Soon we’ll be having visitors here in Tucson, Arizona for four days who have never been here before. As I thought of memorable, major places I would like my visitors to see, I came up with this four day itinerary.
Day I – venture a bit past Tucson, Arizona during the day
1. What: Mission San Xavier del Bac
Where: 1950 W. San Xavier Road
Hours: 7:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M.
Telephone number: 294-2624
Directions: Mission San Xavier del Bac is located just 9 miles south of downtown Tucson on the Tohono O’odham Reservation. Take Interstate 19 to exit 92 (San Xavier Road). After exiting just follow the signs to the Mission. You can’t miss it because the Mission is very visible as you’re driving on Interstate 19.
This mission is a beautiful white Mission, which was started by Father Eusebio Kino for the Indians way back in 1692. Inside the Mission it is common to see visitors’ notes and pictures pinned to statues, of their loved ones who are suffering. There is a museum on the property which is open from 8:30 A.M.-4:30 P.M. In the museum a 20 minute video is also available which talks about the history of the Mission. Alongside the Mission is a hill to walk up and visit additional statues. There too, many visitors leave notes and pictures of loved ones on the gates which surround the statues. Also visit the gift shop while you are at the Mission. Prices in the gift shop are very reasonable. Big candles to light and leave inside the Mission can be bought in the gift shop for only $3.00.
Mass is at 8:30 A.M.-Mondays-Fridays; 5:30 P.M-Saturdays; 7:00 A.M., 8:30 A.M., 10:00 A.M. & 11:30 A.M.-Sundays. Confession is available every Saturday from 4:00 P.M.-5:00 P.M. The Mass schedule changes during different seasons, so please check their website for updates. While you’re at the Mission also observe the Indian reservation nearby. It is very common to see those living on the reservation selling homemade fry bread and other products in front of the Mission.
While you’re at Interstate 19 visit:
2. What: Arizona Aerospace Foundation – Titan Missile Museum
Where: 1580 W. Duval Mine Road
Hours: 8:45 A.M.-5:00 P.M.
Telephone number: 625-7736
Admission for the guided tour: Adults (ages 13-62)-$8.50; Seniors (age 62+), Military, & AAA Members-$7.50; Juniors (ages 7-12)-$5.00; and Children (age 6 and younger)-Free
Directions: This Titan Missile Museum is about 25 miles south of Tucson. Take Interstate 19 south to exit 69 (Duval Mile Road) into Sahuarita. Turn west on Duval Mine Road and the signs will lead you to the Titan Missile Museum.
This Museum is so much hands-on fun even for adults. Our favorite part was being able to see the actual control center and living quarters of the Titan II Missile. A guide first explains all about the Museum during a sit down brief instruction and then you are lead outside onto the property as you are continuously told interesting historical information and then down into the actual Titan II Missile. The final destination inside the missile is the control center where you will experience a simulated launch. Each guided tour is one hour long. The first tour begins at 9:00 A.M. and the last tour begins at 4:00 P.M. It is fun to look around in the gift shop too, which is right at the admission’s desk.
Day II – venture past Tucson to experience the authentic Old West
1. What: The Town of Tombstone, Arizona known as “The Town too Tough to Die”
Where: Fremont & Allen Streets in Tombstone, Arizona
Telephone number of the Visitor’s Center: 457-3929
Directions: To get to Tombstone Arizona take Interstate 10 to exit 303 in Benson, and follow it through Benson to Highway 80. Stay on Highway 80 about 24 miles, which will take you right into Tombstone’˜s popular Fremont Street.
There are many places to eat, drink, and sleep in the town of Tombstone. Take the same steps as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Virgil and Morgan Earp took in 1881 and learn all about them. Enjoy a gunfight at 2:00 P.M. inside the O.K. Corral located at 326 E. Allen Street. Tour C.S. Fly’s Photo Gallery to see historic photos and that of the Apache warrior Geronimo.
The O.K. Corral is open every day from 9:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M. There is an admission and children under 6 are free. Next door to the O.K. Corral you can see a daily show every 30 minutes of what made Tombstone famous inside Tombstone’s Historama Theater. The theater is open from 9:30 A.M.-4:30 P.M. Admission is included in the O.K. Corral ticket.
The Tombstone Epitaph Museum of Arizona’s 1880s – oldest newspaper is open from 9:30 A.M.-5:00 P.M. and admission is free. Free reprints of the original 1881 reports about the gunfight between Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Virgil and Morgan Earp and the McLaurys and Clantons is given out with an O.K. Corral Admission’s ticket.
Several of the saloons in the town offer live music and dancing on weekends. Drink prices are very reasonable. While visiting the town you can also enjoy other gunfight shows, stagecoach and wagon tours, little stores to souvenir shop and a city park. On the road towards these main attractions there’s a gift/snack shop, which has the cemetery where all these old cowboys are buried. More than one day can easily be spent in Tombstone, Arizona to see it all.
