What a Desert Oasis Really Looks Like | My Family Travels
Mission San Xavier del Bac
San Xavier del Bac Interior
Mt. Lemmon Highway
Mt. Lemon Lake
Day of the Dead Celebration
Performance on Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead Celebration

Tucson, Arizona offers a unique experience for any traveler. It is modern and historic, Mexican, Native American, and American, natural and man-made. It is as wild as its desert and as calm as its endless blue sky.

While Tucson is located within the Sonoran desert, its landscape is in no way barren. Take a hike through Catalina State Park and witness the beauty of the natural desert landscape. This park offers several different paths for hikers and horses. Some lead to historic Native American ruins; hikers can still find pottery shards along the trail.  Others lead up into the surrounding mountains, leading to cooler air and natural water sources such as Romero falls.

For a more educational look at Sonoran wildlife, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a must. Visitors can walk along the paths and view animals from javelinas to Mexican wolves, in enclosures made to resemble each animal’s habitat. Along with animals, the museum also hosts a wide variety of desert plant life. There are other areas of the museum as well: rooms for reptiles and invertebrates, an aquarium, and a walk-through hummingbird enclosure. Replica limestone caverns doubling as a natural history exhibit complete the experience.

Tucson is surrounded in all directions by beautiful mountains. One of the most popular to visit is Mt. Lemmon, located north of Tucson. As one drives up the winding mountain road, the surroundings gradually change from a desert to cool pine forest. Visitors can come to the mountain for hiking and camping during the summer, surrounded by the sound of birds, the fresh smell of cool air and pine, and the majestic trees themselves. When winter arrives, locals and visitors alike can look to the mountains and watch for a glimpse of snow. Come up then, and one can enjoy the rare opportunity of snow in the Sonoran desert. There is even a ski area for the more athletic winter travelers.

There are many historic and cultural sites showing the rich history of Tucson. The Mission San Xavier del Bac is one of the oldest places of worship in the Tucson area. Built in the seventeenth century, it continues to serve the Tohono O’odam community today. It features a pure white façade framing a majestically carved wooden entrance, with beautiful paintings and carvings inside. Visitors will enjoy exquisite artwork and rich American history.

Both modern and historical artworks can be found at the Tucson Museum of Art. The museum itself is composed of two separate buildings, divided by a large courtyard. Guests will enter through the first building, which houses Latin American artwork from both colonial and pre-colonial times. The second building contains more of the modern and contemporary exhibits, and is where most of the exhibitions are. The exhibitions, both permanent and loaned, change every few weeks, so people are encouraged to return. The museum does not exclusively show regional artworks, but will sometimes have art from other regions and countries. For example, a Han Chinese artifact exhibit is currently housed there.

The people of Tucson love a good celebration, and there is no celebration like the Tucson All Souls Procession. The Procession was inspired by the Mexican holiday called Day of the Dead, which honors those who have passed away and welcomes home the spirits of the deceased who have come back to this world visit their living loved ones. The parade itself is a gathering point for artists, performers, and ordinary people to celebrate the deceased. It ends in the burning of a giant urn filled with the prayers of the participants.

Our oasis has plenty to offer, so enjoy!

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