Flights to Tucson
The city of Tucson is the 2nd largest city in Arizona, and the name is pronounced “TOO-sawn”. At one point in history, Tucson was part of Mexico before the territory joined the new United States of America.
International flights to Tucson will arrive at the Tucson International Airport (airport code: TUS). Flights to Tucson from South Africa are indirect with either one or two connections. Delta Air Lines provides travellers with one stop flights to Tucson from South Africa via Atlanta. Other airlines include Virgin Atlantic Airways, British Airways, BMI, and South African Airways who offer flights to Tucson from South Africa with two stops.
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The Tourist Attractions in Tucson:
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Though it’s called a museum, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is much more like a zoo or conservation park than a museum. All of the animals are kept in very natural enclosures, allowing visitors to see them in a realistic environment. Most of the animals represent local Arizona wildlife. The museum is near the entrance to the Saguaro West National Park, on North Kinney Road and the facility is open year-round.
Saguaro National Park
The Saguaro National Park is in two parts: the Saguaro East and the Saguaro West. Not surprisingly, one park is west of the city, and the other is on the east side. It is a classic desert environment, and home to the familiar saguaro cactus. Both parks have visitor centres where you can pick up maps and information, as well as hiking and driving trails. There is a fee to bring your car into the East Park, but the West one is free.
Tucson Botanical Gardens
The Tucson Botanical Gardens is a large collection of landscaped gardens, right in the heart of the city. Enjoy the peaceful surroundings, and learn a little something about native desert plants. The park is open through all seasons, and there is a fee for admission.
Kitt Peak National Observatory
Even if you don’t know much about astronomy, the Kitt Peak Observatory is worth a visit. It’s about 90km outside of Tucson but is the only place in the USA where you can see so many radio and optical telescopes in one place. There are guided tours of the facilities, and nightly star viewing programs.
Some great Tucson sights are hidden away underground. The limestone caves at Kartchner Caverns are an incredible place to visit. There are tours of some caverns year-round though some are only available during certain months. There are trails and walkways through the caves, and though the walks are not difficult, visitors should be aware of a possibly claustrophobic environment. It’s also extremely humid in the caves. All tours are led by a trained guide.
Pima Air and Space Museum
One of the largest aerospace museums in the world, the Pima Air and Space Museum is home to more than 250 aircraft on display. The museum is open 7-days a week, all year long (except Thanksgiving and Christmas). There are guided walking tours, and exhibits are both inside and outdoors.
When Should You Visit?:
Summers are hot in Tucson, and winters are fairly warm too. Snow is very rare, though it does get rain and severe thunderstorms during July and August. The hottest months are June and July, when the highs can easily reach 37C (100F) during the day. For cooler (and drier) visits, the months from November to March are much more pleasant for most visitors. In December and January, the highs are only 19C (66F).