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Tohono Chul, Tucson

(1,000+ reviews on the web)
Nature / Park
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.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • A tiny botanical garden that features a wonderful restaurant and an outstanding gift shop! Be sure to time your visit around a meal!  more »
  • This park, artist gallery, botanical garden is a hidden jewel! Every Spring when I visit for the last 7 years, I'm surprised and delighted by the expansion and wonderful exhibits and trails. Not to be...  more »
  • We went early on a warm day and had a wonderful time. We were aided by very friendly docents who pointed things out to us in the gardens. They also have a lovely cafe where food and beverages are serv...  more »
Google
  • An amazing oasis in an area that is rapidly being transformed into pavement, housing and shopping locations. It's both a reminder of what was and a way to still be there. It's good for the soul and not a bad place to get some exercise either. When I get visitors, this is where I take them first.
  • This place is the worst. All the reviews here have to be employees. Even at $10 not worth it. The cactus were in disarray and not kept up. The place looked like they were just setting it up. I hear the cafe is nice but didn't try it. For someone who's been to lots of different botanical gardens I would definitely pass on this one. Worst part of my vacation.
  • Gorgeous park! One of my favourite places we visited during our Tucson trip. We saw a hummingbird nest and Cooper's hawks. Nice walking trails. We ate breakfast at the bistro in the hummingbird garden and the food was excellent.
  • Whoever gave this a bad review is probably not that familiar with our Sonoran desert. "Cactus in disarray" - wtf? This park is a precious little gem! Anyone who wants to learn more about desert wildlife, botany and art will love it. (Lovely little art gallery, too.) The grounds are kept impeccable. Go see Tohono Chul and especially bring your out of state visitors-you won't be disappointed.
  • Love this place. The grounds ate very well kept. Lots of variety of plants and art to look at.