Friday, August 28, 2020

The Weekly List: Even in a Pandemic, There's (Safe) Fun To Be Had in Tucson

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2020 at 4:37 PM

click to enlarge JEFF GARDNER
  • Jeff Gardner
El Jefe Cat Lounge. El Jefe Cat Lounge opened up last year, but, for obvious reasons, was shut down the past few months. But they just reopened! And if you haven’t been yet, for god’s sake, go check it out and go get some of the serotonin we all need so desperately right now. It’s a beautiful, three-story facility with dozens of kitties that are available to snuggle with, and to adopt! Wear a face mask, observe social distancing with other humans and head on over. Reservations at eljefecatlounge.com are recommended, but not required. 3025 N. Campbell Ave, suite 141. $12/person/hour. Details here.

Taste of the Fair & Drive-In Movie Weekend. Ahh, remember the fair? Remember being in crowds of people, touching door handles and sitting at dirty picnic tables? The cool thing about this weekend is that it has the good parts of the fair without so many of the bad parts: Just visit the five concession stands and pick up some treats, then enjoy them either at spaced out picnic tables or on your own lawn chairs. Entry and admission are free! If you want to stay late and pay $15 per vehicle, check out this week’s drive-in movies too: Friday is Secret Life of Pets 2 (8 p.m. showtime) & The Karate Kid (10:30 p.m. showtime), and Sunday is Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (10:30 p.m. showtime). Friday, Aug. 28 and Saturday, Aug. 30. Doors for Taste of the Fair open at 5 p.m. Pima County Fairgrounds, 11300 S. Houghton Road. Details here.

Sculpture Showing: The Return of Angelica. Back in May, local artist John Benedict had one of his statues, Angelica, stolen. Angelica was recently recovered, and will be on display for the public at the Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Inner Courtyard through Saturday, Sept. 12. This is the last time to see the statue before John places it in his permanent collection! He’ll be around on select days for a socially-distanced meet and greet, including from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. this Friday, Aug. 28. While you’re there, enjoy a special Angelica’s Revenge cocktail. In honor of Angelica, and of justice, of course. On display 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily through Saturday, Sept. 12. Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, 5501 N. Hacienda del Sol Road. Details here.

The Positivity of Art. What’s been keeping you sane these days? For us, one of those things is art, and thank goodness for the local artists who still have it in them to create during these crazy times. The Wilde Meyer Gallery is featuring a group show of gallery artists throughout August and September, in a space that’s carefully following COVID-19 guidelines. Wilde Meyer Gallery, 2890 E. Skyline Drive, suite 170.


Tucson Museum of Art. Also on the art front: TMA is a local staple, and they’ve reopened this summer as well. In addition to things like mask requirements and sanitation stations, they’re requiring that you reserve your ticket for a two-hour time slot in advance online. Attendance is limited to 30% of its normal capacity. Come on down to see a variety of art, ranging from Native American to European pieces. In the newest exhibit, Landslice, O’odham artist Dwayne Manuel, an alumnus of the University of Arizona, honors three mountains sacred to his people’s himdak, or culture/way of life. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block, 140 N. Main Ave. $12 adults, $10 seniors, $7 college students and youth 13 to 17. Reserve tickets at tucsonmuseumofart.org.

Madaras Gallery. If you really want to get a feel for the way Tucson inspires visual artists, the Madaras Gallery is a great place to start. Diana Madaras is a local painter who has been depicting scenes from the Old Pueblo in her trademark style for decades. Come check out her work, and pick up some perfect postcards to send to friends and family from out of town (or to keep for yourself). Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, with private visits also available by appointment. Madaras Gallery, 3035 N. Swan Road.

Tohono Chul. If you’re new to Tucson, you might not know that this dusty desert town actually has several beautiful local gardens. Tohono Chul, which was named one of the best botanical gardens in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine, just reopened, just in time for school! They’re taking a wide array of precautions, such as requiring masks, limiting the number of reservations per hour and cleaning restrooms every hour. All this is designed to help your experience in the gardens be just as it should: totally peaceful and relaxing. Gardens are open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the museum shops and exhibit house are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. $15 adults, $6 kids 5 to 12, $13 for students/seniors/active military. Reserve a ticket at tohonochul.org/visit!

