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Montezuma Castle

You can't just drive by these places, although you can't stop at every historical mark either. We decided that Montezuma Castle was worthy of an O'Dorisio stop.

Montezuma Castle National Monument protects a set of well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings near the town of Camp Verde, Arizona.

Montezuma’s Castle is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings, and a great stop on a tour of some of Arizona’s stranger sites. Compatible with my strange kids:)

Although the history of Montezuma Castle is pretty well documented, considering that nobody wrote down much of anything when it was a hot spot of ancestral civilization, there’s this one thing that sticks out as a case of mistaken identity.

Get this, Montezuma, the great Aztec leader, had nothing to do with the ruins that have his name. Zero, zilch, nada. In fact, he didn't even make it into Arizona. Explorers thought the castle had been built by Aztecs, who left Mexico during the Spanish conquest. Historians determined that neither Montezuma or any of his followers made it this far north.

It's still called, Montezuma Castle National Monument. The structure is well-preserved - as it sits in a cliff about 100 feet above the surrounding valley. Visitors use to be able to climb up and experience the castle hands on. Unfortunately, back in the 1950's some hands took some items and so now you can only look from the ground and up.

We are ok with 'look don't touch! Seems it's been our parenting motto since day one of being parents. We don't 100% agree with it because kids learn best hands on, but in this case we understand completely. Limits are good for people, it helps you with moderation.

Another good thing with this 'look don't touch' rule at the castle, was it allowed us to move on quickly. We have a lot to explore!

Mr. Meatball enjoyed his visit here too - it is the very first time he was allowed into a National Park visitor center! He was able to receive his 'Bark Ranger' certification! We are very proud of him!

We have found that there are few areas where visitors can hike with their dogs. The Bark Ranger program is intended to be a community outreach strategy and method for positive enforcement of pet policy in the park.

To earn a Bark Ranger badge, pets and their human companions must participate in a Bark Ranger program, learn how to hike safely with their pet in the park, and promise to follow the rules of B.A.R.K. - ag your poop, Always wear a leash, Respect wildlife, and Know where you can go.

The Bark Ranger program was piloted in the fall of 2015 in Olympic National Park, and officially launched in 2016!