August 20, 2012

Arizona – “The Grand Canyon State”


Arizona map

Just the Facts…


bird – Cactus Wren
flower – Saguaro Cactus Blossom
tree – Yellow Palo Verde
capital – Phoenix
union – 48th on February 14, 1912
population – about 6 1/2 million




The Basics 

Arizona is part of Southwestern America.  It is one of the Four Corner states – the corner of Arizona meets Utah, New Mexico and Colorado in one place!  About 1/4 of all the land in Arizona is reserved for Native American tribes by the federal government.

Northern Arizona is rugged, with forests, steep mountains and deep canyons.  It even has some ski resorts!  Southern Arizona, on the other hand, is dry desert.  The Rio Grande River forms the border between Arizona and Mexico.

There are a few theories as to where the name “Arizona” came from -  some people think that it is named after a Native American word that means “small spring,” and some think it comes from a Spanish phrase that means “arid zone.”


Its Claim to Fame

Northern Arizona is home to one of the greatest wonders of the world – the Grand Canyon!  It was carved by the Colorado River over millions of years.  The Grand Canyon is more than 250 miles long, and some parts of it are more than one mile deep!   The Grand Canyon is considered to be sacred land by the Pueblo people.  Some scientists say that North America’s entire geological history can be seen in the rocks of the Grand Canyon.

Arizona is home to the Sonoran Desert, one of North America’s largest deserts.  It is one of the only places in the world where the Saguaro cactus grows – one of the largest cactus in the world.  It can live to over 150 years old, and grow to be over 70 feet tall.  When it rains, the Saguaro cactus will absorb the rainwater, getting larger and larger.  This water helps the cactus survive until the next rainfall.


What Makes it Tick

Arizona is one of the only states that does not observe daylight savings time.  So, people in Arizona do not “spring ahead” and “fall back” like the rest of us.  As a result, in the winter it is on the same time as its neighbors, but in the summer it is one hour behind its neighbors!

When it first became a state, Arizona depended on agricultural and mining -  including a number of goods that started with the letter “C” – copper, cattle, citrus, and cotton.   People came to Arizona from all over the country to try their hand at mining for gold, silver and copper.  Today, it produces over one-half of America’s copper.


If You Visited

If you visited Arizona, you might take a look at one of the world’s largest meteor crater.  The Barringer Meteor Crater is enormous – over a mile wide and 500 feet deep!  Scientists estimate that a huge meteor hit northern Arizona about 50,000 years ago.  They also estimated that it was traveling over 25,000 miles per hour – that is definitely faster than your dad’s car!

Or, you could stay in Supai, a town at the bottom of the Grand Canyon!  It is the capital for the Havasupai Indian Reservation and close to the famous Havasupai Falls.  The only way to get to Supai is to take a helicopter, hike, or ride a mule along a trail that leads to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  There are no cars in Supai.  And, if you sent your grandparents a postcard from Supai, it would take a long time for them to get it – all mail comes out of Supai by mule!

Or, you might visit the Wild West!  For many years, Arizona was part of the wild frontier, and there are reminders of its wild past everywhere you look!  Arizona was home to a number of ghost towns, gold mines, cowboys and outlaws.  Today, you can visit the Goldfield Ghost Town or the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.  Or, you can try your luck in gold prospecting, using a pan and sifting through the dirt the old fashioned way!


Want to Know More? 

Check our Arizona state scrapbook for an industry map, state symbols and information we received from the Governor and Board of Tourism.

Do you live in Arizona? Or, maybe you have visited Arizona?  We want to hear from you!!  Post a comment at the end of this page.

  • What is your very favorite thing about Arizona?
  • What is your favorite thing to eat?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • What other special or unique facts do you want to share about your home state?

Do you have any photos of Arizona to share? Email them to: Or, post them to our Facebook page:

Our tour includes just a few things that are interesting and special about Arizona.  Visit these websites to learn more: