Grand Canyon visitors

The Grand Canyon is about 6 million years old — relatively young in geologic terms.

Arizona's national parks scene goes way beyond the Grand Canyon and Saguaro National Park. 

Actually, the state has 22 national park sites. That includes parks, monuments, memorials and recreation areas. And you can meet rangers, scientists and representatives from all of them at the Arizona National Parks Festival at Reid Park on Sunday. 

The festival includes national-park-themed crafts and games for kids (make your own petroglyph, play cactus cornhole, etc.) and a day of cultural entertainment including Native American performers and storytellers. 

At the coffee-with-a-scientist booth you (or your tiny scientist-to-be) can pick the brains of national park botanists, hydrologists or archaeologists. 

Plus, food trucks. 

The festival grew out of a similar celebration in Flagstaff in 2016 for the park service's centennial. It seemed only fair for Southern Arizona to play host next, says Sharlot Hart, an archaeologist with the park service.

"Some of our parks are so close," she says. "Here in Tucson we have Saguaro (National Park), but others like Casa Grande Ruins (National Monument) and Chiricahua (National Monument) are really good day trips." 


If you go

What: Arizona National Parks Festival

When: Sunday, Oct. 28, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Cost: Free

More info: Go here