Tohono Chul Park is a beautiful 49-acre botanical garden in a suburb of Tucson, Arizona. The park has been connecting patrons with nature, art, and culture for over 25 years and I was more than happy to spend a few hours exploring it. The gardens are full of beautiful desert flora like prickly pear and saguaro cacti and fauna like the lizards, rabbits, ground squirrels, and sometimes even rattlesnakes. Not only do the native plants creative a wonderful space to wander through, the gardens are peppered with art. On my visit, the exhibit was Metal, Stone and Wood with artists using salvaged materials to create sculptures and works fitting with the Sonoran Desert. Take a look a some of my favorite works from Tohono Chul Park that also triggered some of my favorite memories from the nine years Tim and I spent living in the desert:
These “Sonoran Blooms” by artist Ned Egen require no food or water and are always in bloom under the desert sun.
The “Reclining Coyote” is part of Tohono Chul Park’s permanent collection and is meant to give patrons a glimpse of the Sonoran Desert’s fauna. I can attest that coyotes indeed do live in urban areas as we regularly used to see them in our neighborhood and sometimes even on the freeway when we lived in Phoenix. And on spring nights when it was still cool enough to sleep with the windows open, the night would be punctuated by coyotes howling.
I absolutely loved “Petrol Tank Vulture” probably because the red tank from a Yamaha motorcycle reminds of fond memories of riding with Tim on his red Yamaha R6 through the Las Vegas desert. The vulture is also part of the park’s permanent collection so be sure to find this cool sculpture!
If only the sunflower planted in front of this sunflower was in bloom! Regardless, I would love a sunflower like this in my own garden. We used to spot a few peaking over the walls of people’s yards on our walks through our neighborhood.
Admittedly, these javelinas are cuter than their living, breathing counterparts. But I still used to get excited to see them when they would wander into our neighborhood and I’d be even more excited not to run into any javelinas while out on a walk with Emma.
“A garden is made up of stories” reads the writing on this piece behind a gurgling pot fountain. That couldn’t be more true at Tohono Chul Park. Perhaps the flora, art, and fauna will trigger stories of your own or perhaps you can create some new ones.
Know Before You Go
- Tohono Chul Park is open daily 9am – 5pm.
- Admission is $8 per adult and discounted for students and active military members.
- Enjoy High Tea from 2:30 – 5pm in the Garden Bistro after walking the various trails and visiting the gardens.
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