Tucson is a vibrant, culturally interesting city set in a desert valley surrounded by four mountain ranges. Visitors have a plethora of choices in accommodations. Guest ranches offer uniquely Western experiences, spa resorts provide serene desert luxury, and golf and tennis resorts satisfy active travelers. It is the charming, and often historic, bed and breakfasts though that dominate the hotel scene in Tucson. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
© Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
With nearly 40,000 square feet of outdoor space, including two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses and the Lakeside Spa, the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort is a generously sized resort that doesn’t sacrifice intimacy. Located at the bottom of the Santa Catalina Mountains, near the Santa Cruz River, the resort features an outdoor swimming pool with a mountainous backdrop. Traveling with a pet can be a challenge but the resort makes it easy with amenities for your pup. Along with offering dog-walking services, the resort also features specialized bedding and a gourmet menu just for your dog.
7000 North Resort Drive, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-299-2020
2.JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa
© JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa
The JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa is a great option for guests who want to spend their vacation outdoors. With three separate Arnold Palmer golf courses, many guests opt to spend their time on the links. For guests who aren’t experienced in golf, lessons are offered. Nearby hiking trails lead through the natural desert landscape. With multi-level pools and a lazy river, the resort is also a great place to enjoy the warm Arizona sunshine. After a day of fun activities outdoors, guests can relax in one of the patio dining options located on the resort.
3800 West Starr Pass Boulevard, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-792-3500
3.The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
© The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
Guests yearning for the ultimate relaxing vacation will find their Shangri-La at The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. With deep soaking tubs and private balconies in every room, the resort caters to those who value tranquility and luxury. The Red Door Salon & Spa is the perfect oasis. It features a bevy of holistic services dedicated to de-stressing guests. With 18 private treatment rooms and an outdoor space, the spa can accommodate a range of guests, from those seeking anti-aging facials to bridal parties looking to prep for the big day. The resort also features a wide variety of restaurant options, including an espresso café and a swim-up bar.
3800 East Sunrise Drive, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-742-6000
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4.White Stallion Ranch
© White Stallion Ranch
White Stallion Ranch is a true dude ranch experience on the True family ranch that has been in operation for over 50 years. This award-winning ranch is a traditional dude ranch with guest-centric hospitality and personalized attention. There are 43 renovated guestrooms and suites and a four-bedroom private hacienda for small groups or large families. All guestrooms have patios and views of the corral, the cactus gardens, or the mountains. Ranch amenities include a recreation room and theater, a pool and hot tub, sports courts, fitness center, petting zoo, bar, and gift shop. Hot breakfast, a lunch buffet, and a grilled dinner buffet are available depending upon which plans guests choose. There are numerous activities, including a rodeo.
9251 West Twin Peaks Road, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-297-0252
5.Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort
© Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort
Travelers looking for a guest ranch experience will find it at Hacienda del Sol Ranch Resort. What began as a ranch school for wealthy girls – think Vanderbilt, Westinghouse, Campbell – in 1929 was redesigned into a guest ranch in 1944, drawing the likes of Katherine Hepburn, John Wayne, Spencer Tracy, and other Hollywood types. After major renovations, restorations, and additions between 1997 and 2015, it is the Sonoran jewel it is today. Guests can choose from historic rooms, suites, casitas, or new Catalina rooms. There is fine dining at The Grill and casual fare at Terraza Garden Patio & Lounge. Amenities include a spa, pool and hot tub, fitness room, and gift shop. Guests can ride horseback, explore the desert, and enjoy the botanical gardens.
5501 North Hacienda del Sol Road, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-299-1501
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6.Royal Elizabeth Bed & Breakfast Inn
© Royal Elizabeth Bed & Breakfast Inn
The Royal Elizabeth Bed & Breakfast Inn, affectionately known as The Liz, is a 19th century Victorian adobe mansion situated in the historic section of downtown Tucson. Five oversized guest rooms and suites have a bold Victorian décor and feature 17-foot ceilings and large windows. The Liz offers an impressive array of in-room amenities like period antique furnishings and upscale hi-tech gadgets and electronics. House amenities include a gourmet breakfast, pool and spa, satellite music inside and outdoors, and a parlor fireplace, among many others. The inn is close to two of Tucson’s historic districts – the Presidio District and the Congress Street District – both of which expose visitors to the cultural heart of Tucson.
