Red Rock Country

The small town of Sedona is set right in the middle of Red Rock Country. Everywhere you look you are surrounded by magnificent views.

Red Rock Country

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by cindylou11157 on February 4, 2006

The highlight of visiting Sedona is seeing the red rock that surrounds the area. Everywhere you look, you see towering rock formations that change color as the sun moves. We did one Jeep tour, Broken Arrow, which we were told was the most popular. The tour was 2 hours of rough riding in unspoiled rock formations. After that we took a drive up to Oak Creek Canyon on Highway 89A, which was voted one of the most breathtaking drives by National Geographic. This switchback takes you past some of the most spectacular rock formations. In the summer you can take your family to Slide Rock National Park and slide down the rocks that make a natural slide. At the summit you will see awesome views of the canyon and the creek winding below. Next we took a drive on Highway 179 to Chapel Road. This is another place of awesome views of the red rock--with a twist. A church is built right into the rocks.

Like to shop and eat? Sedona is known for its art, shopping, and restaurants. Up and down Highway 89A and 179 are shopping areas with great restaurants, boutiques, and galleries. Most restaurants have magnificent views overlooking the red rock while you dine.

After seeing the natural wonders of Sedona, we took a day trip up to another natural wonder---the Grand Canyon. Only 2 hours north of Sedona, this trip was worth taking. We visited the south and east rims. It is like you are looking at National Geographic. You really do not grasp its size. I think you need to go down into the canyon. I definitely would like to come back to take the mule ride into the canyon.

Our last day was the main reason we came out to Arizona. We had a chance to play with baby tigers. Out of Africa Wild Animal Park, located in Camp Verde, about a half-hour south of Sedona, is a refuge for exotic animals. They have baby tigers, rarities, so we did not want to miss this opportunity. We had 15 minutes of playtime with Harmony and Harvest, two 15-week-old tigers weighing about 50 pounds each. It was an unforgettable experience. The fee to do this goes towards feeding the animals at the park. ${QuickSuggestions} Plan on hiking. You need to purchase a Red Rock Pass. The pass must be displayed on the windshield of the vehicle. You can purchase these passes here:
·Red Rock Ranger District, (928) 282-4119, P.O. Box 20429, Sedona, AZ 86339
·South Gateway Visitor Center, call (928) 284-5324 for directions, Village of Oak Creek
·Sedona Oak Creek Chamber of Commerce, 331 Forest Rd., Sedona, AZ 86336
·Oak Creek Canyon Visitor Center at Indian Gardens, on Highway 89a
·North Gateway Visitor Center, Oak Creek Vista, overlook at top of switchbacks, overlooking Oak Creek Canyon
·Peaks Ranger District, 5075 N. Highway 89, Flagstaff
·Mormon Lake Ranger District, 4373 S. Lake Mary Road, Flagstaff
·Verde Ranger District, 300 E. Hwy. 260, Camp Verde, AZ
Passes are also sold at many grocery stores, service stations, retail stores, and resorts.
Price of a pass:
Daily Pass $5 (1 calendar day)
Weekly Pass $15 (7 consecutive days
Annual Pass $20 (12 consecutive months)
Sedona is considered high desert. The temperature changes rapidly. Wear layers and always have bottled water.${BestWay} You will need a car to get there. Sedona is 2 hours north of Phoenix. Depending on were you stay, many shops and restaurants are within walking distance.

Best Western Arroyo Roble Hotel/Creekside Villas

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by cindylou11157 on February 5, 2006

This hotel sits right in the middle of uptown Sedona, surrounded by magnificent views of red rock country. The hotel has a great location, within walking distance to restaurants, art galleries, and shops. The rooms are very nicely furnished, with free Internet access, a hair dryer, a coffeemaker, and an iron. I booked the inexpensive room, which overlooks downtown Sedona. The upgraded rooms have magnificent views of the red rock. Since our stay was short and we would not spend much time in the hotel, we booked the inexpensive room.

