Tohono Chul Park
When was the last time you were actually inspired by a mission statement? Exactly. However, when it comes to Tohono Chul Park, one of Tucson’s most stunning hidden gems, even their objective sounds wonderful. In its own words, the park aims to “enrich people’s lives by connecting them with the wonders of nature, art and culture in the Sonoran Desert region and inspiring wise stewardship of the natural world.” It’s the perfect place to bring a friend, your parents, even a date, to explore botanical gardens and galleries of the great southwest. Here’s why:
- Botanical Gardens
The gardens’ features are plentiful and all are wheelchair accessible to include a hummingbird sanctuary, geology wall, and The Barmann Sonoran Seasons Garden—the latter of which features native plants from Arizona’s five seasons (summer is separated by dry and monsoon).
- Free Tours
Your admission to Tohono Chul Park includes several tours without the need for a reservation. The main spring attractions are “Hawk Happening” and “Butterflies of Tohono Chul.” The former runs from now until April 22 on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. The butterfly tours occur every Saturday at 11 a.m. from March to May.
- Bloom Night
For the unfamiliar, Bloom Night is undoubtedly the most exciting event in Tohono Chul Park. Every year for one night only, “The Queen of the Night” flowers bloom en masse. Ever unpredictable, the sighting requires you to register an email address to stay abreast of the flower’s progress right up until it’s expected to blossom. What makes this spectacle even more incredible is the fact that researchers still don’t have an answer as to why it happens. The event typically occurs any time from late-May to mid-July and draws an audience of up to 2,500 people.
- Art Galleries
For a little architectural history, stroll through the Exhibit House, a once-private residence built in 1937, which features art of the southwest. Paying homage to Tohono Chul’s 30th anniversary, the current exhibition asks viewers to take a closer look at seemingly-familiar desert landscapes. Appropriately titled: “Sonoran Desert: Large & Small,” the art display runs through April 26, 2015.
- Nature Trails
While these scenic trails won’t exceed a half mile in length, come prepared with comfortable shoes and water as the temperatures can be sweltering as is natural in any desert climate. Park-goers have three trails from which to choose and will find gentle terrain, saguaro-lined nature paths, and, if they’re lucky, a wild animal.
Tohono Chul Park boasts “some of the best birding in the world” so be sure to bring your binoculars to catch a personal glimpse of hummingbirds, cactus wrens (the official state bird of Arizona), woodpeckers, hawks, and doves. In fact, the park claims you can see between 20 and 30 species on one single tour.
Tohono Chul Park is located in the suburb of Casas Adobes about five miles off Interstate 10. You can find detailed directions on their website: www.tohonochulpark.org although visitors are cautioned against using Google’s GPS for its inaccurate end point. Admission prices change based on the season; however, children under four years of age are free and adults are charged $10 or less. Visit the “Special Events” section of the website for information on exciting seasonal features including a 30th Anniversary Gala on March 29. With a little something for everyone, Tohono Chul Park is a great local getaway for Tucsonans and out-of-towners looking for a peaceful tribute to Mother Nature.
The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain is an exclusive community featuring some of the most exquisite luxury homes in Tucson, Arizona. This luxury Dove Mountain real estate community includes expansive custom homesites as well as eight superb floor plans, giving you the opportunity to design your dream home. Management by The Ritz-Carlton provides the added touch of world-class service, with valets and concierges, and the option of cooks and housekeepers. Your Tucson custom home will be a relaxing haven where you can unwind while we handle the details of housekeeping, yard work and exterior maintenance. For more information visit www.theresidencesdovemountain.com.