204 South Scott Avenue, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-670-9022
7.The Downtown Clifton
© The Downtown Clifton
Only a 10-minute walk from downtown Tucson, the Downtown Clifton is a unique low-rise 10-room motel with retro touches built in 1947. The rooms are colorful and bright, furnished with period dressers, chairs and nightstands, swag lamps, artworks by local artists, vintage highball glasses, and platform beds covered with traditional saddle-blanket bedspreads. Rooms also have flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and minibars. Outside, a Día de los Muertos mural is a focal point next to a pleasant internal courtyard with chairs and a grill. The guests enjoy a record library, free coffee, a bike rack, and a dog run. The guests get a voucher for breakfast in the nearby diner.
485 South Stone Avenue, Tucson, Arizona 85701, Phone: 520-623-3163
8.Peppertrees Bed & Breakfast
© Courtesy of npstockphoto - Fotolia.com
Peppertrees Bed & Breakfast is located in the heart of the downtown Historic District, just over a block from Main Gate Square near the University of Arizona. Main Gate Square and Fourth Avenue, also nearby, provide visitors with abundant choices for shopping, dining, and nightlife. Besides an unbeatable location, Peppertrees offers guests the ultimate in private accommodations. The main house serves as a welcome area, and is where breakfast is served. Five accommodations are in separate structures on the property. Sunrise and Sunset are two two-story, two-bedroom guest houses with private patios, living rooms, kitchens, and sitting areas. The Casita is a king suite in a separate building, and the East Wing House has two boutique-style queen suites.
724 East University Boulevard, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-622-7167
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9.Paca de Paja Bed & Breakfast
© Paca de Paja Bed & Breakfast
Accommodations don’t get any more personalized than at Paca de Paja Bed & Breakfast, where they only accept one set of guests at a time. This unique, eco-friendly B&B is a solar strawbale inn located in the desert near Kitt Peak Observatory. The colorful guest suite features Mexican décor with a queen-sized bed, antique accessories, hand-carved furnishings, and hand-woven rugs. There are tall windows to enjoy the surrounding desert landscape and an adjacent private bathroom. It also includes a private sitting room and a private porch. Nature lovers will enjoy birding, wildlife watching, mountain biking, hiking, star-gazing, and more.
16242 West Pinacate Avenue, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-822-2065
10.Tucson Bed & Breakfast - Hacienda Linda
© Tucson Bed & Breakfast – Hacienda Linda
Hacienda Linda is as much artist’s retreat as bed and breakfast. The beauty of adjacent Saguaro National Park West has inspired a plethora of writers, painters, and photographers over the years. This inn sits on 6 acres of desert 30 minutes from downtown Tucson. There are two guestrooms that are on opposite ends of the inn. The king suite features a sitting area with fireplace, and there is a large soaking tub with mountain views in the en suite. The queen bedroom features an artistic décor, adjustable bed, en suite, and satellite TV. Both accommodations provide great park views, mini-fridges, and coffeemakers.
12646 West Fort Lowell Road, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-682-9627
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11.Casa de Caballo Bed & Breakfast
© Casa de Caballo Bed & Breakfast
Casa de Caballo Bed & Breakfast is a casita situated on a working horse ranch. The casita features a Western décor that emphasizes horses. It has a sitting area, an en suite, and a kitchenette with full-size refrigerator, microwave, and toaster oven. There is a private patio with grill in front of the casita. Guests are also welcome to join the owners on their patio. Located in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains, this B&B is 20 miles north of Tucson. Guests can participate in equine experiences with the owners and their horses. There are numerous outdoor activities available.
