Saguaro National Park February 2016 Guided Programs Schedules

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Date: January 22, 2016
Contact: Melanie Florez, (520)733-5153
Contact: Richard Hill, (520)733-5158

Naturalist Programs at Tucson Mountain District (West, 2700 N. Kinney Road):

Daytime Indoor or Patio Programs at the Visitor Center

Feb. 5, 6  10:15a.m. and  3:15 p.m.  WPA National Park Poster Tour Display and  Talk: 40 minutes
The Works Progress Administration (1935-1943) was a massive employment program aimed at instituting and administering public works projects to alleviate unemployment among both men and women. One face of it was Federal Project Number One, which employed thousands of artists, musicians, writers, actors and others. While many of their works slipped into obscurity or were lost, others remain, including several of the original WPA National Park posters. Five of these will be displayed at a special NPS Centennial Program that explores the history of how this unique art was conceived, lost, rediscovered, and republished.

February 6, 13, 20, 27  2:15 p.m. The CCC in the Tucson Mountains Talk: 45 minutes
The Civilian Conservation Corps (1933-1943) was launched in the midst of The Great Depression to give young men jobs restoring the country's depleted soil and forest resources. Much of this involved building the infrastructures of public facilities in the Tucson area, including many of the stone structures and trails at Saguaro National Park and Tucson Mountain Park. Wheelchair accessible.

February 4, 6, 13, 20, 27 11:15 a.m. Play Sonoran Desert Bingo! Game: 1 hour
Learn about the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert while enjoying a rousing version of Bingo! Get five in a row –down, across, or diagonally –and win a non-monetary prize. Wheelchair accessible.

February 3, 17, 24  3:15 p.m. Against All Odds Talk: 30 minutes
A saguaro might produce 40 million seeds in its lifetime, but only one or two seedlings will survive into maturity. Discover how the "deck is stacked" against their survival and what conditions are needed for growth into the majestic icon of the desert. Wheelchair accessible.

February 13, 27  3:15 p.m.   A Desert Trio: Snakes, Tortoises, and Monsters   Talk: 30 minutes
Snakes, desert tortoises, and gila monsters -- oh, my! This desert trio couldn't be more different, but yet they have a few things in common, such as being fascinating but misunderstood. Come learn about their communication skills, special adaptations, and defense systems. A bit of folk lore is also shared. Wheelchair accessible.

February 1, 15, 29  11:15 a.m.  Desert "Pigs" Talk: 40 minutes
As the book title says, "Don't Call Me Pig"; but there is a resemblance between pigs and peccaries, also called javelinas. Wheelchair accessible.

February 2, 16  3:15 p.m. Whales in the Desert Talk: 45 minutes
Learn about the unique connection between whales and the Sonoran Desert. Wheelchair accessible.

February 3, 17  10:15 a.m.  Mountain Lions: Beyond the Myth  Talk: 45 minutes
Envision a puma stalking its prey, then uncover the true nature of this elusive but essential predator. Misunderstood, maligned, and nearly eradicated by settlers, the mountain lion remains threatened by human encroachment. Wheelchair accessible.

February 4, 11, 18, 25  10:15 a.m.  Living With Giants  Talk: 45 minutes
The saguaro celebrates events and faces challenges throughout its life. A biologist explains how it provides shelter and substance for wildlife;when it flowers; its growth patterns; and how it fights for survival against drought, lightning, frost, and other dangers. Wheelchair accessible.

February 5, 19  2:15 p.m.  Lizards are Hot, Lizards are Cool Talk: 30 minutes
Lizards are small denizens of the desert that are a critical component of our desert community. Find out what it means when they do pushups or exhibit other odd behaviors. Wheelchair accessible.

February 2, 16  11:15 a.m.  Life Cycle of the Saguaro: Seed to Giant  Walk: 45 minutes, 100 yards
Hear some astonishing reasons about why so few Saguaro seeds make it to fruition.

February 2, 16  10:15 a.m.  Adaptations: Recipe for Survival Easy 100-yard walk: 30 minutes
Take a walk in our Cactus Garden Walk to discover some physical and behavioral adaptations of desert plants.

