Supremely located within a whistle’s distance from Scottsdale’s Salt River Fields and Talking Stick Resort and Casino stands the country’s newest and largest butterfly pavilion, Butterfly Wonderland. The cutting-edge, five-acre attraction features an interactive, state-of-the-art indoor rainforest environment complete with freshwater aquariums teeming with Amazonian wildlife, an 1,800 -gallon tank with Motoro spotted stingrays, a live ant colony, a protected honey bee beehive exhibit and of course, a brilliantly vivid atrium where butterflies from all over the world flutter about freely.
Opened over Memorial Day weekend, Butterfly Wonderland is sure to become one of our state’s (and nation’s!) most loved and most frequented attractions. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
Want to get away, but don’t have the time to plan a vacation? Then a short, fun day trip is the perfect option. Check out this list of southern Arizona attractions to plan a great day trip.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum 2021 N. Kinney Rd., Tucson 520-883-1380 The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place.
Bisbee 1 Main St., Bisbee 520-432-5421 In the 1880s, this was once an important mining center. Today, it flourishes as a tourist town.
Chiricahua National Monument 13063 E. Bonita Canyon Rd., Willcox 520-824-3560 ext. 302 The monument is a mecca for hikers and birders. Chiricahua plants and animals represent one of the premier areas for biological diversity in the Northern Hemisphere.
Colossal Cave Mountain Park 16721 E. Old Spanish Tr., Vail 520-647-7275 Colossal Cave, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, had been used for centuries by prehistoric peoples when it was discovered in 1879.
Fort Bowie National Historic Site 3203 S. Old Fort Bowie Rd., Bowie 520-847-25004 The site of the Bascom Affair, a wagon train massacre, and the battle of Apache Pass, where a large force of Chiricahua Apaches under Mangus Colorados and Cochise fought the California Volunteers. It stands as a lasting monument to the bravery and endurance of U.S. soldiers in paving the way for westward settlement and the taming of the Western frontier.
Ironwood Forest National Monument BLM Tucson Field Office: 12661 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson 520-258-7200 The 129,000-acre monument contains significant cultural and historical sites covering a 5,000-year period. Possessing one of the richest stands of Ironwood trees in the Sonoran Desert, the area encompasses several desert mountain ranges including the Silver Bell, Waterman and Sawtooth, with desert valleys in between. Elevation ranges from 1,800 to 4,261 feet.
Kartchner Caverns State Park 2980 S. Hwy. 90, Benson 520-586-CAVE (2283) Discovered in 1974, these caverns just recently opened to the public and feature stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Kitt Peak National Observatory Off of SR 86 on the Tohono O’odham Nation, Tucson 520-318-8726 Kitt Peak is the world’s largest working astronomical observatory. Open daily.
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area BLM Tucson Field Office: 12661 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson 520-258-7200 Designated by Congress in 2000, this 42,000-acre area consists of vast desert grassland and rolling, oak-studded hills with a diverse plant and animal life, including several threatened or endangered species. Las Cienegas contains cultural resources within its borders, such as Empire Ranch House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, mines and mining towns, and historic travel routes. Visitor activities include birdwatching, camping, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, mountain biking and scenic drives.
Mission San Xavier Del Bac 1950 W. San Xavier Rd., Tucson 520-294-2624 Framed in the warm browns of the surrounding hills and the violet shadows of distant mountains, it rises, brilliantly white from the desert floor of dusty green mesquite and sage.
Old Tucson Studios 201 S. Kinney Rd., Tucson 520-883-0100 Arizona’s Hollywood in the Desert since 1939. This world-famous working film location offers fun for the whole family — guided historical set tours, live stunt shows, gunfights, and saloon musicals, plus rides for the kids! While you’re here, enjoy a scenic trail ride in the unique and beautiful Arizona Sonora Desert.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument 10 Organ Pipe Dr., Ajo 520-387-6849 ext. 0 This scenic 516-square-mile preserve is filled with Organ Pipe Cactus, rare in the United States, scattered among mountains and plains.
Picacho Peak State Park Picacho 520-466-3183 Hiking, camping and picnicking 60 miles southeast of Phoenix, just off I-10.
Reid Park Zoo 1100 S. Randolph Way, Tucson 520-791-4022 Come visit Tucson’s Reid Park Zoo and have a wild time. Meet more than 400 animals — rhinos, elephants, anteaters, polar bears, lions and many more. Venture into the African, Asian and South American regions. Explore the Flight Connection — the full-flight, walkthrough aviary.
Saguaro National Park 2700 N. Kinney Rd., Tucson 520-733-5158 This national park protects more than 3,500 acres of native plants and animals.
San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area BLM Tucson Field Office: 12661 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson 520-258-7200 This 57,000-acre area contains 40 miles of the San Pedro River, which is home to more than 100 species of birds and more than 400 species of migrating and wintering bird species.
Tombstone Tombstone 520-457-3929 Truly a historical American landmark, Tombstone is America’s best example of 1880 Western heritage, with original 1880s buildings, artifacts featured in numerous museums, gunfight re-enactments and Wild West legends.
Tucson 100 S. Church Ave., Tucson 800-638-8350 Surrounded by rugged mountain ranges, the Old Pueblo is an international travel destination alive with character, history, art, cultural diversity, outdoor adventure and charm.
Yuma 201 N. Fourth Ave., Yuma 800-293-0071 A visit to this growing metropolis offers something for everyone, from outdoor adventures to historic sites and museums. Yuma is also a great base for easy day trips “South of the Border,” and boasts varied dining, shopping and multiple casinos.