11 Best Things to do in Benson, Arizona
One of the best things about the town of Benson in Arizona is its weather. It is known for having some of the best weather in the country. Benson was founded back in the year 1880, at the heyday of the mining industry in Arizona. Visitors have the opportunity to take in the culture of the Old West and explore the area’s railroad heritage. This area of Arizona is special and eccentric, with a variety of things to explore. City of Benson, Arizona
The Benson Historical Museum is situated inside of a store building from the 1920’s. Visitors can take a step back into the past and explore several unique displays that celebrate the history of the local area. Guests can take a look at maps of how the town looked in the past, learn about the mining and cattle industry, and imagine how various household goods, mining tools, and old dental tools were used. The history museum is operated by a staff of friendly and knowledgeable volunteers who are more than happy to answer any questions visitors may have about the exhibits.
Contact: 180 S San Pedro St, Benson, AZ 85602, Phone: 520-586-3070
Photo: Benson Museum
»Kartchner Caverns State Park
Kartchner Caverns State Park boasts the longest stalactite formation in the world and introduces guests to a mysterious cave world. Visitors can explore a living cave’s bowels and marvel at the site of the tallest natural column formation in Arizona. The Kartchner Caverns are a massive limestone cave discovered in the year 1974, home to several interesting, such as remarkable formations and minerals. Visitors can join a guided tour of the cave for a memorable experience in the underground world of caves, offering them a chance to learn more about the delicate ecosystem of the caverns and its formations.
Contact: 2980 S. Hwy 90, Benson, AZ 85602, Phone: 520-586-4100
»Double R Ranch
The Double R Ranch offers a diverse program of horseback riding for visitors in Benson, Arizona. At the heart of the ranch are its well-trained gentle horses that help provide amazing trail riding experiences. Double R Ranch allows guests to experience a true Western lifestyle, the kind that most people only see in movies. Visitors of levels of riding experience are welcome at the ranch to experience the mountainous terrain of rugged Arizona that surrounds Double R. Beginners travel along gentle trails, while more experienced riders explore the mountains. Trail rides start with visitors being properly matched with one of the horses.
Contact: 440 W. Cimmaron Ln, Benson, AZ 85602, Phone: 520-212-6943
Photo: Andrea Izzotti/Fotolia
Gammons Gulch in situated just a bit north from the town of Benson, located within Cochise County’s High Desert. The movie set and museum prides itself on providing all guests with one-on-one attention during their visit, welcoming small groups and parties as well. Not only can visitors tour Gammons Gulch, but the site also allows independent movies and students to use the movie set for filming. The Mining Camp and Old Western Town is a combination of 1880’s and 1930’s. Visitors can also see an assortment of old cars and antiques. Self-guided and personalized tours of the Old West Movie Set are available.
Contact: 331 W Rockspring Ln, Benson, AZ. 85602, Phone: 520-212-2831
Photo: Gammons Gulch
The Thing is a roadside attraction located near Benson. Visitors traveling through the state can see signs that hype up the attraction between Tucson and El Paso, Texas. Many people stop at this site along the sparse desert stretch of highway to see just what exactly The Thing is. The sight is thought to have been created by Homer Tate for the purpose of sideshows, and is said to be a mummified child and mother. Thomas Binkley Prince bought the Thing during the middle of the twentieth century. He then quickly turned it into an attraction for tourists.
Contact: 2631 N Johnson Rd, Benson, AZ 85602, Phone: 520-586-2581
Photo: The Thing
»Butterfield RV Resort Observatory
The Butterfield RV Resort Observatory includes a 16-inch Meade LX-200 GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope among other features. The facility is of university quality and is housed within an electrically operated dome measuring fifteen feet in diameter. Visitors wanting to watch one of the observatory’s free star shows can sign up at the facility’s front office. The nightly show can accommodate up to eighteen people. Resident astronomers entertain guests with an interesting and fun experience, sharing some knowledge with a bit of humor, ending with a memorable viewing experience. With a 3,600-foot elevation, Benson has some of the best weather in the country.
