Arizona Learning Vacations

By: Julian Smith

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June 23, 2011

Make your Arizona vacation as educational as it is exciting with these tips for trips that focus on increasing your knowledge while you have fun.

About the author

Julian Smith

Julian Smith

Julian Smith is an award-winning writer, editor and photographer specializing in travel and science. He is the author of four travel guidebooks, and his writing and photography have appeared in Smithsonian, Outside, Wired, National Geographic Traveler, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. He can be reached at

More and more vacationers are looking to come back from their holidays not just tanned and relaxed, but also a little smarter. In Arizona, it’s easy to combine fun in the sun with education on a variety of learning vacations throughout the state. Many have a conservation bent that complements the state’s natural beauty.

Take a Fun and Educational Trip Down the Grand Canyon

The granddaddy of educational trips in Northern Arizona is the Grand Canyon Field Institute, which runs guided overnight trips into the canyon from March through November. Choose from artistic, women-only or hardcore backcountry ventures, among a long list of options. All are led by experts in their respective fields, and safety is always part of the plan. Family-oriented trips take place along the canyon’s rim.

Embark on a Northern Arizona Adventure

The Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff offers two different options for enjoyable instruction. Their Discovery program offers experiences for children from preschoolers to teens on topics including dinosaurs, volcanoes and Native American cultures. They range from half a day to a week long, and most take place on the museum grounds, but many include field trips into the Four Corners area.

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