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Pima County Attractions
Pima County, located in Southern Arizona, is a unique place, not simply because of the beauty it holds in its varied landscape of mountains and cacti, but also in the way it has developed its land resources. Instead of simply selling off its land to the areas museums, stadiums and heritage attractions, the County has chosen to lease it to organizations over time, while maintaining ownership. This in turn has created a strong partnership between the County and the leaseholders.
In all, there are fifteen attractions linked to Pima County in this distinctive way, with the oldest recently celebrating its 50th birthday. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is more than merely a museum, but also a zoo and botanical garden, offering a view of Southwestern wildlife in its natural habitat.
For those who have a special interest in insects, the Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute conducts both youth and adult educational field trips and workshops.
Originally a set for Western movies in the 40's and 50's with stars such as John Wayne and Glen Ford, Old Tucson Studios has transformed into a park full of stunt shows, rides, gift shops and great restaurants full of the best mesquite BBQ around.
With stalagmites and stalactites encircling rooms where bandits used to split up stolen gold, Colossal Cave Mountain Park is full of hidden secrets and mystery. The historic La Posta Quemada ranch that sits on the park property is the perfect place for scooping out the wildlife and participate in all the family activities available.
But there are more than just natural wonders in Pima County. Technology has played its part as well. Pima Air & Space Museum is the only place where you can listen to old war stories while standing in the bay of an B-24 and take a tour of President Kennedy's Air Force One.
The Titan Missile Museum, set in nearby Green Valley, is the only nuclear missile left over from the Cold War. Although it's underground and has been hollow for 20 years, it still remains as a menacing reminder of what might have been.
The Pima County Fairgrounds are an endless source of year-round entertainment, hosting equestrian events, horse and dog shows, concerts and its annual highlight, the Pima County Fair, in its 95th year.
Located at the Fairgrounds are two permanent residents, Tucson Raceway Park, with weekly NASCAR racing and Southwestern International Racing, hosting drag strip and funny car racing. With races every weekend during the summer and fall, the choices are limitless.
Southern Arizona is an ideal setting for golf courses, given the backdrop and the weather, and Pima County has two of the finest. Arthur Pack Desert Golf Course, an 18-hole, par 72 course designed by Lee Trevino is set in northwest Tucson with a spectacular view of the four Tucson mountain ranges. Ajo Golf Course provides an out-of-the-way retreat in nearby Ajo with views and amenities found nowhere else.
Kino Sports Complex is the home to the largest baseball facility in Southern Arizona-Tucson Electric Park. The Park is not only the home of the local AAA baseball team, the Tucson Sidewinders, but is also the Spring Training home for the Chicago White Sox and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Another local sports facility is the Tucson Sportspark, where community teams from all over come to play on their state of the art baseball/softball fields, volleyball courts, multi-purpose field used for soccer, rugby and much more and playground.
The historic Rillito Park Racetrack races quarter horses and thoroughbreds every January and February, with pari-mutuel betting and fun for the whole family.
With attractions that range from the animals and the plants of this earth to the search for life on other planets, Pima County truly has all the things you love to do. "All we're missing is you." Please be sure to contact us if you need additional information.
PIMA COUNTY ATTRACTIONS
Pima County Economic Development and Tourism
130 W. Congress - 10th Floor
Tucson, AZ 85701
520.740.8307 www.pimacountyattractions.com top of page
Ajo Country Club Golf Course
Need to get away? The Ajo Country Club Golf Course provides you with the perfect opportunity to do so. This oasis set in the desert, provides the ideal setting for a relaxing game of golf. With superb views of the Ajo and Childs Mountains, the magic of the Arizona desert comes alive. This par 71, 9-hole course, with alternating tee boxes, was built by the members in 1946, shortly after World War II.
Set on a total of 6,070 yards, this public facility has Bermuda fairways that require strategy and elevated tifft greens that are sloped and fast, with the natural desert environment often coming into play. With the natural desert landscaping, it is not abnormal to have a deer or roadrunner become a spectator to your game. There is also a driving range where you can brush up your skills before you go out on the course for a game. And if you find yourself in need of anything, their pro shop is sure to carry it.
But the Ajo Country Club doesn't simply have a golf course. They also offer a full service restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch and is capable of doing banquets, catering and special events. Or if you're not hungry, you can grab a drink and unwind in their cocktail lounge after a game. During season, call 3 days in advance for a tee time. Rates vary throughout the year and rental carts are available. For more information, call Ken Lindner, the Golf Course Superintendent at (520) 387-5011. Ajo Golf Course: 77 W. Mead Rd, Ajo, AZ 85321
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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is not an ordinary zoo. Nor is it an everyday botanical garden. And it's definitely not your run of the mill museum. So what is it?
