Quality Inn & Suites Airport North
5251 S. Julian Drive
Tucson, AZ 85706
Phone: (520) 294-5250
Fax: (520) 889-1982
This institution is totally dedicated to the preservation of the history of flight, be it commercial, military, or even interplanetary. The museum opened in 1976 with just 75 aircraft and has now grown to have more than 250 on display. A recent addition is the Northrop F-5B "Freedom Fighter." Be prepared to spend the entire day if you, or someone in your party, is a aircraft buff. The exhibits on the floor here rotate, and special events and conferences are scheduled regularly.
While not being a world famous zoo, the Reid Park Zoo is still one of the major attractions in the city. Due to its relatively small size, the zoo can be explored at a leisurely pace in less than two hours. The animals are on display in pleasant natural settings. Chances are you will envy the two polar bear cubs as they happily float in ice-cold water while you're struggling in the Tucson summer heat. Luckily there are plenty of shade and cooling stations available.
Dog racing is very popular with Tucson folk, and watching greyhounds race can be a rewarding experience, both financially and culturally. Located in Hispanic South Tucson, Greyhound Park lets the dogs out Tuesday to Sunday evenings. Parimutuel betting is offered on site. Follow up a big win by enjoying a buffet at the clubhouse. In addition to the nighttime fun, the track hosts a "flop meet" (an open market) on the premises every Saturday and Sunday from 7a to 4p.
This operator conducts coach tours of Northern and Southern Arizona, day trips to Tombstone, Bisbee, and Phoenix and a city tour of the Old Pueblo including all the historic sights and lunch at Old Town Artisans. Because Tucson is so close to the Mexican border, visitors might also consider a day trip to the colorful Arizona/Mexican town of Nogales. Coaches pick up at some hotels, call for details.
The monumental Santa Cruz Catholic Church occupies immense historical significance. Established in 1918, the building is a magnificent example of the Mission-Spanish Revival style of architecture. The site is incorporated in the National Register of Historic Places.
Dirt dug up during construction might always turn up some historic relics, and that's why earth underneath downtown structures is always carefully sifted and scrutinized. When this old adobe building was reconstructed in the 1970s, old handset type was found under the floor. More digging revealed that this was the office of a Spanish-language newspaper founded in 1878 by Carlos Velasco. It is now a National Register site. Access is free.
Kennedy Park, situated on the corner point of Mission Road and Ajo Road, is one of the top favorites with the kids at Tucson. The park has ample to offer right from the Kennedy Pool, lake and an amphitheater. It is best to visit the Kennedy Pool during summers to revel in the cool blues with diving boards. The park also features a shade structure near the pool—most fitting for people who like to watch others play. Fishing is yet another activity that amuse people of all age, but you have to have a license for that if you are 14 or above.
This is the earliest work of public art in Tucson. Situated in front of what is now Tucson's Children's Museum, it was created in 1920 by San Francisco architect Bernard Maybeck and artist Beniamino Bufano, then transported to Tucson by train. Designed in a neoclassical style to fit the neoclassical building next to it, the monument commemorates the days of Tucson's rugged pioneers.
El Tiradito or the Wishing Shrine is the only one of its kind recognized by the Catholic church. The shrine is the burial place of a sinner, one Juan Enrique de la Cruz, killed by a jealous husband. Over the last hundred years or so devout believers have lit candles and prayed for milagros at the foot of the altar. The open air adobe wall is festooned with prayers and the ground appears perpetually stained with the wax of millions of candles. It is listed as a National Historic Site and is also the location of a spring that provided water for the first Spanish settlers. -Ted Parks
There is an intriguing legend behind this shrine on Main Street near the old historic barrio, a story involving broken hearts and crimes of passion, but you'll have to read the plaque mounted on it to discover the tale. El Tiradito has been part of local folklore for a long time and is now a national historic site. Take a peek and make your own wish.
As the biggest Catholic church in the city, St. Augustine Cathedral is one of the most splendid architecture with its high interior, tall windows and dome. Built in 1896, and renovated in 1967, it is a particularly imposing sight during late evening hours. A special attraction is the colorful Mariachi mass Sundays at 8a, delivered in Spanish—your chance to get a taste of Tucson's rich Hispanic heritage.
This district was once considered the Mexican-American side of Tucson. It has been called Barrio Viejo or Barrio Libre since its Mexican inhabitants were more or less free to follow their own laws in the old days. That has changed, but the area has preserved its distinctly Mexican flavor with flat-roofed adobe (mud-brick) houses and roofs made from saguaro ribs and packed dirt (providing great insulation in the extreme Tucson climate). Some of Tucson's oldest structures can be found here and many of them nicely restored. Since most have been converted into private homes or offices, your visit will have to be confined to the exteriors.