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21290
Arizona

Exploring the Grand Canyon's North & South Rims With Your Family

Get a unique perspective of the Grand Canyon as you explore the North and South Rims, learn about Native American culture and fly above the Colorado River for a bird’s-eye view!
Rating (5)
Program No. 21290RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
2,149 / ADULT
1,749 / CHILD
Arizona

Exploring the Grand Canyon's North & South Rims With Your Family

Get a unique perspective of the Grand Canyon as you explore the North and South Rims, learn about Native American culture and fly above the Colorado River for a bird’s-eye view!
Length
7 days
Starts at
2,149 / ADULT
1,749 / CHILD
Length
7 days
Rating (5)
Starts at
2,149 / ADULT
1,749 / CHILD
Program No. 21290RJ

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Age 9 - 18
ROOMING OPTION PRICING
The figures below indicate the rooming options available.
DATES
Jun 11 - Jun 17, 2023
Per Adult
2,149
Per Child
1,749
Select
Itinerary Note

While lodging at Grand Canyon's South and North Rims, enjoy activities associated with the annual Grand Canyon Star Party. Take a 'constellation tour' and peer through multiple telescopes to look at planets, the Milky Way and other celestial bodies while enjoying some of Arizona's darkest skies.

+ More
Jun 11 - Jun 17, 2023
2,149
/ Adult
1,749
/ Child
2,149
/ Adult
1,749
/ Child
2,449
/ Adult
1,749
/ Child
Select Date
Itinerary Note

While lodging at Grand Canyon's South and North Rims, enjoy activities associated with the annual Grand Canyon Star Party. Take a 'constellation tour' and peer through multiple telescopes to look at planets, the Milky Way and other celestial bodies while enjoying some of Arizona's darkest skies.

+ More
Jul 9 - Jul 15, 2023
Per Adult
2,149
Per Child
1,749
Select
Jul 9 - Jul 15, 2023
2,149
/ Adult
1,749
/ Child
2,149
/ Adult
1,749
/ Child
2,449
/ Adult
1,749
/ Child
Select Date
Jul 23 - Jul 29, 2023
Per Adult
2,149
Per Child
1,749
Select
Jul 23 - Jul 29, 2023
2,149
/ Adult
1,749
/ Child
2,149
/ Adult
1,749
/ Child
2,449
/ Adult
1,749
/ Child
Select Date

At a Glance

The Grand Canyon is way too big to take home with you, but on this once-in-a-lifetime family adventure, you’ll create indelible memories so that a little piece of the canyon stays with you forever. Join a Grand Canyon expert to discover the geology, natural history and Native American heritage of this world wonder. Enjoy walks and hikes to beautiful view points, marvel at a sunset. Ride a 4x4 jeep through Sedona’s magnificent red-rock country and so much more as you learn from park rangers about what this treasure means to America.
Activity Level
Outdoor: No Sweat
Walk 1-2 miles daily over varied terrain. Riding jeep on dirt roads, sand and slick rock. Elevations up to 8,000 feet.
Family Programs
Family Programs
Share your love of learning with your family. These programs are designed for any combination of generations: grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and children.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Climb aboard one of Sedona’s famed “Pink Jeeps” to explore red-rock canyons and dramatic scenic vistas not accessible to most visitors.
  • Take a thrilling narrated flight high above the Grand Canyon in a fixed-wing aircraft, enjoying bird's-eye views of the Colorado River and inner canyon.
  • Take a refreshing dip in a quiet eddy of the Colorado River in Marble Canyon; see fantastical mushroom rocks and learn about the area’s colorful human history.

