Grand Canyon, AZ Yavapai Observation Station, located on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park near Mather Point, will close after Labor Day so construction crews can begin rehabilitation of the building.
Yavapai Observation Station currently contains temporary exhibits about the fossil record at Grand Canyon and features wonderful views from large panoramic windows. Educational materials about the park and region are sold in the non-profit bookstore operated by the Grand Canyon Association.
Yavapai Observation Station was originally built in 1928 for the purpose of observing and understanding the geology of the Grand Canyon. It is one of the earliest park museums and is of national significance in National Park Service (NPS) architecture and interpretation. The approximately 3,000 square foot building is included on the NPS List of Classified Structures and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. The building is considered eligible for listing as a National Historic Landmark.
In accordance with the Parks 1995 General Management Plan, Yavapai is being returned to a museum that will focus on geology, physiography and related themes.
Rehabilitation of the building will occur in two phases. The first phase will include a new roof, an updated heating and cooling system, sprinklers and other items to enhance public safety, as well as stabilization of the historic structure. The construction phase is expected to be completed by early June of 2006. Once phase one is completed the building will reopen for park visitors to once again view the canyon from its large panoramic windows.
The second phase of this project will include the installation of new interpretive exhibits. The new exhibits and small bookstore are scheduled to be installed in March 2007 in time for the busy summer season.
Once Yavapai closes for rehabilitation, the area will be closed to buses, commercial vehicles, and vehicles over 22 feet in length. When Yavapai reopens in summer 2006, these restrictions will remain in place. With the installation of new interpretive exhibits, the facility will no longer accommodate the large groups associated with commercial tours and buses.
Commercial buses are encouraged to park at Canyon View Information Plaza (CVIP) as the alternative to Yavapai Point. CVIP was constructed to accommodate large groups and offers two large restroom facilities, a Visitor Center staffed by park naturalists, a large bookstore, and is located a short distance from scenic Mather Point.