January 25, 2017

Tucson: Our Top 5

Tucson was our 2nd month long stint and it was incredible. Not necessarily because of the city itself but it was more the circumstances that did it for me. This post will cover what we did and saw and the next will be about what we learned.

Here are our Top 5 Favorites for Tucson:

1. Borderlands Brewing Company - I know it seems a bit strange to make our #1 spot a brewery but well, that's how we roll. Sunday afternoons they have live music by the Kevin Pakulis band. The first time we were there the Little Miss started dancing, they handed her a shaker and she went to town for the next 2 hours. The boys got a soda and played some foosball. The adults? Well, we had some great beer and conversation, enjoyed the music and watching our 3 kids entertain themselves. Talk about ideal! One lady even told me she thought Little Miss was with the band. HA! We went back a 2nd time with friends and it was just as memorable. Huge kudos to Borderlands!

2. Sabino Canyon - My favorite nature spot in Tucson hands down. It's in a nice part of Tucson, well-manicured desert lawns and lovely homes. When you arrive you have a choice: you can walk/hike up the canyon or you can take a tram ($10 per adult, $5 per kid 3 and up) up to any number of stops. Being as though it was our first time and we forgot the stroller the tram was the option we took since it's about 7 miles roundtrip. We got off on stop #8 and it was a thing of beauty and a perfect place to picnic and let the kids climb and roam a bit. There are ton of locals with kids and dogs so you know this is a hot spot for tourists and Tucsonans alike.

On the tram: Daddy Bear and Baby Bear
Deep in thought

Beautiful! We picnicked right where R is standing.

The boulders were even beautiful with the colors, patterns and pools of water

They call this guy- The Face 

3. Saguaro National Park - There are two sections of Saguaro National Park in Tucson. Both are full of beautiful cacti and desert landscape. We were able to head to one of them and pick up a Junior Ranger, complete it for school during the week and then take my mom back during her visit and add another junior ranger badge to their repertoire. Saguaro cactus are incredible. It only grows 1-1.5 inches in its first 8 years of life and it can take 50-100 years for it to grow it's first arm. The crested saguaro is pretty rare (last pic below) and they still don't know what makes them form that way.

This is what the inside of the Saguaro looks like as it's dying. It feels like wood and the skin is hard and almost plastic-like.

4. Sonoran Desert Museum - This place is all-encompassing. There is a zoo, an aquarium, an area for the kids to find fossils/gems, tons of exhibits inside and out, hiking areas (and they have really good popsicles, too). It's a bit-pricey at $20 per adult and $8 per kid but luckily one of our new friends had one free pass to get us in so I only had to pay $16 for the boys. SCORE! We were so thankful. We wouldn't have gone otherwise. We went with two other moms (who also each have three kids) that homeschool and it was our own little field trip. So fun!

Feeding the seals!!! Mole rats (ewww) and fish
So cute! While watching these little guys I saw a hornet run into one of the prairie dogs and it fell over. It was so funny! 

5. Mount Lemmon -  This scenic drive was about an hour away but it was worth it. Although, we were completely unprepared. I didn't even think about the possibility of snow! We got out once at the top and froze. We headed to the Cookie Cabin in Mount Lemmon to warm up. We walked in the door and the smell of chocolate chip cookies and warm fuzzies hit us immediately. We enjoyed a HUGE plate-sized cookie and it was lovely (minus the kids fighting for the last piece).

To be quite honest, I'm sure there could've been more on the above list. Our kids made friends at our RV Park so it was like pulling teeth every time we left. They NEVER wanted to leave so we made a deal that we would stay at the park during the week but weekend days were our time to explore.

A few notable mentions:
  • Winterhaven Festival of Lights:  Everywhere we go I am always sure to ask the locals and research all festivals, special events and such goings on. Part of being in a place is being immersed in it and doing things that the locals do. I really do see these visits more like a move. It seems especially true for these month long stops. Everyone I asked told me about Winterhaven which is a splendid light filled neighborhood in Tucson. Most, if not all of the neighbors participate in the wonderment. It's jaw-dropping what these people do. They've got food vendors, toy sales and even started hayrides and party bike tours-- that's how big it is!

  • Tucson Children's Museum: We are Children's Museum snobs these days as we have visited so many, but this one is pretty good. I'd say this one is definitely geared towards the younger ones (ages 2-7). My boys zoomed through the place and craved more.

  • San Xavier del bac Plaza: It's a beautiful old church and grounds. There are Native Americans making and selling food and jewelry. It's a really nice way to spend a couple hours. 
  • Tucson Botanical Gardens: They had a lights exhibit called Luminaria Nights but we passed due to cost. If we ever got back to Tucson I would check it out (even if I had to sneak off with Cayenne or by myself as they had a Frida Kahlo exhibit I would've loved to see).
Hope you enjoyed this not-so-brief tour of Tucson. If you missed it the first time, be sure to check out the post on Batch (our favorite restaurant/bar) in Tucson and look out for a post on our day trip to Tombstone, too! 

Quick question for those of you who made it all the way to the end of this post. How do you prefer to view the pictures? In collage form (as seen in the notable mentions) OR in the regular, big and in-your-face format? Be sure to comment and let me know. I'm looking for ways to improve the posts for all of you. :) 


  1. Well, I like the big in-your-face pictures of you guys, and the collage for the places you visit (unless it's particularly spectacular). But then, I might be a bit prejudiced toward seeing my babies!

  2. I love the in your face pics!!

  3. I like the big ones, the format in the beginning of the post!

  4. Thank you for your feedback, lovely ladies!