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Education literally takes a different point of view at Northern Arizona University, due to its silhouette against Flagstaff's San Francisco Peaks. Surrounded by aspen and pine trees in four distinct seasons, students are challenged to better themselves intellectually through an eclectic array of classes and activities. Founded in 1899, NAU lays the groundwork for liberal arts education with opportunities to prepare for a number of specialized professions. Today, nearly 20,000 students embrace the future with their choice of 100 baccalaureate, 40 masters, and eight doctoral degrees. The cultural scene is kept active by various plays, dramas and concerts held at the Studio Theatre in Performing Arts Building. The Cline Assembly Hall in the Cline Library is also frequently used for ceremonies, lectures and talks.
Many travelers are surprised to learn that the largest contiguous Ponderosa Pine forest in North America blankets the mountains of Flagstaff in Northern Arizona. Aromatic treetops brush the endless blue sky just outside of town, but this panoramic portrait is more than just breathtaking scenery for hikers, climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts; it is home to a variety of wildlife, which includes the black bear and American bald eagle. Explore elevations of up to 12,633 feet (3850.5 meters) and watch the flora change from cactus to alpine tundra along the way.
At the foot of Mount Elden, there once lived a civilization which traded as far as Mexico and the California coast. These people were known as the Sinagua. This site was thought to be part of an extensive trading post across the southwest. The remnants of the pueblo can be visited at anytime, however the Arizona Natural History Association, Northern Arizona University and the Coconino National Forest offer guided ones every day. Throughout the year, the archaeological teams educate the public in excavation techniques, artifact identification and other scientific endeavors. Overall, it's a great place for kids to discover the wonders of both natural as well as human history.
The San Francisco Peaks were named after Saint Francis of Assisi in the 17th Century by a group of Franciscan Friars. The peaks are actually a volcanic mountain range consisting of six peaks. The peaks offer a slew of recreational facilities including skiing, hiking, and other winter sports.
About 700,000 years ago, the Lava River Cave came into existence after a volcanic reaction took place. This lava tube is located within the premises of the Coconino National Forest and was discovered in 1915 by local lumbermen. The cave is open to public visitation and attracts several nature lovers throughout the year.