Located just fourteen miles west of Tucson on 21 acres of the Sonoran Desert, it is the home to over 2,700 native animals, 1,200 types of flora and fauna and 14,000 rock and mineral specimens, and is the nation's leading outdoor living museum. Enclosed behind Invisinet", a special mesh that is strong and safe, but still transparent so that photos may be taken, magnificent mountain lions, javelinas and bighorn lambs run wild in their natural habitats. In addition to the larger mammals, the scaly, six-legged, and counterpart seeking shelter from the desert sun can also be found in settings of their own in a unique cutaway exhibit, called Life Underground.
Started in 1952, by William H. Carr and Arthur N. Pack, the Museum is also home to the Coati Exhibit which features an ensemble of creatures hunting for food in a recreation of the remarkable Sycamore Canyon located on the Arizona-Mexico border, truly earning it's place in the world's Top Ten Zoological Sites. At certain times of the year, birds of prey can be seen in the Raptor Free Flight Program, living in the wild, and birds can be seen only inches away in the Walk-in Aviary all year round. While many people think that the desert is all cacti and dirt, the Desert Museum proves them wrong with their Desert Grassland exhibit, featuring prairie dogs, and Riparian Corridor with underwater beavers and otters. In the Hummingbird Aviary, an eternal buzz and whir of activity surrounds visitors as these tiny birds busy themselves with chores.
Much more than a museum, the Earth Sciences Center is a desert cave containing one of the largest collections of breathtaking gems and minerals to be found in a single area. Vivid pollinator gardens attract butterflies almost year round, constantly providing a feast for the eyes. All of this is set against a desert landscape backdrop littered with cacti of all shapes and sizes, including the unusual boojum.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has several docents and volunteers to provide information and answer questions, so that visitors don't leave having just seen things, but having learned things too. This is truly a Museum whose name is deceiving for what it actually is: a zoo, a botanical garden and a museum rolled into one.
The Museum offers a variety of places to eat, from merely grabbing some java, to a full meal. In addition, two gift shops offer a variety of souvenirs, natural history books and native artifacts. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a private, non-profit organization and is financed by admissions, memberships and contributions. The admission rates vary per season so please sure to visit their website. Group rates are available. Visa, MC, Travelers Checks, personal checks with a guarantee card and cash are accepted. For more information, call (520) 883-2702, or go to the website at www.desertmuseum.org.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: 2021 N. Kinney Road, Tucson, AZ 85743 www.desertmuseum.org
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Arthur Pack Desert Golf Course
Golf is one of today's most popular sports, with growing numbers of people taking it up everyday. Spread across 200 acres of Southern Arizona desert, the Arthur Pack Desert Golf Course, is a public course and the perfect place for people of all ages to play. Be sure to visit the newly designed driving range and the remodeled club house.
Designed by Lee Trevino and opened in 1975, the 18-hole, par 72, championship course is laid out in a jigsaw of fairways and greens. The course offers a bit of everything from its rolling greens to its cacti in the rough. Often called the "best public greens in Tucson", the course also boasts three waterholes, which play into four holes. With a rare and spectacular view of all four of the majestic Tucson Mountain ranges, the Arthur Pack Desert Golf Course provides a magnificent backdrop for a game of golf. In drastic comparison to the courses of the East, this course is filled with Desert Landscaping, leaving the areas beyond the fairways dotted with cacti and other unique desert brush.
Arthur Pack has hosted the Pima County Amateur Championship for over 20 years, is co-host of the Southern Arizona Open and was the Tucson Open's Qualifying course for twelve years. This course is also home to the Arthur Pack Men's Club, which has upheld the tradition of playing three days a week and in tournaments since the course's opening in 1975. In addition, there are two Ladies' Clubs that play one day a week and participate in tournaments. For the newcomer to the sport, private lessons are available by appointment or children can get a jumpstart on learning the game by enrolling in the summer junior clinics.
As every golfer knows, a pro shop is just as important as the golf course itself, and Arthur Pack's is as comprehensive as they come, completely stocked with a wide variety of top of the line merchandise and a knowledgeable staff. But a great game of golf isn't all the Arthur Pack Desert Golf Course has to offer. Its restaurant matches the outdoor desert with its Southwestern décor and serves both a daily breakfast and lunch, as well as having snacks available throughout the day for the hungry golfer.
The Arthur Pack Desert Golf Course is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Rates vary throughout the year, and electric and pull carts are available for rental, although they are not required. Tee times may be made 7 days in advance and tournaments may be scheduled sooner. For more information or to schedule a tee time, call 520-744-3322. The restaurant is also available for banquets, parties, and other events with special catering and offers a full bar. For more information on restaurant services in its newly remodeled club house call 520-744-3033.
