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Exploring the Grand Canyon with Kids: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide!


FUN WITH KIDS IN LA

The Grand Canyon is a natural wonder that should be on every family's bucket list. The breathtaking views and unique geological formations are sure to leave a lasting impression on both kids and adults. However, visiting the Grand Canyon with kids can be a bit overwhelming if you're not prepared. In this ultimate guide, we'll share all you need to know to have an amazing time with your family at Grand Canyon including helpful tips to make your family's visit to the Grand Canyon as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.


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Exploring the Grand Canyon with Kids: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide!

Best Time to Visit Grand Canyon


The best time to visit the Grand Canyon generally is during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) months. During these months, the weather is mild, making for comfortable temperatures for hiking and exploring the park. The summer months (June to August) can be quite hot, with temperatures often reaching above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a less comfortable time to visit the park. The winter months (December to February) can also be quite cold, with occasional snow and ice, making it a less favorable time for visitors.

During spring, the temperatures are mild, and the crowds are not as heavy as in the summer months. The wildflowers are also in bloom, making for a colorful and beautiful experience.

During fall, the temperatures are cool, and the crowds are smaller than in the summer. The fall foliage is also beautiful, with the changing colors of the trees providing a stunning backdrop to the canyon.

It's worth noting that at higher elevations of the park, such as the North Rim, temperatures can be cooler, and there may be snow even in the summer months. The North Rim is also closed during winter time, so if you're planning to visit North Rim it's best to avoid this time of the year.

Overall, spring and fall are generally considered the best time to visit the Grand Canyon as the temperatures are mild and the crowds are not as heavy.

Best Family-Friendly Spots at Grand Canyon


The best spot for your family to visit at the Grand Canyon will depend on your family's interests and preferences. However, here are some popular options for families:


The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the most popular and accessible area of the park for families. It offers the most amenities and services, such as restaurants, gift shops, and visitor centers. The South Rim is also home to the Bright Angel Trail, a family-friendly hike that offers stunning views of the canyon.

The South Rim is open year-round, and there are plenty of things to do and see. The most popular attraction is the scenic drive along Desert View Drive, which offers panoramic views of the canyon and Colorado River. The drive is open to cars and RVs and it's a great way to experience the park without having to hike. Along the way, there are several overlooks and the Desert View Watchtower, which offers panoramic views of the canyon and Colorado River.

Another popular attraction is the Rim Trail, a paved trail that runs along the South Rim and offers stunning views of the canyon. It's a great option for families with strollers or for those who prefer an easy hike. The Rim Trail is also accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

The South Rim also offers a variety of ranger-led activities and programs, such as guided walks and talks, Junior Ranger programs, and evening campfire programs. These programs are a great way for families to learn more about the park and its history.

To visit the South Rim, the easiest way is to drive to the park. The park has two entrances: the South Entrance and the East Entrance. The South Entrance is located near the town of Tusayan, Arizona and it's the most popular entrance to the park. The East Entrance is located near Cameron, Arizona and it's less crowded than the South Entrance. Once you enter the park, you'll need to pay an entrance fee.

You can also take a bus tour from a number of locations such as Las Vegas, Sedona, Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Williams. It's worth noting that the South Rim can get quite crowded, especially in the summer months, so it's best to plan ahead and make reservations for camping, lodging, and guided tours.

 
 
Exploring the Grand Canyon with Kids: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide!


Desert View is a popular destination at Grand Canyon National Park. It offers stunning views of the canyon and is easily accessible by car. It is located on the South Rim of the canyon, which is open year-round and is the most popular area of the park for visitors.

The Desert View area features a watchtower that offers panoramic views of the canyon and the Colorado River. The watchtower was designed by architect Mary Colter and is modeled after ancient Puebloan towers. Desert View also has a visitor center that provides information about the park and its history, as well as a bookstore and gift shop. There are also picnic areas and restroom facilities available.

