Overview of Painted Desert Visitor Center
On your visit to Petrified Forest National Park, consider visiting Painted Desert Visitor Center. Painted Desert Visitor Center is not generally crowded with tourists and visitors.
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Hidden gem of a cafe along I-40. Great local food (Navajo tacos, squash soup, vegetarian options) and much better place to stop than all those noisy truck stops. Very reasonable prices for food. Visitor center has some displays for the kids and it's a nice quiet place for a rest stop before getting back on the road or entering the park. Even with no intent of entering the park, this is a better rest stop than almost anything between Flagstaff and Albuquerque. Give it a try.
More fun than a box of bunnies! The rangers were really nice (and chased us down when our debit card was misplaced!!) the road wasn't too crowded even on a holiday. The only thing is that I was kind of bored and THEN we got to all the petrified trees!??! I should have looked at the map more so my expectations were more clear.
Our 10 year old boys loved our visit. We didn't do the long hiker, but they want to come back when the weather is cooler. We were there in July and it was hot. Know that there are no trees to duck under for shade, from the Painted Desert south to the Petrified Forest.
Great Visiter Center! They show a 20 minute film about the Petrified Forest National Park! We bought a self guided tour CD which was very informative. They had a Petrified stamp with drawers of excavated artifacts.
Much more history here than I imaged before we stopped. Very happy we visited.