38300 South Santa Monica Trail, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-818-2439
12.Casa Tierra, An Adobe Bed & Breakfast Inn
© Casa Tierra, An Adobe Bed & Breakfast Inn
The ambience of Casa Tierra was inspired by the haciendas of Mexico. The adobe home features numerous archways, Talavera tile floors, brick vaulted ceilings, and fountain courtyards. Guests can choose from three guestrooms or a two-bedroom suite. All accommodations have en suites, queen-sized beds, refrigerators, and microwaves. Each has a private patio with Mexican chimenea fireplace. Inn amenities include two landscaped fountain courtyards, game room/library, exercise room, outdoor desert hot tub, and use of the owner’s telescope to explore the night sky. Upon arrival, guests receive welcome fruit and snack baskets, chocolates, and iced tea, plus in-room fresh flowers.
11155 West Calle Pima, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-578-3058
13.Mon Amí Bed and Breakfast
© Mon Amí Bed and Breakfast
Mon Amí Bed and Breakfast is located in a quiet Tucson neighborhood with beautiful views of the Catalina Mountains. Guests can choose from two suites and a cottage. the La Vie En Rose Suite has a king bed, en suite, sitting area with a fireplace, and a private enclosed patio. The patio is surrounded by a shaded garden with mature trees. The French Country Suite has a queen bed, en suite, and separate sitting room with a futon. The Petite Cottage features a queen bed, full bed, and futon plus en suite. There is a separate sitting room and a kitchen. Stays include use of a pool and garden, and breakfast by an award-winning French chef.
5902 East 9th Street, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-444-0807
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14.El Presidio Bed & Breakfast Inn
© El Presidio Bed & Breakfast Inn
Architecture buffs, or simply those who appreciate the finer things of life, will fall in love with El Presidio Bed & Breakfast Inn, a Victorian adobe home with an Old Mexico ambience. This elegant inn, situated in the El Presidio Historic District, has been featured in Bantam’s The Desert Southwest (American Design) and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Guests can stay in one of four guesthouses and suites. Garden courtyards, diverse mature trees, lush flora, fountains, cobblestone walkways, and a zaguan (central hall) with 17-foot-high ceilings characterize the property. A country-style hot breakfast is served in the Veranda Room, which overlooks a garden courtyard.
297 North Main Avenue, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-623-6151
15.Sam Hughes Inn
© Sam Hughes Inn
At Sam Hughes Inn, guests stay in a Mediterranean-style home with four guestrooms. The inn is centrally located and features a patio, fountain, and sunken garden in a picturesque walled backyard with plenty of shade. Inside, the décor is a mix of modern and antique Southwestern style. The Tombstone is a wood-paneled room with a queen-sized bed and Old West décor. The Santa Fe is larger with a queen-sized bed and a twin bed styled in a Southwest design. The Nogales has a queen bed and Mexican décor, and the Pima has a Native American ambience and sleeps one. Breakfast is nothing fancy, but tasty. The inn accepts no kids under 11.
2020 East 7th Street, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-861-2191
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16.Catalina Park Inn Bed & Breakfast
© Catalina Park Inn Bed & Breakfast
Catalina Park Inn Bed & Breakfast has been serving visitors to Tucson for a quarter of a century and they have hospitality dialed in. This tasteful inn is close to both Historic Fourth Avenue and to Congress Street District – culinary, shopping, and entertainment hubs. Rooms at the inn are self-described sanctuaries of privacy with four in the main house and two in a back courtyard. They are well appointed, individually styled, and have similar amenities. Breakfasts are classic dishes with the owner’s freshly baked Famous Banana Bread and plenty of European-roast coffee. Those with early departures or who are heading out for a day of exploration can request continental breakfasts to-go. The inn is closed during summers.