February 8, 22  11:15 a.m. Coyotes:God's Dog  Talk: 30-45 minutes
You never know who or what you'll meet in the desert, including coyotes. Learn fact, myth, and fiction about these interesting desert inhabitants. Wheelchair accessible.

February 10, 24  11:15 a.m.  Synergy in the Desert: The Sonoran Habitat  Talk and Walk: 45 minutes
For all of life, "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts" is true.The iconic Saguaro is the focal point for a discussion of how the parts of the Sonoran Desert work together to create a rich living desert that is unique in the world.

February 1, 7, 14, 15, 21, 28, 29  2:15 p.m.  Homesteading Adventures Talk: 30 minutes
The Hispanic women from homesteading families in the Tucson area left records of their adventures, and a ranger reads some of these fascinating first-person accounts. Wheelchair accessible.

February 1, 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 21, 22, 25, 26, 29  3:15 p.m.  Javelinas: Our Desert Neighbors Talk: 30 minutes
Sometimes referred to as the "desert pig," the javelina is not a pig at all. Learn about this intriguing creature and how it survives in this arid environment. Wheelchair accessible.(This program also will be given in Spanish at 12:15 p.m. Feb. 6. )

Daytime Hikes And Short Walks

February 10, 24  2:15 p.m.  Kangaroo Rat: Super Survivor  Walk: 45 minutes
Learn about the remarkable behavioral and physical adaptations these rodents possess that allow them to survive harsh desert environments. Find out how the rodents escape predators, evade heat, and endure aridity while you search for burrows, runways and tracks of this nocturnal animal. The easy hike is on level ground but closed-toed shoes are required. Bring water and a hat.

February 13, 27  10:15 a.m.  Signs of Life in the Desert  Walk: 40 minutes, ¼ mile
Life abounds in the desert but often is hard to see because many creatures either come out at night or are shy and secretive. Most, however, leave signs of their existence. Join a park ranger for a short walk, part of it in a wash, near the visitor center to search for evidence of animal life.

February 13, 27  9:45 a.m.  Bird Walk  30 minutes plus optional additional 30 minutes, ½ mile
Join us for a 30-minute walk in the sandy wash behind the Visitor Center to see what birds live among the cacti and shrubs. Learn how they find food, water and shelter. Participants interested in more will drive 2 miles to Sus Picnic areawith its rocky canyon and hills for another 30-minute walk to see what wrens, hawks and other birds live there. The walk is on sand and dirt roads and is scheduled for the second and fourth Saturday mornings of every month from February through April. No reservations required. All ages are invited.

February 6, 20  9:45 a.m.  The Plants Tell All Hike: 2 hours, 1½ miles
Plants are the foundation of the web of life. Join a park naturalist to learn the secrets of what ties the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert together. Plant survival, insects and spiders, birds and mammals -- nothing is off limits for discussion on this discovery trek through the desert. For this moderate walk, closed-toed shoes, a hat, and water are required.

February 10, 24  10:15 a.m.  Sonoran Secrets to Desert Survival  Walk: 60 minutes, 250 yards
Stroll the Cactus Garden and identify the most common hazards hidden in the desert, uncover survival strategies of native plants and animals, and acquire practical tips to ensure your safety. Wheelchair accessible.

February 7, 14, 21, 28  11:15 a.m.  Desert Jigsaw Puzzle  Walk: 45 minutes, 100 yards
February 4, 11, 18, 25   2:15 p.m.
February 20 3:15 p.m.
When competition and cooperation vie for attention in the Sonoran Desert, the result is an intricate, wondrous jigsaw puzzle of plants and animals. Wheelchair accessible.

February 8, 12, 22, 26  10:15 a.m.  Spiny, Shady, and COOL!  Walk: 30 minutes, 100 yards
Come for a short walk and discover the great variety of cacti that inhabit this unique and fascinating desert.

February 9, 23  3:15 p.m.  How Do They Do It?  Walk: 15 minutes, 100 yards
Discover how the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert have adapted to the harsh conditions of this unique environment. (This program also is offered in Spanish Feb. 2, 16 at 12:15 p.m.) Wheelchair accessible.

