Tucson is a hotbed of arts, culture, and adventure. Visitors and residents never experience a shortage of things to do.
But if you’re headed out for a day trip, be sure to put the museums of Tucson on your list.
With such a rich, diverse history in the area, Tucson’s museums have something for everyone’s palate. But there are too many to choose from if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for.
If you’re ready to soak up some culture and knowledge, these are the three museums you must explore.
1. Tucson Museum of Art
When you visit the Tucson Museum of Art, you’re not just exploring a building. The entire block is a historical treasure.
Located at 140 North Main Avenue in Tucson, this museum offers a diverse mix of Western, Latin American, and Asian art. There’s also a good selection of contemporary art on display.
What to See Here
The exhibitions at the Tucson Museum of Art are world-renowned. There is almost always an event or two on the schedule, and exhibitions rotate regularly.
Previous and permanent exhibitions include popular displays such as:
- The Western Sublime: Majestic Landscapes of the American West, rotating
- Harry Brorby: The Strength of a Cold Line, rotating
- Oaxacan Folk Art, rotating
- The Art of East Asia, ongoing
- Art of the American Southwest, ongoing
- Latin American Folk Art, ongoing
In addition to the museum itself, you can dine at the on-site cafe to refresh yourself between exhibits. Before you leave, take a few minutes to shop for souvenirs in the gift store.
The admission cost is $12, but it is free on the second Sunday of the month for those who live in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.
2. International Wildlife Museum
Animal lovers will be thrilled to know that there is a museum in Tucson dedicated to wildlife. From crawly to cuddly, you’ll find exhibits about all kinds of animals.
The International Wildlife Museum, found at 4800 West Gates Pass Road, proudly focuses on worldwide wildlife. Their mission is to educate people on the importance of animals. They also promote the conservation of habitats and overall animal appreciation.
What to See Here
Whether you want to spend the day admiring your favorite animal, examining fossils, or learning about the history of wildlife, you’ll find something here to interest you.
Past and present exhibits have focused on the ecosystems of various environments around the world.
Recent examples include It’s a Hoot!, an exhibit focused on owl conservation, and Sharks: Fierce Hunters of the Sea, a show about everyone’s favorite ocean predators.
And here’s something pretty cool:
For the indefinite future, this museum is home to two of the world’s largest jigsaw puzzles. Each around 20 feet long and made from tens of thousands of pieces, these puzzles are something to see!
While you’re there, be sure to visit the Wildlife Theater, where multiple movies are shown daily.
Admission to the museum is $7, with discounts for seniors and military.
3. Pima Air and Space Museum
Flight is a topic of interest that never seems to lose its appeal. From the history of the first plane to the potential of pedestrian space travel, people love learning about air and space.
If the world of wings interests you, you need to visit the Pima Air and Space Museum, located at 6000 East Valencia Road.
While the Museum focuses on the history of flight, you’ll find both antique and modern aircraft here. So if you want to get up close and personal with some real planes, you’re going to love it!
What to See Here
One of the most popular exhibits in this museum is the “Boneyard,” an open field filled with more than 4000 aircraft. Each of these military planes and helicopters lives at the Museum during the process of being recycled or regenerated.
You can schedule a tour of the Boneyard, but it’s a maximum-security event. You must book in advance, show your ID, and get a security clearance to attend.
It’s enough excitement to make you feel like you’re on a top-secret government mission!
If that’s not enough to pique your interest, there are many other attractions to see, such as:
- Six indoor hangars filled with planes from World War II
- The Dorothy Finley Space Gallery
- The Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame
- Presidential aircraft
- Commercial and civil aircraft
- The 390th Memorial Museum, a bonus museum included in your admission
There are 80 acres of historic air and spacecraft for you to spend your day exploring. When you’re done, you can pick up some souvenirs in the gift store.
Standard admission includes all but the tram tour and the Boneyard Tour. The cost is $16.50, but discounts are available for Pima County residents, seniors, and active military.
Something for Everyone
Phoenix isn’t the only fun city in Arizona.
With adventures around every corner, Tucson is just as exciting. From art galleries to museums dedicated to science and technology, there’s no shortage of fun things to do here.
Museums are a great place to spend time with family, friends, or even alone. Visit these three museums this month and, by next month, you’ll be hooked and ready for more!
Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over ten years of experience in the student housing industry and works with Cottages at Tucson every day to help them with their marketing efforts.