General Notes

This is a Family Program for participants, their adult children and grandchildren ages 9 and up.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Jennifer Beltz
Jennifer Beltz is a former interpretive park ranger at Phantom Ranch, located in Grand Canyon National Park. She has worked as a naturalist and national park ranger throughout the United States, was co-coordinator of a Road Scholar service program that built a health clinic in Brazil, and has worked on many intergenerational programs. Jennifer has lectured in the Department of Geography and Public Planning at Northern Arizona University and has led programs for Road Scholar since 1992.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Jennifer Beltz
Jennifer Beltz View biography
Jennifer Beltz is a former interpretive park ranger at Phantom Ranch, located in Grand Canyon National Park. She has worked as a naturalist and national park ranger throughout the United States, was co-coordinator of a Road Scholar service program that built a health clinic in Brazil, and has worked on many intergenerational programs. Jennifer has lectured in the Department of Geography and Public Planning at Northern Arizona University and has led programs for Road Scholar since 1992.
Profile Image of Kristin Hooten
Kristin Hooten View biography
Kristin Hooten has spent the majority of her life in the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona. She earned a bachelor's degree in Parks and Recreation Management with an emphasis in Outdoor Education and Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Kristin has worked in the outdoor industry in different capacities and enjoys her ongoing education with the surrounding region. When not in the office or field, she is found enjoying the great outdoors either on a paddleboard or in her camper.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Carving Grand Canyon: Evidence, Theories, and Mystery
by Ranney, Wayne
Ranney explains how rivers in general can physically carve canyons, looks chronologically at the numerous theories that have been presented by successive generations of geologists regarding the Grand Canyon's formation, and describes a plausible sequence of geologic events that could create such a landscape. Numerous color photographs, detailed illustrations, and maps are provided. Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR 160pp; 2nd edition 2012.
Field Guide to the Grand Canyon
by Whitney, Stephen R
This book describes and illustrates the area's plants and animals, and offers fascinating in-depth information on the natural history and geology of this dramatic region. 272pp
The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons
by Powell, John Wesley
Full text of Powell's 1,000-mile expedition down the fabled Colorado in 1869. Superb account of terrain, geology, vegetation, Indians, famine, mutiny, treacherous rapids, mighty canyons. 240 illustrations. 432pp
Roadside Geology of Arizona
by Chronic, Halka
The 18th printing of this book in the Roadside Geology Series offers a mini-course in geology, focusing on what can be seen from Arizona highways. Although written especially for those with little or no geologic training, there's plenty here for the professional geologist as well--a great introduction to Arizona and its past. Geologic terms are defined where first used and again in the glossary. Inside the front cover is a legend to geological symbols and abbreviations commonly used by geologists. 321pp
Living at the Edge: Explorers, Exploiters, and Settlers of the Grand Canyon Region
by Anderson, Michael F
A comprehensive look at the pioneer history of the Grand Canyon Region, from its earliest residents to the creation of the national park at the end of the pioneer era (circa 1920). Included are close to two hundred historic photographs, many never published before, and 12 custom maps of the region. 184pp
The Emerald Mile
by Fedarko, Kevin
Amazon review: From one of Outside magazine’s “Literary All-Stars” comes the thrilling true tale of the fastest boat ride ever, down the entire length of the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon, during the legendary flood of 1983.<br><br>In the spring of 1983, massive flooding along the length of the Colorado River confronted a team of engineers at the Glen Canyon Dam with an unprecedented emergency that may have resulted in the most catastrophic dam failure in history. In the midst of this crisis, the decision to launch a small wooden dory named “The Emerald Mile” at the head of the Grand Canyon, just fifteen miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam, seemed not just odd, but downright suicidal.<br><br>The Emerald Mile, at one time slated to be destroyed, was rescued and brought back to life by Kenton Grua, the man at the oars, who intended to use this flood as a kind of hydraulic sling-shot. The goal was to nail the all-time record for the fastest boat ever propelled—by oar, by motor, or by the grace of God himself—down the entire length of the Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry to Lake Mead. Did he survive? Just barely. Now, this remarkable, epic feat unfolds here, in The Emerald Mile.
Introduction to Grand Canyon Geology
by Price, L Greer
This overview of Grand Canyon geology is perfect for the first-time visitor or the seasoned Grand Canyon traveler. Chapters cover the basic priciples of geology, the history of geological exploration at Grand Canyon, the canyon's structural features, and the Colorado River. Includes over 70 photos and illustrations, an index, and glossary. 63pp
An Introduction to Grand Canyon Prehistory
by Coder, Christopher M.
People have inhabited Grand Canyon for the past twelve thousand years. Evidence of their lives exists throughout the canyon; but it is up to their ancestors and archaeologists to interpret those remains for us. This book provides a popular look at the architecture, art, and tools of prehistoric Puebloan peoples, as well as information about modern-day Native American tribes. With illustrations and color photographs.
The Man Who Walked Through Time: The Story of the First Trip Afoot Through the Grand Canyon
by Fletcher, Colin
The remarkable classic of nature writing by the first man ever to have walked the entire length of the Grand Canyon. 256pp
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7 days
6 nights
16 meals
6 B 5 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Phoenix & The Valley of the Sun
D
Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix/Tempe ASU Area