To visit Desert View, you can take a drive along Desert View Drive, which runs along the south rim of the canyon and offers several overlooks and viewpoints. You can also take a guided tour or hike along one of the trails in the area. If you plan to visit, it's best to check the park's website for current hours and any restrictions or closures.

It's also important to note that the park can get very crowded during peak season, so it's a good idea to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid crowds.


The Rim Trail at Grand Canyon National Park is a popular and family-friendly option for visitors to explore the park. The trail runs for 13 miles (21 km) along the South Rim of the canyon, from Hermits Rest in the west to the South Kaibab Trailhead in the east. The trail provides easy access to several popular viewpoints, including Bright Angel Lodge, El Tovar Hotel, and the Yavapai Observation Station.

The Rim Trail is a paved, level path that is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. It is mostly wheelchair and stroller accessible, but there are a few sections that may be difficult for wheelchairs or strollers.

The Rim Trail is a great option for families because it offers a variety of experiences and sights. Along the trail, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the canyon, watch for wildlife, and learn about the park's history and geology. There are also several picnic areas, restroom facilities, and visitor centers available along the trail.

To visit the Rim Trail, you can either hike the entire trail or choose to hike one of the sections that interest you. A popular option is to start at the Bright Angel Lodge and hike west to the Hermits Rest, which is about 8 miles round trip.

It's also important to note that the park can get very crowded during peak season, so it's a good idea to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. To stay safe, it's recommended to follow the NPS guidelines and stay on the designated trail and not wander off.



The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is a less-visited, but still family-friendly alternative to the South Rim. The North Rim is located about a 5-hour drive from the South Rim, and it offers a more remote and peaceful experience. The North Rim is open from mid-May to mid-October, due to snowfall and colder temperatures the rest of the year.

The North Rim offers several trails that are suitable for families, including the easy and short Bright Angel Point Trail, which leads to a viewpoint overlooking the canyon, and the Transept Trail, which provides views of the canyon and is about 2 miles long. There is also the longer and more strenuous North Kaibab Trail, which leads to the bottom of the canyon, but it's not recommended for families with young children.

The North Rim also offers a visitor center, a campground, and several picnic areas, as well as a general store, a restaurant, and a lodge.


To visit the North Rim, you can take a scenic drive along the rim, hike one of the trails, or take a guided tour. It's also possible to drive to the North Rim from the South Rim, but it's a long drive, and you will have to take State Route 67, which is a dirt road and can be impassable during bad weather.

It's also important to note that the North Rim is at a higher elevation than the South Rim, and the weather can be cooler and change quickly, so it's important to be prepared for that.

 
 
Exploring the Grand Canyon with Kids: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide!

How long should I spend at the Grand Canyon with kids?


The amount of time you should spend at the Grand Canyon with kids depends on your family's interests and the amount of time you have available. However, generally speaking, a one-day visit to the Grand Canyon with kids is doable, but it might be a bit rushed. A two-day visit would allow for more time to explore and experience the park, while a three-day visit would provide even more opportunities to see different areas of the park and take part in different activities.

If you have a one-day visit, it's important to plan your time carefully and focus on the most popular and accessible areas of the park, such as the South Rim. You can take a shuttle bus to different viewpoints, such as Mather Point, and Yavapai Point. You can also take a short hike on the Rim Trail, which will give you a taste of the park's natural beauty and a chance to spot some wildlife.

A two-day visit will give you more time to explore the park and take part in other activities such as visiting the Desert View Watchtower, Yavapai Museum of Geology, or an IMAX movie. You can also take one of the ranger-led programs, such as a geology talk or a guided hike.

A three-day visit will give you even more time to explore the park, and you can take a day trip to the North Rim, which is less visited and offers a different perspective of the Canyon. You can also plan a guided mule ride or a rafting trip in the Colorado River.

Overall, the best way to plan your visit to the Grand Canyon with kids is to consider their ages and interests to plan your itinerary. And always make sure to bring enough water, snacks and sunscreen.


