Tucson Located in Southern Arizona

By: Douglas Scott

Tucson pronounced too sawn is small city located in southern Arizona about 100 miles south of Phoenix and 60 miles north of the Mexican border. It is situated on a flat desert valley nearly surrounded by barren, rugged mountains.

It has become a retirement community for elderly citizens that appreciate the year round warm weather and inexpensive living.

It is less congested than Phoenix and well situated for tourists wishing to explore the many surrounding attractions.

The climate in Tucson is always dry with temperatures ranging from warm to extremely hot. The city normally receives less than 25 cm of rainfall per year. Daytime temperatures can exceed 45 during the summer with a much more pleasant 20 during the winter months. High tourist season extends from November through March. Fall and spring are good times to visit this area if you want to avoid the tourist crowds.

The surrounding desert is filled with giant Saguaro cactuses that stand up to 10 meters high. You can drive through forests of these cactuses or hike the many trails in Saguaro National Park located just outside of the city.

The Arizona Desert Museum, located about 15 miles west of the city near Old Tucson at the southern entry to Saguaro National Park, is a great place to experience the flora and fauna of the surrounding desert.

Old Tucson is a simulated western town originally constructed as a film set for cowboy movies. Today it is a theme park with entertainment, restaurants, gift shops and many actors dressed in western costumes.

For a very different experience, visit the Pima Air Museum just south of the city. In addition to viewing their wonderful collection of military and civilian aircraft, you can take guided tours of the Bone yards at neighbouring Davis Monthan Air Force Base. Over 5000 military aircraft including hundreds of huge B 52 bombers awaiting destruction are parked in endless rows at the Aerospace Maintenance and Reconstruction Centre. It is hard to even imagine so many aircraft parked in one place.

There are huge open pit copper mines near Sahuarita just south of Tucson and in Bisbee south of Tombstone. Both mines offer public tours. A 29 mile road winds its way up the Catalina Mountains to the 3000 meter high peak of mount Lemmon where temperatures average 10 lower than the city below.

La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Rodeo is held in late February. The Easter Ceremony combining Native American traditions with Christian beliefs occurs during Easter week in early spring. The Tucson International Gem and Mineral Show is held in late February. It is the largest such event in the world, so hotel accommodations will be hard to find during those two weeks.

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