309 East 1st Street, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-792-4541
17.Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa
© Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa
Travelers who thrive on sophistication will want to book their stay at Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa. This upscale retreat in the Sonoran Desert is a 1912 hacienda-style home turned 80-acre resort. There are 200 suites and 41 rooms with balconies and epic views of the desert landscape, mountains, or cityscape. Sonora Spa offers guests a variety of treatments with an emphasis on natural desert botanicals. There are eight championship synthetic surface tennis courts, three pools – a lap pool and two resort-style pools – and a fitness center. Guests can also explore four gardens, including a labyrinth, and take a Western horseback ride across the property.
245 East Ina Road, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-297-1151
18.Lodge at Ventana Canyon
© Lodge at Ventana Canyon
For the sports loving traveler, the Lodge at Ventana Canyon is a dream. As one of the top tennis hotels in the world, the Lodge at Ventana Canyon offers a variety of unique tennis programs, including a relaxing corporate tennis retreat program and a family program for all ages. The resort also features an eight-lane junior Olympic-sized competitive pool for swimmers. Visitors can relax after a day of sports with a poolside cocktail or a dip in the outdoor hot tub. Rooms are decorated in a Southwest color scheme. Many of the rooms feature views of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
6200 North Club House Lane, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-577-1400
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© Arizona Inn
Made up of charming casita-style suites, the Arizona Inn, located in the peaceful neighborhood of Midtown, is a historic hotel with an unbeatable number of amenities. With complimentary Wi-Fi, clay tennis courts, and reliable babysitting services, the inn is the perfect place for vacationing families. Whether visitors are coming for business or celebrating a wedding in the ballroom, the Arizona Inn has accommodations for everyone. Couples can also enjoy their time here. At night, a piano player serenades patrons. During the day, guests can be found enjoying croquet or taking a ride on complimentary use bicycles.
2200 East Elm Street, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-325-1541
20.Casino Del Sol
© Casino Del Sol
For visitors who want to have a thrilling time gambling in the comfort of their own hotel, the Casino Del Sol offers top-of-the-line slots, table games, and even poker. The AVA Amphitheater is a grand in-house outdoor music venue with six relaxing lounges. The casino also caters to business travelers. During the day, professionals can use the resort’s meeting and conference room. At night, visitors can relax at the casino’s Tequila Factory restaurant, which features over 100 varieties of the beloved liquor. Hungry guests can also enjoy the casino’s array of restaurants, including a steakhouse and a deli.
5655 West Valencia Road, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 855-765-7829
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21.Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort
© Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort
Travelers looking for a country club setting will find it at the Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort. With three golf courses, six pools, and lit-up tennis courts, this resort is the perfect destination for active families who want to play. Visitors who want to improve their golf game are in luck; the resort employs professional PGA instructors in the practice areas. Outdoorsy types will appreciate staying only 2 miles from Catalina State Park. The resort also has a busy events calendar, offering yoga, Zumba, and meditation classes. For business travelers, El Conquistador offers a 24-hour business center, meeting rooms, and event space for up to 250 participants.
10000 North Oracle Road, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-544-5000
22.Lodge on the Desert
© Lodge on the Desert
The Lodge on the Desert is well known for its unique architectural style and brilliant colors. This urban landmark has been hosting distinguished guests since the stars of 1930s Hollywood Westerns stayed here while shooting movies. Today, 100 hacienda-style rooms make the boutique hotel an especially romantic stay for couples, but hotel amenities attract families and business travelers as well. Rooms, suites, and casitas have a sophisticated Old Pueblo design and come in seven layouts. Room amenities include plush beds, kiva fireplaces, and complimentary Sonoran breakfast and Wi-Fi. The Cielos restaurant offers contemporary seasonal cuisine and live music by a classical guitarist on weekend nights.
