Connecting visitors with their ideal travel experiences in Tucson and Southern Arizona.
Like many of the destinations on this adventure, Tohono Chul combines a botanical garden with some unexpected but welcome elements for a unique Tucson experience. In this case, the garden is accompanied by art, brunch, wine, and a view of the Catalina mountains.
The name means “desert corner” in the language of the Tohono O’odham, the indigenous people of Southern Arizona, but the park is the legacy of Richard Wilson, a geologist at the University Arizona and son of a Texas oilman, and his wife Jean. In the 1960s, the couple bought a home here, then began to buy up land around it, eventually creating a park that would celebrate the nature, art, and culture of the Sonoran desert region.
Tohono Chul’s courtyard celebrates the desert environment, with sections including a xeriscape (non-irrigated) garden, a Moorish garden, and a meditation garden. Outside the courtyard are several more themed gardens, including an ethnobotanical garden (featuring plants used by indigenous people and early settlers), a hummingbird garden, a children’s garden, and a “geology wall” made up of rock samples from the mountains.
In addition to gardens and walking trails, the park includes a bistro that serves brunch from 8-4:30 Monday through Sunday, featuring mimosas and margaritas. There’s also an art gallery with a permanent collection and exhibitions dedicated to Southwestern regional artists. Tohono Chul offers a variety of public events as well as art and wellness classes.
Cover image: travelandfood18 via Instagram.