Casa Grande Ruins National Monument preserves an Ancient Sonoran Desert People farming community and "Great House." Junior Ranger program available.
I visited these ruins thinking that they would be really cool. It was kind of interesting, particularly because of my faith. But overall it was one of those, "this is it?" kind of deals. If you are in the area, it might be a fun thing to do, but I wouldn't recommend driving out of your way to visit.
My 4 year old twins and I were on a road trip from Scottsdale to Tucson when I saw the sign for the Casa Grande NM turnoff and I decided that we had to go. I am a National Park Service junkie and never miss an opportunity to expose my children to any of the parks or monuments. Standing next to 700 year old ruins with children who have only been on the planet but a miniscule amount of time is memorable but I do worry that my children didn't quite "get" what they were looking at. The concept of time seems to be lost ont he average toddler. They did understand that it was a very old building and very important and special and did take great care to respect the property. They got a kick out of the touch table filled with samplings of desert inhabitants and really did enjoy the museum portion of the indoor exhibit which featured display on the ancient Hohokam people. I would have really enjoyed one of the ranger lead tours (which seemed to occur hourly on the day we visited) but out of respect of the large group of childless people who had come to hear the talk, I passed. I think we will have to come back in 4 or 5 years and visit again. Since this National Monument is only 15 miles off Interstate 10 as it runs between Phoenix and Tucson, repeat visits are definitely realistic. The site is quite small so I would only allow 1 hour for a visit if you are not taking the ranger tour and 2 hours if you are. Oh- and one other odd note- The 700 year old ruins sit less than a half mile from a very new Walmart. I iwsh the park service could have set aisde a bit more land to keep this important site a bit further away from the retail giant.
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