $15 for kids ages 2 to 15 and $20 for adults 16 and older. Tickets include one pumpkin per child, along with the activities listed above (hay bale maze, haunted train car, pumpkin decorating and crafts). Upon arrival at the secret patch, kids will have 30 to 45 minutes to pick the perfect pumpkin.

Of course, there also will be pumpkin pie, hot apple cider and hot chocolate at the Depot for an additional cost. Children and adults are encouraged to dress up in their Halloween finest for the ride. Train passenger service attendants and conductors are always dressed up, as well. Pumpkin Patch Train reservations can be made by visiting www.thetrain.com/pumpkin or by calling 1‐800-­THE-­TRAIN (1-800‐843­‐8724). Tickets are also available for purchase at the Depot. For more information about the Grand Canyon Railway or to purchase other tickets or packages, visit www.thetrain.com or call 1-­800‐THE‐TRAIN.

Grand Canyon Railway is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service.

Also taking place in October, the town of Williams will celebrate the Third Annual Alpine Harvest Festival, boasting a pumpkin carving contest, scarecrow judging, barnyard petting zoo, a “Howly, Growly, Owly” guided tour through Bearizona and more. The festival takes place on weekends throughout the town of Williams.

For more information on the Third Annual Alpine Harvest Festival visit www.alpineharvestfestival.com.

pumpkin patch

Polar Express

Tickets to the Polar Express Now on Sale

The mercury may be hitting 100, but those in the know are already booking their reserved tickets on the Polar Express™ presented by the Grand Canyon Railway. From November 7 through January 3, the Railway will run special trains from Williams, Ariz., to the North Pole. Polar Express reservations can be made by calling 1-888-848-3511 or by visiting www.thetrain.com/polarexpress.

The Polar Express is a holiday-themed excursion that follows the storyline of the children’s book written by Chris Van Allsburg. Trains depart Williams at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. for the holiday experience. Prices for most departures are $25 for kids ages 2 to 15 and $39 for adults. Matinee tickets are also offered on select dates at 3:30 p.m. ($20 for children and $34 for adults). The Christmas Eve Limited on December 24 is priced at $69 for adults and $49 for children and includes special mementos.

A family favorite, the experience this year will begin with a new light show at the historic Williams Depot. The magical journey travels through the starlit countryside to the North Pole and features a special reading of “The Polar Express” while passengers enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. The North Pole twinkles with enhanced lighting and showcases storefronts, mailboxes and other structures to give the village a permanent, three-dimensional look and feel.

Upon arrival at the North Pole, passengers are welcomed by Santa Claus and Elf Bernard. Santa then boards the Polar Express for the return trip to Williams, making his way through the passenger cars, greeting every child and presenting each one with a special gift – a jingle bell signifying their belief in Santa Claus.

The Grand Canyon Railway also offers a Polar Express “overnight package,” including the round-trip train excursion, a one-night stay at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and breakfast and dinner at the Grand Depot Café. The starting package price for two adults and two children is $379 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.

For more information about the Grand Canyon Railway or to purchase other tickets or packages, visit www.thetrain.com or call 1-800-The-Train (1-800-843-8724).

School District

Charter School Founder Awarded Global Business Award

Arizona Charter Schools announced that its founder, Raena Janes, was honored with the bronze Stevie Award for Women in Business, for female Entrepreneur of the Year in consumer services for businesses with up to 2,500 employees. The award was announced Nov. 8 in New York City.

Established in 2002, the Stevie Awards mark achievement throughout the world of business. The Women in Business Awards are the world’s premier awards for women executives, entrepreneurs, and the organizations they run. Like the Olympics, the awards given are gold, silver and bronze.

The bronze Stevie is the latest award for Janes, 40, who is founder and director of seven Arizona charter schools: La Paloma Academy, with three Tucson campuses; Heritage Elementary School in Glendale and Williams; and Liberty Traditional Charter School in Phoenix and Douglas.

The award recognizes Janes as an entrepreneur, managing seven schools in five cities, maintaining three charters amid a high failure rate for charter schools in the state, and mentoring staff for consistent culture and quality amid fast expansion.

An active advocate for Arizona education for more than a decade, Janes’ schools balance an academic foundation with programs such as sports, arts and music that are increasingly affected by public school budget cuts. The character-based curriculum ensures that students at Janes’ schools learn the importance of character traits such as trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Proactive, long-term bullying prevention programs were introduced in some of the schools this year.

Each of Janes’ charter schools also incorporates community service.  An active member in several non-profit community organizations, such as Angel Charity for Children, Junior League of Tucson, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross and the Advisory Council for the Arizona Charter School Association, Janes is a strong believer in bringing community service projects to Arizona’s youths.


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.

Northern AZ Weekend Trips - EAZ Fall-Winter 2012

Top 5: Northern AZ Weekend Trips (Fall-Winter 2012)

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


200 W. Railroad Ave.,
Williams, AZ 86046
(800) 863-0546
Dubbed the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon,” the picturesque town of Williams sits at the base of Bill Williams Mountain in one of the largest Ponderosa Pine Forests in the world, and it’s just a mere 60 miles south of the Grand Canyon. Here, you can hop aboard the Grand Canyon Railway; stroll its main street, Route 66; or, visit Bearizona, where you can watch bears up-close.


P.O. Box 1507,
Page, AZ 86040
(888) 261-PAGE (7243)
Page is your destination for hiking, biking, boating and off-road adventure. Have you heard of Horseshoe Bend, the horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River? That’s in Page. How about the the most-visited and most-photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest, Antelope Canyon? That’s here, too. Page is your “Frontier of Adventure.”


One E. Route 66,
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
(800) 842-7293
Welcome to high mountain country, where you can take part in skiing in the winter, watch the flowers bloom in the spring, play rounds of golf in the summer and witness the fall foliage. Breathe in the clean, mountain air as you hike the San Francisco Peaks; or, just a drive away, visit the Grand Canyon National Park, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Wupatki National Monument or Meteor Crater.


Navajo Indian Reservation,
Kayenta, AZ 86033
Just 20 miles south of the Utah border on US 163 is Kayenta, located on the Navajo Reservation. Kayenta is considered the gateway to one of the world’s most photographed landscapes, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, just 30 miles north of the town.


331 Forest Rd.,
Sedona, AZ 86336
(800) 288-7336
The spectacular Oak Creek Canyon. The magnificent red rocks. Vortexes. There is virtually no end to Sedona’s attraction. Hike or bike the red rock trails, including the popular Cathedral Rock; spend a night or two in one of its award-winning resorts and spas, including Enchantment Resort; or come for the weekend for one of the town’s many festivals and events, such as its Yoga Festival. The possibilities are endless.

Experience AZ Fall-Winter 2012