Tucson Area Attractions

Reid Park Zoo

(1.5 miles, 5 min) This 17-acre zoo features your zoo favorites but the Aviary exhibit, with its array of birds, is a popular destination. With more than 500 rare animals, the zoo is active in helping endangered species such as Siberian tigers and ruffed lemurs.

Tucson Botanical Gardens

(2.5 miles, 5 min) Set in the heart of the city, Tucson Botanical Gardens offers winding pathways taking visitors past floral exhibits, greenhouses, classrooms for instruction, and a superb exhibit on xeriscaping, a concept of planning yards and gardens using minimal water in the desert climate.

Arizona State Museum

(5 miles, 10 min) The Arizona State Museum is the oldest and largest anthropological museum in the region with a focus on the Greater Southwest, including Arizona and northern Mexico. The museum houses a vast collection of pottery, textiles, photographs and documents.

Atturbury Bird and Animal Sanctuary

(9 miles, 15 min) A 55-acre sanctuary situated right in the city is a haven for wildlife and a peaceful retreat for people. A mile-long trail harbors a variety of desert plants, birds and other critters. The Desert Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden is an especially entertaining spot for a picnic.

Pima Air and Space Museum

(9 miles, 20 min) Aviation buffs, this is for you. The collection includes over 250 aircraft occupying 80 acres of land. This museum also operates the Titan Missile Museum.

International Wildlife Museum

(10 miles, 25 min) The museum collection started with the holdings of numerous educational institutions and individuals, to develop an engaging, hands-on learning experience. Kids (and adults) can touch and handle real skulls, fur and skin and see a see a real saber-tooth cat.

Sabino Canyon

(12 miles, 25 min) Situated on the northeast edge of town, Sabino Canyon is a popular spot for walking and picnicking. There is a shuttle bus that travels the 3.8 miles to the head of the canyon easing access to the many miles of trails that are great for hiking, horseback riding, and bicycling.

Tohono Chul Park

(12 miles, 25 min) Rated among the top ten botanical gardens in the world, Tohono Chul Park is a 48 acre wildlife refuge within the metropolitan area of Tucson.  The park includes demonstration gardens, greenhouse, a unique geology wall, a small shop and a pleasant tea room for breakfast or lunch.

Saguaro National Park

(12 miles, 25 min) Saguaro National Park is the only place in the world that protects the saguaro cactus. You can see the well-known plant as well as other types of Sonoran desert life that have shown resilience in adapting to the harsh, sweltering environment. The park is divided into East and West sections, each with a visitor center and offering guided walking tours, informational exhibits, bookstores and restrooms.

Mission San Xavier del Bac

(15 miles, 25min) San Xavier, founded by Father Eusabio Kino, is a fine example of Mission architecture. The elaborate interior has been carefully restored using techniques taught by experts from the Vatican in Rome. Numerous native artifacts are housed inside, including books, maps and photos.

Agua Caliente Park

(15 miles, 30 min) Famed for its natural hot springs, Agua Caliente provides a unique crossroads for birds, plants, animals and people. Spot cardinals, thrashers, hummingbirds, songbirds and raptors nestled among the mesquites and palms.

Catalina Highway

(15 miles, 30 min) Catalina Highway, an American National Scenic Byway, climbs the Catalina Mountains, rising from 3,000’ to 9,100’.  In under an hour, this scenic drive from Tucson leaves the Sonoran Desert, passes through stands of oak, juniper, and pinyon pine, enters pine forests, then finally fir and aspen.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

(18 miles, 40 min) A world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place! Exhibits re-create the natural landscape of the Sonoran Desert including more than 300 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants and almost 2 miles of paths traversing 21 acres of beautiful desert.

Old Tucson Studios

(20 miles, 35 min) The setting for many favorite Western movies (including Tombstone, Gunfight at the OK Corral, The Three Amigos, and countless John Wayne flicks), the Old Tucson Movie Studio had become a cinematic legend. Attractions include pony rides, carnival games, stagecoach tours, exhibits and an Opera House.

Catalina State Park

(20 miles, 40 min) North of Tucson, this park offers desert vistas and plenty of recreational activities including more than 100 picnic areas, numerous well-groomed trials, camping, horseback riding and bird watching.

Colossal Cave Mountain Park

(26 miles, 45 min) This dry cave in the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson offers tours of the cave as well as horseback riding, a museum, a butterfly garden and a desert tortoise exhibit.

Biosphere 2 Center

(37 miles, 1 hr) Biosphere 2 is a self-contained sealed glass and space frame construction that comprises seven biomes and contains all of the elements from Earth.  Tours take visitors through several of the biomes, as well as the living quarters and the technical rooms that control the various interior climates.

Madera Canyon

(45 miles, 1.25 hr) Nestled in the northern slopes of the Santa Rita Mountains Madera Canyon is home to over 230 species of bird as well as many mammal, insect, and plant species.  Thousands of birders, hikers, photographers, and artists have fallen in love with Madera Canyon.

Picacho Peak State Park

(50 miles, 50 min) Picacho Peak served as a landmark for early explorers and was also the scene of a Civil War battle in 1862. The land is dotted with the hardiest of desert plants and is renowned for its spring flowers.

Tumacácori National Historical Park

(55 miles, 1 hr) Formerly an Indian village, the area became the site of a mission established by Father Kino, a Jesuit priest, but was abandoned after repeated attaches by the Apaches. The ruins of the mission, a spacious adobe church, are well-preserved, and informative tours offer a fascinating look at the history of the area.


(55 miles, 1hr) Visitors to Tubac will want to see Tubac Presidio State Historic Park and hike the Anza Trail, but be sure to spend some time browsing through the numerous art and craft galleries, charming boutiques and eclectic shops offering everything from handmade beads and furniture to Native American pottery and contemporary art glass.

Kitt Peak National Observatory

(60 miles, 1.5 hr) Located on an 80-acre mountaintop the observatory is must for those interested in astronomy. Knowledgeable staff members can help you get a closer look at the mysteries of the universe.

San Pedro River

(60 miles, 1.5 hr) Designated a Globally Important Bird Area in 1996 this 56,000-acre preserve along the upper San Pedro River is home to over 100 species of breeding birds and provides invaluable habitat for over 250 species of migrant and wintering birds. The primary access is at the San Pedro House where volunteers from the Friends of the San Pedro River provide visitor information and sell books, gifts and beverages.


(70 miles, 1.5 hr) Tombstone is home to some of the biggest legends of the Old West– Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, the gunfight at the OK Corral. Tombstone is a small western town with only a few shops and restaurants, hotels and B&Bs.  Visitors can enjoy horseback, stagecoach and wagon; gunfight shows, monuments, a city park, a couple of intriguing museums, and various historic buildings.

Ramsey Canyon


(80 miles, 1.75 hr) Famous among birders, the canyon offers much to discriminating naturalists.  Renowned for its outstanding scenic beauty and diversity the upper part of the canyon is within the Miller Peak Wilderness Area of the Coronado National Forest.

Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve


(90 miles, 2hr) The Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve is one of the few places in the state where older growth forest persists, helped by the remaining cienegas. Along with the abundance of plant life, the preserve shelters some 300 species of birds as well as javelinas, coatimundis, coyotes, desert tortoises, mountain lions, bobcats, white-tailed deer, toads, frogs and rattlesnakes.