Arthur Pack Desert Golf Course: 9101 North Thornydale, Tucson, AZ 85742
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Colossal Cave Mountain Park
Bonecrusher. Fang. Starting to sound like the names of professional wrestlers? They're not. These are the names of some of the largest stalactite formations in Colossal Cave in Vail, Arizona. The cave was formed during the Mississippian Period, over 320 million years ago, when water seeped through the rocks and dissolved away part of the limestone, leaving behind the third largest cave in the world. Colossal Cave is one of the 5% of the dry/dormant caves in the world, meaning that it is still alive, but no longer growing. This also means that it is one of the rare caves where pictures may be taken inside.
You are first greeted with Old Baldy, a stalagmite, who stands guard near the cave tour and requires that you rub his head, in order to make it out alive. Covered with stalactites (limestone hanging from the ceiling) and stalagmites (limestone coming up from the ground), the cave creates an ethereal feeling deep below the ground. Knowledgeable and witty tour guides lead you through a maze of tunnels and stairs, equipped with handrails. Along the way, they explain the rooms, history and "Bandit Legend" of the cave and point out figures in the rock formations, like Scary Witch Emma and Mr. Magoo. Bats are transients in this cave as well, so if you're lucky you may get to see some hanging around the top. After about an hour in the cave, which stays an even 70 year round, you can grab something to eat at the open air café or browse the gift shop, with items ranging from jewelry to bookends. In addition to regular tours, reservations can be made to take special adventures, such as Ladder, Candlelight, and Wild Cave tours, where you can do a more in-depth and rough experience.
The Cave isn't the only thing that this Park holds for visitors, though. A few minutes down the road, the 120-year-old La Posta Quemada Ranch, site of an old stagecoach station, hosts the Ranch Headquarters House, which is the home for the museum, research library, another beautiful gift shop, and open-air café serving Mexican food. Here, you can sit in the natural habitat butterfly garden and watch as butterflies whiz around your head or observe the tortoises as they wander about their stone enclosure. There is also a riding stable where trail rides are available and the Analemmatic Sundial where you can be the shadow that tells the time. Special reservations can be made for cattle drives, cowboy cookouts, and kids' birthday parties.
If you like to camp, there are secluded campsites near the Posta Quemada Wash, While there, you can hike on the 2,400 acres that the Park covers and spot many animals, such as a ringtail, coatimundi, javelina, or striped skunk.
Part of the National Register of Historic Places, Colossal Cave Mountain Park offers a variety of activities for all areas of interest, whether you want to have a day-outing or rough it on a camping trip. Admission to the Park is $3/car ($1/person over 6 people). Guided Cave tours rates for adults are $7.50, children 6-12 are $4 and children 5 and under are free. No reservation is required for a guided cave tour, and the maximum wait time is 30 minutes. There is no food, drink or gum allowed in the cave, but bottled water is permitted. Reservations are suggested for trail rides, which are $25 for 1 hour, $35 for 1.5 hours and $45 for 2 hours. For more information on Colossal Cave and to how to make special reservations, call (520) 647-PARK (7275) or visit their website at www.colossalcave.com.
Colossal Cave Mountain Park: 6711 E. Colossal Cave Road, Vail, AZ 85641 www.colossalcave.com
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Kino Sports Complex
Have you ever wondered where a world champion baseball team trains in order to go out and win the World Series? Well, if you're the Arizona Diamondbacks, you simply travel two hours south of Phoenix to the largest and most inclusive sports center in Tucson-Kino Veterans Memorial Sports Complex. And you'd practice in only the best facility there, of course, Tucson Electric Park (TEP). But the Diamondbacks aren't the only team to hold Spring Training there; the Chicago White Sox also travel across the country just to make a special visit to this extraordinary stadium.
Now you're thinking that since Spring Training only lasts about a month, is TEP vacant for the other 11 months? Not at all! The Diamondbacks' AAA affiliate, the Tucson Sidewinders, hold all of their home games in this close-to-the-action and friendly atmosphere. With 8,000 stadium seats and over 3,000 lawn seats available, there is plenty of room for everyone in the family to grab a hot dog and soda and watch America's favorite game. Except baseball is not a year round sport, so what else happens there? A lot. Tucson Electric Park has hosted many large outdoor concerts featuring nationally acclaimed artists such as the Doobie Brothers and Smashmouth, as well as all-day community festivals. They are the home for non-profit fundraising events, car, and gem and mineral shows, and many more family events throughout the year, ranging from the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life to the 4th of July Family Fun Fest. TEP alone makes this facility exceptional, but this isn't the only thing at the Complex.
