As a top family-friendly destination in the USA, it makes sense that Tucson, Arizona has a ton of places to learn new things, get active and play! From top-notch museums to hiking trails and more, you’ll definitely find something for everyone. Here are a few of our favorite things to do in Tucson, Arizona!
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
To learn more about the area around Tucson, visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Spanning 98-acres, the museum sports a botanical garden, zoo, aquarium, art gallery, and natural history museum! The museum puts on a number of special events for kids like story time, summer camp, and animal yoga.
The full calendar of events can be accessed on their website. Kids can learn about the importance of conservation and taking care of the environment through the Conservation Education & Science Department which conducts research and education about desert life. In addition to their events for kids, the museum also has traveling exhibits so there’s often something unique and exciting to see with each visit.
Pima Air & Space Museum
Trade the desert for the airstrip at the Pima Air & Space Museum. With over 300 aircrafts on a 127 acre campus, Pima is the third largest aviation museum in the world. Perfect for the whole family, kids can explore the different aircrafts and even take part in the museum’s “Soarin’ Saturdays” STEM learning programs! The museum is made of of different hangers and galleries, each displaying a different type of aircraft. You can take a trip to space, go back in time to World War 1, and learn about aviation history all in one place!
If you’re looking to spend some time in the great outdoors, take a hike up Mount Lemmon! Located just north of Tucson, the 7,000 ft mountain has some of the best year-round hiking trails. The mountain is perfect for hot days, as the temperature drops and you’ll find yourself surrounded by shady trees and beautiful waterfalls.
Related: looking for more nature destinations for the family? Check out the Keys!
In addition to hiking, you can visit Mt. Lemmon’s SkyCenter. The SkyCenter is a science learning facility located at the Steward Observatory “sky island” observing site. The SkyCenter builds upon the uniqueness of the 9,157 foot summit of Mt. Lemmon and the extensive knowledge base at the University of Arizona to deliver educational programs.
The SkyCenter offers a unique SkyNights StarGazing Program. The program is open to the public most nights of the year using the Schulman Telescope, the Southwest’s largest dedicated public telescope! This program is a unique awe-inspiring opportunity that lets you peer beyond the blue horizons of the southwestern skies and explore the astronomical wonders of the universe. This five-hour program guides you through navigating the night sky with binoculars and sky charts, to viewing spectacular planets, galaxies, and nebulae with their Schulman 32-inch telescope. Kids and parents alike will be delighted with the spectacular views and experience.
Mt. Lemmon, believe it or not, is also a great skiing destination with incredible wildlife sightings on and off season. If you want to camp, Mt. Lemmon has a campground over 9,000 feet from the desert floor equipped with bathroom facilities, BBQ’s and camp hosts to assist you with your needs for a fee. Mt. Lemmon is perfect for families with a sense of adventure and various interests!
This article was written by Audrey Palumbo.