February 14 marks the date that Arizona became an official U.S. state, which means Arizona’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day! To celebrate, here are ten fun facts about the beautiful state of Arizona.
1. Arizona is Turning 112 Years Old
President William Howard Taft admitted Arizona into the union on February 14, 1912, making Arizona the 48th U.S. state and 112 years old as of 2024.
2. Pluto Was Discovered in Arizona
American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered the planetoid Pluto at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona just four days after Arizona’s birthday on February 18, 1930.
3. The Grand Canyon is Older Than the Dinosaurs
The Grand Canyon is a sight to behold with layers of history, but you won’t find any dinosaur fossils preserved in its breathtaking rocks. That’s because the Grand Canyon is older than the dinosaurs. Ancient dinosaur fossils can date back to 1,200 million years ago, while some parts of the Grand Canyon date back over 1.8 billion years.
4. Arizona is the Site of One of the Most Famous Gunfights in the American Old
The gunfight at the O.K. Corral in what is now Tombstone, Arizona is considered to be one of the most famous shootouts in American Old West history. It took place in 1881 following a long-time rivalry between the Earp brothers and five members of the notorious gang, “The Cowboys,” and only lasted 30 seconds.
5. The Arizona State Capitol is Over 100 Years Old
Arizona’s State Capitol building was constructed in 1901, making it over 100 years old. The State Capitol was originally designed by James Riely Gordon whose vision included a copper dome. However, it wasn’t until the capitol building’s renovation in 1975 that Gordon’s copper dome design was realized. The copper dome is made of roughly 1,500 pounds of copper. Today, the original Arizona State Capitol serves as a museum for the public.
6. Arizona Territory Dates Back to the 1800s
President Abraham Lincoln made Arizona a part of U.S. territory in 1863. The U.S. Army Post Campe Verde, which is now known as Fort McDowell, was established at that time and soon developed into the town that is Downtown Phoenix today.
7. Arizona has More Species of Rattlesnakes Than Any Other State
Arizona is known for its desert landscape, which is home to a variety of wildlife, including an abundance of rattlesnakes. In fact, Arizona has more species of rattlesnakes than any other of the 50 U.S. states. There are more than 13 species of rattlesnakes in Arizona, which include the Western Diamondback, the Sidewinder, the Mojave Green, the Tiger, the Prairie and the Black-tailed rattlesnake.
8. Arizona Got Snow in Phoenix
While Phoenix is sought out for its sunny climate, the desert city has seen snow on multiple occasions. The largest snowfalls ever recorded in Phoenix were both just an inch, which took place in 1933 and 1937.
9. Arizona Has the Highest Percentage of Land Allocated to Native Americans
Arizona has the largest percentage of land designated as American Indian territory out of the U.S. states. There are 22 tribes in Arizona, the largest being the Navajo Nation, and roughly 28% of state land is allocated to Native Americans.
10. Arizona is One of the Most Mountainous States in the U.S.
Since Arizona is located in desert terrain, it may come as a surprise that Arizona is one of the most mountainous states in the U.S. Arizona is home to 4,166 named mountains, with the highest point being Humphrey’s Peak at roughly 12,637 feet.