City Week

Workin' on Some Night Moves

Full Moon Walk in The Park
7:30 p.m., Friday, May 12
Tucson Mountain Park, Ironwood Picnic Area; parking at 3065 S. Kinney Road

Warm summer days bring out heat-loving creatures, but it's after the sun sets that the desert really gets hopping. Unlike humans, many animals have special adaptations for late-night living. Those of us who are more nocturnally inclined can catch a glimpse of these intriguing creatures on a guided full-moon walk in Tucson Mountain Park. The light of the moon will provide enough light to see the ground, and although walkers can bring flashlights, they're not to be used except in an emergency.

"We're going to enjoy the beauty and compare it to the way we experience things during the day--we have color vision; they don't, so what do they do?" naturalist Rob Yaksich says. "Hopefully, we'll see or hear something interesting."

Yaksich says that there is no shortage of critters to be seen on a night walk. Kangaroo rats, rattlesnakes, great horned and elf owls, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, nighthawks and bats are just some of the animals that cruise the nighttime desert. The tour guide will bring a bat detector, too, which allows the human ear to hear a bat using its echolocation.

There's one animal in particular that Yaksich says is out and about at this time of year: the grasshopper mouse. "They're like a little tiny wolf--they stand up and howl, and hunt in packs. They're a hoot. They're pretty fierce little mice."

No registration is required to participate in the free walk, and all ages are welcome. No dogs, and sturdy, closed-toe shoes are recommended. Tucson Mountain Park is on Kinney Road, 1.5 miles south of Gates Pass Road and 3.8 miles north of Ajo Way. --C.S.

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Guided Nature Tours
Weekends through June
Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Highway 60, Milepost 223
(520) 689-2811;

It's that time again! The blink-and-you'll-miss-it spring season is drawing to a close, and the temperature is beginning its annual climb, bringing change to the desert. Stately ocotillos shed leaves in preparation for the dry foresummer. Reptiles emerge to clamber atop warm rocks to enjoy the warmth of the day. Less-hardy humans move indoors--or to the coast.

Folks who withstand the heat are in for an ecological treat, since the summertime temperatures bring out many desert critters. Not quite sure what you're looking for? Load the family up and head two hours north to Superior, where the Boyce Thompson Arboretum offers early-summertime nature tours. The desert-savvy guides, including David Morris, will introduce you to colorful lizards, diaphanous dragonflies, elegant butterflies and water-wise plants. They're full of useful information, too; for example, they can tell you how to roast native jojoba nuts (they taste like hazelnuts) or how some people use the oil from creosote leaves for first aid.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum, affiliated with UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, offers these tours in the morning on most weekends through August. Tours are included with park admission: $7.50 adults, $3 children 5 to 12 years of age; annual memberships are also available. Summer hours are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., daily; admission is taken until 2 p.m. Leashed pets are welcome; picnic tables and charcoal grills are available. --C.S.

Run to Fight Diabetes

Third Annual Sara Courtney Memorial Walk-Run
6:30 to 8:30 a.m., Saturday, May 13 (registration begins at 5:30 a.m.)
Sabino Canyon, 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road

When Sara Courtney was diagnosed with Type I (juvenile) diabetes at the tender age of 8, she handled it like many other diabetics would, with daily blood-sugar tests and insulin injections to stave off dangerous blood-sugar fluctuations. For nearly two decades, she lived with the disease.

She died suddenly in August 2003, at the age of 26, from complications related to diabetes.

The shock and sadness motivated her family to help others in honor of Sara's battle with juvenile diabetes. They created the annual Sara Courtney Memorial Walk Run to benefit the Steele Children's Research Center's work toward curing the disease. More than a dozen local and regional businesses have contributed to the event through assistance or sponsorship, and this year's goal is 800 walkers and $75,000 in donations.

Race director Richelle Litteer says that her involvement in the event honors Sara's memory.

"Sara's mother is my best friend, so that's why I do this race," Litteer says. "The world goes on after someone dies, and I wanted to do something every year to remember Sara. We hold it on Mother's Day weekend so her mom can have the love and support of her friends and family for that."

The event, now in its third year, features a 10k and 5k chip-timed race and a one-mile fun walk. Prizes will be awarded by age category, and food, drinks, massages and music will be available at the finish line. Registration is $25 untimed (noncompetitive); $30 timed. Credit cards, cash and checks are accepted. Parking is available at Sabino Canyon for $5 or at a nearby school at no charge. --C.S.

Root, Root, Root for the Home Team

Tucson Sidewinders
6:30 p.m., May 11-13, 15 and 16; 6 p.m., Sunday, May 14
Tucson Electric Park, 2500 E. Ajo Way

Pacific Coast League action is back in town! It's a stacked lineup as the Tucson Sidewinders, AAA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, wrap up the current homestand with games against the Nashville Sounds on Thursday and Friday, followed by a four-game series against the Memphis Redbirds starting on Saturday. This is your big chance to see the stars of tomorrow--and it's a lot cheaper than driving all the way to Phoenix to see the D-Backs play at Chase Field.

But never mind the baseball; we know you're really interested in those family-friendly promotions. Leading off is Thirsty Thursday (sponsored by your friends here at the Tucson Weekly), with all domestic beers and soft drinks on sale for a mere buck. Up second is Fireworks Friday, with a plethora of pyrotechnics after the game. In the third slot is the annual Sidewinders cap giveaway on Saturday, with free hats to the first 2,000 fans. Batting cleanup is the regular Sunday-night special: Hot dogs for only $1! Rounding out the fun are two weekly specials: Margarita Monday--2-for-1 margaritas and prize giveaways to fans decked out in Hawaiian shirts--and $2 Tuesday, with admission, hot dogs and sodas costing just two bucks each. And if that's not enough for you, there's the Dizzy-Lizzy Bat Race every single night.

Tickets are $9 for reserved boxes, $6 for general admission and $5 for active military, seniors 55 and older and kids between 3 and 12. --J.N.

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