The hotel has other amenities, including an indoor and outdoor pool, nautilus room, steam and sauna room, game room, and tennis courts. A continental breakfast is supplied, which was better than most hotels I ever stayed at. The breakfast is held in a large cafeteria with plenty of tables. The continental breakfast has its usual cereal, muffins, juice, coffee, etc., but you can make homemade Belgium waffles. There is an attendant that walks you through the first time you make them. They are as good as any restaurant I ate at--and not bad for free.

I would definitely come back and stay at this hotel. If you have a large family or are traveling with friends, you can book villas. The prices in the off-season are very reasonable. Our room only ran $79 per night and the rooms with the views ran $119 per night. I would defiantly recommend a long stay, because everything is at your fingertips.

Best Western Arroyo Roble Hotel and Creekside Villas
400 North Highway 89A.
Sedona, Arizona, 86336
(928) 2824001

Broken Arrow--Pink Jeep Tours

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by cindylou11157 on February 6, 2006

Pink Jeep Tours has been running tours for over 45 years. The most popular tour is the ultimate Broken Arrow Tour or The Road of No Return. Just a short ride out of town you will see some of the most spectacular Red Rock Cathedrals anywhere. This 2-hour tour is an action-packed ride up and over slippery red rock. You better buckle up or you might be bounce right out of the Jeep. The guide is very informative, explaining how the red rock formed, the vegetation, and animal life. Since it was winter, we did not run into any rattle snakes. For you hikers, this is a hiker’s paradise. The guide informed us about many rescues of hikers getting into situations, like not being able to get back down the jagged rocks, so be careful. A trip to Sedona would not be complete if you did not see this natural wonder. The tour runs about $70. Pink Jeep Tours does offer great discounts if you book more than one tour. You can contact Pink Jeep Tours at (800) 873-3663, or check out their website at
Pink Jeep Tours
204 North State Route 89A
Sedona, Arizona, 86339
(928) 282-5000

Out of Africa Wildlife Park Tiger Playtime

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by cindylou11157 on February 8, 2006

Once in a lifetime, I think so. Something you will definitely never forget. Playing with baby tigers was awesome. My husband surprised me with this trip to Arizona, and our trip ended with me having playtime with two baby tigers. Their names are Harvest and Harmony, two Siberian tigers. What a way to finish off an already perfect vacation.

The tigers were brought in from the preserve in an animal carrier to the playtime area. I could hear them purring. The caregivers opened up the door to the carrier and out came two adorable 15-week old tigers, eager to play, and play they did. I was given a toy, a bottle tied to a string, for the tigers to go after. The caregivers told me this was like a big romper room for the animals. It was just unbelievable to be so close to the cubs. Their eyes are piercing, their fur so soft, and their personalities were fun, fun, fun. I loved just watching the two of them play. They really enjoy each others company. At one point, the caregivers tried to pull them apart to play with the toy but the one had the other by the foot and would not let go. It was like they were stuck together with Velcro. At times I was a little intimidated when they both came charging at me to play. The cubs weigh about 50 pouinds each. Playtime with the tigers ending soon, but you will be able to interact with them in splash time, which is coming in June of 2006. Check out the web at for more information.

If you are in the greater Phoenix area, you must take the 90-minute drive up highway 17 to this park. It is great fun for all ages. Your entry to the park will help feed the animals. Admission is $28 for adults and $20 for children, and I don't think that is a bad price for a day of entertainment. Tiger playtime ran $300 for up to four people in the play area, and the price included admission to the rest of the park. The staff thanked us very much, because this does help keep the park going.

Out of Africa Wildlife Park
Verde Valley Justice Ct. Rd.
Camp Verde, AZ
Hours: Wed-Sun 9:30am to 5pm

Out of Africa Wildlife Park
4020 N. Cherry Rd.
Camp Verde, Arizona, 86322

Out of Africa Wildlife Park

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by cindylou11157 on February 8, 2006

They are called CAREGIVERS, but they are more than that. They are their friends, caretakers, family, and part of their pack. This is the staff at Out of Africa Wildlife Park.

This refuge for exotic animals has no frills, but it has much, much more. The staff is dedicated to saving these animals and making their lives as pleasant as possible.

