Last Minute Tucson trip - help requested

Old Jan 17th, 2006, 06:55 AM
  #1  
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Last Minute Tucson trip - help requested

Sad family circumstances bring us to Tucson at the end of the month. We'll likely fly in on Thursday evening and will be spending most of Friday in Sierra Vista with family.
We thought to extend the visit through the weekend and see some of Tucson.

We have travelled in the Southwest but have not made it to Tucson before. We are an active family with a toddler. We enjoy the outdoors and I love shopping for local crafts. Its a short trip but we thought it would be nice to see some of what Tucson offers.

I looked into both Loews Ventayna Resort and The Lodge but they are completely booked for our dates unless we pay $399 night (due to a gem show?). The Hilton el Conquistador has rooms available (in the 200s) - what do people think of the Hilton? We would like some place lovely, comfortable (on the high end) but that can be accomodating of a toddler (B&Bs which I used to love don't generally work with a two year old whereas we've found resort hotels to be more convenient).

I'd love to find a couple of good Mexican and Southwest restaurants while we are in Tucson. Any suggestions?

We plan to visit the Sonora Desert Museum (Zoo). Any other suggestions?

Also, anything we should make time to see in or on our way to/from Sierra Vista?

Thanks for help.
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 07:05 AM
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With the Gem Show (biggest convention of the year here) in town I am surprised you can even find a hotel in any price range. I live in Tucson and near the Hilton El Conquistator and while I have never stayed there we have eaten there. The grounds are quite nice and I believe the rooms have recently been refurbished. As for toddler friendly I am sorry but I have no idea. There is a new Holiday Inn Express just at the foot of the street that leads up to the Hilton too in case you want to check their rates.

I'd recommend Cafe Poca Cosa for real good Mexican food - but not the enchilada variety. It's more like you might find in Southern Mexico. The restuarant is located downtown however and it is not that close to the Hilton. You would need reservations if you plan on going during Gem Show.

There is a nice restuarant called Wildflower at Ina and Oracle Rds (the Hilton is about 5 miles up on Oracle from it). It's not Mexican, but it is nice. Also good is Metropolitan Grill at Oracle and McGee Rds.

The Desert Museum is a good bet, you should enjoy it.
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 07:08 AM
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Karchner Caves are enroute to Tucson from Sierra Vista, worth a visit but you might need to get a reservation as they only allow so many in during peak times. Sorry I forgot to add that to original post.
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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Lori - thanks for your input. I will put your restaurant suggestions on my list.

Also, just received word from Amex concierge services that they were able to book a room for us at The Lodge at Ventana Canyon ($249 for those who like such info).

What are Karchner caves? Would they be too scary for my toddler?
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 07:33 AM
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Ventana Canyon is a very good choice.

Kartchner Caverns would not be scary. It is a "living" cave.

Please send me an email. I have a draft document that includes clickable links for a lot of things to see and do around Tucson and Southern Arizona.

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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 07:45 AM
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When I was Tucson a couple years ago my wife and I enjoyed the Sonora Desert Museum which I saw listed but the Pima Air Museum was a nice treat as well. We are not plane buffs but they had JFK's Air Force One there and you can walk thru it. If you are a plane buff then this is the place. There are several hundred planes and helicopters there to see.
bertaron is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2006, 08:15 AM
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Karchner Caves would not be scarey I don't think.

If you got The Lodge you will be further east then where I live but you might check out the restuarants near La Encantada at Campbell and Sunrise Dr. It's an "upscale" outdoor mall with beautiful views over Tucson and the surrounding mountains. There are several resturants there as well on neighboring corners. Enjoy your stay.
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 11:29 AM
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Thanks all for the input.

I read somewhere that stargazing is pretty spectacular in the area due to low light pollution. Any good locations? or possibly an observatory with a night program? Not so much for me and the little one, but my husband would be very interested.
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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Kitt Peak, west of Tucson.

http://www.noao.edu/kpno/

The University of Arizona has the Flandrau Planetarium.

http://www.flandrau.org/

email me for clickable links.

MikeP
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