The Complex sits on 158-acres with Tucson Electric Park set on over 50,000 square-feet inside. The rest of the space is filled with 12 senior, 3 half and 2 youth sized baseball/softball fields, and 3 full-size soccer fields. In addition, some of these fields have lighting for extended evening play. Community teams in a championship game, a corporate competition, or a family reunion softball game frequently occupy these fields. With a view of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains, this is the perfect spot for any event, whether it is a baseball game or a wedding. So when you attend a little league championship game there, keep your eye on the star pitcher, he's probably standing in Randy Johnson's footsteps.
Kino Veterans Memorial Sports Complex has 9 ramadas, numerous concession stands and many special event areas located throughout the grounds. The fields can be rented for community games or other uses. TEP seats cost between $4 and $15 for baseball games (costs may vary and differ for other events). For more information and an event calendar call (520) 434-1000 or visit the website at www.kinosportscomplex.com.
Kino Sports Complex-Home of Tucson Electric Park: 2500 E. Ajo Way, Tucson, AZ 85713 www.kinosportscomplex.com
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Old Tucson Studios
Ever dreamed of being a cowboy? Between kids, work and the PTA there aren't many opportunities left to do so. But just west of downtown Tucson lies a place where you can make all your childhood fantasies come true. Built as a movie set in 1939 for the movie Arizona, starring William Holden and Jean Arthur, Old Tucson Studios continues to offer classic western entertainment to visitors of all ages. From western movie heroes Glen Ford, Roy Rogers and John Wayne to current box office stars Val Kilmer and Harrison Ford, Old Tucson Studios has hosted Hollywood's biggest legends in more than 300 major motion picture and television productions.
Nestled on 320 acres at the base of the Tucson Mountains, Old Tucson transports you back to a time of gunfights, stagecoaches, and can-can dancers. Once you arrive you slip back in time to experience the Wild West that Hollywood made famous. Watch trouble go down in "Death on a Dusty Street", laugh at the "The Chicken Tamer", or learn the secrets of the masters in "Hollywood Stunt Demonstration". And if the shows don't keep you busy all day, the attractions will. The young'ns can choose from an array of activities, ranging from pony rides to driving antique cars to the Iron Door Mine Adventure. If you want to take home a piece of the action with you, there are a number of shops that offer one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs, so that you can finally have that hat and holster you've always wanted. And if you get the urge you can have an old fashioned photo taken in western duds to relive your childhood over and over again.After a long day, sit back in your choice of restaurants and enjoy some real cowboy cooking with mesquite-grilled barbeque and authentic Mexican dishes served piping hot. When you're done, head down to the Grand Palace Saloon to wash it down with your favorite thirst-quencher, and then mosey over to Main Street to top off your appetite with some old fashioned ice cream.
In addition to family fun, Old Tucson Studios hosts yearly seasonal events such as "Nightfall", where the entire park is turned into a haunted house, and "Winter West Fest", where it becomes a month long celebration of the holiday season.
So come out to Old Tucson Studios and walk in the footsteps of your favorite Hollywood star, whether it's Roy Rogers or Clint Eastwood, and relive the Wild West in a place where it's still alive.
More information on shows, attractions, or special events call (520) 883-0100 or visit the website at www.oldtucson.com. Admission is $14.95 for adults and $9.45 for children. Discounts are given for seniors (60+), AAA, military and Pima county residents. Old Tucson Studios accepts major credit cards. Admission excludes horseback trail rides, panning for gold, Mine tour and Old Time Photos. Spacious banquet facilities are available for group activities. Old Tucson Studios is located at 201 South Kinney Road in Tucson Mountain Park. Take I-10, exit Speedway Blvd. And head west, following the signs. Recreational vehicles should travel Ajo (west) to Kinney Road. Old Tucson Studios: 201 S. Kinney Road, Tucson, AZ 85735 www.oldtucson.com
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Pima Air & Space Museum
Where can you walk in Kennedy's footsteps, stand in the bombay of a B-24 and hear war stories from veterans? Pima Air & Space Museum, near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson is the only place that offers you all these things and more. Home to over 250 aircraft, you are constantly surrounded by airplanes of all shapes and sizes in this not-so-traditional museum.
Upon entering, you walk under the camouflage arch of a 1964 Skycrane, an army helicopter used to drop water onto fires, and enter into a world of flight. The museum contains not only the aircraft on display outside, but also has five hangers that can be toured. Hanger #1 houses many interactive exhibits that kids and adults will love, along with the history of flight from the Kittyhawk in 1903 until now. The Morphis is also here, a high tech, simulator that combines that magic of motion pictures, auto wizardry and some special effects straight from the flight line to make you feel like you are really in space. And if walking around 75 acres in the desert sun to see all the planes seems daunting, tram tours narrated by veterans that decipher the mysteries of the aircraft are available all day.
