Road Scholar : Home
Signature City Tucson

Program Number: 20397RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/5/2014 - 11/10/2014; 1/26/2015 - 1/31/2015; 2/9/2015 - 2/14/2015; 2/23/2015 - 2/28/2015; 3/2/2015 - 3/7/2015; 3/17/2015 - 3/22/2015; 4/13/2015 - 4/18/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Price starting at: $949.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Signature Cities Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

In a high-desert valley surrounded by four mountain ranges, Tucson has emerged from a landscape inhabited by Native Americans 12,000 years ago to become a cosmopolitan city of a half-million — alternately shaped by Spanish invasion, Mexican jurisdiction, Old West settlers and the founding of a major university in 1885. Discover this fascinating evolution during a remarkable city adventure that delves into the area’s archaeology, desert landscapes, arts and music, museums, sumptuous local cuisine and more.


• On a field trip to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, explore a world-class zoo, natural history museum and botanic garden.
• Visit and learn how Arizona artist Ted DeGrazia and his wife have evolved from their 1940s purchase of 10 isolated acres of foothills into a renowned gallery.
• With each program, participate in a Tucson special event, with each one learning more about the city, its heritage and its future.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile over uneven terrain, standing up to one hour.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy a concert performance presented by the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music featuring the Morgenstern Piano Trio and observe a master class with University of Arizona students coached by pianist Behzoud Abduraimov.

1-26-2015, 3-2-2015

This program will have two special field trips: one is to the Steward Mirror Laboratory where telescope mirrors for giant telescopes are created. The second is to Old Tucson Studios where we'll learn about some famous movies filmed in Tucson area and about the history of the studios.


Tucson is bustling with the annual international Gem and Mineral Show. We'll visit some of the downtown sites showing all kinds of interesting beads, gemstones, supplies, crystals, jewelry findings, and more PLUS we'll attend the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the big event at the Convention Center.


During this program, Tucson is hosting its annual Professional Rodeo Event. Participants will attend the Rodeo Parade and have special Grandstand seating, then attend the Rodeo events of the afternoon.


We will be visiting the Tucson Museum of Art, Old Tucson Studios and attend a special concert presented by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Brass.


A special visit will be made to the Tucson Museum of Art located in the El Presidio Historic District of downtown Tucson; a visit to Old Tucson Studios will also be included.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.


Cactus forests, craggy mountains and rolling hills surround this temperate city, which lies in the borderlands of the U.S. and Mexico. The region reflects a blending of the two cultures, along with a history of Native American settlement. The city is dotted with museums, galleries and parks that celebrate this natural and historical diversity.

Suite in a comfortable, centrally located hotel.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
James Turner

James Turner has a master’s degree in U.S. history and a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Arizona. He has been a teacher of Arizona history since 1976. In 2001, he began his career as historian for the Arizona Historical Society, where his chief duty was to support non-profit history museums throughout the state. James enjoys sharing his knowledge on the history of Arizona, the Southwest and Mexico during classes for the museum docents and general public.
Meals and Lodgings
   Radisson Suites Tucson
  Tucson, AZ 5 nights
 Radisson Suites Tucson
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Radisson Suites Tucson features 299 two-room suites with separate living and sleeping areas, and an extra-large bathroom with two vanities. Private balconies present a glimpse of the famed mountain scenery of the Southwest. Refrigerator and microwave in rooms. Located just 20 minutes from the airport and eight miles from the University of Arizona, the hotel is situated in an upscale neighborhood on the city's east side. Guests have access to over 50 restaurants along the famed Restaurant Row, a wealth of museums to visit, and a nearby world-class golf course. Hotel will tranport participants via van to any attractions within a three-mile radius.
  Contact info: 6555 East Speedway Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85710 USA
phone: 520-721-7100
  Room amenities: Bathrooms include two vanities, a separate tub and shower, and a dressing area. Separate living and sleeping quarters each feature their own TV and phone. Plush feather and down pillows. Most suites have private balconies. Complimentary Wireless high-speed Internet, microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makes, hair dryers, sleeper sofas, oversized desks with executive chairs, two phones with cordless speaker option and voice mail, flat screen televisions in both rooms, controlled HVAC. Room service available.
  Facility amenities: Hotel features oversized temperature-controlled pool with hydro-spa, onsite fitness room featuring Life Fitness equipment, courtyard-style garden settings, full-service business center, coin-operated laundry facilities, complimentary high-speed Internet available throughout the hotel, recreation room, complimentary shuttle service within a three-mile radius, free onsite parking, poolside meal and cocktail service, valet laundry service, free passes to nearby Gold's Gym, hotel shuttle service to and from Tucson International Airport ($15 per person each way), beautifully landscaped courtyard, stunning mountain views. The hotel is in the process of "going green" and has made many changes to become more energy-efficient. A recycling program is in place, fruit-bearing trees are located throughout the property and in the orange groves and guests are encouraged to pick and consume as much fruit as they like. There are many more improvements to mention, but you'll receive a listing of how the Radisson is "going green."
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Road Scholar rate Hotel will extend the Road Scholar group rate to participants wishing to come in early or stay late. This rate extends to three nights before the program begins and to three nights after the program ends. Rates are seasonal.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Road Scholar rate Hotel will extend the Road Scholar group rate to participants wishing to come in early or stay late. This rate extends to three nights before the program begins and to three nights after the program ends. Rates are seasonal.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in at hotel anytime between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM; register with program's group leader between 4:00 and 5:30 PM in hotel lobby area You will be staying at Radisson Suites Tucson that night.
  End of Program:
Check out time - Noon at lobby desk. You will be staying at Radisson Suites Tucson the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free hotel parking.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Tucson, AZ
  Nearest city or town:  Tucson
  Nearest highway: I-10
  Nearest airport:  Tucson International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Tucson, AZ
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Tucson, Arizona


