Smithsonian Journeys Experts

Wayne Ranney

photo of Wayne Ranney

Wayne Ranney is a geologist and writer who is a veteran of expedition travel, having journeyed to and lectured on all of Earth’s seven continents. He is the recipient of the 2018 American Association of Petroleum Geologists “Geosciences in the Media Award” and has received other national and regional honors for his writing, lectures, blog postings, and expeditionary guiding. His foreign and domestic travels have taken him to South America (Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, and the Amazon), Australia and New Zealand, the Polar regions (Antarctica, Iceland, and Greenland), and desert landscapes in Africa, Asia, the Atacama, and the American Southwest.

With a lifelong interest in the earth sciences, Wayne specializes in making the fascinating story of our planet come alive for fellow travelers. He was elected to the Explorers Club and has visited more than 85 countries. Wayne is a retired professor of geology who lives in Flagstaff, Arizona near his beloved Grand Canyon. He is passionate about sharing his vast knowledge of earth history with others in an easy-going and informal style, yet he is a well-respected author of numerous award-winning books and articles. He enjoys languages, hiking, river running, photography, conversation, and anything that allows him to get outdoors with others in seeing the varied and interesting landscapes of our beautiful planet.

What Our Travelers Say

Wayne was exceptional! His knowledge of geology and his lecture manner made for a fun and entertaining learning opportunity. His presence made a big difference on our journey.

- Previous Smithsonian Journeys Traveler

Super addition to the tour!

- Previous Smithsonian Journeys Traveler

Wayne was very personable and helpful; his lectures were excellent -- interesting and easy to understand with strong visuals. He clearly prepares and makes sure that his lectures are up to date and accessible for all participants. He also was skilled at getting conversations going over dinner and took time to connect with all participants.

- Previous Smithsonian Journeys Traveler

Wayne was with us on all activities, not just for lectures. He had dinner nightly with different members of our group. He was funny and enthusiastic. His lectures were concise and informative.

- Previous Smithsonian Journeys Traveler

Upcoming Tours

Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon

10 days | Starting at: $4,195
Oct 6, 2021 - Oct 15, 2021
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Antarctica: The White Continent

11 days | Starting at: $9,830
Jan 22, 2022 - Feb 1, 2022

Aboard the 264-guest L’Austral
Tour Details ››

Alaska's Natural Wonders

11 days | Starting at: $7,097
Aug 30, 2022 - Sep 9, 2022
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