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Trip Report Tucson with Young Kids-Trip Report

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Just got back from a spring break trip with the kids (5 and 8) to Tucson. We went Monday-Friday. First, I would suggest going over a weekend because there are lots of events on the weekends in Tucson and we missed some fun stuff! We had a good time, though, and really enjoyed the weather!

Hotel: We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Wetstone Road--next to the Tucson Mall. It had a good pool and hot tub. The rooms have an under counter fridge and a microwave and some dishes. No cooktop though and I just left the dishes for the housekeepers to remove and give us clean ones the next day. I wanted to save some money so we stayed here instead of a Marriott Residence Inn that would have had 2 bedrooms and a separate living area or even just one bedroom and a wall/door between that and the Living Room. Next time, I will spend the money for the Mariott. Although going to bed at 9 pm wasn't so bad--I got lots of sleep on this vacation! The hotel isn't really centrally located in terms of site seeing but it was good for several things: restaurants--see food below, there was a SunFlower Market and a Farrs Grocery store practically around the corner, there is a big wine store down the street, Starbucks is a block away. We do lots of outdoorsy stuff and there is an REI at the mall--good for replacing a lost water bottle. The breakfast in the morning was very good. Awesome cinnamnon rolls--my kids' favorites.

Restaurants--When we have the kids, we don't go out for dinner. We just get decent take out (e.g. not fast food) and eat in the room and relax with wine while they watch TV! We got food from: Olive Garden, Applebees, Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen. All of it was fine. Fortunately, we live in an area where we can get great Mexican food or I would have really resented missing out on what Tucson has to offer. But if I want to really enjoy my meal, this is the best plan. The hotel was really great because all of these places were so close.

Sites: Monday afternoon we went to the Arizona Historical Society Museum. It was really fun and educational and the kids loved it. Tuesday we went to the Sonoran Desert Museum. I have been here many times and never grow tired of it. So awesome. Wednesday we went to the Pima Air and Space Museum. The kids and DH loved, loved it. I really liked the informational exhibits. When it comes to planes, I was happy to find a bench and sit in the sun and watch the ground squirrels and lizards. Thursday we went to Old Tucson and the kids LOVED it. I thought it was unfortunate that many of the buildings were closed (e.g. just store fronts for films) but the ones that were open were very interesting. They loved the shows and we took a stage coach ride. We spent a looooong time panning for "gold". I have to admit it got addictive! We really liked all the driving we got to do in the Saguaro National Park--around it, not in the actual park. The desert here is so beautiful. I had really wanted to go to the NP but after the Desert Museum, you really know everything there is to know about the desert!! I just love that place.

I had originally thought we could do 2 activities per day but we would get somewhere at 10 and not leave till 3!!! We did go to the San Xavier Mission on Weds afternoon but the kids were tired and just wanted to go back to the room and swim. The zoo closes at 4 so that isn't much time. Obviously, it depends on your kids. And this was a family vacation, so I didn't care if they spent all day in one place as long as they were having fun.

I had originally planned to go to the Grand Canyon but figured this year that the last week of March could be iffy (we would be driving down from Salt Lake). I am glad I changed plans. Especially when I woke up Sunday morning at home and we had 5" of snow!!!! Thank goodness for a week in the sun!

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