To Airport




Hotel Shuttle
Radisson Suites Tucson Shuttle
phone: 520-721-7100
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$15 per person one way
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 minutes 




15 miles


Let front desk at hotel know your departure date and flight time; they'll arrange for the shuttle to take you to the airport allowing plenty of time to get there. You can call the hotel at 520-721-7100 to arrange for this as well. Remind the front desk the night before your departure that you will need the shuttle! Please note that hotel shuttle service is based on availability. Arizona Stagecoach Shuttle to airport (520-889-1000). Approximate cost one way is $35.00 per person.




From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
Radisson Suites Tucson Shuttle
phone: 520-721-7100
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$15 per person each way
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 minutes from airport 




15 miles


Call 520-721-7100 several days in advance of your program's start date and let the hotel know when you'll need transportation based on your flight's arrival time and about 1/2 hour to get your luggage. Please note that airport transportation is dependent upon hotel shuttle availability. Arizona Stagecoach Shuttle to airport (520-889-1000). Approximate cost one way is $44.00 per person.

Driving Directions
  From Interstate 10 Eastbound Exit at Speedway Boulevard; turn left and go east on Speedway for nine miles. The hotel is located on the north side of the road at 6555 East Speedway Blvd.
  From Interstate 10 Westbound Take Kolb exit. Right on Kolb and go north to Speedway Boulevard. Turn left onto Speedway; the hotel is on the right at 6555 East Speedway Boulevard, 1/2 block before Wilmot.
  From Tucson International Airport Exit Airport on Tucson Boulevard. Right on Valencia. Left on Kolb. Left on Speedway. Hotel on right 1/2 block before Wilmot at 6555 E. Speedway Boulevard
Elevation Note: The city of Tucson is 2,389 feet above sea level

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Hotel Check-In; Registration with Group Leader; Orientation and Introductions
(Monday, April 13)

Note: You may request assistance with getting luggage to your room at the front desk if needed; the hotel is large, and you may need assistance.

 Afternoon: Check into hotel between 3:00-5:30 PM.

Register with program's group leader from 4:00-5:30 PM in designated area. If help with luggage is needed, please ask at the front desk.

 Dinner: Meet for dinner in hotel dining area from 6:00-7:00 PM
 Evening: From 7:00-8:30 PM in hotel meeting room, your group leader will give you a brief orientation to the program and you'll meet the rest of your fellow program participants.
Accommodations: Radisson Suites Tucson
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Tucson's History Lecture; Arizona State Museum; Tucson City Exploration; Cowboy/Country Western Entertainer
(Tuesday, April 14)

Note: Walking up to one mile over paved, even terrain

 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining area
 Morning: From 8:00-11:30 AM, you'll learn about the fascinating development of what is now modern-day Tucson from the archeology of the area to the history of the Old Pueblo. Breaks included.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel from 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
 Afternoon: Board bus 1:00 PM for an hour-long driving exploration of the city of Tucson.