Exploring the Grand Canyon with Kids: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide!

Places to stay in and near Grand Canyon National Park


Grand Canyon National Park offers a variety of lodging options for families, depending on your budget and preferences. You can also find family-friendly hotels nearby. Here are a few options that are family-friendly:


Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim is a historic lodge located on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The lodge is open from mid-May to mid-October, and it offers a variety of accommodations for families including cabins, motel rooms, and a campground.

The lodge is situated on a high plateau and offers views of the canyon from its main lodge building, as well as from the cabins and the campground. The main lodge building features a large fireplace, a gift shop, a restaurant, and a lounge.

The cabins at the Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim are rustic but comfortable, and they offer amenities such as private bathrooms, heat, and electricity. Some of the cabins have canyon views, while others have views of the surrounding forest.

The campground at the lodge is open from mid-May to mid-October and offers tent sites, as well as RV sites with no hookups. The campground features restrooms with showers, a laundry facility, and a general store.


Yavapai Lodge is a family-friendly accommodation option located on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The lodge is open year-round and offers motel rooms and a campground.

The motel rooms at Yavapai Lodge are basic but comfortable, and they offer amenities such as private bathrooms, air conditioning, and heating. The lodge also features a general store, a laundry facility, and a restaurant.

The campground at Yavapai Lodge is open year-round and offers tent sites, as well as RV sites with no hookups. The campground features restrooms with showers and a laundry facility.

Yavapai Lodge is located close to the park's main visitor center, making it a convenient option for families who want to be close to the park's amenities and activities. It's also a great option for those who want to visit the park year-round, as the South Rim is open all year. However, it's important to note that during peak season the Lodge fills up quickly, so it's best to book in advance.



Phantom Ranch is a rustic, family-friendly accommodation option located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It can only be accessed by hiking, mule, or rafting, and it offers dormitory-style cabins and meals. The Ranch is open year-round, but it's best to book well in advance as it gets fully booked quickly.

Phantom Ranch offers a unique and adventurous experience for families, as it's the only lodging option within the canyon. The cabins are basic but comfortable, and they offer amenities such as bunk beds and shared bathrooms. The Ranch also features a canteen where you can purchase meals, as well as a general store where you can purchase snacks and souvenirs.

The Ranch is located at the bottom of the Bright Angel Trail and the North Kaibab Trail, which are two of the most popular trails for hiking to the bottom of the canyon. There are also guided mule trips available that take visitors to the bottom of the canyon, where you can overnight at Phantom Ranch.

Phantom Ranch is a great option for families who want to experience the canyon in a more remote and rustic way. However, it's important to note that the Ranch is located in a remote area and that the hikes or mule rides to the bottom can be challenging, especially for children. It's also important to note that the Ranch is located in a desert environment, so it's important to be prepared for hot temperatures and limited shade.


Thunderbird Lodge is a family-friendly hotel located at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is designed in a contemporary style with natural touches, making it an ideal accommodation choice for visitors to the canyon. The lodge is located in the heart of the Historic District and is within walking distance of various restaurants, gift shops, the Kolb Studio, the Verkamp’s Visitor Center, and the Bright Angel Trail Head.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the lodge’s location directly on the Rim Trail, which spans from Hermits Rest to the Kaibab Trailhead and is about 12.8 miles long. The lodge is perfect for those who want to explore the canyon and take in the scenic views.

The lodge has ample amenities to make for a memorable stay, and many of its comfortable, modern rooms offer canyon views while others overlook the streets of the Historic Village.


Thunderbird Lodge offers a variety of rooms, many of which have partial canyon views. The rooms are equipped with either one king bed or two queen beds and include amenities such as a full bath, refrigerator, flat-screen television with satellite TV, telephone, hair dryer, coffeemaker, and safe. There are no microwaves in the rooms.


 
 
Exploring the Grand Canyon with Kids: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide!