February 1, 15, 29  10:15 a.m.  A Hohokam Woman's Day  Walk: 30 minutes, 100 yards
Join us as we try to help a Hohokam woman get through the trials and tribulations she may have experienced back in A.D. 400. We will look at desert plants and how she may have used them for medicinal solutions and foods for her family. Wheelchair accessible.

Evening and Nighttime Programs and Hikes

February 18  2:45 p.m.  Wasson Peak Moonlight  Hike: 7 hours, 8 miles roundtrip
This hike climbs 1,700 feet to the highest point in the Tucson Mountains. Enjoy a 360-degree view of the sunset before descending by the light of the moon. The hike is at an easy-to-moderate pace but is considered difficult due to elevation gain and hiking after dark.Ages 12 and older. Reservations required;733-5158

February 19  4:45 p.m.  Twilight Glow to Moon Shadows Moonlight  Hike: 3 hours, 2 ½ miles
This walk bridges sunset into moonlight, letting hikers experience the desert in both the glow of twilight and the light of the waxing moon. It ascends a hill with a gentle, packed slope, and then changes trails to descend a sandy wash. The hike is completed with a return on a dirt road. Ages 10 and older. Reservations required: 733-5158.

February 20  4:00 p.m.  Sunset Hike Moonlight Hike: 4 hours, 3 ½ miles
Discussions of water, geology, and plants will be highlights of mini-talks along this route, which gains 700 feet (with some switchbacks near the top) before reaching a ridgeline for sunset. The descent is by the light of the moon. Ages 10 and older. Reservations required;733-5158

February 22  7:00 p.m.  Moonrise Over The Mountains  Patio program: 45 minutes
Popular guitarist and singer-songwriter Mark William and Native American flute player Robert Hval will play music on the patio as visitors watch the full moon rise over the mountains. Bring a folding chair and blankets or coats. All ages.Wheelchair accessibleNo reservations necessary.

Spanish Language Programs

February 2, 16  12:15 p.m. ¿Como Pueden Sobrevivir? Walk: 15 minutes, 100 yards
(Spanish version of How Do They Do It?)Charla en Español donde discutiremos como las plantas y animales del desierto Sonorense se han adaptado a través de los años para poder sobrevivir y florecer en nuestro único y duro ambiente Silla de Ruedas accesible.

February 6  12:15 a.m.  Jabalíes, Nuestros Vecinos Del DesiertoTalk: 30 minutes
(Spanish version of Javelina: Our Desert Neighbors)Usted está invitado a acompañar a un naturalista del parque durante su presentación "Jabalíes, Nuestros Vecinos del Desierto." A veces referido como el cerdo del desierto, averigüe por qué el jabalí no es un cerdo. Descubra la historia natural de este fascinante animal y cómo se las arregla para sobrevivir en este ambiente árido. Silla de Ruedas accesible.

Naturalist Programs at Rincon Mountain District (S. Old Spanish Rd):

February 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 12, 15, 16, 19, 22, 23, 26, 2910:00 a.m. Sonoran Lifestyles Guided Walk    
Join a park naturalist on this 2-hour, 1-mile walk to discover how plants and animals adapt to life in the desert. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water.

February 1, 15, 29     2:00 p.m.    Grizzlies, Jaguars and Wolves – Oh My! Presentation
Come listen in as we discuss the predators that once called Saguaro National Park home. How has human action impacted the park's natural history regarding these creatures? Is there a chance that these animals could ever come back?

February 2, 16, 23  11:15 a.m.  A Taste of the Desert Garden Walk
Join us for a stroll through our cactus garden and learn what plants can be used for food, clothing, medicine, shelter and much more. Wheelchair accessible.

February 2, 23  12:30 p.m.  Living With and Without Reptiles  Presentation
Join volunteer and herpetologist Bob Brandner in the visitor center auditorium to explore the biology of Sonoran Desert reptiles and how we can share the desert with them, Wheelchair accessible.

February 2, 9, 16, 23  3:00 p.m.  Birds of the Desert Southwest Presentation
Join a park naturalist in the visitor center auditorium to explore the wide variety of birds found here in the desert southwest. Wheelchair accessible.

February 3, 10, 17, 24 9:00 a.m.  Desert Morning Hike  Guided Hike
Join volunteer Dick Hollenback on this 3-hour, 4-mile hike to explore Saguaro National Park. Wear sturdy hiking boots and bring water and a trail snack.

