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Layover Ideas Tucson Airport TUS

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Top 5 Layover Ideas for Tucson Airport

Long layovers can sometimes feel like a drag, but not when you're at Tucson Airport. With a plethora of engaging attractions within reach, your transit time can turn into an exciting mini-adventure. Here are the top 5 layover ideas to explore during your stay:

1. Arizona Historical Society Museum

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Arizona at the Arizona Historical Society Museum. Located near the University of Arizona campus, the museum showcases the evolution of Arizona from the arrival of the first Europeans in 1540 to the Spanish and Mexican periods, and beyond. The museum's branch at Fort Lowell and the Sosa-Carillo-Fremont House offer insights into military and civilian life during the Mexican and territorial periods.

2. Arizona State Museum

Established in 1893, the Arizona State Museum is the oldest anthropological museum in the region. The museum is dedicated to preserving, researching, and interpreting the cultures of the Greater Southwest, including Arizona and northern Mexico. It specializes in materials related to the prehistoric Hohokam, Mogollon and Anasazi cultures, as well as the living American Indian cultures of the area.

3. Center for Creative Photography

Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Center for Creative Photography. Conceived by renowned photographer Ansel Adams, the center houses one of the finest and largest photography collections in the world. The collection includes works by 20th-century American and Mexican artists, with a unique feature that allows the public to view prints of several thousand photographers by reservation.

4. Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium

For a stellar experience, head to the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium. Here, you can gaze at the stars through a 16-inch cassegrain telescope, guided by an expert astronomer. The center also features science exhibits, laser shows, and special events. Reservations are required for nighttime observatory viewing.

5. Pima Air and Space Museum

If you're an aviation enthusiast, the Pima Air and Space Museum is a must-visit. Opened in 1976, the museum has grown to house over 250 aircraft on 80 acres of land. Highlights include the Lockheed Tristar, used by John Kennedy as Air Force One on short flights or flights to small airports. The museum also operates the Titan Missile Museum, with package admissions available to both sites.

Nearby Attractions for an Extended Layover

If you've got anywhere from 12 to 48 hours to spare, consider venturing a bit further from Tucson Airport to explore some of Arizona's iconic attractions. Here are some top picks that are within a reasonable distance from the airport:

1. Saguaro National Park

Experience the beauty of the Sonoran Desert at the Saguaro National Park, home to the nation's largest cacti. The park offers scenic drives and hiking trails that lead to stunning vistas and petroglyphs from ancient cultures. Remember to carry plenty of water and sunscreen as the desert heat can be intense.

2. Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway

Take a drive up the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway, the "sky island" rising 7,000 feet from the desert floor. You'll pass through several life zones, from cactus-studded deserts to pine-forested mountains, offering breathtaking views and a welcome respite from the desert heat.

3. Old Tucson Studios

Step into the Wild West at Old Tucson Studios, a movie studio and theme park where more than 400 Western films have been shot. Enjoy live action stunt shows, musicals, and vintage carousels, or take a guided tour to learn about the history of filmmaking in Tucson.

4. Kartchner Caverns State Park

Explore the underground wonders at Kartchner Caverns State Park. The park offers guided tours of the caverns, featuring stunning stalactites and stalagmites, and a variety of unique minerals and formations. The Discovery Center at the park provides interactive exhibits and displays on cave formation and bat ecology.

5. Tombstone

Visit the historic town of Tombstone, the site of the famous "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral". Take a stagecoach tour of the town, visit the Bird Cage Theatre and Boot Hill Cemetery, or enjoy a reenactment of the legendary gunfight. The town offers a unique glimpse into the history of the Wild West.

Updated on: November 22, 2023