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Top Rated Attractions in Tucson

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Pima Air & Space Museum

This institution is totally dedicated to the preservation of the history of flight, be it commercial, military, or even interplanetary. The museum opened in 1976 with just 75 aircraft and has now grown to have more than 250 on display. A recent addition is the Northrop F-5B "Freedom Fighter." Be prepared to spend the entire day if you, or someone in your party, is a aircraft buff. The exhibits on the floor here rotate, and special events and conferences are scheduled regularly.

Titan Missile Museum

Here's a museum south of Tucson that must surely be considered unique and a chilly reminder of the Cold War. Go underground and see one of the old Titan ballistic missiles, watch the roll-back silo door open, follow operations at the launch control center, and watch demonstrations of countdown procedures. Tours begin every half hour. To reach Titan Missile Museum, go south on Interstate 19 and take exit 69 to the Duval Mine Road and follow the signs.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

This world-famous museum is also a zoo that displays the creatures of the surrounding desert in their natural habitats. Located in the middle of the Sonoran desert about a half an hour drive from Tucson's city center, it also provides breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges. The gift shop has an excellent selection of Sonoran desert souvenirs. This is a must for any visitor staying in Tucson for more than just one day.

El Tiradito

There is an intriguing legend behind this shrine on Main Street near the old historic barrio, a story involving broken hearts and crimes of passion, but you'll have to read the plaque mounted on it to discover the tale. El Tiradito has been part of local folklore for a long time and is now a national historic site. Take a peek and make your own wish.

Fort Lowell Museum

If you want to learn more about Tucson's role in the long and often troubled relations between Spanish settlers, early Anglo pioneers and Native American inhabitants, visit the Fort Lowell Museum. This museum is located within an old adobe building at Fort Lowell Park. Here, the Arizona Historical Society presents exhibits and photograph shows on the Apache Wars and historic Fort Lowell. The reconstructed Officers' Quarters serve as a visitor center.

Sabino Canyon

Of all the natural attractions in and around Tucson, Sabino Canyon is certainly the most popular. This large chasm in the Santa Catalina Mountains is where ancient Hohokam people built irrigation dams while mammoths roamed the ground. Access is free, but there is a charge for parking. Highlights are swimming (conditions allowing) in clear pools after a six-mile hike to Seven Falls and summer evening shuttle rides (paid for by pre-paid reservations). Sabino tram and bear shuttles rides are available.

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