Meteor Crater - could this be America's worst tourist attraction?
Coconino County, Arizona
Meteor Crater owned by Meteor Crater Enterprises Inc. The ownership should have warned me if a naturally occuring feature is owned by a private enterprise then someone is out to make money big time.
I had been told by friends to include a visit to meteor crater whilst traversing Route 66 and the 10km diversion was no big deal along a paved road as I headed into the wilds of Arizonia.
Signage indicated the presence of livestock so I took care in watching for straying stock not realising it was my wallet that was in financial peril.
I kept an expectant eye out for this giant hole in the ground, as I have a major in Geography I was keen to experience first hand any naturally occuring feature.
What I first saw was an array of modern buildings nestled on the side of what appeared to be a hill, these buildings resembled more Government buildings such as Area 51.
I parked as directed in the upper parking area and made my way inside the building expecting to soon see this feature sure as either a national park or as public view.
Not likely Meteor Crater Enterprises Inc demanded payment of $16 (Seniors $18 normal) by cashier 716 and true to form I was stripped of any individuality and simply became transaction No 2474066 at 13.49.43 Aug 20 2017.
Well I thought a lot of money to see a hole in the ground but boyed by the promise of a guided tour (included in my $16) and the opportunity to view the crater from a number of viewing platforms all included in my admission price.
Arriving at the viewing area I started to walk towards the upper viewing platform. A hand was thrust in front of me and when I excused my self and tried to move up the pathway I was told Ïts closed" I asked well I will go on the guided tour . The reply was short and sharped, It's all closed go to the gift shop. No further explantation was forth coming and conversation was nil.
I immediately left and went back to the front desk and asked the attendant for my money back. I had no intention of paying $16 to visit their gift shop and no should anyone expect to be treated in a non courtsey manner.
The attendant said "with possible forcasts of rain w have closed the outside viewing? Well if it's closed surely I should be entitled to a refund. Again a short reply No refunds. I read my ticket no mention of refunds or no refunds nor did the brochure say no refunds due to closure. Neither did it give any last time of admissions details, seems you can pay your money up to closing time then be asked to leave.
I requested a higher person than the desk attendant and so Faith was called.
Faith, a senior attendant? duly arrived and listened to why I wanted a refund, I even pointed to that admission time on my ticket and it was obivious I had not lingered viewed and then wanted my money back. No was her reply we do not offer refunds. You could go to out theatre and the guides will tell you the story of the crater the same as happens on our guided rim tour.
Our gift shop is still opened. She didnt say so but Subway was still open for purchases and if you did purchase then a free cookie is offered but as we all know Subway is a big supporter of ISIS via the payment of Hal Al fees so I like most loyal citizens would not want to support ISIS.
Faith explained we close when rain approaches to protect our patrons "We have a duty of care". Well seems they forget they also have ä duty of disclosure".
What she didnt tell me but I now know is that Utube has many excellent features on Meteor Crater for free especially the travel blog by Russ (Ruzz) who covers the whole feature from arrivial to leaving in a 9 minute segment.
Well I doubt I was there for 9 minutes
By the time I reached the car park a family parked next to me had only gathered up the kids to see this feature as I arrived back. The mother looked and said "What nothing to see?"I told her the viewing platforms and guided tours were closed so they too like me left at least they still had their money, unlike my rip off experience at Meteor Crater.
I also noted people still paying their admission when I was speaking with Faith and advised her that even then the clerk No 716 was not advising people the facilities were largely closed.
I also advised Faith that I would be publishing my review of Meteor Crater as very adverse and her reply was I will be saying what we do we do for public safety.
I see where they are expanding "facilities for the public" in a $20m upgrade. The vast majority of expenture being on the construction of a Conference centre,guess they are always looking for new ways to increase wealth apart from the Gift Shop, RV Park & Gas Station for both the Ballinger Family (the owners of the land ) and the owners (un named) of The Enterprise despite claiming the property as a "public trust".
Route 66 is unique and does not deserve to be lumped with this greedly money making non disclosure Enterprise so when travelling Route 66 stick on it don't make the 10km diversion to "Hole in the ground