A short walk to two of the Museum's other hangers take you back in time to the WWII with memorabilia, combat gliders and a B-29 named "Sentimental Journey". And the journey here is indeed sentimental. Since most of the docents and volunteers at the museum have piloted or had some kind of contact with the aircraft, you get a glimpse of firsthand history that you rarely see in schoolbooks. This personal touch makes a visit to the museum like no other in the world. Hanger #5 is home to the Wood Restoration Hanger, where you can look inside and watch as the museum's experts restore the wooden and fabric planes. And as if Hangers #1 through #5 aren't enough, there is also the 390th Memorial Museum--a museum inside Pima Air & Space. Here, you can stand in the bombay of a B-17 and listen to stories of the 13th combat wing.
As you wander around the grounds of the museum, you stumble upon planes from every war and branch of military, grouped by their type, like Bombers or Cargo. Next door to Hanger #1, in its own tent, sits one of 42 sleek SR-71 Blackbirds ever made. This feat of engineering, and the fastest airplane in the world, strikes awe into every visitor that stands in its ominous shadow. In the center of the museum is a ring of Presidential Airplanes called VIP Circle, where you can take an inside tour of the last Presidential propelled plane, used by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson with its outdated formica and rotary telephones.
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, also opens up what is nicknamed the "Boneyard" for touring. Here, you not only experience the buzz of an active military base, but you also see the largest Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC). This is the resting place for aircraft that is out of commission or has been permanently retired.
Knowing that flight in the air isn't the only thing that's been achieved in the last 100 years, the museum also contains a Space Exploratorium, with lots of interactive exhibits that entertain while they teach about outer space, Mars and space shuttles. This building also contains a full size X-15 rocket plane and an Apollo 13 capsule used during the filming of the 1995 drama. This is also home to the Challenger Learning Center, where groups can have unique learning opportunities that enhance teamwork and cooperation.
During your visit you can grab something to eat in a 1950's setting at Little Anthony's Air Strip Diner and get some aircraft memorabilia at the gift shop. For up to date admission price visit their website. A combination PASM/Titan Missile Museum ticket is also available. Tram ride, and AMARC tour at nearby Davis-Monthan Air Force Base have additional charges. Wagons and wheelchairs are also available for use. For more information call (520) 574-0462 or visit the website at www.pimaair.org.
Pima Air & Space Museum: 6000 E. Valencia Rd, Tucson, AZ 85706 www.pimaair.org
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Pima County Fairgrounds
You may think that because it's called the Pima County Fairgrounds, all this 640-acre facility does all year is wait around for the annual fair to sweep through for two weeks. Well, you'd be wrong. Very wrong. It's a common misconception that Fairgrounds are used for nothing more than a yearly fair, but this is highly untrue. While the Pima County Fair should not be overlooked, it should by no means outshine the many other events that take place on the premises. With 4 halls, 2 stages, horse rings/arenas, a cantina, and a livestock barn/ramada, the fairgrounds have ample room to accommodate various events year round.
While a fair is generally predictable with rides, carnival games and cotton candy, the Pima County Fair is not conventional, in the fact that it has some kind of special event going on every day. Whether it is a Wristband night, Demolition derby or sea lion exhibit, no day is ordinary at this fair. If rides aren't your cup of tea, and you can never seem to win a teddy bear, the 4 exhibit halls are filled with things to see and do, keeping everyone busy for hours on end. But much more happens on the Pima County Fairgrounds than most think.
Two of its permanent residents lie just South of the grounds-Southwestern International Raceway (SIR) and Tucson Raceway Park (TRP). These racetracks offer endless weekend activities for the entire family with NASCAR races at TRP and NHRA at SIR. SIR also offers weekly high school drags for the younger visitors in a safe and controlled environment, while TRP hosts spectator events for the NASCAR fan.
But there is much more to the Pima County Fairgrounds than racetracks and a yearly carnival. They are also year round hosts to large outdoor concerts and festivals that appeal to all ages and draw large crowds and will appeal to every member of your family. Animal shows, equipment sales and rallies are some of their other activities, just to name a few. While the fairgrounds may seem to have a clear-cut purpose, they are actually much more than they appear. Rental facilities are available with special rates for weddings and Quincenearas. For more information and a calendar of events, call (520) 792-9100, visit the fairgrounds website at www.swfair.com, SIR's website at www.SIRace.com, or TRP's website at www.tucsonracewaypark.com.
Pima County Fairgrounds: 11300 S. Houghton Rd, Tucson, AZ 85747 www.swfair.com
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Pima Motorsports Park
Now Open for Practice
People are getting off the roads and into the dirt. Each year, off-highway vehicles (OHV) gain more popularity, and are quickly acquiring a loyal following of fans. From grand prix races in the desert to OHV drag racing in a rally cross to wheel-to-wheel racing on the short course, Pima Motorsports Park (PMP) offers it all.
