Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Learning Opportunities Abound at Montezuma Castle

We had just a couple of hours left before we needed to head home (well our “home” base for the next few weeks), so we decided to check out Montezuma Castle.  One of my mom’s favorite childhood memories was visiting this impressive site in 1968 - “the building in the side of the mountain build of mud” as she recalled.  After visiting, I can understand why the experience was so memorable and I believe our children will someday tell their grandchildren about it.

The Visitors Center has a small museum with a lot of information on the Sinagua people, and there are informational signs along the 1/3 mile walkway that winds past the ancient ruins.  We took our time and read aloud every sign.  We were surprised by the number of indigenous plants, shrubs, and trees that were in this little oasis in the desert (thanks to Beaver Creek that runs nearby).  

The children enjoyed learning about the many uses of Netleaf Hackberry, Soapberry, Ash, Juniper, Mesquite, Creosote Bush, Catclaw Acacia, and the beautiful Arizona Sycamore.  The main beams of the castle were constructed out of the Arizona Sycamore Trees.

Junior Ranger booklets are available at the front desk for children to fill out.  They even had a version for small children (ages five and under), which our little ones were very excited about.

Montezuma Castle and many other alcoves built into the limestone cliff, were occupied between approximately 1100 and 1400.  Montezuma Castle could have housed approximated 35 people, but it is estimated that 150-200 people made up this creekside community.  It is unknown exactly why the people left.

In 1933, Castle A (Montezuma Castle’s 5-story neighbor) was excavated which uncovered artifacts such as undecorated pottery, fine textiles, and elaborate jewelry, which helped archaeologists understand a lot about the Sinagua people. 

We spent about 2 hours here, but you could spend as little as 15 minutes if you just wanted to pop in and see the castle, or a few more hours of you wanted to sit, relax, and enjoy.  

 If you are looking for RV accommodations close by, I recommend Distant Drums RV Park!  We had a pull-in site and the view out our window was breathtaking.  Sites are paved and level.  Staff was friendly and helpful.  The park was neatly manicured, very clean, and included a fitness center, pool, and jacuzzi (unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate enough for us to enjoy, but the facilities are wonderful nonetheless).  A great place to stay if you are visiting Montezuma, Fort Verde State Park, Cottonwood, Jerome, or Sedona.

For more of our travel adventures, be sure check out our Travel Page and follow us on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures.

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