Day III – venture 90 miles from Tucson
1. What: The town of Bisbee
Where: Copper Queen Plaza
Telephone number of the Bisbee Visitor Center: 432-3554 or toll-free: 866-2BISBEE
Directions: Take Interstate 10 East to Exit 303, Highway 80 – Benson, Tombstone, Bisbee. Then take Highway 80 east approximately 49 miles to Bisbee. After the tunnel, take the 2nd exit – Historic Old Bisbee exit and exit right.
Enjoy sidewalks of antique shops, art galleries, restaurants, cafes, book stores and specialty shops. Visit these museums: Bisbee Mini Museum of the Bizarre, Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum, Bisbee Restoration Museum, & the Muheim Museum Heritage House. Visit the Copper Queen Library. Take these tours: Bisbee Hearse Tour, Historic Walking Tours, Lavender Jeep Tours, Old Bisbee Ghost Tour and the Queen Mine Tour (see below). The homes in the area are beautiful Victorian and European style homes.
1B. If you like mines, while in Bisbee take a:
What: Queen Mine Tour
Where: 478 N. Dart Road
Tour hours: 7 days each week-9:00 A.M., 10:30 A.M., Noon, 2:00 P.M., & 3:30 P.M.
Telephone number: 432-2071 or toll-free: 866-432-2071
Admission: $13.00-adults; $5.50-ages 4-12; children under 4-free.
Directions: Follow the directions to the town of Bisbee above and the Queen Mine Tour driveway entrance is not far from the Historic Old Bisbee exit. Parking is available at the tour.
Here you will be taking a tour of an authentic turn-of-the century underground mine wearing all of the garb of an official miner: slicker, hard hat and headlamp. It’s a lot of fun and very interesting. Reservations are recommended.
Day IV – spend a day in Tucson, Arizona
1. What: Pima Air & Space Museum
Where: 6000 E. Valencia Road
Hours: 7 days each week: 9:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M. Last admission is at 4:00 P.M.
Telephone number: 574-0462
Admission: $13.75-adults; $11.50-Pima County residents; $11.75-seniors, groups, AAA members & military; $8.00-children ages 7-12; children under 6-free. Admission is a little higher during the winter and fall months.
Directions: Take Interstate 10 to Exit 267. Head east until you reach the address above.
This Air & Space Museum has over 300 aircraft and spacecraft exhibits covering 100 years of aviation history. There are 5 Hangars of exhibits, a Memorial Museum, WW II Barracks, a Space Gallery and many outside exhibits which include many ground support vehicles. Our favorite outside exhibit was Airforce One, which was used by President John F. Kennedy. A walking tour of the Museum starts at 10:15 A.M. Tram tours are at 10:00 A.M., 11:30 A.M., and 1:30 P.M. for an additional $6.00.
2. What: Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
Where: 2021 N. Kinney Road
Hours: 8:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. – last entry at 4:15 P.M. Spring & Summer hours are a bit different.
Telephone number: 883-1380
Admission: $13.00-adults; $4.25-children 6-12; children 5 & under-free. Admission is a little cheaper during the summer months.
Directions: Exit Interstate10 at Speedway Blvd and turn right. After 12 miles, turn right onto Kinney Road. Go 2.5 miles and the Desert Museum is on the left.
This live museum is way beyond a simple zoo. It’s a zoo, a natural history museum and a botanical garden, all in one place. Visit hundreds of live animals and over a thousand live plants of the desert living in natural settings replicating their natural environments. Many hours can easily be spent here. The whole Museum is on 21 acres of desert land.
Not far from the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum above is the:
3. What: International Wildlife Museum
Where: 4800 W. Gates Pass Road
Hours: Monday-Friday: 9:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M.; Saturday & Sunday: 9:00 A.M.-6:00 P.M.
Telephone number: 629-0100
Admission: $8.00-adults; $6.00-seniors 62+ & military with ID; $3.00-children 4-12; and children 3 and under-free.
Directions: Take Interstate 10 to Exit 257-Speedway Blvd. Turn west and go about 5 miles. The Museum is on the right on Gates Pass Road, right before the mountains.
This is Tucson’s Natural History Museum with over 400 species of preserved insects, mammals and birds from around the world. Some of the collections are over 100 years old. All are exhibited in replications of their natural settings. Visitors are educated by videos and can enjoy interactive computers, and hands-on exhibits. While at this Museum visit their awesome gift shop.
If you love discounts as I do, purchase a Tucson Attractions Passport Book for buy 1/get 1 free admission coupons to these and many other Tucson, Arizona attractions. The book is only $15.00 and can be purchased at the Tucson Visitor Center, area malls, or online at: www.TucsonPassport.com. It’s a must-have.