Find yourself somewhere else


Away.com's Travel Blog
Read All PostsAway.com's Beach BlogAway.com's Family BlogAway.com's Outdoors BlogAway.com's Skiing Blogemail us


« Stuff We Like: Merino Wool—Your Next Go-To Travel Shirt | Main | Disappearing Destinations: Q&A with Authors Kim Lisagor and Heather Hansen »

July 31, 2008

Hollywood in the Desert



By Guest Blogger
07/31/2008

comments Comments (0)

Oldtucsonstudiosblair
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL: Riding at Old Tucson Studios, Arizona (Beth Blair)

Driving the winding road up over Gates Pass and past thousands of Saguaro cacti is really an attraction in itself, but it's what lies on the other side of the Tucson Mountains that really excites our kids, not to mention the kid in both parents as well.

Since 1939, Old Tucson Studios has been bringing the Old West to the big screen. While it's unlikely our children recognize John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, and Kirk Douglas, they do know what a cowboy is—and that's enough to pique their interest.

The studios, about 12 miles from downtown Tucson, started out as the backdrop of several Western films until 1960, when it expanded into a family theme park. As local Tucsonians, my family and I have sauntered into Old Tucson Studios any number of times. My children are ages two and four, plus I have two teenage stepsons, so believe me when I say Old Tucson Studios is fun for all ages.

family vacations to tucson: old tucson studios, arizona
CLASSIC RIDE: Locomotive at Old Tucson Studios, Arizona (Beth Blair)

Days at the studios are filled with cowboy gunfights, can-can shows, and horses clunking down the dirt streets. The park serves classic Western BBQ, authentic Mexican food, and sweet treats like homemade fudge and sundaes in an old-fashioned ice-cream parlor.

My little people are big fans of the rides and always head to the Wild West Carousel first, followed by the antique cars, a short horseback trek through the park (guided by "real" cowboys and cowgirls), and a 15-minute ride on the C.P. Huntington Locomotive train ride that loops around the park and through the gorgeous Sonoran Desert scenery. After the kids get their fill of rides they're ready to spend time panning for "gold," which can be taken home in a little souvenir bottle (for only a buck).

Teens will have fun taking part in their own Western shootout at Dead-Eye Dan's Shooting Gallery (bring quarters) and tiptoeing through the Iron Door Mine Adventure, a guided tour through a haunted mine with surprises around every corner. (I'm hesitant to suggest the mine for the little ones.)

The park's history is preserved in the Old Tucson Movie Museum with memorabilia of movies filmed at the park: costumes, camera equipment and props, plus original posters. In the back of the park is The Reno, a now-retired 1872 steam locomotive that has "starred" in over 100 films.

Insider Tip: The Tucson Passport offers savings to over 40 attractions in southern Arizona, including a two-for-one deal at Old Tucson Studios.

-- Beth Blair

Visit Away.com's Arizona Family Vacations Guide for more ideas about places to visit and things to do in the state.


Email this post   |   Permalink


Related Topics: Family Vacation · Theme Parks

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00e5502bb69e883401053590e50f970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Hollywood in the Desert:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.

advertisement


Subscribe to Our RSS Feeds

  • RSS Feed of All Travel Posts
      AddThis Feed Button
  • RSS Feed of Family Travel Posts
      AddThis Feed Button
  • RSS Feed of Beach Travel Posts
      AddThis Feed Button
  • RSS Feed of Outdoor Adventure Travel Posts
      AddThis Feed Button

Most Recent Posts


Recent Comments


Our Topics


Away's Blogroll



advertisement



Technorati Profile