In this issue:
- Tucson Attractions
- Pima Air and Space Museum
- Old Tucson Studios
- Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum
- Fun Fact
- Annual Events
- Tucson has a wide variety of lodging options
- March Poll Question
- Last chance to enter the USATourist contest!
Welcome to the March 2008 issue of the USATourist News Magazine. This month we are going to Tucson which is located in Southern Arizona's beautiful Sonoran Desert. The drive from Phoenix is about 1.5 hours down Interstate 10 (I-10), the only major highway through Tucson.
The best time to visit Tucson is from fall through spring, but you can get incredible bargains during the summer months. A huge part of Tucson's history includes the Old West. About 1.5 hours south of Tucson is the town of Tombstone best known as the site of the "Gunfight at the OK Corral".
Old Tucson Studios Stage Coach Photo by Jeff Blair
Pima Air and Space Museum is located in southeast Tucson. Last summer the new Spirit of Freedom Hangar opened. On display in the hanger are a variety of aircraft including the SR-71 Blackbird and the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame. The museum also offers Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) or "Boneyard" bus tours (where hundreds of deactived airplanes stored in the dry desert air).
Old Tucson Studios, also called Hollywood in the Desert, is located west of Tucson via a scenic drive through thousands of saguaro cactuses (the spiny desert plants that look like telephone poles with arms). Born in 1939 this location was the spot of many backdrops in old westerns as well as present day films. Today it's a family friendly Old West theme park.
The Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum is only minutes from Old Tucson Studios. Curious visitors have a great time learning about the Sonoran Desert and viewing some of Arizona's native wildlife such as scorpions, king snakes, Gila monsters and javelina (a "wild pig" member of the peccary family named for their razor-sharp tusks).
Tip: The Tucson Attractions Passport is a must-buy if you plan on visiting Tucson's attractions. The Passport offers discounts on Old Tucson Studios, Pima Air Museum and the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum.
Arizona Desert Photo by Elizabeth Blair
People are often surprised to see there are mountains in the desert. In fact, the southernmost ski resort in the United States, Mount Lemmon Ski Valley, is located in the Santa Catalina Mountains (the stunning backdrop north of Tucson).
Most of Tucson's popular events are held over the fall, winter, and spring months when the temperatures are moderate. Every spring the Colorado Rockies baseball team (famous for a history-making 2007 season culminating in their first World Series) arrives in Tucson for Spring Training. May 5 is the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo which brings celebrations and parties to the Old Pueblo. October 2-5, 2008 will be the annual Oktoberfest at Hi Corbett Field (where the Rockies train). The Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase and Tucson Rodeo overlap every February. This is one of Tucson's busiest tourism months, so be sure to make your hotel reservations early.
Tucson has a wide variety of lodging options
Tucson has a variety of lodging options, from budget motels to beautiful resorts to popular dude ranches. Dude ranches, also called guest ranches, are a great way to enjoy your visit to Arizona. Every ranch is different. Some are "working ranches" which means guests are up at the break of dawn and actually working the ranch. Other properties have more of laid-back ambience with swimming pools, outdoors activities, and sports. Many resorts are all-inclusive such as Tucson's Tanque Verde Ranch. The rate includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus the use of the ranch facilities and activities such as horseback riding, tennis, fishing, mountain biking and more. www.duderanch.org
Sonoran Desert Cave Photo by Elizabeth Blair
There are plenty of chain and budget hotels scattered near the University of Arizona and around the city. If you prefer a golf resort there are many in Tucson such as the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort with three distinctive championship courses or the Westin La Paloma with the 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course and gorgeous swimming area which includes five swimming pools, a swim-up bar and 177-foot waterslide.
Visitors seeking a true Sonoran Desert experience will love the newly renovated Westward Look Resort. The moment you walk into the rustic style lobby you feel like you are truly in the West. This resort sits on 80 acres in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains and provides stunning views overlooking Tucson. It has a full-service spa, on-site horseback riding, hiking trails, swimming pools and tennis courts. The Stargazer Spa Rooms offer private outdoor hot tubs. If you stay at the Westward Look during one of Executive Chef Jamie West's wine pairings or special events held in the Gold Room restaurant be sure to attend. You won't be disappointed.
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March Poll Question
Please stop by our forums to answer this month's Poll Question: What type of accommodations do you choose while traveling the United States?
Last chance to enter the USATourist contest!
The USATourist News Magazine Contest will end on March 10th. If you haven't already entered, there's only a few days left. Enter now for your chance to win the Postcards from North America board game. Visit the contest entry page for more details.
Some of you may not know this but Tucson is my hometown. If you have questions about Tucson, Arizona stop by our USATourist Forums and ask away. See you next month.
Happy and Safe Travels!
Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair
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