February 3, 10, 24  10:00 a.m. Desert Discovery Guided Walk
Join a park naturalist on this 2-mile, 2-hour hike to discover what’s out there in the desert. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water.

February 3, 24  11:00 a.m.  A Sticky Situation at Saguaro  Presentation 
 13  1:00 p.m.
Here at Saguaro National Park East we have 20 species of cactus and each is beautiful in its own way. Finding them all can be a challenge, but we will see each one in a stunning photo gallery and learn a few uses these plants have to those living here and beyond. Theater presentation. Wheelchair accessible.

February 4, 18  10:00 a.m.  Visitor’s Choice/Naturalist’s Choice Guided Walk
Here’s your chance to take a walk with a park naturalist with 10+ years’ experience in the Sonoran Desert. Bring your favorite question or topic, or just enjoy the best stories of the day: wildlife, wildflowers, or wilderness, as the weather and the seasons change. Sturdy shoes and water are recommended.

February 10, 24  2:00 p.m.  Cactus Caravan  Auto Tour
Begin your exploration of the Cactus Forest Drive with a park ranger and become familiar with some of the common cacti. A great introduction to the park! Wheelchair accessible.

February 4, 11   2:00 p.m.  Drive-Thru Geology 1 ½ -hour  auto tour
Hop in your car for a journey through 25 million years of earth history…in one hour! We’ll observe the varied landforms of the desert – bajadas, washes, outcrops – and find out why geology students from around the world come to see the Rincon Mountain foothills. (Hint: it’s the mylonitic gneiss!)

February 4  7:00 p.m.  Star Party illustrated program & activity
Join park naturalists for an introduction to astronomy and a look at the desert night sky. Telescopes and binoculars will be available. Reservations required. Call 733-5153. Wheelchair accessible.

February 5, 12, 19, 26   2:00 p.m. The Saguaro Nursery  ½ mile guided walk
The reports of the saguaro’s demise were greatly exaggerated! Take a stroll along a trail to see the next generation of young saguaros and the gradual renewal of the Cactus Forest.

February 5, 19  3:00 p.m.  A Century of Tales Presentation
Join us in the visitor center auditorium as we review a century of fun and interesting stories from those who lived and worked in what is today Saguaro National Park. Wheelchair accessible.

February 5, 19   7:00 p.m. Night Walk  1 mile guided walk
Join a park naturalist for this easy two-hour hike to explore and experience the Sonoran Desert at night. Dress for the weather, wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring water and a flashlight. As space is limited, advanced reservations are required, and can be made by calling (520) 733-5153.

February 6  10:00 a.m.  Sharing the Desert’s Stories  Activity
Children 5 to 10 years of age and parents are invited to come join us in the visitor center auditorium as we bring some of the Sonoran Desert’s stories to life. This month’s theme will be Desert Reptiles. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (520) 733-5153. Wheelchair accessible.

February  6, 27  1:00 p.m. Flash, Whoosh, Gush, and Growth: Sonoran Desert Monsoon Rain*   17  11:00 a.m.  Presentation
The summer heat and humidity bring the mighty and sometimes destructive monsoon rain. Saguaros, toads, and others depend on these drenching storms to begin a new season of life in the dry desert. A fabulous video opens this theater presentation. Wheelchair accessible.

February 6, 27 2:30 p.m. Living in a Cactus Forest
Our “Cactus Forest” was protected as a National Monument in 1933. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t changed. Take an easy stroll through this desert preserve to learn about the past AND discuss the future of your National Park and the growing Tucson community.

February 6, 27  5:30 p.m.  Sunset Hike Guided Hike
Sonoran Desert sunsets are famous for their blazing colors. Join a park ranger to discover how nature will paint the sky tonight. Wear sturdy walking shoes.

February 7, 14, 21, 28  11:00 a.m.  The GIANT Cactus ¾ mile guided walk
Saguaro National Park is famous for its gigantic saguaros. Still, you have to know where to look to find a real giant among giants. The best way is to join a ranger for a walk along a desert wash for a lesson in trees of the desert and a look at the only tree-like cactus in the U.S. You’ll be surprised by the size! Sturdy shoes and water are recommended.