We'll continue to the campus of Arizona State University, where we'll visit the State Museum there. It is the oldest and largest anthropology museum in the Southwest, established in 1893 by the Arizona Territorial Legislature. It is also the state's official permitting agency for archaeological and paleontological projects across the state and the state’s official archaeological repository.

After the Museum visit, we'll spend a little time as our bus driver takes us around the huge campus. Some of the architecture there is quite old and some is new; it's interesting to compare the old buildings to the new.

We'll return to the hotel no later than 5:30 PM.

 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel from 6:00-7:00 PM
 Evening: This evening, we'll be treated to a performance by a well-inown country/Western guitarist/vocalist from 7:30 - 8 :30 PM.
Accommodations: Radisson Suites Tucson
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Wild West Lecture; Mission San Xavier del Bac; Tucson Museum of Art; Evening Presentation on Movies Made in Tucson
(Wednesday, April 15)

Note: Walking up to two miles during course of day over paved, sometimes uneven terrain; standing during talks at Mission with few opportunities to sit; walking at Art Museum with many opportunities to sit

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00 - 8:00 AM
 Morning: From 8:00-9:30 AM, we'll learn more about the Wild West (all the fun stuff!) and more about the Native Americans (up until about 1500 BC). Board bus at 9:45 AM for a trip to Mission San Xavier del Bac.

The celebrated Jesuit missionary and explorer, Faather Eusebio Francisco Kino, first visited 'Bac' in 1692. Eight years later in 1700, Father Kino laid the foundations of the first church, some two miles north of the present Mission site. he named it San Xavier in honor of his chosen patron, St. Francis Xavier, the illustrious Jesuit "Apostle of the Indies."

In 1768, Fray Francisco hermengildo Garces, a man of outstanding personality and prodigious accomplishments among all missionaries in Arizona, established his headquarters at San Xavier. From here, this Franciscan Friar set forth on his many missionary explorations.

Also known as the "White Dove of the Desert," it is still used by the Tohono O'odham Indians as a spiritual center.

We'll depart the Mission about 11:30 AM.

 Lunch: We will stop for lunch at a selected restaurant about 12:15 PM.
 Afternoon: At 1:45 PM, bus will depart for the Tucson Museum of Art, located in the historic El Presidio neighborhood of downtown Tucson. Part of the Historic Block in the Presidio area, there are five houses that have been restored; each has wonderful things to look at and enjoy. The five are: La Casa Cordova, listed on the National Register of Historic Places - it has been restored to the original floor plan from 1883 and the interior has been restored and furnished in the style of an 1850 northern Sonora dwelling.

The Fish House was once the home of Edward Nye Fish, a politician and entrepreneur of the 19th century. Built on the site of old Mexican barracks, the building now houses the John K. Goodman Pavilion of Western Art.

The CJ Knox Corbett House was built in 1906 for the Corbett family. The brick and stucco building is a mission-revival style two-story home that has been restored and features period pieces from the American Arts and Crafts era. The furnishings include mahogany furniture and European imports.

The Stevens Home was the home of cattle baron Hiram Sanford Stevens. It became the social center of 19th century Tucson. The Stevens Home houses the Art of the Americas collection, including pre-Columbian, Mexican folk art, and colonial works. The Romero House was built in 1868 and is a ceramics studio. It incorporates part of the original Presidio wall. The original owner was Leonardo Romero, the town carpenter. Feel free to visit the Museum in areas that interest you most. We'll board the bus about 4:45 PM to travel to dinner destination.

 Dinner: Dinner at Blue Willow Restaurant from 5:00 - 6:30 PM. Dinner is a little early this evening, but we wanted to take you to this restaurant and get back to the hotel in time for the evening activity. Bus departs for the hotel at 6:30 PM.
 Evening: From 7:00-9:00 PM, we'll have a discussion/lecture in one of the hotel meeting rooms about famous movies filmed in Tucson. A list of these movies will be provided for future reference!
Accommodations: Radisson Suites Tucson
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Sabino Canyon Field Trip/Ted DeGrazia Gallery/El Charro Restaurant/Dinner at Leisure
(Thursday, April 16)

Note: Walking up to two miles on paved/packed dirt terrain over the course of the day and standing for up to 1/2 hour at a time several times during the day

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00 - 8:00 AM.
 Morning: At 9:00 AM, board bus for a visit to the gallery of the late artist, Ted DeGrazia. The studio is located at the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. We'll be at the studio from about 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM. Bus will depart for lunch destination at 11:30 AM.
 Lunch: Lunch today will be at El Charro Cafe near Sabino Canyon from 11:45 AM to 1:15 PM.

