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Tohono Chul, Tucson

4.7
#2 of 44 in Parks in Tucson
Tohono Chul (aka Tohono Chul Park) is a botanical garden, nature preserve and cultural museum located in Casas Adobes, a suburb of Tucson, Arizona. The words "tohono chul" translate as "desert corner" and are borrowed from the language of the Tohono O’odham, the indigenous people of southern Arizona. The mission of Tohono Chul is to connect people with the wonders of nature, art and culture in the Sonoran Desert region and inspiring wise stewardship of the natural world.
The 49-acre (19.8 ha) site itself offers a setting for Tohono Chul's regional focus. Views of the Santa Catalina Mountains form a backdrop for the natural desert habitat and its location within existing migratory tracks provides a temporary home for many species of wild, native fauna. Thirty-eight species of birds make their permanent home here while another 57 migrant species visit seasonally, and a variety of reptiles and mammals, from Gila monsters to bobcats, may be spotted on the grounds.


Within these surroundings, Tohono Chul has developed thematic displays using its botanical collections which consist primarily of plants native to the Sonoran or Chihuahuan Deserts. They include more than 150 species of shrubs and trees; 300 species of cacti and succulents; and 50 species of wildflowers. In addition, Tohono Chul has the largest private collection of native Night-blooming Cereus - Peniocereus greggii - and each summer hosts "Bloom Night", the one night it is predicted the greatest number of cereus flowers will open.


Outdoor exhibits include:


Ethnobotanical Garden — displays indigenous plants cultivated by Southwestern native peoples for food, medicine and other necessities of life, as well as those crops introduced by European settlers

Riparian Habitat — replicates the stream-side natural vegetation of Arizona's threatened riparian communities

Geology Wall — this display illustrates the geologic history of the nearby Santa Catalina Mountains

Saguaro Discovery Trail — an exploration of the saguaro through its cultural connections to the Tohono O’odham and its botanical connections to the natural history of the Sonoran Desert

Sin Agua Garden — a former parking lot converted into a rainwater harvesting demonstration

Desert Living Courtyard — another parking lot is now a series of garden vignettes in a variety of design aesthetics all promoting Xeriscape and intended to inspire homeowners to use native and arid-adapted plants in backyard landscapes

Sonoran Seasons Garden — the five seasons of the Arizona Upland subdivision of the Sonoran Desert

Desert palm Oasis — native fan palms shelter in this recreation an isolated mountain canyon found along the east coast of the Gulf of CaliforniaTohono Chul's changing indoor arts and cultural exhibitions are community oriented, and feature community groups and artists of all ages. Three exhibit spaces allow for different types of exhibitions, from large group shows lasting several months to smaller, one-man exhibits on display for six to eight weeks. The focus may be on traditional or contemporary art, and include paintings, sculpture and folk arts, but exhibitions also address environmental concerns affecting the Sonoran Desert and the Southwest. In addition, a selection of basketry, fiber arts, sculptural works and paintings forms the core of a Permanent Collection of Native American artwork.


In 2008, Travel+Leisure Magazine named Tohono Chul one of the Great Botanical Gardens of the World.
Use our Tucson day trip website to arrange your visit to Tohono Chul and other attractions in Tucson.
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Tohono Chul Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,381 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • We had a fun and amazng tour (in spite of the rain), and learned about the plants of this wonderful area.  more »
  • We were on our way to Tucson and stopped at Picacho Peak to see the Spring wildflowers. I recommend this, even if you are not a hiker, you can drive along in your car and the parks roadways are lined....  more »
Google
  • Overall a nice scene and patio. Would be wonderful when the weather is not so extreme. Menu feels a bit lacking, no simple or straight forward breakfast options. Food is alright as well. Nothing fantastic and the ingredients don't seem that high end. Service was also lacking a little bit here and there. Server didn't really seem like he wanted to be there or had a great knowledge of the menu. Price is as expected, high because of the name/location. I'm not shocked but the cost doesn't reflect quality or menu diversity and especially not the service. Mostly just the fact that it's Tohono Chul.
  • Tasty and Charming. Quite adorable atmosphere. Perfect place to enjoy breakfast for two or brunch with friends. Received four stars due to spider web in the corner table seating area. Restroom was roomy and clean. Unique gift shop and beautiful desert garden tour for self guiding tour. A hidden gem in Tucson.
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