May 2, 2014 9:05 AM by Jeff Beamish
TUCSON - Saguaro National Park is offering a variety of hikes and talks this spring that explore the park's wonderful natural and cultural histories. Program listings also are available on the park's website, www.nps.gov/sagu , or visit us on Facebook. Interpretive programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Program schedules are subject to change; call the visitor centers for updates or reservations.
Naturalist Programs at Tucson Mountain District (West, 2700 N. Kinney Road):
May 7, 12, 19, 26 1:15 p.m. Puma: Predator, Prey, and Peril Talk: 45 minutes
Often called puma, cougar, or mountain lion, this secretive, nocturnal and elusive predator faces threats as it struggles to survive within an ever-shrinking habitat. Wheelchair accessible.
May 9, 10, 17, 18, 24 10:45 p.m. Snakes Talk: 30 minutes
Learn about the communication skills, special adaptations, and defense systems of snakes, those often misunderstood creatures. A bit of folk lore also is shared. Wheelchair accessible.
May 9, 10, 17, 18, 24 1:15 p.m. Homesteading Adventures in the Desert Talk: 30 min.
May 9, 18, 22 2:15 p.m. Enjoy the fascinating oral history surrounding Mexican American Homesteaders' adventures around Saguaro National Park communities. Wheelchair accessible.
May 4, 5, 11, 16, 21, 22, 25, 26, 28 10:45 a.m. Neighborhood Characters Walk: 45 min., 100 yards
The Sonoran neighborhood is full of plants that are true characters. Take a walk in the cactus garden to visit a pharmacist, a grocer, a gymnast, a condo dweller, several florists, and celebrities such as "Bill Gates." Wheelchair accessible.
May 2, 3, 23, 24, 30 2:15 p.m. The CCC in Saguaro NP Talk: 45 minutes
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a Great Depression-era work program that greatly influenced national, state, and county parks. Saguaro's trails, picnic areas, and scenic drives were established during this program. Old photos and movie clips illustrate a brief history of the CCC in this area. Wheelchair accessible.
May 2, 3, 23, 24, 30 9:45 a.m. Signs of Life in the Desert Walk: 40 minutes
Life abounds in the desert but often is hard to see because many creatures either come out at night or are shy and secretive. Most, however, leave signs of their existence. Join a park ranger for a short walk, part of it in a wash, near the Visitor Center to search for evidence of animal life.
May 14, 21, 28 2:15 p.m. Against All Odds Talk: 30 minutes
A saguaro might produce 40 million seeds in its lifetime, but only one or two seedlings will survive into maturity. Discover how the deck is stacked against their survival and what is needed for growth. Wheelchair accessible.
Naturalist Programs at the Rincon Mountain District (East, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail):
May 2 & 16 2:00 p.m. Drive-Thru Geology Tour! One Hour Auto Tour
Hop in your car for a journey through 25 million years of earth history...in one hour! We'll observe the varied landforms of the desert - bajadas, washes, outcrops - and find out why geology students from around the world come to see the Rincon Mountain foothills. (Hint: it's the mylonitic gneiss!)
May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 3:00 p.m History is a Work in Progress Presentation
Join us in the visitor center auditorium to explore the almost forgotten names of people and places
from the late 1800's in the area of the Rincon Mountains. Wheelchair accessible .
May 2 & 16 7:00 p.m. Night Walk 1 mile Guided Walk
Join a park naturalist for this easy two-hour hike to explore and experience the Sonoran Desert at night. Dress for the weather, wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring water and a flashlight. As space is limited, advanced reservations are required, and can be made by calling 733-5153
May 7, 14, 21, 28 3:00 p.m. Creating Saguaro National Park Presentation
Join staff in the visitor center auditorium to discover how abuse, failure, politics, commitment, recovery and the Tucson Garden Club all played a part in creating today's Saguaro National Park. Wheelchair accessible.
May 8, 15, 29 3:00 p.m. The Changing Cactus Forest Presentation
Join us in the visitor center auditorium to see the changes that have come to the Cactus Forest in the 80 years of Saguaro National Park and to think about what the next 80 years will look like. Wheelchair accessible.
May 24 3:00 p.m. Meet the Hohokam Presentation
Come meet the early inhabitants of Saguaro National Park in this auditorium presentation. Discover what their life was like here. What did these people use for food, shelter, and clothing? Wheelchair accessible.
May 31 11:00 a.m. Hidden Wildlife Garden Walk
Everyone wants to see wildlife in the park, right? But most wildlife doesn't want to be seen. Learn how to enjoy your visit by looking for the signs that animals leave behind as they eke out a tough existence in the Sonoran Desert. Even in our busy garden, signs of life are easy to find. Wheelchair accessible.
Visitor Center Locations/Phone Numbers
Both visitor centers are open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Christmas Day.
Red Hills Visitor Center (Saguaro WEST)
2700 North Kinney Road
Tucson, AZ 85743
Rincon Mountain Visitor Center (Saguaro EAST) 3693 South Old Spanish Trail Tucson, AZ 85730 (520) 733-5153