Tucson Botanical Gardens. Can’t get enough of that desert flora? The Tucson Botanical Gardens, which connects people with plants through art, science, history and culture, is another local favorite. They’ve taken all the proper precautions as they’ve decided to reopen, including deep cleaning, directional makers and limited capacity. Come stroll through aloe alley, pollinator garden, the xeriscape garden and even (blessed be) the shade garden. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. $15 adults, $13 students/seniors/military, $8 kids 4 to 17. $5 discount after 11:30 a.m.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The Desert Museum, which really feels more like part museum, part zoo and part botanical gardens, is a must-see for if you’re new to Tucson (or if you have visitors). They’ve reopened, with heightened sanitation procedures and a few restrictions to promote public health. Some exhibits are closed or modified (for example, the “stingray touch” exhibit is now the “stingray viewing only” exhibit, but it’s free!) Of course, masks are required to enter, and must be worn anytime six feet of social distancing can’t be maintained, and at all times in indoor areas. To maintain daily capacity restrictions, they’re only selling tickets online or over the phone in advance, so make sure you get your ticket before you go. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road. $21.95 adults, $19.95 seniors and youth. Reserve tickets at desertmuseum.org.

Heirloom Farmers Markets. If going to the grocery store in a pandemic is just a little too stressful, farmers markets are a fantastic alternative. And getting to support local farmers and other small businesses? Sign us up! Fortunately, there are an abundance of farmers markets in Tucson. You might start out by checking out Heirloom Farmers Markets, which are held from 8 a.m. to noon at several locations. The rules are pretty standard: masks required, stay home if you’re sick, physical distancing and please don’t touch the merchandise. Fridays at Morris K. Udall Park, 7202 E. Tanque Verde Road. Saturdays at Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 N. Oracle Road, Oro Valley. Saturdays at Rincon Valley, 12500 E. Old Spanish Trail, Vail. Sundays at Rillito Park Food Pavilion, 4502 N. First Ave.

Pima Air and Space Museum. If you have any interest in aviation, you’d be remiss not to check out this place, which features 80 acres of outdoor displays and 250,000 square feet of hangar space. They’ve reopened with precautions like enhanced cleaning, directed flow and upgraded hands-free fixtures in the restrooms. All this gives you the chance to check out the hundreds of aircraft, including seaplanes, freshwater aircraft carriers, Kamikaze aircraft and so much more. 9 a.m.to 3 p.m. daily. Pima Air and Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Road. $16.50 adults, $13.25 Pima County residents, $13.75 active military/seniors, $10 kids 5 to 12.

Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures. If you’re interested in miniatures, you absolutely need to check out this museum, which features more than 500 antique and contemporary dollhouses and roomboxes. If you’re not interested in miniatures, that’s just because you haven’t been to this museum yet. It’s a whimsical delight, and the perfect way to reignite your sense of wonder if you’re stuck in a pandemic slump. Right now they’ve got a fanciful fairy houses exhibit, a hand-carved circus exhibit, mini military figures and plenty more. They’ve got all the usual face covering, sanitation and physical distancing measures in place (some of the miniatures are even wearing masks). They’re also doing timed-entry tickets, so pick yours up in advance. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Museum of Miniatures, 4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive. $10.50 adults, $8.50 seniors, $7 students and youth 4 to 17.

The Gaslight Music Hall. If you’ve been missing watching live performances, the Gaslight Music Hall just might have the fix you’ve been looking for with their outdoor, drive-in concert series. You can order pizza/popcorn/soda packages when you order your ticket, and you can also get beer and frozen margaritas from their drink cart. They have a single-use restroom in the lobby that will be sanitized between each use. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26. Gaslight Music Hall, 13005 N. Oracle Road. $30 to $35 per car.

Green Chili Roast. Apple Annie’s Orchard has always been the perfect place to take a day trip. But, in these crazy times, the outdoor environment is especially perfect. The next few weekends, check out the green chili roast, where you can pick your own green chilis, or just swing by to pick up a 50-lb bag and watch them roast right before your eyes. There’s nothing like picking produce to make you feel grounded, and there’s nothing like some fresh roasted chiles (salsa, anyone?) to put some flavor in your life. 7 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, August 22, 23, 29 and 30 and September 5, 6 and 7. The Farm, 6405 W. Williams Road. Free admission—just pay for what you pick.

Floor Polish Dance Classes. Maybe you’re sick of streaming passive virtual events, but a virtual dance class just might be a fun way to try something new and get those endorphins pumping. Plus, Floor Polish is a great local studio that offers classes ranging from a Repose livestream to Burlesque Fitness. If you pay in advance and can’t make the class, you can watch a recorded video afterward. Register and pay at least 15 minutes in advance at floorpolishdance.com. Most classes are $7, with bundle options available.

Online Improv Drop-in Class. Unscrewed Theater, one of Tucson’s comedy clubs, is offering this opportunity to get silly on Monday nights. And everyone loves a good drop-in class, so you don’t have to make too much of a commitment. No experience necessary, and, heck, no “being in Tucson” necessary, so invite your friends from all over and from all skill levels, so you can look ridiculous together. UA students especially: It’s time you learned that you’re not really a college student at all if you don’t join an improv group at some point. 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday nights. Register here.

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