Sunday, March 11, 2012

2 Weeks in Tucson, AZ... Part 2

So what made our *must see* list for Tucson???
A few amazing places!

***We purchased two Tucson passport books (  This allows you to buy 2-for-1 tickets at many activities in the local area.  What we saved on one admission paid for the books.  We needed two because of our family size.  If you are a military family, purchase the passports at ITT on base for $15.***

Saguaro National Park

Ranger led botanical hike...the ranger is holding a saguaro cactus rib.
Working on Junior Ranger workbooks :)
Saguaro National Park's newest Junior Rangers!

Time to explore the park:

I think the kids touched just about every cactus in the desert!  They were really fascinated with the needles...
until Jolie was attacked by a cactus!  Yup...she was.  You'd be surprised how fast they move :)
Team Monty rockin' the Saguaro National Park!

Bioshpere 2


Entering the Biosphere 2 for our tour.
Rainforest bionome

Beach bionome (tropical ocean)
The picture was so foggy due to the humidity in this bionome.

A Frankincense Tree with a Crown of Thorns Bush at the base

Creation always points to our God and our Savior...Jesus!

A scientist explaining her experiments in the blue barrels.

Inside the lung...this is how they controlled the oxygen when the Biospherians lived in here for 2 years.

Outside view of the lung.

Learning about the water cycle.

One of the apartments for the Biospherians.  They lived in the Biosphere for 2 years!

The kitchen for the Biosphere Team.

We all enjoyed the Biosphere 2 field trip.  DT has now decided to be a scientist!

Next up was a trip to the cute mountain town of Payson, AZ (in Northern AZ) to visit some old friends, Ray and Bernita Law.  (We wanted to tie this trip in with a stop at the Grand Canyon, unfortunately the weather did not cooperate.  We will have to see the Grand Canyon on the return trip.)
Florida kids having fun in a NO humidity environment :)

On our way home from our quick trip to Payson, we saw something off in the distance...was it a mirage???  We decided to be spontaneous and chase down what looked like a geyser in the distance.  Our journey led us to Fountain Hills, AZ... and the center piece of the town:

This fountain shoots 300-560 feet in the air for the first 15 minutes of the hour.  We saw it from a couple of miles away!  It was a fun, spontaneous find.  However, it shut off exactly when we pulled into the park parking lot.  It is in a beautiful location, so we decided to play in the park for 45 minutes and wait for its next showing.  What did we do with the time???

We geocached!  Our Geomate Jr. read that there were 3 caches nearby.  Well, we hunted and hunted, but didn't find any of them.  However, the hunt did lead us to this great sculpture:

This horse was made of all things metal...utensils, hubcaps, gas tanks, bells, license plates, etc.   The sculpture was a treasure in itself.
As we continued our drive back to Tucson, we saw a sign for Casa Grande Ruins National Monument... and decided to go on another adventure for the day!  We jumped off the interstate for a "quick trip" to the Ruins.

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
The Ruins sit just over the kids' shoulders.

Yup...working on another Jr. Ranger badge!

Working on their own petroglyphs...

Casa Grande Junior Rangers!

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

This was one of our most favorite stops....  I'm not sure why they call it a museum, it's more like a zoo.  There are desert botanical gardens and animals in naturals habitats, with a walking path through it all.

The GORGEOUS drive to the museum through the west side of the Saguaro National Park.


One of our favorite parts of the museum was the hummingbird sanctuary.  We got to walk around inside a closed in area where the hummingbirds flew all around us.  We even saw a few in their nests sitting on eggs!  Can you spot the momma?  

I'm so glad that these guys were behind the glass!  I can't believe how many venomous snakes varieties there are in the desert.  I'm so glad that we were visited during the "cold" months when they hide during the day!

Learning all about the saguaro.

We got to wander through a cave exhibit...
Jolieous baticous

Our favorite outdoor exhibit... the prairie dogs.  They were so fun to watch!!!

Aren't they precious?  And so chubby!

Learning how the natives survived.

There are so many varieties of cactus!  The cactus gardens were great places to see them all.

The last event of the day at the museum was a bird of prey exhibition.
The perfect ending...Prickly Pear Punch

Geocaching in the Sonoran Desert

The geocache hunting took us on some amazing and gorgeous trails that we would have never found on our own:

Yay...geocache found :)
Signing Team Monty into the log book.

Found while geocaching...
Reminds me of when we face forks in the road of life.

Old Tucson Studios

Old Tucson Studios in the distance, hidden in the Sonoran Desert.  Lots of room to make movies!

Old Tucson Studios is where more than 300 western movies and TV shows were filmed.
John Wayne movies, Tombstone, spaghetti westerns, The Quick and The Dead, to The Young Riders TV show.
We weren't sure if this would be a fun stop, but we had a BLAST!  There was so much to see, do, learn, was a fun day!  It was a perfect outing for my 11year old cowboy son!
Movie set 
Secrets to the movie magic :)

It felt like we were actually in the Old West!  We got to wander all through an old town with dirt streets and a "saloon".
Pulling the very famous "Reno" down the tracks 
There were also a few rides to enjoy.  It was fun cruising through the desert with the kids!

The kids earned Deputy badges... and then they did this:

There was a great museum on-site.  Do you recognize the clothes behind the glass?
They are from Little House on the Prairie!  
The red and green one third from the right was worn by Laura often during the season when she married Almanzo!
The highlights of the day were the re-enactments.
This is a scene from the movie, The Quick and The Dead 
Meeting the cast...awesome!
When really had a blast in Tucson and wish we had another week to enjoy the sights.  There is SO MUCH to do there!  So many things left unexplored.  
But... we have plans and a schedule to keep---

We're heading to the par-tay in Quartzsite next!!!  
We're finally getting to meet other Full-Time Families ( in person, while trying out our dry camping skills  :)

1 comment:

  1. Great Adventures and great pictures. Brought back some memories as I was there just 2 years ago and went to many of the same places. :)