Mesa Verde it the perfect addition to a 4-corners trip, it's just awesome! There are ancient dwelling scattered all over AZ and UT, but there is nothing else like Mesa Verde. So many little ancient villages to see all in one park. My boys absolutely loved this park.
Challenges : Some of the tours are not for small children. Some require climbing up and down vertical tall ladders.
The area in the photo above is called Cliff Palace, and the boys were able to handle this one no problem. There is only one 20 ft ladder when exiting. I think its the best tour if you have children.
The other 2 most popular are Balcony House and the Long House, which I am told both require climbing up and down taller ladders.
Where to stay: Cortex, CO! It's a great little town with all the modern amenities, stores, and restaurants.
I would not try to make this a half day thing on your way to somewhere else. You will want to stay for this place. You will have to purchase or reserve tours to go see the biggest/best dwelling, so make sure to get the visiting center early to get those scheduled at all your preferred times.
Fees: Besides the entry fee, you will also need to purchase tour tickets to go through the dwellings. All fee Information can be found HERE
Other area's to include on your Trip: Four Corners monument (Tribal Land- $10 fee to park), Forrest Gump Pointe (Free), Mexican Hat Rock (Free), Hoven Weep NM (small fee), Natural Bridge NM (small fee), Gooseneck State Park, and Monument Valley Tribal Park ( Not a US National Park - They will not take a NPS pass - $20 for up to 4 people, $10 each additional).