306 North Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-320-2000
23.The Big Blue House Tucson Boutique Inn
© The Big Blue House Tucson Boutique Inn
Travelers who appreciate the restoration of an 1889 Victorian Queen Anne home with meticulous attention to detail will fall in love with The Big Blue House Tucson Boutique Inn. This historic inn has seven rooms in the main house and a cottage available for extended stays. Guests can choose their ambience with the Asian-inspired Zen Room, world traveler Hemingway Room, east facing Morning Room, vintage Two-Room Suite, antique-inspired Uncle Duke’s Room, and modern Elegant Deco Room. Breakfast features down-home-style cooking with freshly baked scones and coffee cake and local gourmet coffee. The inn is within walking distance of downtown and two blocks from the historic Fourth Avenue shopping area.
144 East University Boulevard, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-891-1827
24.Omni Tucson National Resort
© Omni Tucson National Resort
Families who want to enjoy the beautiful Arizona natural landscape consider Omni Tucson National Resort the ideal option. With spacious, comfortable rooms, the resort is a great place to enjoy quality time with family in a cozy setting. The diverse topography surrounding the resort makes it the perfect option for those wanting to go on a bike ride or hike through the terrain. Birdwatching and stargazing are just some of the fun activities that the resort hosts. Whether guests want to unwind with a massage, play a round on the golf course, or take in the view from a poolside cabana, the resort has something for every member of the family.
2727 West Club Drive, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-297-2271
25.La Posada Lodge & Casitas
© La Posada Lodge & Casitas
The exceptionally charming La Posada Lodge & Casitas is an ideal place for business and pleasure travelers alike. The unique setting is perfect for a wedding reception or business meeting. The La Posada Lodge & Casitas also makes planning a large event a breeze with their individualized packages. For guests who choose the wedding package, the lodge provides a complimentary bridal suite with romantic touches, like champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries. For office meetings, a boardroom and ballroom decorated in a Southwestern style make meetings feel more intimate. The lodge is also pet friendly, with some restrictions.
5900 North Oracle Road, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-887-4800
25 Best Tucson, AZ Hotels, Resorts & Inns
- Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Photo: Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
- JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa, Photo: JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa
- The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa, Photo: The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
- White Stallion Ranch, Photo: White Stallion Ranch
- Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, Photo: Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort
- Royal Elizabeth Bed & Breakfast Inn, Photo: Royal Elizabeth Bed & Breakfast Inn
- The Downtown Clifton, Photo: The Downtown Clifton
- Peppertrees Bed & Breakfast, Photo: Courtesy of npstockphoto - Fotolia.com
- Paca de Paja Bed & Breakfast, Photo: Paca de Paja Bed & Breakfast
- Tucson Bed & Breakfast - Hacienda Linda, Photo: Tucson Bed & Breakfast – Hacienda Linda
- Casa de Caballo Bed & Breakfast, Photo: Casa de Caballo Bed & Breakfast
- Casa Tierra, An Adobe Bed & Breakfast Inn, Photo: Casa Tierra, An Adobe Bed & Breakfast Inn
- Mon Amí Bed and Breakfast, Photo: Mon Amí Bed and Breakfast
- El Presidio Bed & Breakfast Inn, Photo: El Presidio Bed & Breakfast Inn
- Sam Hughes Inn, Photo: Sam Hughes Inn
- Catalina Park Inn Bed & Breakfast, Photo: Catalina Park Inn Bed & Breakfast
- Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa, Photo: Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa
- Lodge at Ventana Canyon, Photo: Lodge at Ventana Canyon
- Arizona Inn, Photo: Arizona Inn
- Casino Del Sol, Photo: Casino Del Sol
- Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, Photo: Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort
- Lodge on the Desert, Photo: Lodge on the Desert
- The Big Blue House Tucson Boutique Inn, Photo: The Big Blue House Tucson Boutique Inn
- Omni Tucson National Resort, Photo: Omni Tucson National Resort
- La Posada Lodge & Casitas, Photo: La Posada Lodge & Casitas
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of jayyuan - Fotolia.com
The SunCatcher Fine Country Inn
The SunCatcher Fine Country Inn is a luxury desert estate near the trailheads of Saguaro National Park. Guests will revel in the panoramic views of the Rincon, Tucson, and Santa Catalina Mountains from different points on the property. Four well-appointed guest rooms have private entrances, king or queen beds, satellite TV, Wi-Fi, and other upscale room amenities. Room décor is inspired by four themes – tranquil desert, romantic Old West, Colonial charm, and exotic Asian. This luxury gated estate also includes gourmet breakfasts, a pool and spa, a colorful desert garden, equestrian facilities that include an Olympic-sized riding arena, and a private zoo.