Granding opening is scheduled soon, so check back as often as you like as we update the information weekly.
Practices are now held weekly on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.For more information on Pima Motorsports Park and upcoming events, call (520) 762-8771.Pima Motorsports Park: 11700 South Harrison Rd., Tucson, AZ 85747
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Rillito Park Racetrack
Horse racing always seems to conjure up images of the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown or the 1930's and 40's when racing was in it's heyday. But a trip to the Rillito Park Racetrack in Tucson proves that horse racing is not that far from the everyday and is still very much in its heyday, fast becoming a sport for the whole family to enjoy. Originally opened in the 1940's, this track is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is the home for the humble beginnings of American Quarter Horse racing in the United States.
The beating of hooves drum in your chest as you watch quarter horses or thoroughbreds race around the 5/8 of a mile track in pursuit of the win, and pray for your "lucky" horse to cross the finish line first. But just in case he or she doesn't, the racetrack does a daily losing ticket giveaway, where they will draw for prizes on the losing tickets, and you could win anything from a free dinner out to a weekend away with your loved ones. The Rillito Racetrack wasn't only the first quarter horse racetrack in the US, but it was also the first racetrack west of the Mississippi to offer pari-mutuel betting on the races. For the racing novice, classes are offered on race days, beginning at noon that teach the ins and outs of racing and the how-to's of betting, so you and your kids can bet a few dollars for fun.
Since 1988 the Rillito Racetrack has been running during the cool February and March months, with its grandstands so close to the racetrack that you can't help but feel as though you are a part of the action. The park also simulcasts races from around the country so you can watch them between races or don't miss your favorite horse, while you are sitting back in one of their restaurants, bars or grabbing a snack at the concession stands. The racetrack offers a choice of seating, either in the grandstand, or in the clubhouse, but no matter where you are, you're never too far to hear them yell "They're off!"
Racing season begins January 22, 2005, and runs every Saturday and Sunday for 7 weeks, with 10 races/day; post time is 1pm. General admission is $2, $3 for the clubhouse, and kids under 12 are free. The Racetrack offers free parking and seating, and valet parking is available. For more information and a calendar of events call (520) 293-5011.
Rillito Park Racetrack: 4502 N. First Ave., Tucson, AZ 85718
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Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute
It's a bug's life. Or at least it's an arthropod's life at the Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute (SASI) in Tucson Mountain Park. But what exactly is an arthropod? It is an invertebrate whose body is covered by an exoskeleton. In short, it's an insect. As children they captivated our attention, but as adults we have moved away from the simplicity of following a line of ants to their hill. SASI, however, allows us to get back in touch with our uncomplicated past.
The Institute, founded in 1986 and funded by memberships, serves to conduct research on these intriguing creatures, but more importantly, it serves to educate people. Its unique educational program for all ages is designed to make you shed your pre-conceived notions about bugs and return to your childhood fascination with them. SASI routinely offers various field trips, workshops and seminars for the eager student or interested party to enjoy. With a classroom, library and laboratory housed in its headquarters, they are highly prepared to enlighten visitors about their area of expertise. They also maintain a comprehensive collection of living and preserved arthropods, so you can see them up close. In addition, they have a collection of various arthropod fossils, cultural items and postage stamps. SASI is also host to the annual Invertebrates in Captivity Conference, which brings professionals from zoos, aquariums and museums together to share their knowledge.
The Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute wipes out your old ideas about insects and opens up a new world of appreciation for the most dominant group of animals on earth. For more information about SASI, how to become a member, or to learn more about insects, call (520) 883-3945 or visit the website at www.SASIonline.org.
Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute; Gate's Pass, marker G-10 www.sasionline.org
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Southwestern International Raceway
Engines rev. Tension builds. The light slowly ticks from yellow, to yellow, and finally to green. And they're off. "They" could be drag racing high schoolers or members of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) gearing up for a Division 7 Summit drag race. And they do all this at Southwestern International Raceway (SIR), just south of the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson.
Open since 1997, SIR has a _ mile track, with a 340-foot concrete launch pad and a _ mile shut down area for drag racing. Besides NHRA racing, they are also involved in the Summit ET series, comprised of high school, motorcycle, street, sportsman and pro classes. Much like any other sport, the drivers participate in a 10 race series, and the one with the most points advances to the final, and ultimately the national championships. With so many categories, everyone can find their favorite race to watch, whether its motorcycles or funny car racing.
