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Destination: October 2002

Tucson, AZ:

Experience the New and Old West

If you are looking for a warmer winter destination spot for your vacation, you might consider visiting Tucson. The daytime temperature averages 73 degrees in November and 65 degrees in December. Tucson is located at an elevation of 2,400 feet above sea level and sits up against the Santa Catalina mountain range which goes up to about 9,000 feet. The dry desert air combined with the warm sunshine makes this town a popular winter resort. But what really makes it a nice getaway is the fact that there are many dog-friendly places around town that welcome you and your pooch.

If you are visiting from out of town, there are a good selection of places to stay which range from economical motels to upscale resorts.The less expensive accommodations are the Motel 6s, Comfort Inns and a Best Western Inn. For those looking for a mid-range priced hotel, try the Windmill Inn at St. Philip's Plaza. They welcome your four-legged friend, which is nice to know after a long drive to Tucson. Each room is a 500 square foot 2 room suite, with a wet bar, microwave, refrigerator, 2 color televisions, 3 phones, full bath, sleeper sofa, and a desk area. More amenities include an outdoor heated pool and spa, free local phone calls, guest laundry, and free use of guest board games, library books and guest bicycles (if one of you can stay behind with the pooch). There is also an 8 mile walking, jogging and bicycling path right behind the inn's parking lot, called the Rillito River Trail. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail. Room rates during November are approximately $100 per night. There is no extra charge for pets, which is always a good plus. If your budget can afford a higher priced room rate, try the Westward Look Resort which is located on 80 desert acres and offers tennis courts, swimming pools and a few walking paths. Room rates during November average about $160 to $200 per night and there is an extra $50 one time pet fee per stay. You can also try the Loew's Ventana Canyon Resort which welcomes your pooch with a "Loew's Loves Pets" program. Upon arrival, your pooch will receive some treats and you will receive a list of pet-friendly attractions, restaurants and more. Rooms rates during November start at an average of $160 to $200 per night and pets are free.

There are many dog-friendly attractions in Tucson that await you and your best friend. The first one, located in Tucson Mountain Park, is Old Tucson Studios. This outdoor studio offers "Hollywood" stunt shows, re-enacted gunfights and more. You can view spots in this Old West town where popular Wild West films were shot. There are also many shops in the town that offer authentic western wear, gifts, books and collectibles. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are allowed at this outdoor studio and inside the retail stores. Admission rates are about $15 per person. The second attraction is Kitt Peak National Observatory, located just outside of Tucson. Kitt Peak has the largest collection of optical telescopes in the world. They allow dogs on various telescope tours including a tour of their largest, the 4 meter telescope. Pick up a map at the Visitor Center and take the self-guided tour between 9am and 4pm. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are also welcome on the one hour guided tour. The guided tours are at 10am, 11am and 1:30pm. Admission and tours are free, but donations at the Visitor Center are welcome. Dogs are welcome inside the telescope buildings and the Visitor Center. Please note that dogs are not allowed at Kitt Peak's evening programs. The third attraction worth mentioning is the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson. This museum has over 250 aircraft on display on 80 acres. Dogs are allowed at the outdoor exhibits at this air museum. Please have your pooch take care of business before entering the outdoor museum.

If your dog is looking for a nice path or park, try the Rillito River Trail, located north of downtown Tucson. This popular paved trail follows the river and is about 8 miles long. If you go to the trail on a hot day, go early in the morning or early in the evening when the ground is not too hot for your pooch's paws. Pets must be leashed. A popular section of the trail is located between La Cholla Blvd. and Campbell Avenue, along the Rillito River. There is a parking lot and restrooms available near La Cholla Boulevard. If your dog wants to romp leash-free, then try the Christopher Columbus Park Dog Run. There is almost 15,000 square feet of enclosed space for your pooch to run without a leash. About 5,500 square feet of the dog run has grass. Other doggie amenities include doggie bags, water, trees, and more. It is located at 600 North Silverbell Road.

If all of this exercise makes you work up an appetite, there are a variety of outdoor restaurants to choose from. Ric's Cafe in northern Tucson allows well-behaved leashed dogs at their outdoor patio. This restaurant serves American dishes with a southwest flare. Choose from salads, sandwiches, seafood, pastas and more. They also feature live jazz and blues music on the patio on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Other restaurants with dog-friendly outdoor seats include Mama's Famous Pizza and Heros on North Oracle Road., The Olive Tree Restaurant on East Tanque Verde Road, and the Firecracker on North Swan Road.

Whether you stay for a weekend or a week, you and your dog will find plenty to do and see in Tucson. If you have some extra time, take a drive out to Tombstone, Arizona, to visit a real Old Western town.

For more information:

Lodging:
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N Resort Dr, Tucson, AZ, 520-299-2020
Westward Look Resort, 245 East Ina Road, Tucson, AZ, 520-297-1151, 800-722-2500
Windmill Inn at St Philip's Plaza, 4250 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ, 520-577-0007, 800-547-4747
For more dog-friendly lodging in Tucson, look here.

Attractions:
Kitt Peak National Observatory, Hwy 386, Tohono O'Odham Reservation, AZ, 520-318-8726
Old Tucson Studios, 201 S. Kinney Road, Tucson, AZ, 520-883-0100
Pima Air and Space Museum, 6000 East Valencia Road, Tucson, AZ, 520-574-0462
For more dog-friendly attractions in Tucson, look here.

Parks:
Christopher Columbus Park Dog Run, 600 N. Silverbell Rd., Tucson, AZ, 520-791-4873
Rillito River Trail, La Cholla Blvd, Tucson, AZ, 520-877-6000

Restaurants:
Firecracker, 2990 North Swan Road, Tucson, AZ, 520-318-1118
Mama's Famous Pizza and Heros, 7965 North Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ, 520-297-3993
Olive Tree Restaurant, 7000 East Tanque Verde Rd, Tucson, AZ, 520-298-1845
Ric's Cafe, 5605 River Road, Tucson, AZ, 520-577-7272
For more dog-friendly restaurants in Tucson, look here.


 

 

 



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