105 North Avenida Javelina, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-885-0883
Attraction Spotlight: University of Arizona Mineral Museum
Located in Tucson, Arizona, the University of Arizona Mineral Museum is a nonprofit mineral museum that functions as part of the University of Arizona Science Center, funded by the University and the Tucson Gem Society. The University of Arizona was established in 1885, the first university to open in the new Western territory. In 1892, faculty from the University of Arizona Department of Mines and Geology established a permanent collection representing the area's ores and minerals, along with artifacts linked to mining, milling, and geology practices.
This collection was incorporated as part of a territorial museum at the university in 1893, which also included historical documents. When Arizona gained its statehood in 1912, the museum was renamed the State Museum and was housed on the university's campus in the Library Building until 1915, when it moved into the Agricultural Building and shifted its focus to archaeology.
A standalone mineral museum was officially recognized in 1919, when the State Museum's mineral holdings were separated from the main collection and moved to the second floor of the Mines and Engineering Building. In 1958, the museum was moved to the Geology Building, and since 1993, it has been housed on the lower level of the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium. In 2009, following budget cuts to the University of Arizona, the Flandrau was closed, but reopened in 2010 after 9 months of fundraising efforts. In 2013, the museum received its largest donation ever, a collection over 8,000 minerals, including 1,000 specimens not previously in its collections.
The museum is home to more than 40,000 mineral specimens, meteorites, and gems from around the world, including a collection of over 7,000 Micromount objects that are so small they can only be seen under a microscope. The Modern Gem and Jewelry collection, presented in collaboration with the Somewhere in the Rainbow Foundation, houses gems such as rubies and sapphires and features displays on gem-cutting techniques. The American Mineral Heritage: Harvard Collection exhibit is a collaboration between the University of Arizona and Harvard University, featuring some of the rarest fluorescent minerals in the world. The Crystalline Treasures: the Mineral Heritage of China marks the first time many of the museum's Chinese specimens have ever been displayed in America.
In The Best of the Best: Prize Minerals from the Vaults of Arizona's Collectors, minerals from some of the most award-winning collections in the state are brought together in one display. The museum also features small selections of specimens from private collections from around the world, including items the Princeton Collection, the Gemological Society of Great Britain, and the Flagg Mineral Foundation as well as an array of specimens collected in Arizona prior to 1900.
The museum is also home to two large fossil exhibits. Meet the Trilobites: Arizona's First Inhabitants focuses on the preserved remains of trilobites, prehistoric animals that flourished in the ocean that once covered what is now Arizona. The Mark LeFont Collection displays large fossils, including dinosaur bones and prehistoric mammal skeletons, and features an exhibit of interactive games and multimedia stations.
University of Arizona Campus Museums
The Mineral Museum is part of the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, the only planetarium in Southern Arizona. It is focused on astronomy and earth science and features a large observatory. In addition to the Flandrau and Mineral Museum, the University of Arizona is also home to seven other public museums that cover a wide range of topics. The Campus Arboretum features trees from around the world, while Biosphere 2 contains six biomes, including an ocean and a rainforest. The Arizona State Museum is a Smithsonian affiliate, dedicated to the history of the region. The University of Arizona Museum of Art features over 5,000 works, with an emphasis on Renaissance art. The Center for Creative Photography houses a rotating display of contemporary photographic art. The Jim Click Hall of Champions is dedicated to the athletic history of Arizona, and a Pharmacy Museum houses a unique collection of pharmacological artifacts.
Ongoing Programs and Education
The museum is working to compile an accessible oral history of mining life, history, and heritage in the Southwest. Known as the Miner's Story Project, the collection of interviews and stories can be heard at the museum and online.
