There is more to art than just canvases and paint dollops on pallets. Travel just a bit north of downtown Tucson, and you will find a true art oasis in the form of the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block.
Thanks to numerous events—including lectures from visiting artists and scholars, creative workshops and various family programs—and a diverse research library, the museum has something for every artist and art fan.
The museum also hosts some of Tucson’s most mind-tickling art exhibits. In the past, the museum has shown exhibits like La Estrella de Nacimiento, which provided a glimpse of traditional work from Mexico and Peru.
Surrounding the museum is the Historic Block, which includes five houses built between the 1850s and 1907. Guests can walk through the houses and view items from the museum’s art collection.
The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block combines culture, history, art and creativity to produce one of Tucson’s true cultural gems.Visit tusonmuseumofart.org for more information.
So you wanna be a cowboy? The folks at Old Tucson Studios can help.
Billed as the Hollywood of the Desert, Old Tucson was a filming location for dozens of Western films, including Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and ¡Three Amigos!
John Wayne fans will find plenty of memorabilia from his films that were shot at Old Tucson, and Ronald Reagan aficionados will be enthralled by objects from the movie scenes filmed at the studios during its 1950s heyday.
Much of the studio was destroyed in a 1995 fire, but a speedy renovation was completed less than two years later. The redesign offers more for families—if not for the gun-toting cowboy.
Walk the dusty streets, and step into horse poop or a gunfight. Snap photos with the old timers; wet your whistle at the bar and listen to some cowboy music; or grab some tasty Western barbeque and beans. Climb on a horse, and ride off into the sunset like the good guy, or prove you’re an outlaw with a souvenir "Wanted" poster.
Located about 30 miles north of Tucson, the Biosphere 2 is one of Southern Arizona's most breathtaking attractions. The term "Biosphere" was derived by its founders from the idea that it is modeled after planet Earth—the first biosphere.
Standing at 91 feet at its highest point, the Biosphere 2 is sealed from the earth by a 500-ton steel liner. It was originally built by Edward P. Bass and his Space Biospheres Ventures. During two separate missions in 1991 and 1994, teams were sealed inside of the Biosphere 2 as part of a grand experiment. The facility is now operated by the University of Arizona.
One of best ways to experience Biosphere 2 is the guided tour, which illustrates the importance of these various ecosystems. The biosphere is open every day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saguaro National Park is named after Arizona's most recognizable and beloved cactus. The saguaro can grow up to 50 feet tall and live to be 200 years old, with more than 50 arms. It is only found in the Sonoran Desert.
Saguaro National Park is one key area in which these gigantic plants can be found--and the grounds of the park are not far from Tucson's bustling city streets. In fact, an estimated 1.6 million different saguaro plants thrive on the grounds of the park. There are two park districts, 30 miles apart: The Rincon Mountain District (East) and the Tucson Mountain District (West), with Tucson in the middle.
More than 1,100 species of plants grow in the Rincon Mountain District of the park--from ocotillo in the lower elevations to Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and oak in the higher elevations. The Tucson Mountain District is home to around 500 plant species.
In 1933, the Rincon Mountain District of the park was the first monument named to protect the plant species, and in 1961, more than 15,000 acres of the Tucson Mountain District were added to the monument. In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed a bill making the monument into the 52nd national park in the United States.
The park's two districts offer some 165 miles of hiking trails. The park has a trail for any hiking level, from a small, brief walk to an all-day hiking adventure.