Top Recommended Layover Activities:
1. Arizona Historical Society Museum
949 East 2nd Streeet, Tucson, AZ 85719 · 520-628-5774
The Arizona Historical Society's museum is adjacent to the University of Arizona campus. It offers information about the development of Arizona from the first arrival of Europeans in 1540 through the times under Spain and Mexico, to territorial Arizona in the 1800s and beyond. Branch museums at Fort Lowell on the east side, and at the Sosa-Carillo-Fremont House in the Convention Center complex give looks at military and civilian life during the Mexican and territorial periods.
2. Arizona State Museum
1013 E University Blvd, University Of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 · 520-621-6281
Since 1893, the Arizona State Museum has been collecting, preserving, researching and interpreting the cultures of the Greater Southwest, including Arizona and northern Mexico. It is the oldest anthropological museum in the region, and was one of the very first departments at the University of Arizona, where it is still located. Specializing in materials relating to the prehistoric Hohokam, Mogollon and Anasazi cultures, as well as the living American Indian cultures of the area.
3. Center for Creative Photography
1030 North Olive Rd, University Of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0103 · 520-621-7968
A major addition to the arts complex at the University of Arizona, the Center for Creative Photography was conceived by Ansel Adams and is now the chief repository for his work. The photograph collection of the Center is one of the finest and largest in the world, with more than 60,000 photographs. Although the collection's main strength is photography by 20th-century American and Mexican artists, the Center holds significant collections of 19th and 20th century photography from around the world. In addition to Ansel Adams, the Center also contains the works of Richard Avedon, Edward Weston, and Louise Dahl-Wolfe. A unique feature of the Center is print viewing. The public can view up to three boxes of prints of several thousand photographers by calling for reservations.
4. Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium
1601 E University Blvd, University Of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 · 520-621-4515
Stop by about an hour after sunset to view the heavens through the 16-inch cassegrain telescope. An expert astronomer/telescope operator is always on hand to direct your attention to planets, galaxies, star clusters or to answer any questions you may have. In addition to the observatory, Flandrau also has science exhibits, laser shows, and special events. Children under the age of three are not permitted in the planetarium. Reservations are required for observatory (nighttime) viewing.
5. Pima Air and Space Museum
600 East Valencia Rd, Tucson, AZ 85706 · 520-574-0462
Aviation buffs, this one's for you. The Museum opened to the public in May, 1976, with 75 aircraft on display. Since then the collection has grown to over 250 aircraft occupying 80 acres of land. The entire museum property covers about 150 acres. One plane of interest is the Lockheed Tristar, used by John Kennedy as Air Force One on short flights or flights to small airports. This museum also operates the Titan Missile Museum. Package admissions to both sites are available.
Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions:
1. La Fiesta de los Vaqueros - Tucson Rodeo
4823 S 6th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85714 · 520-741-2233
This annual event is one of the largest rodeos in the country. Held over the course of nine days in February, the event kicks off with a concert and ProRodeo Bull Riding. Perhaps one of the most popular events is the rodeo parade, which winds its way through the downtown area to the delight of kids and adults, locals and visitors. Billed as the longest non-motorized parade in the world, it has horses, costumes, wagons, and riders decked out in costume. The week's events also include calf roping, steer riding, barrel racing and much more.
2. Major League Baseball Spring Training
2500 East Ajo Way, Tucson Electric Park, Tucson, AZ 85713 · 866-672-1343
Tucson is the spring training site for the "Cactus League," which includes the Colorado Rockies, the Chicago Cubs, and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Pre-season baseball is a major Tucson event, drawing many spectators in the late winter and early spring months. The Tucson Sidewinders, the local affiliate, plays at Electric Park throughout the spring and summer.
3. Reid Park Zoo
1100 South Randall Way, Tucson, AZ 85716 · 520-791-3204
This well-planned, 17-acre zoo features all of your zoo favorites, including polar bears, jaguars, ostriches and much more. The Aviary exhibit, with its array of birds, is a popular destination, as is the South American exhibit. With more than 500 rare animals, the zoo is active in helping endangered species such as Siberian tigers and ruffed lemurs.
4. Sabino Canyon
5900 N Sabino Canyon Rd, Tucson, AZ 85750 · 520-749-2861
Situated on the northeast edge of town in the Catalina Mountains, Sabino Canyon is a popular year-round spot for walking and picnicking because it doesn't require a hike into the mountains. Should you feel the urge to hike, however, there are several miles of trails, abundant wildlife, and breathtaking views to enjoy. A shuttle bus travels the 3.8 miles to the head of the canyon, making nine on/off stops along the way. The parking lot is just north of the Sabino Canyon Rd and Sunrise Blvd intersection. Access is also possible on foot, bicycle, horseback, and via public transportation. Call for details.
5. Catalina State Park
11570 North Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85740 · 520 628-5798
About 20 miles north of downtown Tucson, this popular park offers gorgeous desert vistas and plenty of recreational activities that allow you to take in the scenic beauty of the area. Have a picnic at one of more than 100 picnic areas, hike one of numerous well-groomed trials, or participate in a geological dig. Camping, horseback riding, and bird watching are also available.
6. Colossal Cave Mountain Park
16711 E Colossal Cave Rd, PO Box 70, Vail, AZ 85641 · 520-647-7275
This dry cave in the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson offers tours that cover the extensive and colorful history of the cave. This tour is particularly popular during the hot summer months, when the cave maintains its cool temperature of 70 degrees, providing a respite from the desert heat. Try a trail ride on horseback, or visit the museum to learn more about the indigenous wildlife, such as bats and ringtailed cats. A butterfly garden and Desert Tortoise Exhibit round out the offerings. Reservations are suggested for the guided trail rides, which leave from La Posta Quemada Ranch.
7. Saguaro National Park
3693 South Old Spanish Trail, Tucson, AZ 85730 · 520-733-5153
Saguaro National Park is the only place in the world that protects the saguaro cactus, an unofficial Arizona symbol that grows only in the Sonoran Desert. At this park, divided into East and West sections, you can see this well-known plant as well as other types of desert life that have shown resilience in adapting to the harsh, sweltering environment. Enjoy the scenery from the air-conditioned comfort of your car or venture out for a breathtaking hike for an up-close look. A visitor's center and museum can answer any questions or provide additional information and assistance.
8. Tucson Mountain Park
2021 N Kinney Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743
This park offers 20,000 vibrant acres of desert and mountain land. "A" Mountain, named for the large, whitewashed "A" on its peak, overlooks downtown from the west and is easily visible from many parts of town. Enjoy viewing wildlife such as native saguaro cactus as you take to several miles of hiking trails. Excellent city views are afforded along the way. When you reach the top at Gates Pass, settle in the charming stone gazebo and take in a fabulous desert sunset. Horseback riding, picnic areas, and camping are also available.