Tucson Journals

Tucson: A Nature Lover's Dream

A November 2005 trip to Tucson by ParrotTalk

Quote: This was my first trip to Tucson, and it surely won't be my last. I was looking for a warm destination with lots of beautiful, natural scenery and many opportunities to participate in outdoor activities. You will find this and more in Tucson.

Tucson: A Nature Lover's Dream

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

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Upon approach into Tucson International Airport, you can already start to appreciate the desert landscape as you fly over the mountains and view the expansive desert below. For someone who is from the opposite side of the country, the desert landscape was a highlight of the trip. Each night they seem to have a gorgeous sunset, with the saguaro cacti silhouetted against the sky. For this trip, I stayed at two locations within Tucson: Tanque Verde Ranch on the east side and Westward Look Resort in the foothills. I really enjoyed my time at both properties, as the focus of the trip was different at each. During my stay at Tanque Verde, I participated in the many activities the ranch offers and ...Read More

The Tanque Verde Ranch

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

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For the first 5 nights of my stay, I was at the Tanque Verde Ranch. This is a nice property on the east side of Tucson, abutting the Saguaro National Park. I had a standard room, which is adequate for 1 to 2 people. It had a nice Southwestern decor and patio chairs out front. The bathroom seemed a little outdated, but it was fine. During my stay, I was actually the only one in my building unit, as the other bathrooms in that building were being redone and mine was slated for the same after I left. This ranch offers a wide range of activities, including hiking, mountain biking, nature walks, art classes, and, of course, horseback riding. Rides go out three times per day, and you can choose be...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 29, 2005

The Tanque Verde Ranch
14301 E Speedway Blvd
Tucson, Arizona 85748
(520) 296-6275

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Check-in was friendly and efficient. The lobby rooms were reminiscent of the Old West or a Mexican hacienda. They marked the building I was staying in on a map, and I set off to find it. I had a bit of trouble locating it, but once I did, I was impressed. I had reserved a standard posada room, and it was quite large. It was decorated in a dark terracotta color with a Mexican-style tile in the bathroom. I believe the hotel has three pools, but I only used the one closest to my room. I didn't eat at either of the hotel's two restaurants, The Gold Room or the Lookout Bar and Grille, but they looked nice. The hotel also offers tennis and horseback riding as well as having several nature paths ar...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 29, 2005

Westward Look Resort
245 EAST INA ROAD
Tucson, Arizona 85704
520-297-1151

Guadalajara Grill

Restaurant

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As soon as I drove up to the Guadalajara Grill, I knew I had come to the right place. It was quite early and it was already busy. They offer patio seating, but there was a wait so I decided to go inside for prompt seating. It is a very festive atmosphere with mariachis playing tableside. You are started off with salsa made tableside according to your taste (mild, medium, hot), and it was delicious. The rest of the meal was good too and served promptly. You will find that they offer what you would find in a typical mexican restaurant in the U.S.-- salads, tacos, burritos, chimichangas, margaritas, and fried ice cream. I definitely plan to return here.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 29, 2005

Guadalajara Grill
1730 E. Prince Road
Tucson, Arizona
520/323-1022

El Charro Cafe

Restaurant

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The inside of the Court Street location has a definite historic flavor to it. In addition to the downtown original location, there are three others throughout the city. I thought the food was great. The menu is quite extensive. The enchilada section was an example. Not only do you get to choose the filling from about nine choices, but you also get to decide what type of sauce and cheese it gets topped with. Next door to the downtown location is a gift shop where you may purchase salsa, tamales, and other mementos of your visit to take home with you. I'm still enjoying the salsa I bought when I was there!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 29, 2005

El Charro Cafe
311 N. Court Ave.
Tucson, Arizona 85701
520/622-1922

Old Pueblo Grill

Restaurant | "Old Pueblo Grille"

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Of the restuarants I went to in Tucson, this was my least favorite. I had chosen it on the basis of its Southwestern cuisine, and I had heard that it had a very pretty dining patio. The patio was indeed nice, with a small bubbling fountain and lights in the trees. The food and service was less impressive to me. When I arrived there were about 4-5 groups already seated on the patio, and I asked to be seated there as well. I was given a table and must have waited 15 minutes before I was able to flag down a waitress and ask if there was a waitress for my table. Finally, the correct waitress arrived, and I gave my order of the trio of salsas and chips for an appetizer, Four Amigos enchilada plat...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on November 29, 2005

Old Pueblo Grill
60 North Alvernon Way
Tucson, Arizona 85711
+1 520 326 6000

Biosphere 2

Attraction

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Overall, I enjoyed seeing the Biosphere and liked the drive up. At times I felt like the only car on the road. The tour itself of the Biosphere was a little dull for my taste. I was more interested in seeing the different habitats, how the people lived, etc., and the tour seemed to spend a lot of time talking about the complexities of the plumbing and HVAC systems. I realize that these are a big part of how it functioned, but it just didn't interest me. I'm glad that I went and got to tour it, but if your time is limited and air systems are not a great interest to you, it might be a location to put off for another trip.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on November 29, 2005

Biosphere 2
32540 S Biosphere Rd
Tucson, Arizona 85623
(520) 896-6200

Sabino Canyon

Attraction

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This canyon in Coronado National Forest offers narrated tram tours on a 3.8-mile paved loop. There are nine stops along the way, and you may get on and off at will and hook up with one of the hiking trails if you wish. An unnarrated shuttle is also available to the Seven Falls trailhead.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 29, 2005

Sabino Canyon
5600 North Sabino Canyon Road
Tucson, Arizona 85750
+1 520 749 2861; Shu

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This is a smallish but very well-done zoo. I loved how natural many of the enclosures were. This zoo/park focuses on animals and plants that you will find in the Sonoran Desert.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 29, 2005

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
2021 North Kinney Road
Tucson, Arizona 85743
(520) 883-1380

Tohono Chul Park

Attraction

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This little park is a jewel. The landscaping is beautiful with many different types of gardens to view. You are given a map upon admission and you may either circulate freely on your own, or take advantage of one of the guided tours. Tour topics vary but might include birds of the desert, basic desert ecology, or native plants. There is a lovely tea room on sight which seemed quite popular. I arrived at the park for it's opening hour of 8am and was the only one there. By 9am, it was starting to fill in more. If you want a very peaceful experience, then I recommend going early- you may have the place to yourself.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 29, 2005

Tohono Chul Park
7366 North Paseo Del Norte
Tucson, Arizona 85704
(520) 742-6455

Old Tucson Studios

Attraction

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Old Tucson Studios is what I would call a movie set turned theme park. Started in 1939 as the set for the film "Arizona", Old Tucson Studios has seen the filming of many western themed movies and television shows including "Rio Bravo", "El Dorado", "Tombstone", and episodes of "Little House on the Prairie". Unfortunately, in 1995, a terrible fire destroyed a good part of the studios orginal buildings. While they have rebuilt, a lot of the history is gone forever. Now it seems the focus of the studios is more on the theme-park aspect. One can view all of the actual bulidings and facades. They all have plaques posted descibing what was filmed at each building. Your admission also includes the ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 29, 2005

Old Tucson Studios
201 South Kinney Road
Tucson, Arizona 85735
(520) 883-0100