Trailer Village RV Park is a family-friendly RV park located on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The RV park is open year-round and offers full hook-up RV sites and tent sites.

The RV sites at Trailer Village RV Park offer amenities such as electricity, water, sewer hookups, and a picnic table. The RV park also features a dump station, restrooms with showers, and a laundry facility. The RV park is located close to the park's main visitor center, making it a convenient option for families who want to be close to the park's amenities and activities.

The tent sites at the RV park offer amenities such as picnic tables and fire rings. The RV park also features restrooms with showers and a laundry facility. The RV park is located close to the park's main visitor center, making it a convenient option for families who want to be close to the park's amenities and activities.

Trailer Village RV Park is a great option for families who want to camp in an RV or a tent while being close to the park's amenities and activities. However, it's important to note that during peak season the RV park fills up quickly, so it's best to book in advance. Also, the RV park has no generator service, and no firewood is sold. It's recommended to bring your own firewood if you plan on having campfires.

It's important to note that the lodging options within the park can get fully booked months in advance, especially during peak season, so it's best to plan your trip and book your accommodations well in advance.



The Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn is a family-friendly hotel located in Tusayan, Arizona, which is about 8 miles south of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The hotel offers a variety of room options, including standard rooms, family rooms, and suites. The hotel is designed to provide comfortable accommodations for families visiting the Grand Canyon.

One of the main draws of the Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn is its location in Tusayan, Arizona, which is very close to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, making it easy for families to explore the park and take in the views. The hotel is also near the IMAX Theater, which offers a film about the Grand Canyon, and the Tusayan Museum, which has information on the park's history.

The hotel features an indoor pool and hot tub, which is a great way for families to relax after a day of sightseeing. The hotel also has a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs.

The hotel rooms are comfortable and well-appointed, with amenities such as cable TV, free Wi-Fi, and private bathrooms. Family rooms and suites are also available, which offer additional space and bedding options for families.

In addition, the hotel has an outdoor pool and an indoor pool. The hotel staff is also known for being friendly and helpful, and they can assist with planning activities or providing information about the park and the surrounding area.

Overall, the Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn is a great option for families looking for comfortable accommodations near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.



The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon is a 3 diamond hotel located near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. The hotel is designed to resemble a chalet and features a mix of rustic and modern design. The hotel has been recently renovated and offers comfortable and modern guestrooms, which are equipped with all the amenities that travelers desire.

The hotel has an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub, which guests can access free of charge. There's also a fitness center available to all guests. The hotel is a smoke-free environment which means that smoking is not allowed inside the hotel or in the guest rooms.

The hotel is conveniently located just one mile from the south entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, making it easy for guests to explore the park and take in the scenic views of the South Rim. Guests also receive a complimentary South Rim Walking Tour Brochure which they can use as a guide while exploring the park.



The North Rim Grand Canyon Kaibab Lodge offers a unique and rustic experience for visitors looking to explore the natural beauty of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Located in the heart of the North Kaibab National Forest, the lodge is just five miles from the entrance to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

The Kaibab Lodge is open seasonally from May 15th to November 5th, and sits at an elevation of 8,770 feet above sea level, providing a cool respite from the surrounding desert heat. The lodge offers a quiet and peaceful atmosphere, perfect for those looking to get away from it all and enjoy the natural surroundings.

The lodge is rich in history and charm, featuring an old stone fireplace, a souvenir shop, and a variety of wildlife that can be seen in the area, including deer, wild turkey, and the unique Kaibab squirrel.

Recently under new ownership, the Kaibab Lodge is undergoing renovations and expanding their offerings, including the construction of 10 new log cabins that can accommodate up to 8 people, perfect for groups or small families.


 
 
Exploring the Grand Canyon with Kids: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide!


