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Tohono Chul, Tucson
(4.6/5 based on 900+ reviews on the web)
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
  • I love everything about this place.the trails are fun and interesting, food at the cafe was good. The gift shops interesting and the staff all helpful. 
  • Four of us met for breakfast. We had a lot to catch up on and stayed 2 hours without any pressure to leave. The huevos rancheros was excellent and the omelettes can be customized to suit your personal...  more »
  • Any age will enjoy Tohono Chul Park, and anytime you can squeeze in a visit, do it (your blood pressure will thank you). Plenty of parking and with over 40 acres enough of the park is handicapped acce...  more »
Google
  • What a lovely park for a stroll. Came here on a whim for their chiles, chocolate, and dia de los muertos festival and had a great time. Lots of these little critters around and butterflies.
  • 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.
  • Great gardens and museum. Kids loved the Pokemon stops. Very comparable to botanical garden in Phoenix.
  • 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.