Last February we had a great family vacation in Arizona. We flew down into Phoenix to meet my parents and then drove to Tucson and spent a week exploring and relaxing. The kids were 3 and almost 1 so both carriers and a double stroller were a must. Some of the definite family friendly highlights include:
There is plenty to see in Tucson including the Barrio historical district and the trendy Maingate shopping district near the University of Arizona. We found the city to be very walkable and easy to navigate. Definitely visit the Tourism Bureau for lots of information, brochures, maps, guides, and coupons.
Not really a museum but “a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place! Exhibits re-create the natural landscape of the Sonoran Desert Region so realistically you find yourself eye-to-eye with mountain lions, prairie dogs, Gila monsters, and more. Within the Museum grounds, you will see more than 300 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants. There are almost 2 miles of paths traversing 21 acres of beautiful desert.”
The saguaro (pronounced “sa – WAH – ro”) cactus only grows in this part of the world and is really an interesting plant. Saguaros are a very slow-growing cactus – studies show that a saguaro grows between 1 and 1.5 inches in the first eight years of its life. The park also has a visitor’s centre.
“One of the largest air and space museums in the world, and the largest non-government funded aviation museum. You’ll see more than 300 aircraft and spacecraft including many of the most historically significant and technically advanced craft ever produced, both from the United States and throughout the world.” A must if you like spacecraft, planes, have boys, or just want to see some cool stuff, like the SR71 Blackbird.
The Titan Missile Museum is the only publicly accessible Titan II missile site in the nation. Although I didn’t get there myself, J went with E and my dad and really enjoyed it. You can tour the underground missile site, see the 3-ton blast doors, the 8-foot thick silo walls, and an actual Titan II missile in the launch duct, as well as visit the launch control centre and experience a simulated launch.
Tombstone “The Town too Tough to Die”
Ever heard of Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, and the OK Corral? This is where the famous gunfight happened, folks. You can walk down wooden boardwalks and dirt roads in the historically preserved part of town that represents life in the late 1800s. You can even go to the OK Corral and watch a re-enactment of the famous gunfight. We preferred to go to Helldorado Town for a comedy gunfight which is definitely family friendly. Lots to do including stagecoach tours, old-time photos, museums, an underground mine tour, ghost tours, and shooting gallery.
“San Xavier Mission is acclaimed by many to be the finest example of mission architecture in the United States. It is a graceful blend of Moorish, Byzantine and late Mexican Renaissance architecture, yet the blending is so complete it is hard to tell where one type begins and another ends.”
I saved the best for last. By far the most fun we had was on the last day when J and I took the kids to a festival that was happening across from the Tucson Children’s Museum. Museum entrance fees were waived that day so we enjoyed the outdoor festival and some serious fun and play in the museum. If we had one near our home we would probably be there a lot.
Any other good, family places to visit in the Tucson, Arizona area? Post a comment and let the readers know!