Family Sleepover: "A Night in the Mission"

Upcoming Family Sleepovers

Saturday, March 30, 2019

 
staff in old timey national park service uniforms
Tumacácori mission staff, circa 1917.

NPS Photo / Anita Badertscher

A Night in the Mission (in 1917)

The year is 1917. You and your fellow park ranger recruits will be spending the night as caretakers in the ruined church of Tumacácori. Before you can go to sleep, through, there will be work to do:

- A report has come in of a neighbor's calf loose in the grounds. You'll need to find it and rope it.
- A local miner says he found "Spanish treasure" somewhere in the mission. You suspect this report to be false, but better investigate to make sure. Real artifacts need to be protected and catalogued.
- Light the lanterns for a night "patrol" of the grounds. Best to throw some candlelight into those dark and spooky shadows...

Once the work is done, dinner's been eaten, and camp established, everyone can relax around the campfire for songs and s'mores. In the morning, you'll be awarded your badges and cut loose to explore the park further on your own.

 
boy waking up outside church
As an alternative to sleeping inside the church, visitors may choose to bed down on the museum patio under the stars.

NPS Photo

How it Works (read this carefully!)

Arrival time
All participants should meet in the picnic area by 5:00 p.m. (Note that the Visitor Center and Museum will be closed by this time. If you wish to explore these facilities, plan to do so by arriving early or wait until the morning when they open at 9:00 a.m.)

Tumacácori National Historical Park
1891 East Frontage Road
Tumacácori, AZ 85640
Get directions

Departure time
All activities conclude by 8:30 a.m. the following morning. Participants are welcome to explore the mission grounds on their own at this point.

Sleeping
Participants will sleep in their own sleeping bags/bedding on park-supplied mats in one of two locations:

  • Inside the mission church
  • Outside the museum entrance on the back patio

All other areas of the mission grounds such as the cemetery, ki, orchard or convento are off-limits for camping.

Meals
The program fee includes a full hot dinner (menu varies but always includes a vegetarian option), s'mores, and breakfast empanadas prepared fresh and on-site. If you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, please let us know ahead of time so that we can be sure to have appropriate food available.

Parking
Registered participants will be able to park behind the Visitor Center, near the picnic area. You will receive a specialized gate code valid only for that evening so that you may have access to your vehicle throughout the program.

Considerations for all ages
This program is oriented for families of all configurations. There are no age restrictions, but we do ask that you consider how your family members may cope with rustic camping arrangements such as:

  • Sleeping on hard and/or uneven surfaces
  • Sleeping in close quarters with other families
  • Sharing limited bathroom space with others
  • Walking from the church to the restrooms (about 100 yards) at night

Adults are responsible for modelling excellent behavior and managing younger family members. Consider whether the members of your party are capable of sharing a group experience responsibly while taking care of fragile park resources.

Safety Information

  • Park rangers trained in emergency medicine will be on duty throughout the evening. Other emergency responders are minutes away.
  • If you have an emergency during your sleepover, contact one of the rangers or dial 911.
  • If you have medication that needs to be refrigerated, please let us know upon your arrival.
  • If you have any other medical concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us prior to the sleepover at (520) 377-5064.
  • For your safety and the protection of fragile park resources, we ask all participants to stay with the group.

What to Bring:

  • Comfortable, layered clothing and closed-toe shoes.
  • Umbrella and/or rain gear.
  • Something comfortable and family-appropriate to sleep in. Consult our Weather page for monthly average highs, lows, and the 7-day forecast.
  • A pillow
  • A sleeping bag or sheet/blanket to sleep in. (We provide sleeping pads and, if you prefer, a historically appropriate scratchy wool blanket!)
  • Toothbrush and other toiletries and personal items. There are no showers here.
  • Refillable water bottle.
  • Flashlight
  • Inflatable mattress (optional)
  • Old-timey clothes (optional)

What Not to Bring

  • Extra food or beverages unless specific arrangements have been made in advance.
  • Metal-framed cots
  • Firearms
  • Pets
  • Non-registered extra guests
  • Amplified music

How to Sign Up

Space is limited to 30 participants so early registration is required. Registration fee includes all food, activities, and entrance to the park. Register online at recreation.gov.

  • $20 per adult (age 16 or older)
  • $10 per child (under 16)
Cancellation Policy


Due to Weather: Sleepovers will proceed as scheduled, rain or shine. In the case of EXTREME weather, park personnel will contact registered participants by phone to inform them of program cancellation status. There are no refunds or last-minute cancellations except as determined by the park.

Due to Low Participation: Programs require a minimum of 20 participants, maximum of 30. Programs which do not have 20 participants by Sunday midnight prior to the sleepover will be CANCELLED. Your money will be fully refunded, or you may go back into the website to reschedule.

Refunds: A full refund will be given only if the sleepover is cancelled by the park. If tickets are cancelled by the customer prior to Sunday midnight, a $3.00 per ticket transaction fee will be charged. After Sunday midnight, once a tour is confirmed, there will be NO REFUNDS. Please help out! If you are NOT going to use your tickets, call 1-877-444-6777 and cancel them. This will make them available to others who can use them. Your help is greatly appreciated! After Sunday midnight, any remaining seats can be reserved online or by contacting the park at 520-377-5060.

Questions?

Contact Melanie Rawlins at (520) 377-5064 or call the Visitor Center at (520) 377-5060.

 
powell sketch of mission
H.M.T. Powell's original sketch of the Tumacácori mission around 1849.

Who Slept at Tumacácori, REALLY?

After the mission was abandoned in 1848, the adobe walls of Tumacácori's church, convento, and cemetery became a waypoint for travellers of all sorts. In fact, the very first recorded image of Tumacácori was sketched into the journal of H.M.T. Powell on his way to California to look for gold. Cowboys, military troops, livestock, and families sought refuge from the desert sun here among the ruins of the mission. Even after its establishment as a national monument in 1908, Tumacácori remained an emergency shelter for locals flooded out of their homes. Early park rangers nearly always slept onsite to keep a close eye on the ruins and be available for work at all hours.

Last updated: June 29, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 8067
Tumacacori, AZ 85640

Phone:

(520) 377-5060

Contact Us