The University of Arizona College of Science sponsors educational programming at the museum, held throughout the Flandrau Science Center complex, including a Science Cafe series, which invites community discussion in a relaxed setting. UA Fusion science camps are also offered every summer for children of all ages. Museum Discovery programs give visitors an opportunity to learn more about the collections from University of Arizona faculty.
1601 E. University Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85719, Phone: 520-621-7827
More Things to Do in Tucson
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Attraction Spotlight: Pima Air & Space Museum
The Pima Air and Space museum in Arizona showcases over 300 airplanes throughout its 80-acre campus, including a popular 2,600 acre “boneyard” of out of service commercial and military aircraft. Five indoor exhibits include two hangers dedicated solely to World War II aircraft.
The Main Hangar exhibits offer an overview of aviation history. A Sea Planes and Amphibians exhibit showcases aircraft from the 1920’s through the present day designed to take off and land in water. An Aircraft Carries exhibit centers around the museum’s Grumman F-14 Tomcat, and shows the equipment and tools used on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Aerial Reconnaissance shows cameras and equipments used in World War I reconnaissance missions. The Vietnam Air War exhibit tells a story of air combat in North Vietnam through oral histories, videos and artifacts. The Women in Flight gallery honors women’s contributions to aviation from the 1700’s to the present day. Photographs and artifacts include a large collection of women’s commercial and military uniforms. A special exhibit is dedicated to the history of Arizona Aviation. The Space Gallery Exhibits explore the United States’ efforts in space exploration, via experimental X Planes of the US Air Force, NASA and it’s precursor, NACA.
The Space Race exhibit teachers the history of the race to land on the moon. Follow the Water tells the story of searching for water on mars. The Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame is located in the Space Gallery and honors Arizonans who have made significant contributions to the aviation and aerospace industries. Hangar 3 exhibits are dedicated to World War II and the contributions of African Americans, the 376th and 446th bomber groups and the Martin B-26 Marauder. Hangar 4 exhibits explore the World War II history of the 315th bomb wing and 330th bomber group and those who flew the B-29 Superfortress. Outdoor exhibits include the Firestone Galleries’ "The Bone Yard Project: Return Trip.” This exhibit includes several planes decorated by renowned contemporary artists with mixed media and paint. “Beauty of Flight” is a large sculpture which intertwines three Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 aircraft. “The Beacon” is a preserved flight beacon originally installed at the Douglas, Arizona airport. Lighted beacons were used pre-1929 to guide aircraft across the United States in the years before radio navigation was possible.
History: The idea for the Air and Space museum began in 1966 when, at the 25th anniversary celebration of the US Air Force, commanders realized that the history of aviation was disappearing as old aircraft were demolished. Through their own initiative, they began placing out of service aircraft along the fence line of the base so the public could view them. The initiative was quite popular and a Foundation was started to raise funds to purchase land for a public museum. The museum’s first major acquisition of a plane from outside of Tucson was in 1969 with the purchase of a Consolidated B-24 Liberator from the Republic of India. The collection continued to grow through 1975 and in 1976 the museum at last opened to the public. Today, the Pima Air and Space Museum is one of the largest non-government funded aircraft museums in the United States.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The museum offers docent-led tours of the indoor exhibit areas, and tram tours of the outdoor spaces. A guided bus tour takes visitors through the Aircraft boneyard. Docent-led school group tours are available, or educator resources may be downloaded for educators who wish to guide their own tours. Resources include suggested curricula, scavenger hunt games and lesson plans for the Great Paper Airplane Project. The Great Paper Airplane project is an annual event with a fly off in which paper airplanes compete for distance. In 2012, the museum flew the world’s largest paper airplane, Arturo's Desert Eagle. That plane, along with other subsequent winners are displayed in the Main Hangar exhibit. Other family events include Night Wings, a summer evening program offering up to 15 activity stations where children can learn about aviation through hands-on activities such as plane-spotting, kite-building and rocket launching. Night of Fright is an annual Halloween carnival for all ages that includes pony rides, trick or treating in the hangars and family friendly games. For children, 90-minute Soarin’ Saturdays programs offer hands-on workshops on building model aircraft, rockets and Lego robots. The program incorporates science, technology and math education into fun, interactive projects. Events for adults include the 2nd Saturdays Speaker Series. Speakers discuss a different air and space topic each month.
