Family Travel » Tucson, AZ

Family travel in Tucson, AZ

With caves to conquer, museums to investigate, mountain trails to hike and an old Wild West film studio to explore, Tucson’s the perfect spot for a family vacation stop in the Arizona desert.
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Arizona History Museum-Tucson

Tour the Old Pueblo and explore the history and artifacts of Arizona’s southern region.  Located in historic downtown Tucson, the Arizona History Museum-Tucson highlights the history the region from its founding in the late 17th century into the territorial times before Arizona became a state. Other historic locations in Tucson include the Fort Lowell Museum, which tells the story of Arizona’s frontier soldiers and the historic Sosa-Carrillo-Fremont House on Granada Avenue in downtown Tucson. The old adobe home was built in the 1870s.

Arizona State Museum

Take a trip through the Southwest’s oldest and largest anthropology museum.  Established in 1893, long before Arizona became a state, the Arizona State Museum represents the largest collection of Southwest Indian Pottery in the world.  Located on University of Arizona’s campus, the museum houses artifacts from native and prehistoric cultures who settled Arizona, as well as tools and materials used by the earliest archeologists who studied the area’s prehistoric cultures. Together families can explore Navajo rugs, Mexican folk masks, skeletal remains of early southwestern animals and the papers and field notes of some of the region’s most well-known archeologists.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Find yourself face-to-face with the wildest inhabitants of Arizona’s unique ecosystem – the Sonora Desert. Follow the various trails among the towering saguaro cactus and see first-hand the prickly-pear loving javelina (it’s not a pig, it’s a peccary), as well as bobcats, bats, rattlesnakes and scorpions, and discover how these sometimes intimidating creatures are an integral part of desert life. The museum, which is part museum, part zoo and part classroom, offers live animal encounters, nighttime tours and a variety of family-friendly activities. 

Colossal Cave Mountain Park

Discovered in 1879, Colossal Cave had been used for centuries before to its official “discovery” date by prehistoric civilizations who settled in the area as early as 900 AD.  Set in the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson, the cavern and its surrounding park represent some of the area’s most unique and beautiful natural wonders and local legends. Take a 45-minute tour among the cavern’s geological formations; note there are over 360 steps. The cave is considered dry or dormant and offers a more family-friendly experience than the very steamy and “living” Kartchner Caverns, where touching anything is strictly forbidden. 

Kitt Peak National Observatory

Located about 55 miles southwest of Tucson in the Schuk Toak District of the Tohono O’odham Nation, Kitt Peak National Observatory was established in 1958 and is now one of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories three locations.  Kitt Peak’s equipment and telescopes allow for exploration of the nighttime sky and the sun, and features guided and self-guided daytime tours and observation programs at night. Reservations required for evening programs. 

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