El Tovar Hotel is located at 1 El Tovar Road, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023, and is situated on the rim of the Grand Canyon. It is a historic hotel that was built in 1905, and is considered a National Historic Landmark. The hotel is known for its rustic architecture, and it offers spectacular views of the Grand Canyon.

The hotel offers a variety of room options, including standard rooms, deluxe rooms, and suites. Many of the rooms offer views of the canyon, and some of the suites have balconies or porches. The hotel also offers rollaway beds for extra sleeping space, making it a great option for families.

El Tovar Hotel offers a range of amenities for guests, including a restaurant, a lounge, and a gift shop. The hotel also has a heated outdoor pool and a sauna. The hotel is easily accessible by the National Park Service free park shuttles, making it easy for families to explore the park.

The hotel's location on the rim of the Grand Canyon makes it an ideal base for visitors looking to explore the park. The hotel is within walking distance of the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, the Bright Angel Trailhead, and the Kolb Studio, which is a historic photography studio.

Overall, El Tovar Hotel is a great option for families looking for a comfortable and convenient base to explore the Grand Canyon. The hotel's location, amenities, and room options make it an ideal choice for families.



The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is a family-friendly hotel located in Williams, Arizona, which is about 60 miles south of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The hotel offers a variety of room options, including standard rooms, family rooms, and suites. The hotel is designed to reflect the historic charm of the Grand Canyon Railway and it offers a variety of amenities for families.

One of the main draws of the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is its location in the heart of Williams, Arizona. The hotel is within walking distance of the town's main street, which offers a variety of restaurants, shops, and activities for families. The hotel is also located near the Williams Depot, where the historic Grand Canyon Railway departs from. This train ride is considered a fun and unique way to reach the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, where visitors can explore the park and take in the views.

The hotel features an indoor pool and hot tub, which is a great way for families to relax after a day of sightseeing. The hotel also has a restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner, as well as a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs.

The hotel rooms are comfortable and well-appointed, with amenities such as cable TV, free Wi-Fi, and private bathrooms. Family rooms and suites are also available, which offer additional space and bedding options for families.

Overall, the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is a great option for families looking for comfortable accommodations in a central location near the Grand Canyon. The hotel offers a variety of amenities and activities for families, and the historic charm of the Grand Canyon Railway makes it a unique and memorable experience for the whole family.

These are some popular options for families looking to stay near the Grand Canyon, but there are also many other options available, including camping, RV parks, and vacation rentals. It is recommended to check the websites or call the places for availability, and pricing. It's also a good idea to book well in advance, especially during peak season.


Exploring the Grand Canyon with Kids: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide!

Where to Eat


If you're looking for family-friendly places to eat at or near Grand Canyon, here are some options:

  • Bright Angel Lodge Dining Room - This restaurant offers a buffet breakfast and a la carte lunch and dinner options with a western flair. It's located in the historic Bright Angel Lodge and it's suitable for families looking for a casual dining experience.


  • Maswik Lodge Food Court - This food court offers a variety of fast food options, including burgers, sandwiches, and pizzas. It's a great option for families looking for a quick and affordable meal.


  • Yavapai Lodge Restaurant - This restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and offers a casual dining experience with a variety of options to choose from. It's a great option for families looking for a casual meal with a good view.


  • Desert View Trading Post - This trading post offers a small selection of snacks and drinks and is a perfect option for a quick bite while exploring the park.


  • Market Plaza Deli - This deli is located in the Market Plaza and offers sandwiches, salads, and other deli-style items. This is a good option for families looking for a quick and casual bite.


  • El Tovar Dining Room: El Tovar Dining Room is a historic restaurant located within the El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon. It offers a variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options in a casual and elegant setting. The restaurant has large windows that offer views of the canyon and the surrounding landscape.


  • The Grand Canyon Lodge Dining Room: This restaurant is located at the North Rim and offers a casual dining experience with a variety of options to choose from. It's a great option for families looking for a casual meal with a good view.


