Former Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, may have already conquered the ultimate career goal when he became the second man to walk on the moon. His thunder may have been stolen the first time around in space, but will soon claim the title of first on earth. On March 20, Aldrin will be the first to lead a walk across the Skywalk, a cantilevered glass semicircular walkway that juts out 70 feet over the Grand Canyon and 4,000 feet above the Colorado River in Arizona.
This $30 million construction made up of over two million pounds of glass and steel will be open to the public on March 28. The Hualapai Indian Tribe is responsible for this amitious project which when completed will include a 6,000-square-foot visitors center, with a museum, a movie theater, a gift shop and several restaurants.
The Hualapai Tribe has about 2,000 residents that live on the million acres of land they own on the western rim of the canyon. The reservation, 242 miles east of Grand Canyon National Park, which has 4.1 million visitors a year, had fewer than 300,000 visitors last year, 90 percent of them from helicopter and airplane package tours and ground tours. This new attraction is hopeful to render their unemployment rate that reaches up to 70 percent in the off season.
Besides the skywalk, visitors will also be able to visit Grand Canyon West’s Indian Village, with authentic dwellings built by five tribes; the Hualapai Market, where local artisans demonstrate their crafts; and the Ranch, a Western town with wagon and horseback rides along the canyon’s rim. Tickets cost $25 for the skywalk in addition to the Grand Canyon West entry fee.