Road Scholar : Home
Signature City Tucson

Program Number: 20397RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/13/2015 - 4/18/2015; 2/29/2016 - 3/5/2016; 3/7/2016 - 3/12/2016;
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: 12; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt    

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 the studio and gallery of the late Arizona artist Ted DeGrazia.
• Experience some of Tucson's special highlights.

Activity Particulars

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

Date Specific Information


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.


This program date includes a field trip to Tombstone.


This program date includes a field trip to Tubac.

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 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.
Bill Ganz

Bill Ganz is a natural musician, and he’s been singing and playing western music for the last 25 years. Whether playing at campfires, guest ranches or major resorts, he always brings the authentic feel of Arizona to his music. He has performed for the last 20 years with his band, The Bill Ganz Western Band, which has appeared for a series of concerts with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. In addition to performing, Bill teaches private lessons and has been involved in many independent recording projects.
Lisa Wilder

Lisa Wilder is a former environmental field program leader at Antioch College and the University of California, as well as a wilderness skills instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School. In 2001, she moved to Guatemala to learn Spanish and began a fair trade beadwork business working with Mayan artisans. She currently lives in remote New Mexico, where she homesteads.
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 a number of restaurants, 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.
  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:
Hotel check-in: Available after 3:00 PM. Registration with program's Group Leader between 4:00 and 5:30 PM. You will be staying at Radisson Suites Tucson that night.
  End of Program:
The program concludes on Day 7 with breakfast. Hotel checkout by is by 12:00 Noon. You will be staying at Radisson Suites Tucson the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free hotel parking. Participants will have access to their vehicles throughout the program.
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 / Orientation and Introductions
(Monday, April 13)
 Afternoon: Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00 PM.

Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, to get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule and other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session.

If you arrive late, please ask for your packet at the front desk when you check in.

 Dinner: Buffet at the hotel from 6:00 - 7:00 PM
 Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have.

Indicated times are approximate; program activities and schedules may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Take the rest of the evening to continue getting to know your fellow participants, relax, and get a good night’s sleep for the full day ahead.
Accommodations: Radisson Suites Tucson
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Class on the History of the Tucson Area / Mission San Xavier del Bac / Evening Entertainment
(Tuesday, April 14)

Note: Standing for up to 1 1/2 hours and walking up to 1/2 mile over varied terrain at Mission

 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel's Breeze Patio Bar and Grill
 Morning: This morning we'll learn about the prehistory and history of the area, from its archeology to the development of modern-day Tucson.
 Lunch: At the hotel
 Afternoon: After lunch, we'll board our coach and depart for a driving exploration of Tucson. We'll then travel to Mission San Xavier del Bac.

A National Historic Landmark, San Xavier Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797.

The oldest intact European structure in Arizona, the church's interior is filled with marvelous original statuary and mural paintings. Its Baroque architectural style and masonry vaulted roof make it unique among Spanish Colonial buildings in the United States.

 Dinner: At the hotel
 Evening: This evening, we'll be treated to a performance by well-known country and Western guitarist/vocalist Bill Ganz.
Accommodations: Radisson Suites Tucson
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Field Trips to Sabino Canyon and Ted DeGrazia Gallery / Dinner On Your Own / Free Evening
(Wednesday, April 15)

Note: Walking up to a mile over the course of the day over varied terrain and standing for up to one hour during gallery visit

 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: We'll visit the gallery of the late artist, Ted DeGrazia. What started as a small construction project in the 1950s developed into a 10-acre National Historic District designed and built by DeGrazia. Visitors are treated not only to the art displayed in the gallery, but to the colorful grounds and sculptures surrounding the property.
 Lunch: El Charro Café near Sabino Canyon.

Established in 1922, El Charro Café 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 thoughout Tucson.

 Afternoon: After lunch, we'll visit Sabino Canyon. This extremely popular recreation area is located along Sabino Creek at the edge of Tucson. For many visitors to 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 that provides an excellent way to get to know the plants that have adapted to living in this demanding environment.

On arrival, we'll take the tram excursion through the property, then have some time for independent explorations on our own.