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: Anytime between 4:30 – 5:15 p.m., come over to the Road Scholar desk, located in a hotel meeting room, to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have plated meals with soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Transportation will be provided by a combination of passenger vans and motorcoach, unless otherwise noted. Some activities en route will require family members to work together. This is a Road Scholar Family program. Adults are responsible for their children. If/when separate age group activities are conducted concurrently, program staff will supervise. Children are never to be left unsupervised. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
2
Sedona 4x4 Field Trip, Grand Canyon National Park
South Rim, Grand Canyon, Arizona
B,L,D
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Driving approx. 230 miles total; about 5 hours, with stops; approx. half morning/half afternoon. Climbing in/out of 4x4s; assistance provided as needed; bumpy roads; seat belts required. Some short walks over packed dirt and rocky terrain to attractions. Walking up to 2 miles total throughout the day; rocky, sandy, uneven terrain; elevation of 4,500 feet. Walking short distances and periods of standing; up to 2 hours on our feet; paved paths along the South Rim of Grand Canyon (7,000 feet).

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy an extensive buffet breakfast with many choices of hot and cold items; coffee, tea, milk, juice, water available.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll transfer to Sedona and see how the Arizona landscape changes as we travel from the Sonoran desert, with its famous saguaro cactus, up to the high elevations of the Colorado Plateau region. Our Group Leader naturalist will point out the differences in plants and geography as we travel. Upon arrival in Sedona, we’ll climb into our 4x4 vehicles by drivers who are also well-versed in the geology, flora, fauna, and pre-historic details of the region, then head off on our open-air 4x4 adventure to an off-the-beaten-path location in the beautiful red rocks of Sedona. Expect some sections of road where there may be jostling in the vehicle as the driver navigates dirt roads, sandy washes, and/or slick rock. Vehicles are very comfortable, seat up to 7 people, and have grab bars to hold on to with every seat. There will be some short walks from our vehicles as we visit viewpoints, historic attractions, or archaeological sites.

Lunch: At a Sedona restaurant, we’ll choose plated meals from a menu of entrees with kid-friendly selections available. Beverages include soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll then travel through scenic Oak Creek Canyon on our way to the Grand Canyon. Travelling past the San Francisco Peaks Volcanic Field in Flagstaff and the site of Arizona's highest point, Humphreys Peak at an elevation of 12,633 feet, the afternoon will find us arriving at the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park and the brink of the world-famous chasm. After briefly viewing this world wonder, we’ll check in to the hotel. If you've never experienced it before, get ready for a thrill! Through activities together over the next few days, our expert leader will help us to understand this world wonder. Can you see the North Rim Lodge from the South Rim? See if you can find it! In a few days we’ll be standing there, 1,000 feet higher, and looking back towards the South Rim.

Dinner: At the lodge cafeteria, we’ll use vouchers to select plated meals from a variety of entrée choices, as well as a choice of beverages. Coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase at your own cost.

Evening: Depending on sunset time, we’ll rendezvous either before or after dinner for a shuttle transfer to Mather Point for a Grand Canyon sunset! Mather Point will offer late evening shadows, light in the canyon, and sweeping rim views. Following the sunset, we’ll transfer to our lodging. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure.

DAY
3
Grand Canyon South Rim Village & Trail, Overflight
South Rim, Grand Canyon, Arizona
B,L
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Walking approx. 2 miles total throughout the day; wide, dirt and paved trails; elevation of about 7,000 feet along the rim with no more than a 500 foot change over 1/2 mile. Drive approx. 14 miles roundtrip to Grand Canyon's airport; about 1/2 hour total, for a scenic flight over Grand Canyon of approx. 45 minutes. Fly in a dual engine "Vistaliner" aircraft, comfortably seating 19.

