Aiming to turn the museum concept inside-out, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum contains two miles of paths spread across 21 acres of desert, where animals such as sun-bathing lizards, bobcats, porcupine, and grey fox make their home. However, it is the fusion experience of a zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, aquarium, and art gallery that has earned it a top-5 museum honor by TripAdvisor.
The museum's exhibits intend to display the shared natural habitats of plants, animals, and geology. As many as 230 native live animal species and 1,200 types of plants fill the museum's many exhibits, such as mountain lions, prairie dogs, and river otters, and nearly 20 endangered or threatened species. Birds of prey that roam the skies are the subject of a twice-daily seasonal presentation. The gardens feature over 56,000 individual plant specimens native to several biomes and ecosystems of the Sonoran Desert. Also exhibited is the skeleton of a Sonosaurus, recovered in southern Arizona.
After their stint outdoors, visitors can wander innovative indoor exhibits. Inside a cool, dark replica of a limestone cave glimmer more than 14,000 minerals and fossils, which includes a moon rock on loan from NASA. Amongst an underwater view of beavers' habitat and a venomous reptile presentation, the Warden Aquarium showcases the region's marine residents, and an art institute aims to promote conservation through dynamic visual art.
There’s little left in Tucson to suggest that back in the mid-19th-century the city served as the Southwest’s hub for highway robbers. But it's a fact that the area hosted a string of stagecoach holdups and served as the starting point for Wyatt Earp’s infamous vendetta ride. At the Arizona History Museum, relics stand testament to this harrowed past, including an original Concord stagecoach, not unlike those whose occupants were forced to surrender their valuables to roadside brigands. The museum doesn’t only explore infamy, though; it illuminates all the forces that took part in Tucson’s transition from Paleo-Indian hunting ground to Spanish colonial outpost to the commercial center it is today. Exhibits cover this vast span of time creatively, including a full-size replica of an underground mine that provides a glimpse into early-20th-century working conditions, hands-on exhibits that recall the day-to-day lives of Native Americans, and archaeology displays that detail the surrounding environment's history over the past 4,000 years.
At Bedroxx Bowling, stone columns and prehistoric cave-like structures carry the weight of the Flintstones-esque theme, while 30 state-of-the-art bowling lanes and a veritable maze of amusements balance the decor with modern entertainment amenities. Inside the 44,000-square-foot entertainment center?which won Tucson Weekly's Readers Pick award for Best Bowling Alley in 2010?2011?every corner teems with activity. Bowlers pummel pins and avoid bumpers like an elitist avoids the common cold during 10-frame competitions. Overhead screens flare up with music videos, video games flash and beep in the video arcade room. Winners at the Toy Box game center can redeem their hard-earned tickets for a host of prizes and then celebrate with nachos, hot dogs, and Bedroxx pizza at the snack shack.
When a team of locals designed Tower Theatres, they imagined a movie-watching experience based around comfort. They corralled comfortable, rocker-style chairs and love seats and spaced the rows 18 vertical inches apart to give moviegoers unobstructed views of the screen. And the 4 ample feet separating each row from the one in front of it allows for plenty of leg stretching, easy maneuvering past fellow guests, and luxurious preshow yoga routines. Before the previews roll on their first-run blockbusters of choice, patrons can test their coordination on video games or air hockey or select concessions such as pizza, nachos, and Hebrew National hot dogs for midmovie sustenance.
The sight of a medieval castle surrounded by tall cacti may seem anachronistic at first, but it's hard to question the image when one is trying to putt a mini golf ball into a grassy hole off the circulating paddles of a windmill. It's whimsical moments like this that make Golf N? Stuff's name feel understated. Beyond the two lush 18-hole mini golf courses that draw year-round visitors, the entertainment center boasts go-karts, bumper boats, and more than 100 arcade games. Batting cages let both kids and adults perfect their swings. Visitors can refuel on hot dogs, Dippin' Dots ice cream, and soda at the snack bar.
Built to replicate the Suzuka Circuit in Japan, the 1,264-meter track at Musselman Honda Circuit challenges roadsters of all sorts to master its 13 turns. Whether drivers jump behind the wheel of a 9-horsepower P1 fast kart or behind the wicker picnic basket attached to the front of a motorcycle, the dirt track cushions tires during competitive pursuits and practice sessions alike. The multifaceted track accommodates a wide range of driving pursuits throughout the week, including driving education classes, cycling, and handicapped-accessible adaptive karting.