We'll return to the hotel by 5:30 PM.

 Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. The hotel's Breeze Patio Bar and Grill will be open for those who prefer to remain at the hotel.
 Evening: Free evening
Accommodations: Radisson Suites Tucson
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Field Trip to Arizona State Museum and University of Arizona Campus / Field Trip to Tucson Museum of Art / Dinner at a Selected Restaurant
(Thursday, April 16)

Note: Walking up to two miles on varied terrain over the course of the day; standing for up to 2 hours at museums

 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: After lunch we'll depart for a field trip to the Arizona State Museum, located on the University of Arizona campus, The Museum is the oldest and largest anthropology museum in the Southwest, holding a comprehensive collection of Native American basketry and the world's largest whole-vessel collection of Southwestern Native American pottery.

We'll embark on a walking exploration of the University of Arizona campus following the museum visit, then board our coach and depart for the Tucson Museum of Art.

 Lunch: On your own at the museum's Café a la Carte
 Afternoon: Visit the Tucson Museum of Art.

First established in 1924 as the Tucson Fine Arts Association, the Museum made its home in the Kingan House on Franklin Street in the El Presidio Historic District. In 1954 the association was officially renamed the Tucson Art Center.

In 1975 the Center moved to its present location and became the caretaker of five historic properties – La Casa Cordova, Romero House, Edward Nye Fish House, Stevens/Duffield House and the J. Knox Corbett House – and the name was changed to the Tucson Museum of Art. Today the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block encompasses an entire city block in historic downtown Tucson, and features original and traveling exhibitions focusing on Art of Latin America, Art of the American West, Modern and Contemporary Art and Asian Art.

 Dinner: Dinner will be at the Blue Willow Restaurant.

The Blue Willow"s main dining room is located in a 1940 adobe house that once served as a rental for the University of Arizona. As Campbell Avenue filled with businesses, the building(s) that make up Blue Willow housed everything from a mechanics garage to preschool and small attached antique shop. In 1978, the Blue Willow, Restaurant, Poster Gallery, and Bakery opened when Janet Seidler had the vision to provide fresh, homemade food seven days per week, with the emphasis of fresh ingedients and home cooking. Seidler also saw the adjacent space as an opportunity to sell cards and inexpensive art posters. The business has continued to thrive and evolve into a well known full service restaurant, bakery, and gift shop, serving many loyal customers that enjoy the lush year-round patio and cozy converted adobe house that now serves as the main dining room. Unique cards, gifts, and jewelry are available in the attached gift shop. Now co-owned and operated by Rebecca Ramey, the Blue Willow continues to thrive providing breakfast served all day, satisfying lunches, and delectable dinners.

We'll arrive for dinner at approximately 5:00 PM, returning to the hotel by 7:00 PM.

 Evening: This evening we'll hear about filmmaking in the area. Tucson has been the setting for dozens of big-screen productions and television westerns for over 70 years; this lecture will help prepare us for our visit to Old Tucson Studios later this week.
Accommodations: Radisson Suites Tucson
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum / Old Tucson Studios
(Friday, April 17)

Note: Walking up to one mile over the course of the day over varied terrain; standing for up to an hour at a time at museum and studios

 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: We board our motorcoach and depart for a field trip to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

The 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! There are almost 2 miles of paths traversing 21 acres of beautiful desert with more than 300 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants.

 Lunch: At Ironwood Terraces Restaurant at the Desert Museum
 Afternoon: After lunch, our coach will take us to Old Tucson Studios, a movie studio and theme park. Built in 1939 as a film set for the movie "Arizona," it has since been used for filming movies and television shows, including "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" and "Little House on the Prairie." 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.

We will have an exploration of the site, learn about its history and the movies filmed there, and enjoy live-cast entertainment featuring stunt shows and shootouts.

 Dinner: At the hotel
 Evening: Program closing in our hotel meeting room. We'll share our experiences and exchange our farewells.
Accommodations: Radisson Suites Tucson
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Breakfast / Independent Departures
(Saturday, April 18)
 Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.
 Morning: If you are departing from the hotel, please check out no later than 12:00 PM.

We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

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