Travel 2018-02-20T13:18:16+00:00


There’s always someplace to go…

Tohono Chul’s trips are some of the most rewarding ways you can spend just a day or an entire week in the Southwest. Always modestly priced, our Travel “Ed-ventures” are perfect for anyone who is simply curious about our region or looking for an adventure that will reward mind and body alike. Take a look at what we’re offering!

Death Valley: Geology, Ghost Towns and Glam!

March 4 – 9 | $2395 per person / double occupancy members ($500 single supplement)

$2395 per person / double occupancy members ($500 single supplement)

Many of us who remember the 1950s, remember Ronald Reagan hosting “Death Valley Days,” a TV western sponsored by 20-Mule Team Borax. That’s what we knew of Death Valley then — desolate vistas, unrelenting heat and borax. Well, prepare to be surprised by the beauty of this amazing out-of-the-way National Park filled with incredible history, geologic mystery and, fingers-crossed, wildflowers! Our personal guides are renowned, southwestern geologist Bob Scarborough and native plant guru, landscape designer and artist, Greg Corman.

Some of the high, and low, points of our travels include the Valley panorama from mile-high Dante’s View down to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America at 282’ below sea level; long-abandoned borax works and the ghost towns of Rhyolite and Leadfield; the twists and curves of Titus Canyon, the shifting dunes of Mesquite Flats and, of course, Ubehebe Crater!

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Tucson Walkabout: El Presidio Historic District

Tuesday, March 20 | 7pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 – pre-trip talk
Wednesday, March 21 | 9:30am-2:30pm
$89 Members | $110 general public

Local historian and preservationist, Ken Scoville is passionate about Tucson and its past. Whenever development threatens the Old Pueblo, Scoville is there to argue for the streets, the buildings and the history that cannot speak for themselves. What better guide to take us on a walking tour of Tucson’s history? We begin with an introductory presentation at 7pm on the evening of Tuesday, March 20 that serves to peel back the layers of culture, architectural styles and citizen’s attitudes and reveal why Tucson is the city it is today. Then on Wednesday morning we’re off to discover the architectural traditions that have evolved throughout Tucson’s development. Meet the pioneer families that established homes along the Camino Real and marvel at the homes of the elite built along today’s Main Avenue. “History is all about trying to understand humans,” Scoville says, “and El Presidio is my living lesson.” Cost includes transportation to and from the Presidio Museum, our starting point; guide services, information packet and lunch at Café a la C’arte in the historic Stevens House next door to the Tucson Museum of Art.


A Pair and One-of-a-Kind: Artists’ Studio Tour

Tuesday, March 27 | 9am-6pm
$115 members | $135 general public

We couldn’t let the year end without another artistic outing, this time to visit a pair of expressive painters and to meet an artist who defies definition.

Professor Emeritus of Painting and Drawing at the University of Arizona, Barbara Rogers believes making something beautiful is a necessity. “… every person, every culture beautifies in its own way; even in the most modest settings, people look for ways to bring beauty to their surroundings, to create a sanctuary.” Sometimes exaggerated, sometimes simplified, the recurring botanical motifs in her paintings are inspired by the plants in her own Tucson garden. With works in public and private collections up and down the west coast, Rogers sees herself as an explorer, speaking with paint, color, form and space each time she begins a work, waiting to discover what will emerge.

A founding member of the Dinnerware Artists’ Cooperative, Jim Waid has lived and worked in Tucson for over 40 years. Often categorized as a landscape painter, references to abstract expressionism and Victorian botanicals can be seen in his work. Time spent in the desert and his backyard garden has made him a keen observer of the natural world and the features of the Arizona landscape. Waid uses a variety of techniques in bold colors, dabbing, throwing and even scraping through the layers to achieve the effect he wants, inviting viewers to “step right in” and experience his “enactments of the world around me.”

Our final stop of the day will be to the studio of Royce Davenport for whom “ART is a ‘Weapon of Mass Liberation.’” Once the art director for the Tucson Weekly, Davenport puts his heart, soul and wry wit into the creative folk art pieces he fabricates in his studio at Rancho Milagrito in Vail. Juxtaposing odd, often “found” materials like sardine tins, costume jewelry and car parts with devil’s claw and saguaro ribs, Davenport strives to elevate the common, hoping that in the finished work the oddments all add up to more than the sum of their parts. He even goes so far in his recycling of “the things that people took time to make” to recycling their adapted uses, as in a table that doubles as an altar at the weddings he officiates. Once again hosted by our Exhibits staff, James Schaub and Karen Hayes, cost includes transportation and lunch at funky Saguaro Corners, a Tucson tradition since 1956.