6000 E. Valencia Rd., Tucson, Arizona 85756, Phone: 520-574-0462
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Attraction Spotlight: Cat Mountain Station in Tucson, AZ
Cat Mountain Station is a Southwestern-style center that offers a shopping and casual dining experience in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. Located near the southern gateway to the Tucson Mountain Park just west of Tucson, the center has been beautifully restored to its original 1950s style and features an array of eclectic artisan shops and cafés, a charming brick courtyard with a fountain and a Ramada. Visitors to Cat Mountain Station can enjoy delicious cuisine inspired by local desert foods, stargazing at an observatory and comfortable accommodations at a nearby eco-friendly bed and breakfast.
Cat Mountain Station features a variety of shops and boutiques, including the Buffalo Trading Post, which sells new and recycled goods, buy-and-sell clothing and home décor, and Affairs of the Art Gallery, a local artist co-op that sells a variety of local art. Studio S’Evans is an art and photography gallery that sells artworks, offers custom-framing, and an array of exceptional gifts and Agave Photographic Arts display and sells Southwestern-inspired fine art photography and digital photography, and Tintype Mercantile offers photography, nature items and objects and other gifts.
The Coyote Pause Café is a charming and casual eatery that serves a creative menu of healthy and innovative cuisine with a Southwestern twist in a laid-back setting with a covered patio and dog-friendly courtyard.
Cat Mountain Lodge Bed and Breakfast
The Cat Mountain Lodge Bed and Breakfast offers comfortable, eco-friendly accommodations in a vintage ranch setting. The family-friendly inn offers five well-appointed and tastefully decorated guest rooms with Southwestern-style décor, spacious sitting areas with comfy furnishings, private bathrooms, and modern conveniences. Each room opens onto a central courtyard where guests can soak up the fresh, desert air and beautiful views and the guest house has an inviting living room with a crackling fireplace for relaxing and socializing. Guests staying at the Cat Mountain Lodge Bed and Breakfast can enjoy a complimentary breakfast at the neighboring Coyote Pause Café.
Spencer's Observatory is a privately owned Observatory based at the Cat Mountain Lodge Bed and Breakfast that offers an in-depth look at the star-studded skies over Tucson. The observatory houses top of the range telescopes and has a retractable roof that slides back to reveal spectacular panoramic views of the Tucson skies, offering some of the best night time vistas in the area. Visitors can enjoy guided star tours, star parties, and astrophotography parties on request.
Surrounded by majestic mountain ranges in the Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, Tucson is a city with a rich history and culture and much to see and do. The El Presidio Historic District is filled with beautifully restored mansions and the Barrio Historico with quaint adobe row houses, while the rest of the city is home to many excellent restaurants, nightclubs, vintage shops and more. Fun activities and attractions in Tucson include the slot machines and table games at the Desert Diamond Casino and the Casino Del Sol, and the Queen Mine Tour, which delves below ground in Bisbee's 47-degree caves. There is also the charm-filled world of the Mini Time Machine Museum where visitors can explore more than 275 miniature houses and room boxes.
The O.K. Corral Gunfight Site is home to what is regarded as the most famous gunfight in the history of the American Old West, which took place between the Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, the Clantons, and the McLaurays in 1881. Tohono Chul is hailed as being one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world with gardens, galleries, nature paths, and more, while the Santa Theresa Tile Works in Tucson’s Historic Warehouse Arts District will inspire creativity.
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2740 S. Kinney Rd. Tucson, AZ 85735, Phone: 520-578-4272
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