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The Daily Wildcat

66° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Before you graduate

    Say what you want about Arizona summers; this time of year in Tucson more than makes up for the 100-degree days to come. Classes for spring semester have barely begun, so your academic obligations are about as undemanding as they’ll get between now and May. There’s no better chance to spend some time exploring what the area has to offer. Whether you only have a few hours or a full day, here are some opportunities to enjoy the season before the sweltering heat hits.

    Mirror, mirror, under the ball?

    That’s right, the UA’s own Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory is open for tours. The mirror lab is located right under the football stadium. Mirrors created on this campus have been used in telescopes across the globe. You may have been around for the Phoenix Mars Mission countdown, or maybe you’ve just always wondered about that R2-D2-shaped observatory visible from the UA Mall. Either way, you’ve probably heard about our university’s excellence in optics and astronomy. It’s time to go check it out firsthand.

    TOUR SCHEDULING

    Tuesday and Friday, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

    Tours last approximately 60-90 minutes

    Reservations required in advance

    $15 Adults

    $8 Students (7 – 22 years old)

    $13 Groups (10+)

    Contact Cathi Duncan: cduncanf@email.arizona.edu

    Learn to love a cactus

    Did you know that Tucson is surrounded by a national park? Those iconic saguaro cacti populate Saguaro National Park’s two districts, one east and one west. Head east to the Rincon Mountain District, about half an hour outside of town, for an  eight-mile drive (or ride, if you’re adventurous enough to bike) on Cactus Forest Loop Drive that offers a stunning perspective on that dry, desolate desert people picture when they think of the Southwest. The mountains are formidable, the cacti are proud and if you head out right around sunset you’ll think you were in a classic Western. Bet you didn’t know Tucson could look this good.

    IF YOU PLAN TO GO

    Park open from 7 a.m. to sunset

    Visitor center open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

    Entrance fee: $10 per vehicle, or $5 per individual on foot or bicycle (each good for seven days)

    Lake Pleasant is pleasant

    If you’ve got a day or a weekend to spend, make your way up north past Phoenix to Lake Pleasant Regional Park. If you grew up in Arizona, you probably have at least one lake or family camping horror story. But have you been back lately? Even the least outdoorsy of us can appreciate the abundance of hiking trails and opportunities for stargazing, fishing, geocaching or relaxing lakeside with your refreshments of choice. The visitor’s center also offers an awesome view of the New Waddell Dam and plenty of information about the history of the area. Check out the upcoming events, which include the Sixth Annual “”Dam Good Run, Walk, Hike”” and “”Scuba Adventure Day.””

    Visit http://maricopa.gov/parks/lake_pleasant/default.aspx for directions and events calendars.

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