Tucson Tours & Attractions
THINGS TO DO IN TUCSON
Sabino Canyon: Get a first hand look at the Sonoran Desert by taking the self-guided Desert Nature Trail found at the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center. Afterwards, take a shuttle bus or hike a system of trails into the canyon where you’ll find desert oases and rugged mountains. The shuttle bus driver will discuss the area’s geology and history while winding the bus through the canyon and over rock bridges.
As you ride the shuttle through Sabino Canyon or through nearby Bear Canyon you’ll notice numerous picnic areas. You may get off the shuttle at any of the tram stops and catch a later shuttle. Bring your hiking boots and explore Sabino Canyon on foot to get a true appreciation of this rugged but beautiful area. www.sabinocanyon.com
Kitt Peak National Observatory: The Observatory houses the largest collection of telescopes in the world, 18 in all, plus the second largest working stellar telescope. View the McMath Solar telescope and the Huge Mayall telescope built especially for studies of the sun. Kitt Peak features several visitor galleries for your enjoyment. Within the Observatory 60% of telescope time is given to visiting astronomers from all over the world. www.noao.edu/outreach/kpvc/
Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum: This living museum situated adjacent to Saguaro National Park is one of Tucson’s most loved desert treasures. Noted as “the most distinctive zoo in the United States”, it is a combination zoological park and botanical garden. It’s a delightful place to view and enjoy all the area’s desert wonders - - animal, plant, reptile and insect. Included in the exhibits are a walk-in aviary (with a separate facility for hummingbirds), natural desert gardens, reptile displays and the underground earth sciences center - - a representation of the origin and development of the earth. www.desertmuseum.org
Kartchner Caverns: A visit to this “live” cave is a must! The Park is located in Southeastern Arizona at the base of the Whetstone Mountains. Hidden beneath the majestic Chihuahuan Desert are the seven acres of pristine caverns that have become the focus for this new State Park.
Kartchner is a wet “live” cave. Water percolates from the surface and calcium carbonate features continue to grow in the darkness. From May to mid-September the cave serves as a maternity ward for about 1,000 female Myotis Velifer Bats who roost there.
The Park includes a Discovery Center, gift shop, regional displays, and educational information about the caverns and the surrounding landscape. Other facilities include campgrounds, hiking trails, a shaded dining area, picnic area, vending area, children’s play area, and amphitheater. www.azstateparks.com/Parks/KACA
Pima Air Museum & Titan Missile Site: This combination special interest tour is an aviation lover’s dream. The Pima Air Museum is home of the largest privately owned collection of historical aircraft in the country. View a mock-up of the X-15 and a full scale model of the Wright Brothers’ 1903
Wright Flyer, or step right into the restored Douglas DC-9 used by both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson during their terms. Several pieces of aircraft on display have been loaned from the Smithsonian, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force.
Our tour takes us next to the Titan Missile Site. Originally, eighteen missile sites were located in the Tucson area. All Titan missile sites have been or are in the process of being deactivated. The Tucson Titan missile site is the only one of its kind in the world. It was assigned to the 390th Strategic Missile Wing, headquartered at Davis Monthan Air Force Base from 1963 until July 1984. This site has been preserved as a museum and stands as a tribute to those who maintained peace and freedom with the Titan weapon system. www.pimaair.org
Biosphere II: Located in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Biosphere 2 is the largest man-made, self-sustaining ecosystem ever built. Included within this three-acre, domed complex of steel and glass are seven distinct biomes: desert, marsh, savannah, ocean, rainforest, agriculture and human habitat. Also contained inside Biosphere 2 are over 4,000 species of insects, plants and animals carefully selected to sustain one another within the sealed system. www.b2science.org
San Xavier Mission: Twelve miles south of Tucson stands Mission San Xavier del Bac, a remarkable church which has been maintained to look much as it did in 1797. What you will see is a view into the Spanish/Mexican baroque world. Life as it was then is forever captured in the frozen gestures of the saints, the drama of the paintings, and the broken outlines of the architectural detail. The saints, the Holy Family, angels, symbolic plants, animals, and objects, and even the famous cat and mouse on the facade, all create the impression that they have been brought together from their different places for a purpose.
San Xavier is still being used for the purpose for which it was built, as a Catholic Church serving the Tohono O’odham villagers who live around it. It is still served by the Franciscan Friars, members of the same order that built it in the 1790’s. Mass is offered daily and on Sundays there is a service in Spanish. The church recently opened a museum devoted to the native people of Bac, mission architecture and religious artifacts. 3 hour event. www.sanxaviermission.org
POPULAR LOCAL EVENTS
Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase (Gem Show)
February 1-16, 2014
La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros Tucson Rodeo
February 15-23, 2014
World Golf Championships
Accenture Match Play Championship
February 17-24 2014
Fourth Avenue Street Fair
March 21-23, 2014
December 12-14, 2014
Tucson Meet Yourself
October 10-12, 2014
Dia de Los Muertos / All Souls Procession
November 1-2, 2014
El Tour de Tucson
November 22, 2014