Contact: 251 S. Ocotillo Ave, Benson, AZ 85602, Phone: 800-863-8160
Photo: Butterfield RV Resort Observatory
»Singing Wind Bookshop
The Singing Wind Bookshop can be found at the Singing Wind Ranch, just north of the town of Benson, Arizona. The unique local bookstore attracts book lovers from all over the world. New books about nearly any subject fill the shelves of the ranch house, including Native American culture, Latin American culture, folktales, history, poetry, architecture, birds, art, nature, cooking, fiction from several countries, the outdoors, science, and more. The Singing Wind Bookshop specializes in print books, particularly on Americana, Western, and Southwest books, but there is also a small assortment of non-print materials at the cash and check only store.
Contact: 700 W Singing Wind Rd, Benson, AZ 85602, Phone: 520-586-2425
»Quarles Art Gallery
The Quarles Art Gallery is owned by Sharon and Doug Quarles and located in the town of Benson where the couple now live. The Quarles originally lived in Louisiana before moving to Tucumcari in New Mexico. They lived in Tucumcari for ten years, establishing an art gallery for their work in 2003. The couple showcase their artwork not just in Benson, but in several other cities in Arizona as well. Both Doug and Sharon taught themselves in the style of photo realistic. Many murals painted by Doug Quarles can be seen while traveling along Route 66.
Contact: 234 E. 4th St, Benson, AZ 85602, Phone: 520-586-4563
Photo: Quarles Art Gallery
»Forever Home Donkey Rescue
The Forever Home Donkey Rescue in Benson, Arizona is a sanctuary that is privately owned, situated just east of the city of Tucson. The donkeys, horses, and mules that call the grounds home live at the Donkey Rescue love to be scratched and brushed, so the facility loves for visitors to come and play with the residents. Younger children are welcome to come look at the animals and pet them, but older kids may be able to help with grooming the residents as well. The Forever Home Donkey Rescue also welcomes groups of either adults or children to come visit.
Contact: 360 E. Rocksprings Rd, Benson, AZ 85602, Phone: 520-212-5300
The Vega-Bray Observatory, located a little east from Benson, is an observatory for astronomy that is owned and managed by the Astronomers Inn. The observatory is situated atop a hill that overlooks the San Pedro River Valley. Founded by Eduardo Vega and Max Bray in the year 1990, the facility is houses a Hoot-Vega Radio Telescope. The Astronomers Inn, formerly called the Sky Watchers Inn, is right next door to the observatory, situated about four thousand miles over the valley. Both the Inn and the Observatory were originally opened by Vega and Bray as a place where for friends to come and visit.
Contact: Astronomers Rd, Benson, AZ 85602, Phone: 520-615-3886
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»Endeavor Art Gallery
The Endeavor Art Gallery is continuously bringing new art exhibit to the public, always providing guests with new and interesting pieces to see during their visit. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from ten in the morning until four in the afternoon, and on Saturday from ten in the morning until two in the afternoon. There is also a gallery gift shop that offers an assortment of gifts. The gallery is run by the San Pedro River Arts Council, formerly known as the Benson Arts Commission. Their mission is to help artists grow and develop their art.
Contact: 198 E 4th St, Benson, AZ 85602, Phone: 520-586-4630
Photo: Endeavor Art Gallery
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11 Best Things to do in Benson, Arizona
- Benson Museum, Photo: Benson Museum
- Kartchner Caverns State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Oleg - Fotolia.com
- Double R Ranch, Photo: Courtesy of Andrea Izzotti - Fotolia.com
- Gammons Gulch, Photo: Gammons Gulch
- The Thing, Photo: The Thing
- Butterfield RV Resort Observatory, Photo: Butterfield RV Resort Observatory
- Singing Wind Bookshop, Photo: Courtesy of showcake - Fotolia.com
- Quarles Art Gallery, Photo: Quarles Art Gallery
- Forever Home Donkey Rescue, Photo: Courtesy of Gustavo - Fotolia.com
- Vega-Bray Observatory, Photo: Courtesy of solobird - Fotolia.com
- Endeavor Art Gallery, Photo: Endeavor Art Gallery
- Cover Photo: City of Benson, Arizona
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