Breakfast: At the lodge restaurant, we’ll have plated meals featuring a variety of selections to choose from, including eggs, pancakes, breakfast meats, oatmeal, fresh fruit, and yogurt, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll set out from the hotel for a walking field trip through the historic Grand Canyon Village with our Group Leader naturalist. During our walk along the rim, we’ll learn about the formation of this world wonder and its "layer cake of stone," as well as see famous village area landmarks including the Kolb Brothers Photo Studio and the buildings of Fred Harvey designer Mary Jane Colter - including the Bright Angel Lodge, Lookout Studio, and the Hopi House. To the east, we’ll also visit the El Tovar Hotel, one of the great lodges in the National Park system. A discussion on free time options and activities for the upcoming afternoon will be included. Next, we’ll walk down part of the famous Bright Angel Trail before lunch for those wishing to participate in this short but steep hike.

Lunch: At the Maswik café a short walk from the historic village near the Bright Angel Trailhead and Hermit's Rest shuttle interchange, we’ll use vouchers to choose from a selection of plated meals sure to satisfy every palate. An entrée, soup or salad, dessert and beverage are included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Then we’ll drive to the Grand Canyon airport to weigh in and then board a 19-passenger, fixed-wing plane for a thrilling flight over the Grand Canyon. The size of the canyon is immense and, while hiking into the canyon and standing on its rim gives great perspective, the overflight will amaze you. After returning from the flight, the remainder of the afternoon is free for independent exploration the South Rim and environs. Using the park pocket guide and map, choose from a variety of activities and viewpoints. The historic Grand Canyon Village, Hermit's Rest West Rim shuttle, Yavapai Point, bike rentals, and rim walks are all popular activities. The free park shuttle allows anyone to access various points on the South Rim. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: Afterwards we’ll meet up and walk or take the free park shuttle, depending on personal preference, to a nearby site for a National Park Service ranger presentation. All topics will relate to Grand Canyon themes, change nightly, and are kid friendly. Depending on the weather, it may be inside or outside in the dark, so prepare by bringing a flashlight and a jacket. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Desert View, Raft Trip on the Colorado River
Page, AZ
B,L,D
Courtyard Page at Lake Powell

Activity note: Driving approx. 140 miles; about 2.5 hours, with stops for field trips. Morning drive of approx. 20 miles to East Rim and Desert View; about 1/2 hour. Walking approx. Climb the fabled Watchtower, paved pathways; raft trip requires some agility to get in and out of boats, assistance available; sandy and uneven terrain at Colorado River to access petroglyph panels. Walking approx. 1.5 miles throughout day.

Breakfast: Lodge restaurant buffet.

Morning: Once checked out of the lodge, we’ll begin an epic day by loading the vehicles and continuing our journey along the Grand Canyon's East Rim. Upon arrival, our Group Leader will lead us to the rim where we’ll marvel at the amazing canyon views at Desert View, which has some of the best vistas of the Colorado River and is the location of the famous Watchtower designed by Mary Jane Colter. Climb the Watchtower on your own – can you find the petroglyphs built into the tower? Next, we’ll exit the park and enter the western edge of the Navajo Reservation. Your group leader will share with you a bit about Navajo Culture as we travel through the Reservation en route to Page ,AZ. Upon arrival into Page, we will stop at the raft companies headquarters to check in. Then, we’ll descend via the rafting company’s bus through the dam tunnel and down to the base of the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. We’ll have a safety orientation after meeting our boatmen, then board our rafts.

Lunch: Sack lunch.

Afternoon: As we float downstream through Glen Canyon watch the walls of the Canyon rise above us. Keep watch for golden eagles, California condors – North America's largest flying bird – hawks, and turkey vultures. We’ll stop along the way and take a short walk led by our boatmen to see the amazing petroglyphs, estimated to be approximately 1,000 years old. We may even catch sight of a chuckwalla lizard sunning itself nearby. Before reboarding the rafts for our spectacular trip around Horseshoe Bend, we may wish to jump into the 48 degree water of the Colorado River! After rounding Horseshoe Bend, we’ll wind up at Lee's Ferry where the Grand Canyon officially begins. As we finish up our journey, we may see other boatmen readying their rafts for their exciting trips through the Grand Canyon and its many rapids. Board the bus and return to Page where we will check into our hotel at 5:00 PM

Dinner: Buffet dinner at the Page Courtyard.

Evening: We’ll then gather for a secret "Kids Only" activity led by our Group Leaders! Shhhhh! While the kids are engaged, the adults may wish to relax poolside.

