Foul-weather activities at the Grand Canyon:
Visit the Yavapai Observation Station - HUGE picture window offering spectacular
views of Grand Canyon. Of course, if it’s raining or snowing, there might not be much of a view at all, but they do have a nice bookstore that’s open from 8 AM to 8 PM. This historic building recently underwent a renovation. .
Learn about Grand Canyon art and photography from the early days to modern times at
the Kolb Studio located near the Bright Angel trailhead. The former residence of Ellsworth and Emery Kolb, who were amongst the first to photograph and film the Grand Canyon. The home has been converted to a bookstore and museum, and the auditorium also hosts the annual “Arts for the Parks ” Exhibit at certain times of the year.
Learn about one of Grand Canyon’s early hoteliers at the Fred Harvey Museum.
Located inside Bright Angel Lodge just off the main lobby, you’ll not only learn a lot about Fred Harvey himself, but you’ll also get a kick out of seeing how much a meal cost in 1910, the unique designs of the tea service used in the “Harvey House” dining rooms back in the heyday of train travel, the prim and proper uniforms worn by the now- legendary “Harvey Girls .” The small museum also has a fireplace whose hearth was built from stones representing each rock layer in the Grand Canyon itself.
Shop. Whether you window shop or shop for real, it’s a fun
and educational experience at the Grand Canyon. Many of Grand Canyon South Rim’s gift shops are located inside historic buildings. The Hopi House , a 101-year-old replica of a Hopi pueblo designed by premier female architect Mary Jane Colter , contains one of the park’s finest collections of jewelry, pottery, basketry and rugs made by hand by members of Arizona’s many Native tribes. Hopi House also offers more moderately priced mass-produced product lines. Next door, Verkamp’s (the only independent concessionaire still operating within the park) is another fine curio shop whose atmosphere is reminiscent of an old West trading post. They also offer a mix of mass-produced and hand-made mementos. The showpiece in their main lobby is a huge painting of the Grand Canyon by turn-of-the- century artist Louis Aiken. Verkamp’s celebrated their centennial in 2006, so be sure to pick up commemorative souvenirs when you visit. Across the way from Hopi House and Verkamp’s, the El Tovar Hotel Lobby is not only a nice cozy place to hang out and sip hot coffee, the display case in the center of the room shows the “cream of the crop” of hand-made Native American jewelry. Many pieces are prizewinners at the Inter-tribal Indian Ceremonial , an annual gathering of Native artists in Gallup, New Mexico.
Visit the Canyon View Information Plaza. Located
across from Mather Point, Canyon View is now the park’s official visitor facility. Here you will find informative displays, a large bookstore, and ample restrooms. Because this facility was designed as the terminus for a mass transit system that is not yet operating, you cannot drive to it. Park your car and ride the free shuttle or walk the short trail from Mather Point.