  • Bright Angel Lodge Dining Room: This restaurant is located in the historic Bright Angel Lodge and offers a buffet breakfast and a la carte lunch and dinner options with a western flair. It's a great option for families looking for a casual dining experience.


  • The Arizona Steakhouse: This restaurant is located in the historic Thunderbird Lodge, and it serves American cuisine with a Southwestern twist. The restaurant has a casual atmosphere and beautiful views of the canyon.


 
 
Exploring the Grand Canyon with Kids: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide!

The best family-friendly tours to take at Grand Canyon


There are several family-friendly tours to take at the Grand Canyon:

  • Rim Tour: This is a bus tour that takes you along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and stops at various viewpoints for photo opportunities. It is a great option for families with young children as it is a comfortable and easy way to see the canyon.


  • Mule Rides: For families with older children, mule rides offer a unique way to experience the Grand Canyon. These guided rides take you along the rim of the canyon and offer stunning views.


  • Guided Hikes: There are several guided hikes that are suitable for families, such as the Bright Angel Trail and the South Kaibab Trail. These hikes offer a more active way to see the canyon and give families a chance to explore the park together.


  • Helicopter Tour: If your family is looking for an exciting and unique way to see the Grand Canyon, a helicopter tour may be the perfect option. These tours offer breathtaking views of the canyon and the surrounding landscape.


  • River Rafting: For families looking for a more adventurous experience, river rafting trips on the Colorado River are available from April to October.


It's highly recommended to check the safety measures and age restrictions for each tour before making the decision.


 
 
Exploring the Grand Canyon with Kids: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide!

Tips for your family trip to Grand Canyon

Before your trip


  • Research the different areas of the Grand Canyon and decide on the best spot for your family.


  • Make sure to book your accommodations in advance, as the Grand Canyon is a popular destination and lodging can fill up quickly.


  • Plan your activities in advance. There are a variety of ranger-led programs and hikes available, so it's a good idea to decide what you want to do before you arrive.


During your trip

  • Start your day early. Not only will you avoid the crowds, but the early morning light is the best time to take pictures of the Grand Canyon.


  • Pack snacks and water. The Grand Canyon is a large park and you'll be doing a lot of walking, so it's important to stay hydrated and nourished.


  • Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers. The Grand Canyon can get hot during the day, but it can also get chilly in the evening.


  • Use the restroom before you start your hike. There are restrooms at the trailheads, but they can get crowded.


  • Keep an eye on your children at all times. The Grand Canyon is a large park with steep cliffs and drop-offs, so it's important to keep a close eye on your kids to ensure their safety.


  • Make sure to take breaks and have fun! The Grand Canyon is a beautiful place and it's important to enjoy the experience.


Exploring the Grand Canyon with Kids: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide!

Tips for hiking with kids

  • Choose a trail that is appropriate for your children's age and ability level. There are many easy and family-friendly hikes available at the Grand Canyon.


  • Allow extra time for your hike. Kids tend to move at a slower pace and may need more time to rest.


  • Bring a backpack with essentials such as sunscreen, snacks, and water.


  • Teach your kids about Leave No Trace principles and encourage them to respect the natural surroundings.


Tips for Photography with kids

  • Use a camera that is easy for your children to use. Many smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras have simple settings that are perfect for kids.


  • Encourage your kids to take their own pictures. Not only will they have fun, but they'll also have a great keepsake from the trip.


  • Take advantage of the park's ranger-led photography walks. These walks are a great way to learn new techniques and get great pictures.


Overall, traveling to the Grand Canyon with kids is an unforgettable experience that your family will cherish forever. By doing some research, planning ahead, and following these tips, your family's trip to the Grand Canyon will be a memorable one. Remember to take your time, stay safe, and have fun. Happy exploring!



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Exploring the Grand Canyon with Kids: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide!

 

Angela M. Cantoni - Editor and Founder of FUN WITH KIDS IN LA

FUN WITH KIDS IN LA

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