Tucson AZ

With 350 days of sunshine a year… Tucson is the place to vacation! A bit off the beaten path… Tucson’s unique attractions beckon you to discover and explore… the beauty of the Sonoran Desert is what first pulls you in… then surprises you at how verdant and diverse a living desert can be… An oasis from the unoriginal and pretentious… Let Tucson inspire the free spirit in you!

Day 1 – Salem, OR to Tucson, AZ
Welcome to Tucson, a southwest oasis… Our first stop is Tohono Chul Park where a delicious lunch awaits… Not just an ordinary stop for lunch, the mission of Tohono Chul Park is to enrich people’s lives by connecting them with the wonders of nature, art and culture in the Sonoran Desert region and stewardship of the natural world. Afterward our lunch, enjoy some free time to explore their gardens. Our home for the next four nights is the Marriott University Park, nestled next to the sprawling campus of the University of Arizona. Marriott University Park (L)

Day 2 – Tucson – Local Touring
Meet our wonderful step-on guide Terry who will enlighten us on the history of the area and more. Tucson dates back to 1775 when Spanish soldiers founded Presidio San Augustin del Tucson… since then many different cultures have occupied the city. We will also visit Mission San Xavier del Bac… It was founded in 1692 by Padre Eusebio Kino in the center of a centuries-old Native Americans settlement located along the banks of the Santa Cruz River. The mission was named for Francis Xavier, a Christian missionary and co-founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order) in Europe. Enjoy some free time for lunch in Old Town before our next adventure at Biosphere 2. This once-in-a-lifetime tour lets you smell our ocean and see a tropical rainforest up close. In addition to escorting you through the upper biomes, your interpretive specialist takes you through the basement technosphere and into one of the amazing lungs that helped moderate air pressure in Biosphere 2’s once-sealed environment… Time Life Books named Biosphere 2 one of the 50 Must-See Wonders of the World. Enjoy some time to freshen up before dinner. It will be one to remember as we indulge at the Downtown Kitchen & Cocktails… They create menus with flavors as diverse, varied and wonderful as America itself. Marriott University Park (B, D)

Day 3 – Bisbee & Tombstone
After breakfast we’ll depart for Bisbee… Located 90 miles southeast of Tucson and nestled among the Mule Mountains, Bisbee is the picturesque county seat of historic Cochise County. The community was founded in 1880, and quickly became a thriving urban center, driven by a booming mining industry that thrived on the area’s rich reserves of copper and precious metals. Today, Bisbee’s extraordinarily well-preserved early-twentieth century downtown draws visitors from around the world, who appreciate the historic architecture, welcoming spirit, and cool climate. We’ll tour this fun downtown before we head to the mine for a tour. Lunch is at the historic Copper Queen Hotel… Built in the late 1800’s it was one of the most modern hotels in the American West. Its most notable design flourish was the mosaic tile from Italy installed throughout the lobby, a feature that can still be seen today. The cathedral ceiling in the Palm Room was fitted with Tiffany glass. Nobody knows when it came down or what happened to it. The front desk was fabricated out of Tiger Oak and surrounded with a wrought iron security cage. The unique safe behind the desk was once used at the Copper Mine until it became too small for the company payroll, which Phelps Dodge cleverly always paid in cash, to ensure that the money quickly came back to them when the employees splurged on goods and drinks. After lunch we’ll head to Tombstone… where we’ll have a walking tour with historian Dr. Jay… his animated and humorous way of spinning history into a wonderful story will transport us back in time to the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral. It is generally regarded as the most famous shootout in the history of the American Wild West. The Original gunfight took place October 26, 1881. It was the result of a long-simmering feud, with Cowboys Billy Claiborne, Ike and Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury on one side and town Marshal Virgil Earp, Special Policeman Morgan Earp, Special Policeman Wyatt Earp and temporary policeman Doc Holliday on the other side of town. Billy Clanton and both McLaury brothers were killed. Ike Clanton, who had repeatedly threatened to kill the Earps, claimed he was unarmed and ran from the fight, along with Billy Claiborne. Virgil, Morgan, and Doc Holliday were wounded, but Wyatt Earp was unharmed. The fight has come to represent a period in American Old West when the frontier was virtually an open range for outlaws. You’ll have some free time before we head back to Tucson… your evening is free to explore and enjoy our great downtown location. Marriott University Park (B, L)

Day 4 – Local Touring   
You’re in for a real treat today as we visit the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum… Founded in 1952, the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum is widely recognized throughout the world as a model institution for innovative presentation and interpretation of native plants and animals featured together in ecological exhibits. The Museum is regularly listed as one of the top ten zoological parks in the world due to its unique approach in interpreting the complete natural history of a single region (in our case this is the Sonoran Desert and adjacent ecosystems). This represents a significant achievement, as the museum’s collections and size are smaller than many of its counterparts. Not a “museum” in the usual sense, it is an unparalleled composite of plant, animal, and geologic collections with the goal of making the Sonoran Desert accessible, understandable, and valued. Today, this approach can be most easily understood by noting that the Museum’s living animal collection contains 4,892 specimens of 242 species. Plants number 56,445 specimens of 1,100 taxa; mineral and fossil collections include 16,853 specimens. Represented in the living collections are 110 to 120 species considered to be of conservation concern. Your afternoon is free to soak up some sun or to explore more of Old Town. Later this afternoon we will meet up for a Jeep Tour where we’ll experience the desert first-hand! Their knowledgeable guides will lead us through the plants, animals, and history that make the Sonoran Desert unique. We’ll also learn about the life of the giant Saguaro cactus, visit a thousand year old Hohokam occupation site, and see desert wildlife. We’ll top off our tour… with a picnic dinner in the desert! Marriott University Park (B, D)

Day 5 – Tucson to Salem OR
We’ll be heading home today but the fun isn’t over… First stop The Mini Time Museum. The concept of “the mini time machine” was born out of the notion that a visitor would be seemingly transported to different eras by the stories and history of the pieces in the collection. The design and building of the museum was a huge collaborative effort. Swaim Associates Architects in Tucson, Arizona was chosen as the architect for the project. The exhibit design was carried out by Claro Creative Studios, a team of designers, gadgeteers and entertainment enthusiasts based out of Glendale, California. Construction of the project spanned nearly two years. We’ll head to the airport and home with great memories of this desert oasis (B)

Tuscon, AZ 2017

“Custom Tours” were designed for groups of 24 or more… If you have a group that wants to book one of these trips… or wants us to design a tour for your groups specific needs… please don’t hesitate to call us. Our tours are designed with a “love of discovery”. Our creative itineraries can be custom-designed to your request including some “must see” attractions as well as “off-the-beaten-path” experiences.