SIR hosts a different event almost every weekend, so that there is always something different going on. As drag racing continues to grow in popularity, SIR continues to deliver it in many forms, including the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. This Divisional Series brings in more than 500 race teams, so that it will prove to be one of the most exciting nights ever. In addition to their weekly events, SIR also hosts the unique Pro National Warm-ups, where spectators can view a pre-season open testing session for the top racers in the NHRA.
With its many activities, SIR offers not only entertainment, but also a chance to be involved in the action, and appeals to every age group. So for some real drag racing action in the best track in Southern Arizona, head out to SIR to watch some of the best hot rod and drag racing action around. For more information and a calendar of events call (520) 762-9700 or visit the website at www.SIRace.com.
Southwestern International Raceway: 11300 S. Houghton Rd, Tucson, AZ 85747 www.SIRace.com
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The 50-acre Tucson Sportspark, northwest of the city, looks out to the peaceful Tortolita Mountains, where anyone of any skill can pick up a bat and play.
The Sportspark allows people to form their own teams or sign up on a free agent list which enables the park to help coordinate community teams. And it doesn't just stop at baseball. Sportspark offers a wide variety of games for people of all ages from adult slow-pitch softball, girls fast-pitch softball, youth baseball, adult volleyball, to flag football. The facility houses 6 fully lit baseball/softball fields for those late night games and 4 batting cages so you can squeeze in some practice before the big game. They also have 5 sand volleyball courts so you can feel like you are on the beach in Arizona and one multipurpose field that can be used for anything from rugby or lacrosse to corporate picnics or special events. For the ones who are still too small to play, the Sportspark has a state of the art playground to keep them occupied and entertained for hours on end.
Teams from all over the nation, and even the world, have come to play their tournaments here, making for some exciting and once in a lifetime games. Opened in 1984, the Sportspark has been hosting special events, periodic concerts, BBQ's and luaus as well as the best recreational and competitive league sports around. The Sportspark also hosts corporate outings and company picnics that will build morale and teamwork in a way like no other.
If you are not the athletic type, there is still plenty to do. Cheering from the grandstands and the raised decking that overlooks the fields is always needed and much appreciated by the players. There are also two fully stocked concession stands, complete with hot dogs, pizza, beer and other spirits, as well as pool tables inside for the pool shark.
So whether you are on the team or are simply a spectator, it's always more fun when it's live and especially when you can be part of the action. The Sportspark is open year round, 7 days a week. Admission is $1.50, which includes a token worth $1 at the concession stands. League costs vary. For more information, a calendar of events, how to start a team or become a free agent call (520) 744-9496 or visit the website at www.playatSportspark.com.
Sportspark: 6901 N. Casa Grande Hwy, Tucson, AZ 85743 www.playatSportspark.com
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Titan Missile Museum
Twenty years ago Kansas, Arkansas and Arizona were littered with nuclear missiles, ready to be deployed at a moment's notice. But this never happened. In 1981, by Presidential order, all 54 of these missile silos were to be dismantled and abandoned by 1987. But what most people don't know is that one still remains in the desert south of Tucson. This is the only one that was not abandoned after it was hollowed out, and still stands in tribute as a piece of history and as a museum.
Opened to the public in 1986, the Titan II is a second-generation liquid fueled ballistic missile and the largest Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) ever developed in the US. Declared operationally ready in 1963, these missiles were maintained by constant crews and kept ready to launch 24 hours a day, at the mere utterance of a command. Underground, the "hardened" command center is cushioned by springs so that it could withstand anything but a direct hit from the enemy. The center, where so many served, is outfitted with antiquated computers from Titan's time, much larger than the microchips of today. To activate this sleeping giant, it was required that two keys, held by two people, be turned at the same time, to avoid any mistakes, because once the process was started, it couldn't be stopped. The living quarters inhabited by the crews for so many years, are located above the control room where most of their time was spent, and are opened to the public only a few times a year.
A couple of 6,000-pound blast doors guard the missile silo, and beyond them lays a space age corridor that leads to Titan II itself. This 110 foot, 170-ton missile still looks ominous, even though it is now hollow and innocuous. In order to keep this silo intact, they had to prove that it was no longer operational. The missile had holes cut into it, to prove that it had been gutted and the silo door is kept permanently half open so that Russian satellites can see that it is not a threat. The museum was also named as a National Historic Landmark in 1994, which is rare for things younger than 50 years old. Even though the Cold War has been over for years, its haunting memory and possible implications still serve as a reminder at the Titan Missile Museum.
Admission for the museum is $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors, military, and groups of 20 or more, $4.00 for children 7-12 and free for children under 6. A combination ticket for Titan/Pima Air & Space Museum may also be purchased for $15.00. Tours last one hour, one begins every 30 minutes, and reservations are recommended. Walking shoes are required (heels are not permitted) and special tours may be arranged. For more information call (520) 625-7736 or visit the website at www.pimaair.org.
