Tucson is a hidden gem of a ctiy. Nestled in the Cataline Mountains, this little city has a lot to offer. Being in the middle of a hot desert, it’s best to visit in the late fall/winter/early spring, but don’t let the summer stop you!
Tucson is a very active and family friendly town!
10 Things to Do with Kids in Tucson, AZ
1. Trail Dust Town – Train Dust Town is a really fun location right in the heart of Tucson. Watch a wild-west type show, play a game in the shooting gallery, pan for gold, or eat at the wonderful Pinnacle Peak restaurant (but don’t wear a tie!). There are also some small rides like a wagon ferris wheel and a merry-go-round, and a train that rides around the entire feature.
2. Children’s Museum Tucson – There is nothing like a museum especially for kids, and the Tucson Children’s Museum does not disappoint. There are separate areas for all kinds of learning, especially related to science. A Wee Play area for kids 4 and under features appropriate soft blocks, velcro toys, etc. The rest of the museum is separated by theme such as trains, veterinarian, grocery store.
3. Biosphere 2 – No where else on Earth can you see a project such as Biosphere 2. The Bioshpere 2 is a project designed to experiment and observe what happens in different ecosystems on Earth. There have been 2 missions in which a group of people were sealed inside to experiment how humans can survive in unnatural locations which scientific assistance. While they are still testing and observing, you can tour the facility and see the different ecosystems, the living quarters of the scientists, and the current experients they have now.
4. Old Tucson – If you curious about the history of Tucson and want a glimpse of the wild, wild west, visit Old Tucson. Part attraction, part theme park; there is enough to entertain most everybody. You can ride on a coach, see a show, play some games, and more! You can also see the sights of some Old West movies such a Tombstone!
5. Sabino Canyon – Sabino Cayon features a variety of walking and hiking trails that showcase the landscape of Tucson. You can choose a small 1/2 mile trail and see many different types of plants, or a longer trail and go up the mountain. There are trams that will take you part way up so you can see the sights but with less of a hike. At the base there is also a visitors center with maps and info about the area.
6. Titan Missile Museum – For any history buff, or child who enjoys missles, this is a must see. The Titan Missle Museum houses one of the few remaining missle sites from the cold war. Go deep inside the complex to see the missle, the underground silo, the bomb shelter, and the history!
7. The Mini Time Machine Museum – The Mini Time Machine of Miniatures is a wonderful little museum full of whimsy and wonder. There are hundreds of displays of mini scenes, doll houses, and the like. Each area features a different theme including Halloween, Disney, Christmas, historical and more! Be amazed at the small scenes and the incredible detail. Have your children search for the 5 fairies spread throughout the museum!
8. Reid Park Zoo – Reid Park Zoo is a small zoo, which makes is manageable to tour in one day. They feature the most desireable animals including giraffes, elephants, and tigers, and at a close range. They also have daily giraffe feeding for a fee.
9. Dinosaur McDonalds – I know it’s strange to list McDonalds in a list of tourist attractions, but this is no ordinary McDonalds. Outside there are 2 large dinosaur statues that watch over the nearby intersection and the parking lot. Inside there is a wall full of interesting dinosaurs facts, and a fun mural in the kids play area.
10. Mount Lemmon – Mount Lemmon is the one of the tallest mountains in the Santa Catalina Mountain Range and inclues a highway so you can drive right to the top! On the way there are various stopping points where you can get out and look around and see for miles. Even kids can appreciate such a view! Bonus: It’s 20 degrees cooler on the top of the mountain than in Tucson, which makes a big difference on those 100+ degree days!
I hope you have a chance to visit Tucson and everything it has to offer, but if not, I hope you at least have a chance to visit some of the highlights on this list! Early mornings are the best time for anything outdoors, and be aware that monsoon season is June to September.