There are two parts to this park, The Wildlife Preserve and The Serengeti Safari. First we get on board a Mercedes Unimog to take our adventure through the safari. As I was driven through the safari, I realized that this is more than seeing animals. The guide told us stories about each of the animals. One story was about three zebras that are troublemakers and how they had to separate them from the rest of the zebras and a wildebeest. After they put all the troublemakers together with two 20-year-old horses they rescued, everyone lived in harmony. The horses were going to be put down until the staff of "Out of Africa" decided to rescue them. The horses were suffering from seizures until they came to this park. Now the horses will finish out the rest of their lives living in an open natural habitat. Another story was that the ostrich was gored by a sable and is having a speedy recovery. As a matter of fact, he came right up to the unimog to check us out. Each giraffe, zebra, ostrich, and sable, and all the other animals, all have names and stories. These caregivers have a very unique relationship with every creator.

Next we took the wildlife preserve tour. I was very lucky to have Prayeri as our guide. She is one of the founders of this park. I thought I was touched by the stories on the safari tour, but I was even more moved with the preserve. This area mainly has predators or the big cats. Prayeri had a compelling story about each animal; it brought tears to my eyes. I met Eclipse, a black African leopard, and how he survived cancer. The vet suggested putting Eclipse down; Prayeri would not hear of it. The cancer was removed and now he is relaxing on a tree branch just enjoying the day. Soloman, an African lion, was suffering from digestive problems. Prayeri researched his problem on the Internet, came up with something, and now Soloman is cured and on a regular diet. I was amazed how the animals come over when they see Prayeri. Aniko, an artic wolf, acted just like a dog. Prayeri enters the habitat and Aniko jumped up and gave her a big kiss. I enjoyed my visit here ten times more than my visit to The Animal Kingdom in Disney. It might not have all the frills, but this park is like a family of animals living in harmony with humans.
Out of Africa Wildlife Park
4020 N. Cherry Rd.
Camp Verde, Arizona, 86322

Day Trip to the Grand Canyon

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by cindylou11157 on February 11, 2006

We took a tour to the Grand Canyon. We thought this was the best way to see the canyon in a day.

The first stop is the South Rim. There is no wait at the gate, as it is winter. The guide told us that in the summer months you can wait over 1 hour to get to the South Gate. We pull into the parking lot for our first glimpse of the canyon, and I am surprised by the landscape. It is very flat, without many trees. You walk along a path and there it is, the Grand Canyon. The size is astounding. The beauty is magnificent. In this area is the famous Bright Angle Trail. This is the trail where mules take you down into the canyon, or you can hike. At the bottom is Phantom Ranch for those who will stay overnight. No picture can do the canyon justice. You must see it for yourself.

Out next stop was Grand Canyon Village. This historical site was where the first steam engine rolled in with visitors at the Sante Fe Railway Station. You can stay at the famous El Tavor Hotel, where every president has stayed since it was built, except for George W. We had lunch in their main dinning room overlooking the canyon. I could only imagine how beautiful it would look at sunset. Another landmark is the Hopi House, designed by Mary Colter. This building was designed after your typical Pueblo building in the Old Oraibi. The Hopi House now serves as a souvenir shop. A number of other historic buildings are spread over this area: Kolb Studio, Lookout Studio, Red Horse Station, Buckey O’Neil Cabin, and Bright Angel Lodge.

Our final stop at the canyon is the East Rim. Personally, I think this is the most spectacular. This is the only area where you have a great view of the Colorado River. You can climb Lookout Studio. This is another building designed by Mary Colter, the same architect who designed the Hopi House. I think you climb 90 steps to the top to get a magnificent view of the canyon. At the base of the building, check out the souvenir shop and you will see Grandma (Navajo Indian) weaving her blankets. If you plan on taking her picture, please remember to tip her.

Next stop is Cameron. We drove through Painted Desert into Cameron, the Navajo Indian Reservation. About 300,000 Native Americans live on the desolate land. It is very sad to see the very poor living conditions these great people are forced to live with. Some Indians have no running water, so they carry large barrels on the back of their truck and run into town to fill up for the week. Do not miss the museum, filled with great artifacts dating back to the 1800s. The sun is setting and the desert changing into beautiful colors.
Grand Canyon National Park
P.o. Box 129
Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023
(928) 638-7888

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