Considering Congress Street

Tuesday, April 3 | 7pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 – pre-trip talk
Wednesday, April 4 | 9:30am-2:30pm
$89 members | $110 general public

Local historian Ken Scoville is back with a walking tour of Tucson’s celebrated avenue of commerce – Congress Street. During the tour and in a pre-tour talk at 7pm on Wednesday, April 3, Scoville will also examine how this single stretch of pavement answers so many of our questions as to why Tucson is the city it is today. We will travel the full expanse of Congress, from the Fox Theater to the train depot, exploring not just downtown history, but architectural traditions, historic personalities and political decisions that have shaped this “street of dreams,” and indeed, our entire downtown community. Learn how the street got its name, the changing fortunes of East and West Congress merchants, the fate of Tucson’s “soiled doves”, and the future of original buildings that still exist thanks to dumb luck and hard work. Finally, we’ll examine what precipitated Congress Street’s current rebirth. Cost includes transportation to and from downtown, guide services, handouts and lunch at Maynard’s Market in the historic Southern Pacific train depot.


Kingbirds along the San Pedro

Thursday, April 26 | 6:30am-4pm
$99 members | $120 general public

The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA) protects nearly 40 miles of the San Pedro River, a waterway originating in the Mexican highlands. One of the last riparian ecosystems in Arizona, the lush vegetation is a haven for an impressive array of birds and who better to take us there than our resident birder, Lynn Hassler? April is a particularly good time to see migrants, breeding birds, and year-round residents. We hope to see Cassin’s and Western Kingbirds; Lucy’s, yellow, and Wilson’s warblers; Summer Tanager; Green-tailed, Canyon, and Abert’s Towhees, a variety of flycatchers and hummingbirds; Gray and possibly Zone-tailed Hawks and many more. Cost includes transportation, guide services and a boxed lunch.


Flagstaff Birds, Blooms, Butterflies and something more . . .

Tuesday-Thursday | July 17-19
$675 double occupancy | $840 single occupancy

We always have such a good time chasing birds, butterflies and summer blooms in the White Mountains that we decided to head a little further north to Flagstaff and the Colorado Plateau this summer. Nestled in the shadow of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in Arizona and sacred to more than thirteen Native American tribes, Flagstaff got its name from a Ponderosa pine flagpole erected on the spot to celebrate the first U.S. Centennial on July 4, 1876.

The first stop on our drive north will be for birds, summer wildflowers and a picnic lunch at Montezuma Well (pictured above), a collapsed limestone cave which supports a unique freshwater aquatic habitat and attracts species such as Cliff Swallow, Bewick and Rock Wrens, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Black-throated Sparrow and Yellow Warbler. Once settled in Flagstaff, we’ll bird and botanize such locales as Kachina Wetlands and The Arboretum at Flagstaff. Likely species include Lewis’s Woodpecker, Violet-green Swallow, Western Bluebird, Yellow-headed Blackbird and Broad-tailed Hummingbird. For flowers, we can expect Wandbloom Penstemon, Red Dome Blanketflower, Bergamot and Silver Lupine. Butterflies may include Spring Azure, Gray Hairstreak, Western Tiger Swallowtail and Orange Sulphur.

For that “something more,” we are planning an evening program at the Lowell Observatory and a tour of the Museum of Northern Arizona to explore its connection to Tohono Chul!

Transportation is by motorcoach, we’ll be staying at Fairfield Inn and Suites and we’ll be sampling several of the city’s restaurant gems – from microbrew pubs to spots where the fusion focus is on locally sourced ingredients. The cooling pines are calling, so won’t you join us – Lynn Hassler, noted author, birder and naturalist, and Jo Falls, TCP’s Director of Education, on this summer getaway? Cost includes transportation, accommodations, meals, guide services and admissions.


First Nations and the Gardens of the North

September 6 – 15 | $4275 per person / double occupancy ($1225 single supplement)
a $500 deposit will hold your spot!

Travel that edge with us in 2018 as we encounter the people of the First Nations of British Columbia and experience the world-class gardens of Vancouver and Victoria. Led by respected, second-generation Indian arts trader, Mark Bahti, and renowned horticulturist and landscape artist, Greg Corman; our host is Stephen Bernier of South of the Border Tours.
We’ve included a variety of remarkable experiences from a visit to the first Chinese “scholar’s garden built outside of China and dinner in Vancouver’s Chinatown on day one to ceremonial dances and a traditional seafood feast in the Long House at U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay on day eight.

Cost includes three nights at 4-star Westin Bayshore (Vancouver), two nights at 4-star Hotel Grand Pacific (Victoria), two nights at legendary Painter’s Lodge (Campbell River), and two nights at tribally-owned and art-filled Kwa’lilas Hotel (Port Hardy); all meals except two lunches and three dinners; land and water transportation in British Columbia (except during free time in Victoria); admissions and guide fees (except during free time in Victoria and at Painter’s Lodge). Airfare is not included, but recommendations will be made as to best choice flights from Phoenix (non-stop) and bus transportation to and from Sky Harbor Airport will be provided at no charge, based on those flights.