Tohono Chul, Tucson
Categories: Nature & Parks
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.To visit Tohono Chul on your trip to Tucson, use our Tucson vacation generator.
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Every year we come for Christmas and brunch on the patio. It is a slice of desert oasis in the middle of the city. I never tire of strolling and enjoying the desert & mountain views. Especially a trea... read more »
The weather was a little warm but that's to be expected this time of year. They were having a plant sale when I was last there. This place was a great place to explore. Lots of plants. We have been lo... read more »
This place has such a uniquely Tucson charm. The cafe patio is beautiful. Our server was gracious and non-hovering. I had the breakfast skillet which was a delicious hearty breakfast. The potatoes wer... read more »
I love this place. ;-) It is my go-to lunch spot and garden stroll for all first time visitors to give them a sense of Tucson/Arizona. It is a great place to sketch or watercolor solo, too! ;-) I've done high tea, Skype baby showers ;-) business lunches, romantic dates, a dozen family members' mini reunion ;-) in private rooms, inside the A/C, outside on the patio - doesn't matter what you order - it's all divine. ;-) It's a sure bet! ;-)
It was a nice place to see the vegetation of the region. I personally liked the dessert museum over this place, but I consider this a great place also. This place is half the price, it feels that it has denser vegetation. The place is smaller, so it can be seen if you have a short amount of time.
Amazing gardens to enjoy. Enjoy the café bistro in scenic building court yard or garden view seating. No entry required for the gift shop and plant shop with many healthy plants for sale.
I was reading a review for this place that said it was better than the Desert Museum. True True True. the plants are fantastic. The lushness of the gardens. The labeling of the plants. The shaded and sunny areas. The benches to sit and enjoy the birds and butterflies. The sculptures. The garden shop with so many cactus and succulents and more. This place is incredible and a do-not-miss event in Tucson. We came on a day when there was a concert (included in admission) and it was classical guitar and had a big crowd. Top shelf, top quality, friendly people, Possibly the number one attraction in Tucson.
Tohono Chul is an amazing place to experience nature. We went on a butterfly tour with a very nice and knowledgeable guy that was an absolute blast!
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