Sabino Canyon

As we acclimate ourselves to the area, we are learning a few tricks, which I am sure the Native Americans have known for centuries. One of the things we are learning is that the canyons are the place to be on warm days. For one, they have shade either on one side or the other for most of the day. For two, there is usually a lot more vegetation, and in this case, trees, to take cover from. And finally, usually there is a spring to cool off in - our favorite.

So, on one of the hottest days of the month, we scheduled our trip up Sabino Canyon, and enjoyed the escape from the typical Tucson desert.

The nice thing about Sabino is you pay one price for the tram, and you can ride it as many times, up or down, the canyon, and it has 9 stops along the way to get off and on. We ended up riding all the way up and then road it back down to a picnic area, which there are several different ones along the way.

The picnic area we chose had a wonderful "beach" area for the kids to play in the water. We actually spent hours at this stop, just enjoying the beauty of the area and the kids at best.

We then meandered down the canyon at our own place. Some of us moving faster than others, so we split up and agreed to meet at the bottom when we were all done.

My party played in the creek at another spot and then rode the tram back up the canyon for one final trip. One thing nice about the tram is that on the way up the driver narrates about the local beauty, and then on the way down he/she doeesn't talk to let us enjoy the ride. Although, we were not too quiet; as we met up with some people from Lynchburg, PA and had a wonderful conversation about their state, which we hope to visit in the fall.

Finally, as we wound down for the day, we met up at the bottom, and strolled through the air conditioned visitor center to learn some history about the place we had seen.

Even though the initial fee to get all nine of us into the canyon was a bit pricey, when it is divided out for a whole days entertainment it makes the trip quite reasonable. We packed out lunch, water, and beverages, so the tram was our only expense. The only thing we would have changed about the visit was to pack our the kids swimsuits :)



Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

We LOVE this place!

In fact, we enjoy it so much that we got a family membership, which is actually a really economic thing to do if you plan on going several times, or you have more than 4 adults going at the same time. Our whole family gets in for free, we get three free guest passes, 2 free coffee and tea every trip, and 10% off items in the gift shop - what a deal!

This place is a zoo, aquarium, garden, museum, and art gallery all rolled into one, and we can honestly say we have enjoyed every aspect of this wonderful place.

We have gone to the educational programs; where Hanna got to be a participant in learning how to figure out a tortoises age. There is also a rapture program twice a day, and the raptures of the desert fly and perch right next to the audience.

We have seen hummingbirds building their tiny little nests, and the itsy bitsy babies peeping for food from mom in the hummingbird atrium. There are several different bird atriums, and the older kids love walking through them; however, the twins are scared to death of the birds, especially big ones like herons, cranes, and ravens.

We have eaten lunches on the ramada walkways, which stretch out over an amazing view of the valley, and in the nice outside cafe area.

They have also built a cave with a bat display where the kids can try on gigantic bat ears, and outside the cave, we have searched for gems and other rocks in a rock mining display. Then we walk a little ways down the path to uncovered bones in the archaeological dig area.

Just so much here for all the ages and more than enough stuff to do for several trips. I could go on and on about everything the kids have seen and learned here.

And did I mention, "We LOVE this place!



A Bunch of Stuffed Animals

A.K.A The International Wildlife Museum (IWM)

On a cold and cloudy day, which is rare in Tucson, we decided we would spend the day inside. We all loaded up, drove over Gates Pass to the IWM. This place was on my list of things to do, and we were waiting for just this sort of day. The IWM is on our list of reciprocal museums with our membership from the Putnum, so we all got in for free.

When we walked into the lobby, we were greeted by a pet-able wild boar, which the kids loved. The museum is really kid friendly, as they have lots of animals set up just for the kids to touch and inspect.

There are themed rooms like:

  1. The insect room, which has drawers and drawers of butterflies and beetles for the kids to pull out and closely look at.
  2. There is a fossil and bones collections, were the kids could actually handle the skulls, and even see how they cast missing bones to complete an entire animal.
  3. A room dedicated to the history of Smokey the Bear, and wildfires, explaining the benefits and negatives.
  4. A room with a mountain in the center, and wild sheep and goats all over it.
  5. And a miscellaneous room with couches and chairs to sit and let the kids explore.
  6. Oh, and I almost forgot - a cave like room with night creatures.

There is also a little theatre where a different nature type movie is played at the top of every hour. It also has the typical gift shop, and a nice little cafe with a little kids nook equipped with a DVD player and books.

There was a lot to do, and the older kids, including myself, could have easily spent several days here exploring; we even talked about how cool it would be to spend the night with the animals. However, the twins and Ciara were making it difficult for others in the museum to enjoy themselves, so we wrapped it up after about three hours. One man was not quite so nice about expressing his irritation stating, "This is a museum, and the kids should be quieter". Which I nicely replied, "I am sorry they are bothering you, we will move ahead of you a bit". But I was thinking, How else are they suppose to learn to appreciate museums if they don't learn while they are young, and they have just as much right to be here as you - wear some earplugs if you want silence.

Then, we opened the doors to leave and were greeted with snow! The perfect way to end our adventure or begin the next one :)