Established in 1922, El Charro Cafe of Tucson is the nation's oldest Mexican restaurant in continuous operation by the same family, featuring traditional Sonoran-style and innovative Tucson-style Mexican food. They have several locations throughout Tucson.

 Afternoon: After lunch, board bus by 1:30 PM to travel the short distance to Sabino Canyon.

This extremely popular recreation area is located along Sabino Creek at the edge of Tucson. For many who come to visit the Southwest, this area provides their first close encounter with the Sonoran Desert and the fascinating variety of plants and animals that make it their home. There is a self-guided Desert Nature Trail at the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center which provides an excellent way to get to know the plants that have adapted to living in this demanding environment. A 45-minute tram excursion will be taken upon arrival, followed by some time for your personal exploration

 Dinner: Dinner will be on our own tonight. There are several restaurants nearby; the hotel van will, if available, transport if walking there is not appealing. Also, there are taxis available tot ravel to restaurants of choice elsewhere in the city. The hotel does serve dinner in the evening, so some of us might want to stay at the hotel and have dinner there. Our group leaders will have some ideas as to where to dine.
 Evening: Free evening after dinner.
Accommodations: Radisson Suites Tucson
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Sonora Desert Museum, Old Tucson Studios, Dinner at Leisure
(Friday, April 17)

Note: Walking up to 1.5 miles over the course of the day on paved and unpaved terrain. Standing for up to an hour at a time at museum and Old Tucson Studios

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00 - 8:00 AM.
 Morning: From 8:00-9:00 AM, we'll have a class about the fascinating flora and fauna of the Sonora Desert.

At 9:15 AM, the bus will depart for a field trip to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. This Museum is a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one location.

Exhibits depict the natural landscape of the Sonora Desert region so realistically that we find ourselves looking into the eyes of mountain lions, prairie dogs, gila monsters and more!

We'll see more than 300 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants.

Although we don't have to walk all of them, there are almost 2 miles of paths traversing 21 acres of beautiful desert.Bus departs for lunch destination at 12:15 PM.

 Lunch: Lunch at Ironwood Terraces Restaurant at The Desert Museum from 12:30 - 1:30 PM.
 Afternoon: At 1:30 PM, bus will take us to Old Tucson Studios, a movie studio and theme park built in 1939 for the movie "Arizona." It has since been used for filming several movies and television westerns, such as "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" and "Little House on the Prairie." It was opened to the public in 1960. We will have an exploration of the site, learn of its history, the movies filmed there and live cast entertainment featuring stunt shows and shootouts.

The main street at Old Tucson appears prominently in 1990s Westerns such as "Tombstone." The Heritage Square Project, a 5,000 square foot spread with three new streets lined with 12 new buildings was completed in 2011 and more movies can now be filmed here.

 Dinner: Dinner from 6:00-7:00 PM at the hotel
 Evening: Following dinner, we'll have our program closing and question and answer time in a hotel meeting room with your group leader.
Accommodations: Radisson Suites Tucson
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Breakfast at the Hotel/Check-out and Departure
(Saturday, April 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00-8:30 AM.
 Morning: Breakfast this morning is the last meal included with the program. Please check out of the hotel by 12 noon
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert

Author: Steven J. Phillips and Patricia Wentworth Comus

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Book of Answers

Author: David Wentworth Lazaroff

Early Tucson (Images of America)

Author: Anne I. Woosley and Arizona Historical Society

So You Wanna See Cowboy Stuff?

Author: Magers, Boyd

Description: Here's the only complete tour guide ever assembled leading you directly to all the western movie and TV memorabilia as well as filming locations in the entire USA!

True Tales and Amazing Legends of the Old West: From True West Magazine

Author: Editors of True West

Tucson: The Life and Times of an American City

Author: C. L. Sonnichsen

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

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