Monday, December 8, 2014

Tohono Chul features Sonora Desert vegetation

A garden at Tohono Chul Park
Lush greenery isn’t something that is usually associated with southern Arizona, but it’s a term that comes easily to mind at the Tohono Chul botanical garden in west Tucson.

The park brings together the diversity of the Sonora Desert through vegetation, birds, butterflies, arts and education. Outdoor seating areas for classes, concerts and other programs are scattered throughout the 49-acre park. You’ll find bird sculptures sitting in trees and pottery pots arranged in fountains. And always there is the lush vegetation, from vine covered archways to meandering streams to a wide variety of cactus, including some kinds we’d not seen elsewhere in Arizona.

Most of the trails are paved, making this small corner of Tucson handicap-accessible. Benches are plentiful for visitors who just want to sit and enjoy nature, or rest their weary feet.

Wide paved trails accommodate wheelchairs
The land used to be occupied by prehistoric Native Americans. As you walk the trails, be on the lookout for a chunk of petrified wood, determined to be 750 million years old, and a large flat boulder bearing petro graphs. Ancient pottery shards have been found within the park’s boundaries.

The museum’s gift shop, which seems more like an art gallery, is located in an adobe hacienda. The idea for the park was conceived by later owners, Richard and Jean Wilson, who had been buying up snippets of land that were part of the original homestead. They decided to turn it into a park rather than let it be developed. The park was dedicated as a nature preserve in 1985.

Tohono Chul is located just off Ina Road at 7366 N. Paseo del Norte in Tucson. It is closed on major holidays but otherwise open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. There is an admission charge.

More photos of Tohono Cnul are available on my YouTube channel.

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