DAY
5
Horseshoe Bend, Grand Canyon N. Rim, Bright Angel Overlook.
North Rim, Grand Canyon
B,L,D
North Rim Lodge

Activity note: Driving approx. 125 miles; about 2.5 hours, with stops. throughout the day; maximum elevation of approx. 8,800 feet. Optional walking of up to 3 miles total throughout day, both paved and unpaved trails.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will start our morning with a field trip to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook Trailhead. This 1.5 mile roundtrip hike goes up and over a small hill to the edge of a thousand-foot cliff looking down on a meander of the Colorado River in a section of Glen Canyon that we float the prior day. Then it’s on to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon along the base of the Vermilion Cliffs, rising up onto the cool verdant Kaibab Plateau with its spruce, fir, and aspen forest. We will point out the area along the cliffs where the California Condors are released. Waking up in the hotel only a short distance from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, you may wish to see sunrise on your own, if you decide to get up that early! Following breakfast, we’ll take a nature walk with a National Park Ranger along the rim and through the ponderosa pine forest not far from the lodge. Mid-morning, we'll travel via motorcoach to Point Imperial, the highest viewpoint in the park at 8,803 feet. While looking out from here after a short walk, our Group Leader naturalist will point out Grand Canyon and regional landmarks, some up to 100 miles away. While here, we’ll enjoy informative commentary relating to the local area.

Lunch: Under the ponderosa pines at Jacob Lake, we’ll enjoy sack lunches including deli-style sandwiches, chips, fresh fruit, and cookie, plus a water jug for refills.

Afternoon: Upon our arrival at Grand Canyon's North Rim, we will take a short hike to the majestic Bright Angel Viewpoint. A far different view than you experienced from the South Rim, the North Rims large conifer forest and deeply eroded side canyons make for a sight to remember. Following our viewpoint hike, get ready and set out for our hike on the Transept Trail led by our Group Leader naturalist. As we travel all along the rim we’ll enjoy views down into and across Grand Canyon, marveling at the steepness and differences from the South Rim. We’ll even see remnants of where early peoples lived on the rim and talk about their lifeways. Alternatively, those who would rather not hike may wish to attend a ranger program or enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the Grand Canyon.

Dinner: In the majestic dining room of the North Rim Lodge with magnificent views through huge picture windows, we’ll enjoy plated meals from a select menu, Kid-friendly choices will be available and non-alcoholic beverage included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Afterwards, we’ll enjoy a presentation given by a National Park Service Ranger in the lodge auditorium. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. With an adult, you may wish to visit some of the amazing viewpoints below the lodge where the canyon's panorama is on all sides and waaaaay below as well. If the sky is clear, you may want to look at the stars and planets from the lodge deck after darkness falls. Be sure to have a flashlight as the night skies at the Grand Canyon are very dark. Can you see the Milky Way? Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Navajo Bridge, Cameron Trading Post, Return to Phoenix
Phoenix & The Valley of the Sun
B,L,D
Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix/Tempe ASU Area

Activity note: Driving approx. 350 miles to Phoenix; about 6 hours, with scenic stops. Walking up to 1 mile throughout the day; paved surfaces.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: After breakfast, we’ll check out of the hotel and begin our transfer back from the Grand Canyon to Phoenix, with a stop at the historic Navajo Bridge. During our stop at the Navajo Bridge, we’ll walk across it to marvel at the 500-foot chasm and the waters of the Colorado River below. Led by our Group Leader, we’ll keep a look out for California condors sunning themselves or perching under the newer adjacent bridge, and we may even spot fishermen down below, giving us a real sense of the immensity of the canyon. Returning to our vehicles, we’ll continue to the historic 1916 Cameron Trading Post where we can see Native American arts and crafts, as well as some ancient dinosaur tracks hidden under the door mat at the gallery!

Lunch: At the Cameron Trading Post, we’ll have plated meals featuring standard lunch menu selections as well as their famous "Navajo Taco" – a light, crispy fry bread loaded with traditional taco toppings. It's a memorable experience! Coffee, iced tea, soft drinks, water included.

Afternoon: After lunch in Cameron, we’ll travel to Flagstaff through the Verde Valley, Cordes Junction, and onward to our Phoenix hotel.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: We’ll then gather for a program wrap-up session with our Group Leaders, including reflections and farewells to new friends of all ages from across the country. It will be a great time to share our memories of the week spent together exploring the Grand Canyon region. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
7
Program Concludes
Departures
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon. The hotel provides free shuttles to Phoenix Sky Harbor airport.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.