February 7,14, 21, 28  3:00 p.m. CENTENNIAL! Presentation
Celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary with a tour through time. We’ll share history and scenery from every corner of the country, going back 100 years and more!

February 8, 22  2:00 p.m. Mountain Islands in a Desert Sea Presentation
Interested in learning about the Saguaro National Park that most visitors will never experience? Sky islands are considered to be some of the most unique, biodiverse ecosystems in the world. Join us to discuss Saguaro's high-elevation habitat and how we can continue to protect these very special wild places for the future.

February  9   12:30 p.m.  Tortoises of the United States* Presentation
Join volunteer and herpetologist Bob Brandner to discover the different species of tortoises found in the U.S and which ones call Arizona home.

February 10  11:00 a.m. The Point of the Matter is Cactus  Presentation 
 20  1:00 p.m.

Cactus are much more than strange plants with spines. They are uniquely equipped to thrive in the desert environment, and every year bloom with spectacular flowers. This theater presentation will highlight these survival marvels with a beautiful photo gallery. Wheelchair accessible.

February 19, 17, 24 2:00 p.m. Cactus Caravan*   Auto Tour
Begin your exploration of the Cactus Forest Drive with a park ranger and become familiar with some of the common cacti. A great introduction to the park! Wheelchair accessible

February 11, 25  10:00 a.m.  Where Have All the Saguaros Gone?  2 mile Guided Hike
Why does it look like our saguaros are disappearing? Join a park naturalist to discover what historic activities, including lime kilns, have affected our saguaro forest and learn how theses giant cacti are faring today.

February 12, 26  11:00 a.m.  The Changing Cactus Forest* Presentation
Join us in the visitor center auditorium to discover how the changes in the Cactus Forest over the years relate to potential changes in the future. Included will be a discussion of major climate change effects on parks, relating each to Saguaro National Park.

February 12, 26 3:00 p.m. Creating Saguaro National Park Presentation
Join staff in the visitor center auditorium to discover how abuse, failure, politics, commitment, recovery and the Tucson Garden Club all played a part in creating today’s Saguaro National Park. Wheelchair accessible.

February 13 & 27  10:00 a.m.  Meet the Cholla  Guided Walk
On this easy walk, you will be introduced to the diverse members of the cholla cactus family and their relationships with the desert community. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

February 16  12:30 p.m.  Venomous Reptiles at Saguaro National Park Presentation
Come discover the fascinating lives of the venomous reptiles that call the Sonoran Desert their home in this auditorium presentation by volunteer and herpetologist Bob Brandner. Wheelchair accessible. February 19  9:00 a.m. The History of the Rincon Valley Guided HikeTake a stroll down the Hope Camp Trail and learn about the homesteaders and ranchers who settled here, as well as other aspects of the Rincon and Tanque Verde Valleys. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water and a trail snack. Advance reservations are required and can be made by calling (520) 733-5153.

February 20 2:30 p.m.    Sunset and Moonlight Hike Guided Hike
View the Arizona sunset from a perch high in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains, then experience the magic of a walk through the moonlit Cactus Forest. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the visitor center at (520) 733-5153.

February 27  9:00 a.m.  The Destruction of Granite: A Trip to the Fault  Guided Hike
Join a ranger on a guided auto tour and hike inside the loop drive at Saguaro National Pak. We will discuss the geological history of the park as well as southeastern Arizona. The hike portion will be 5 miles round trip. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring water and a trail snack. Advance reservations are required and can be made by calling (520) 733-5153.

Visitor Center Locations/Phone Numbers 

Both visitor centers are open daily from 9:00am to 5:00 pm, except Christmas Day.

Red Hills Visitor Center (Saguaro WEST)
2700 North Kinney Road
Tucson, Az 85743

Rincon Mountain Visitor Center (Saguaro EAST)
3693 South Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, Az 85730

For more information about Saguaro National Park and some of its partners, Friends of Saguaro National Park, Western National Parks Association, and the Rincon Institute, visit these websites:


Last updated: January 22, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

3693 S Old Spanish Trail
Tucson , AZ 85730


(520) 733-5153

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