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Tohono Chul, Tucson

4.6
#2 of 21 in Parks in Tucson
Tohono Chul is a botanical garden, nature preserve and cultural museum located in Casas Adobes, a suburb of Tucson, Arizona. The words "tohono chul" translate as "desert corner" and are borrowed from the language of the Tohono O’odham, the indigenous people of southern Arizona. The mission of Tohono Chul is to enrich people's lives by connecting them with the wonders of nature, art and culture in the Sonoran Desert region and inspiring wise stewardship of the natural world.The 49-acre site itself offers a dramatic setting for Tohono Chul’s regional focus. Views of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains form a backdrop for the natural desert habitat and its location within existing migratory tracks provides a temporary home for many species of wild, native fauna. Thirty-eight species of birds make their permanent home here while another 57 migrant species visit seasonally, and a variety of reptiles and mammals, from Gila monsters to bobcats, may be spotted on the grounds.Within these surroundings, Tohono Chul has developed thematic displays using its botanical collections which consist primarily of plants native to the Sonoran or Chihuahuan Deserts. They include more than 150 species of shrubs and trees; 300 species of cacti and succulents; and 50 species of wildflowers. In addition, Tohono Chul has the largest private collection of native Night-blooming Cereus - Peniocereus greggii - and each summer hosts “Bloom Night,” the one night it is predicted the greatest number of cereus flowers will open.Outdoor exhibits include: Ethnobotanical Garden — displays indigenous plants cultivated by Southwestern native peoples for food, medicine and other necessities of life, as well as those crops introduced by European settlers Riparian Habitat — replicates the stream-side natural vegetation of Arizona’s threatened riparian communities Geology Wall — one-of-a-kind, it illustrates the geologic history of the nearby Santa Catalina Mountains Saguaro Discovery Trail — an exploration of the iconic saguaro through its cultural connections to the Tohono O’odham and its botanical connections to the natural history of the Sonoran Desert Sin Agua Garden — a former parking lot transformed into a rainwater harvesting demonstration Desert Living Courtyard — another parking lot is now a series of garden vignettes in a variety of design aesthetics all promoting Xeriscape and inspiring homeowners to use native and arid-adapted plants in backyard landscapes Sonoran Seasons Garden — the unique five seasons of the Arizona Upland subdivision of the Sonoran Desert Desert palm Oasis — native fan palms shelter in this recreation an isolated mountain canyon found along the east coast of the Gulf of California Tohono Chul’s changing indoor arts and cultural exhibitions are strongly community oriented, and feature community groups and artists of all ages. Three exhibit spaces allow for different types of exhibitions, from large group shows lasting several months to smaller, one-man exhibits on display for six to eight weeks. The focus may be on traditional or contemporary art, and include paintings, sculpture and folk arts, but exhibitions also address environmental concerns affecting the Sonoran Desert and the Southwest. In addition, a selection of basketry, fiber arts, sculptural works and paintings forms the core of a Permanent Collection of Native American artwork.
Use our Tucson day trip website to arrange your visit to Tohono Chul and other attractions in Tucson.
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Tohono Chul Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,119 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • We had a reciprocal pass for this garden and visited - what a lovely place! it was a great place to wak around with kids and they also had live birds.  more »
  • We took visitors there as the atmosphere and building takes you back to old Tucson. Good service and the food is top shelf with very interesting and different items on the menu. They have a garden set...  more »
  • Just off Oracle Road (a busy highway) is this peaceful place with easy walking trails. Most of the diverse plant life is labeled. Educational kiosks explain history and native survival information. Pl...  more »
Google
  • A secret gem in Tucson. Stunning beauty very much worth a visit. Numerous well kept trails guide you through botanical beauty with descriptive placards identifying plants, trees and bushes. Docents are well versed in various fauna and a joy to talk with. Benches are plentiful. Phenomenal place to take a book and check out amidst pure beauty. Restaurant onsite is incredible and certainly chef made and inspired.
  • Outstanding food options and the service is excellent. They have some remarkable menu options. Definitely a place to bring a couple of friends or family for brunch. Small groups of up to 4 people will have more success in seating. Larger groups should definitely make reservations.
  • Not sure why it took me so long to come here since moving to Tucson but I thought this place is amazing. I love the fact that they have kept the saguaro trail unpaved and natural so that you can experience it as it is. The hummingbirds here are used to be around people so they are easier to be observed closely. You can also get cacti and succulents at their nursery to grow in your garden. They also planted some Desert milkweed for the migratory monarch butterfly and track them for research purposes. The park bistro has nice outdoor seating that is perfect for weekend brunch. I heard the bistro used to serve high tea. Wish they bring it back one day!
  • We adore this place so much more than meets the eye upon arrival. An amazing bistro, though walking after eating was difficult because it was so delicious & we ate so much. I suggest splitting if not too hungry. Large beautiful portions, yummy drinks & setting. The park has gorgeous flora, fauna, art, classes, lectures you name it. We became members on our first visit. Tohono Chul Park is an absolute jewel.
  • Tohono Chul Part has some of the most beautiful gardens in Tucson. You will find all local cactus and plants. You will also see other non-native cactus plants from other regions of Central and South America. This is the place if your interested in taking nice pictures with beautiful back ground scenery. They have well kept architectural along with the gardens. Every second week of November, they have free entrance and a Guatemalan Arts and Craft sales.

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Where to stay in Tucson

To discover the tranquility of the Sonoran Desert, book your stay at an inn just a short drive from Tucson. Staying on the outskirts of the city allows you quick and easy access to some of Arizona's wildest areas, though it does require a car if you wish to enjoy Tucson's shops and restaurants. For the ultimate in indulgence, consider one of the city's award-winning luxury resorts, which feature full-service spa and fitness centers, championship golf courses, lighted tennis courts, and indoor swimming pools.
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