14 Things To Do In Tucson For Teens

14 Things To Do In Tucson For Teens

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There is more to Tucson, Arizona, than just a hot, dry desert during the summer months. Home to the University of Arizona, the city offers many places of culture as well as entertainment for both daytime and nighttime. Below are some of my picks of fun places to visit in Tucson on your day trip:

Visiting Tucson with Teens: Things To Do

Things To Do In Tucson For Teens

Live Theatre Workshop And Special Events

This small but delightful little live theatre offers performances from Tucson’s most talented local artists and actors. Plays such as The Seven Year Itch and I Do, I Do are performed for those who love to attend the theatre. Children’s performances and acting classes for kids of all ages are also available.

Arizona Opera Company

Even lovers of opera will be at home in the desert. Rigoletto, The Mikado, and Tosca are just a few of the performances at this opera house. If you like Mozart and Verdi, you won’t be disappointed by these performances.

Saguaro National Park On Your Road Trip

The giant saguaro cactus is a symbol of the Southwest and Saguaro National Park has hundreds of them. Here are tips for what to see and best times to visit.

The multi-armed saguaro cactus towering over the desert is one of the top things to see in Arizona. Though they pepper the landscape from Phoenix to the Mexican border, Tucson visitors can walk through a forest of them on the trails of Saguaro National Park.

The park, which covers more than 91,000 acres, is divided into two sections, Saguaro Park East and Saguaro Park West. They lie on opposite sides of the city with some 30 miles of Tucson sprawling in between.

The giant saguaro (pronounced sah-WAH-row) is often called the “monarch of the desert,” a fitting title when its outstretched arms are silhouetted against a blazing Arizona sunset. But though it has become a symbol of the American Southwest, in fact it grows wild only in the Sonoran Desert which stretches across central Arizona and northern Mexico to the Baja peninsula.

Saguaros can grow as high as 50 feet and weigh more than 8 tons, making them the largest cactus species in the United States. But they grow very, very slowly. It takes at least 75 years for a saguaro to start growing its massive arms. The largest multi-armed specimens can easily be 150 to 200 years old.

Although saguaros are long-lived in their natural habitat, human development over the past century has greatly reduced their numbers. Saguaro National Park is one of the few places to preserve them in multitude, making it a great place to visit and a top Tucson attraction for visitors and residents.

Things To Do In Tucson For Teens

Tohono Chul Park On Your Family Vacation

This park is a combination of flora, fauna, and southwest culture all combined together. Exhibits of art by natives in this part of the United States is on display. Several gift shops, a restaurant, and hiking trails make this one of Tucson area’s most beautiful leisure spots.

Reid Park Zoo Is One Of The Best Things To Visit

This zoo is home to white rhinos, elephants, giraffes, ostriches, bears, jaguars, anteaters, and a number of birds. Family programs as well as free events are offered by the zoo. Their website: Reid Park Zoo.

Tucson Botanical Garden Is Full Of Fun Things

These botanical gardens contain many varieties of flowers and herbs complete with walking paths. A gift shop, cafe, and gallery of flowers in art are open for visitors.

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area For Some Family Fun

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is nestled in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains in southern Arizona. This desert oasis is a popular tourist spot and local favorite for its plentiful hiking trails, abundant wildlife, educational shuttle tour, resplendent canyon views, unique rock formations and outdoor activity opportunities. Following a guide will help any visitor have a positive experience while in the canyon.

Hikes vary in difficulty and cover a range of distances. Pick up a map at the recreation entrance and choose a hike that is a reasonable distance and challenge for you and your party. Many people jog, bring strollers, cycle or horseback riding on the paved tram road. Although the full round-trip distance is 8 miles, look for mile markers to slice your hike into shorter distances. Also, check out the Telephone Line Trail for excellent creek views or hike to Seven Falls (via Bear Canyon Trail) during wet season to see pools of water. Check hike accessibility conditions prior to visiting Sabino Canyon, as heavy rains cause flooding in the canyon.

Things To Do In Tucson For Teens

Old Tucson Studios For A Great Time

Old Tucson Studios was used as sound stage for some great movies, such as The Three Amigos, The Quick and the Dead and The Outlaw Josey Wales. Come walk where stars like Clint Eastwood, John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara filmed movies and sit down for the action packed stunt shows that are performed daily. During Halloween, Old Tucson becomes the haunted town of Nightfall, where you can walk the dark streets and catch some amazing shows or walk the haunted houses and be scared out of your mind.

Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures is a unique and fascinating museum for the whole family. This enchanting museum is dedicated to showcasing the permanent collections and the art of miniatures and takes visitors on a journey through time and imagination. As you explore the museum, you’ll be amazed by the intricate details and craftsmanship of the miniatures on display. The interactive exhibits cover a wide range of themes and time periods, allowing young children to experience miniature worlds from different historical eras and cultures.

International Wildlife Museum

This museum offers self-guided tours to every species of animal on earth plus replicas of animals from long ago eras. Films about wildlife are shown at a theatre in the museum. The museum also has a gift shop and snack bar. Their website: The International Wildlife Museum.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum For Nature Lovers

Take a nice desert walk and see some of the fascinating creatures that only reside in the Sonoran Desert. You can snap pictures of coyotes, prairie dogs and finally find out what in the world a javelina is. The Arizona Sonora desert museum is also filled with plants that are native to the desert. In the summer months, there are programs where you can go to the museum at night to see all the nocturnal wildlife, like bats and bark scorpions, or sit and catch a beautiful lightning storm.

Things To Do In Tucson For Teens

Tucson Museum Of Art Is The Perfect Place For History Buffs

More than seven thousand pieces of art are housed in this museum located in downtown Tucson. Western art, pre-Columbian art, modern art, and temporary exhibits such as the nativity exhibit during Christmas time are displayed. Their website: Tucson Museum of Art.

Tucson Children’s Museum Is A Great Spot And One Of The Best Places To See

The Children’s Museum is filled with fun and informational activities for children of all ages. You can feel how heavy firefighters equipment really is, come face to face with a life-size animatronic T-Rex or you can hang up your very own artwork in the Art Studio. The Children’s Museum always has Festivals of Friendship on most major holidays, such as Martin Luther King Jr Day and for the Chinese New Year. They usually include crafts that relate to the holiday and lots of information targeted to the younger audience.

Pima Air And Space Museum Is A Sure Bet For Some Fun

Historical aircraft, WWII collections and everything aeronautical await you at the Air and Space Museum. You can climb into real fighter jets and take a stroll through the hangar. Very educational and exciting for the aviation enthusiast.

Final thoughts

As you can see, there is plenty to do in Tucson with your children. These are only a few suggestions and there is always something going on downtown. Tucson has great festivals during certain holidays like a St. Patrick’s Day parade, Tucson Meet Yourself and the Day of the Dead parade. Come and visit the desert to have some fun!

Tucson is a city that is packed with family-friendly activities for you and your children. While visiting here, you can take a step back in time at Old Tucson, you can go on a long hike through Sabino Canyon or you can see a javelina up close on a Tuesday afternoon.

Image Credit: Depositphotos

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