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More to Do While in Tucson

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Joined: 13 Jul 2003
Posts: 194
Location: Huntsville, Alabama USA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 08:08    Post subject: More to Do While in Tucson Reply with quote

Tim and Kathy McDaid have suggested the following non-aviation activities for those visiting during the AEHS 2017 Convention.

The Tucson Botanical Gardens is like a garden island right in town. At the time of the convention, their butterfly exhibit will be open along with all their year-round displays. This can be a half-day activity, although it would be easy to spend more time. The small cafe features a small but tasty variety of local foods.

The DeGrazia Gallery In The Sun is a museum dedicated to the work of the late local artist Ted DeGrazia. His works are largely western themed with some religious and local historical themes. This can also be covered well in a half day.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a large, mostly outdoor, display of the great variety of animals and plants in the Southwest. There are also multiple indoor exhibits, an art gallery, a gift shop, and a cafeteria. A good visit would take at least a half day and could be extended to several days -- lots of walking.

Practically next door to the Desert Museum is Old Tucson, a very touristy old-west movie set town that has been used in dozens of western movies. A decent visit there is about a half-day activity.

A very scenic outdoor drive is available near the convention site at Saguaro National Park East. There is a visitor center with some interesting displays and a scenic drive that includes many places to stop to admire the scenery or have a picnic.
Saguaro National Park West is northwest of town with a bigger visitor center, a short walking trail, and a more rugged dirt-road scenic drive. The Desert Museum and Old Tucson are located next to Saguaro National Park West.

Near Saguaro National Park East is Colossal Cave Mountain Park. A small cave complex with an interesting history which would be less than a half-day visit, easily integrated with a visit to Saguaro National Park East.

The Mission San Xavier del Bac is a Spanish mission over 300 years old that is still an active Catholic Church. The architecture is very interesting and the inside is loaded with old artwork. To one side of the church proper there is a small museum describing the early Spanish presence in the area including the travels of Father Kino, the monk who founded this and many more missions in the Southwest. There is also video running continuously in a back room describing ongoing restoration activities. This is another local trip that can be covered in a half day or longer if desired.

Tubac is a small town south of Tucson with a big artist community and multiple art galleries and historical sites.

Farther away, to the southeast of town is Kartchner Caverns, a cave complex only discovered a few decades ago. A very interesting underground tour.

Beyond Kartchner Caverns, is Tombstone, a whole town with a similar flavor to Old Tucson, but with some genuine wild-west history, including the Earps, Doc Holliday, the Clanton brothers, and their famous gunfight at the OK Corral (still there). We have covered both Kartchner Caverns and Tombstone in a longish one-day outing from our house which is probably 20-30 miles farther away than the convention site is.

Biosphere 2 is a bit of a trip northeast of town, but a very interesting place to visitt.

Kitt Peak National Observatory is also a bit of a hike west of town, but they have a good visitor center and some guided tours. Plus you can just hike around on your own and there are some great views from several vantage points. People who don't like driving in the mountains might not appreciate the last 8-10 miles of the trip.
Kimble D. McCutcheon
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