TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Saguaro National Park is offering a variety of walks and talks that explore the park’s wonderful natural and cultural histories.
Interpretive programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Program schedules are subject to change; visitors should call the visitor centers for updates or reservations.
Programs are offered on most days in the morning at 10:15 and/or 11:15, and in the afternoon at 2:15 and/or 3:15 and last 30 to 45 minutes. Topics include mountain lions, lizards, coyotes, javelinas, kangaroo rats, insects, birds, survival strategies, the saguaro cactus, and other topics related to the desert. All programs are subject to change. Call the visitor center at (520) 733-5158 for updates the day of the program.
Apr. 27 9:45 a.m. The Plants Tell All Walk: 2 hours, 3/4 mile: Plants are the foundation of the web of life. Join a park naturalist to learn the secrets of what ties the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert together. Plant survival, insects and spiders, birds and mammals -- nothing is off limits for discussion on this discovery trek through the desert. For this moderate walk, closed-toed shoes, a hat, and water are required.
May 10 11:15 a.m. Reptiles of the Tucson Mountains and Avra Valley 45 minute talk: Learn about the snakes, lizards, and turtles of the area, including identification, habitat use, and safety from venomous species.This presentation is by Lawrence L.C. Jones. Just before and after the presentation, Larry will sign copies of his book, Lizards of the American Southwest, which will be for sale at the visitor center. No reservations necessary.
May 2, 4, 9, 16, 23, 30 10:15 a.m. Living With Giants Talk 45 minutes: The saguaro celebrates events and faces challenges throughout its life. A biologist explains how it provides shelter and substance for wildlife; when it flowers; its growth patterns; and how it fights for survival against drought, lightning, frost, and other dangers. Wheelchair accessible
May 3, 10 10:15 a.m. Spiny, Shady, and COOL! Talk & Walk 45 minutes, 200 yards: Come for a short walk and discover the great variety of cacti that inhabit this unique and fascinating desert. Wheelchair accessible
May 8, 22 10:15 a.m. Mountain Lions: Beyond the Myth Talk 45 minutes: Envision a puma stalking its prey, then uncover the true nature of this elusive but essential predator. Misunderstood, maligned, and nearly eradicated by settlers, the cougar remains threatened by human encroachment. Wheelchair accessible
May 6, 14, 21, 28, 31 2:15 p.m. Marvelous Mimicry Talk 30 minutes: Not all is as it appears… Come learn all about the optical illusion that is mimicry and adaptation, of which has helped shape some of the life in the Sonoran Desert! Wheelchair accessible.
May 5, 12, 19, 26 3:15 p.m. Cooking With Prickly Pear Talk 30 minutes: Learn how you can incorporate prickly pear into your diet. This program will show you how to collect and prepare prickly pear. Prepare for a sweet treat! Wheelchair accessible
May 1, 8, 22 2:15 p.m. Raptors! Talk 30 minutes: Southern Arizona and the Sonoran Desert Region are renowned for the large variety of animal and plant species, especially birds, that can be found in the area. Among the most fascinating of those are the raptors, top predators of the avian world, who either live here year-round, or migrate through the area. Wheelchair accessible
April 25 2 p.m. Wild About Flowers Guided Hike: A walk for the serious flower fancier. We’ll walk for about 2 hours in search of what’s blooming today while discussing the subtler aspects of pollination, taxonomy, and wildflower habits and habitats. Sturdy walking shoes and water are recommended
April 26 10 a.m. Wildflower Walk Guided Walk: An easy, level, one-hour walk to see the commonest flowers in bloom this day and a basic look at the magic of flowers. Comfortable walking shoes and water are recommended.
April 26 2 p.m. Drive-Thru Geology Auto Tour: Hop in your car for a journey through 25 million years of earth history…in one hour! We’ll observe the varied landforms of the desert – bajadas, washes, outcrops – and find out why geology students from around the world come to see the Rincon Mountain foothills. (Hint: it’s the mylonitic gneiss!)
April 27 11 a.m. Cactus Caravan Auto Tour: Begin your exploration of the Cactus Forest Drive with a park ranger and become familiar with some of the common cacti. A great introduction to the park! Accessible Program
May 2, 9 10 a.m. Is it a Cactus or A … sparagus? Garden Walk: We all know a cactus when we see it, right? Maybe not! Find out how our two families of spiny succulent plants are the same, but different. Accessible program.
May 4, 11, 25 10a.m. Meet the Saguaro Garden Walk: Get to know the world’s most famous cactus – and learn its fascinating life story in this place where we “celebrate saguaros”! Accessible Program
May 6, 13, 20, 27 11 a.m. It Takes a Community to Raise a Saguaro Presentation: Come explore the life of a saguaro, from seed to death, in this 30-minute presentation, Discover how the saguaro and other desert life are closely connected. Accessible Program
May 8, 15, 22, 29 9:30 a.m. Showers of Saguaros Presentation: The majestic Saguaro depends on the billions of tiny raindrops shed by the mighty summer monsoon storms for its long-term survival. Accessible Program
May 11, 18, 25 1 p.m. The Point of the Matter is Cactus Presentation: Cacti are uniquely equipped to thrive in the desert environment and every year bloom with spectacular flowers. We will look at the ones in Saguaro NP using a stunning photo gallery and learn a few of their uses for those living here and beyond. Accessible Program
May 12, 26 10 a.m. Cactus Caravan Auto Tour: Begin your exploration of the Cactus Forest Drive with a park ranger and become familiar with some of the common cacti. A great introduction to the park! Accessible Program
Both visitor centers are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Christmas Day.
- Red Hills Visitor Center (Saguaro WEST): 2700 North Kinney Road, Tucson, AZ 85743; (520) 733-5158
- Rincon Mountain Visitor Center (Saguaro EAST):3693 South Old Spanish Trail, Tucson, AZ 85730 (520) 733-5153