If you’re hankering for some of the things a big city can give you, you’ll find it all in Tucson, just 50 miles away. Of course there are restaurants of all kinds and all the resources you might need. But there are also some things that might surprise you, such as…
Old Tucson is both a movie studio and an old west theme park. Many western movies you would recognize (Rio Bravo, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, The Outlaw Jose Wales, Tombstone, many more) were shot on this site.
Old Tucson is open to the public. While there are organized tours, you will enjoy just walking around, visiting the shops, and experiencing periodic shootouts with stunt men being picked off of rooftops. There are several options for a snack or lunch within the park.
SONORA DESERT MUSEUM
A combination zoo and arboretum, featuring animals and plants of the Sonoran desert. If you can catch only one thing in the Tucson area, this might be the one you don’t want to miss. Of special interest is the Raptor Free Flight show.
REID PARK ZOO
This is a special place that you can see in an afternoon. There are over 500 animals, large and small. There is a canteen where you can grab lunch.
SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK
There are two regions for Saguaro National Park, one of the east side of Tucson and one on the west. The park is so named for the giant saguaro cactus, the largest in the country, which is prolific in the park.
The eastern Rincon Mountain section of the park features a loop road that winds among the awe-inspiring desert landscape. The western section lies in the Tucson Mountain District west of Tucson. Both regions have a visitors center with an awe-inspiring movie, in addition to rangers who can advise you on hiking trails and and other features of the park.
PIMA AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM
This is one of the world’s largest privately funded aerospace museums. Here you will see almost 300 aircraft spread over more than 100 acres. You’ll find planes of all types, including an Air Force One that has been retired to the museum.