Titan Missile Museum: 1580 W. Duval Mine Rd, Sahuarita, AZ 85629 www.pimaair.org
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Tucson Raceway Park
Have you ever wanted to say, "Gentlemen, start your engines"? Well, now here's your chance. And when you do, engines will roar, the crowd will cheer and pure power surges around the 3/8 mile paved track at Tucson Raceway Park. When the green flag drops, the excitement begins. Whether it's Late, Super Late, Grand American Modifieds, Factory Stocks or Mighty Compacts, you'll find yourself caught up in the action every week as these cars tear around the corners in pursuit of the win.
Since opening in 1968, Tucson Raceway Park has remained a leader in championship stock car racing. Originally built as a clay track, the Super Late Models took to the asphalt in 1993 and they still remain as the top-billed racing class. With the ever-growing popularity of fast cars and the checkered flag, NASCAR's following has grown over the years, and Tucson Raceway Park is the only place in Southern Arizona to find this sport. And this is truly a sport like no other. The drivers may make it look easy, but when a car spins out of control it is a startling reminder that driving these cars is much harder than it looks and should be left to the professionals. Tucson Raceway Park makes you feel like you are a part of the NASCAR family by doing pre-race interviews and follow-ups with the winners in the pits.
But Tucson Raceway Park doesn't just offer NASCAR racing as family entertainment. In addition to this, they have special events like Demolition Derbies, Monster Trucks, Freestyle Motorcross and much more. These events are more fun than serious, and the crowd cheers and laughs as events like the "World Famous Trailer Races of Destruction" get underway. The racing at the track will make you feel like you are a kid playing video games again and will let loose your wilder side. Their facilities are set up for hours of outdoor entertainment that is much different from the standard Saturday night dinner and movie. So if you love The Fast and the Furious and you've already seen every movie in the theater, go start your engine and head out to Tucson Raceway Park for a night full of family fun.
Tucson Raceway Park has a number of full concession stands where you can grab Oscar Mayer hot dogs, Mesquite Grilled Hamburgers, refreshing Coca-Cola products or ice-cold Budweisers. There are also NASCAR and Tucson Raceway Park souvenirs available to commemorate your outing. Tucson Raceway Park also offers covered hospitality areas and indoor, air-conditioned suites for corporate outings that are anything but boring. Adult admission is $10; seniors (62 and over), children (12-17) and military are $7 and children under 11 are free. For more information or an event calendar call (520) 762-9200 or visit the website at www.tucsonracewaypark.com.
Tucson Raceway Park: 12500 S. Houghton Rd, Tucson, AZ 85747 www.tucsonracewaypark.com
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After 100 years, over 38 million people still show up to cheer on their favorite Minor League Baseball team in stadiums across the country, one of them being the Tucson Sidewinders. In 1998, the Tucson Toros moved to T.E.P. and became the Tucson Sidewinders, Triple A Affiliate for the AZ Diamondbacks. Part of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL), the Sidewinders are in the Pacific Coast League with other teams such as the Las Vegas 51's and the New Orleans Zephyrs.
During 2003 the Sidewinders will be celebrating 35 years in Tucson. A host of new activities will be featured throughout the season. Most notably every Tuesday while home, the Sidewinders will dress up in historical Tucson Toro uniforms. Even Tuffey, the Toros Mascot, makes a encore visit this season.
The Tucson Sidewinders share their home, Tucson Electric Park, with their MLB affiliate the Arizona Diamondbacks, who use this facility for Spring Training, and play with just as much heart and soul as their counterparts. Their games are action-packed and intimate in this up-close environment. Sidewinders team members are Diamondback players, proving that this team is indeed world class.
But baseball isn't all this team has to offer. The Sidewinders regularly host special events for fans attending the games, such as giving away hats or having the Famous Chicken there to entertain between innings. The mascot, Sammy, is always on hand to represent the team in a way that no one else can, making each game exciting and fun-filled. The stadium is equipped with numerous concession stands and (8) Luxury Suites, where you can buy steak and lobster to the best hot dog Tucson has to offer. The Sidewinders also host a "team shop", where you can get a shirt, cap, or your very own Sidewinder bobble-head.
So even if baseball isn't your favorite sport, the Tucson Sidewinders offer family, fun, and value. Featuring the Kids Korner rides, Snake Pit sports club, and the Minor League child care service. Admission prices range from $5 to $8, and there are lawn or box seats available. For more information and a game schedule call (520) 434-1021 or visit the website at www.tucsonsidewinders.com.
Tucson Sidewinders: 2500 E. Ajo Way, Tucson, AZ 85713 www.tucsonsidewinders.com
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