Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

Arizona - Oracle, Red Rock State Parks

These Are Great Destinations For RVers, Outdoor Fans

Oracle State Park, Center for Environmental Education, will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 5pm through April 28. Spring activities will include the popular guided bird walks and hikes, tours of the historic Kannally ranch house, and environmental education school programs are offered weekdays by reservation.

Environmental education programs for school children, first through sixth grades, are scheduled by reservation on weekdays at (520) 895-2425. Thousands of students have learned important environmental principles in these ranger/volunteer-led programs over the last two decades.

Each Saturday and Sunday at 10am and 2pm tours of the historic Kannally Ranch House are offered. House tours are free with park admission. Visitors will learn the stories behind its hand-carved corbels, stenciled walls, hand-formed fireplace, French casement windows and cozy ranch kitchen.

The Kannally Ranch House is a four-level pueblo-revival adobe home with Moorish and Mediterranean influences. It was built by the Kannally ranching family and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The displays include family photos, furnishings and several paintings by "self-taught" cowboy artist Lee Kannally. Picnicking on the patios is welcomed.

Oracle State Park has trails that offer varying degrees of difficulty including a four-mile section of the Arizona Trail that transects the park. Bring your camera, binoculars, notebook, sketchbook, birdbook and leash for your pet.

Oracle State Park is located northeast of Tucson in the northern foothills of the Catalina Mountains and features quiet picnic spots, miles of hiking trails, stunning views of the mountains, access to the Arizona Trail plus other oak-woodland trails. Restaurants and attractions in the quaint community of Oracle are nearby.

Elevations in the 4,000-acre wildlife refuge range from 3,500 to 4,500 feet. The park features a diversity of animals, plant species and rock formations. There are also oak tree-shaded washes, mesquite scrub habitats and riparian woodlands with manzanita and beargrass.

For more information, call the park office at (520) 895-2425

Red Rock State Park

February at Red Rock State Park is the perfect place to experience the red rocks of Sedona, several hiking trails, bird-watching and daily special events that feature the opportunity to learn about local geology, archaeology, botany, history and wildlife. The diverse habitat, abundant with plants and wildlife, creates the perfect environment for the Park's mission of providing environmental education programs.

Wednesday and Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. in February, visitors will find bird enthusiasts joining a naturalist for a "Guided Bird Walk" directed at beginning and advanced birders. Bring your own binoculars; only a limited number are available for loan from the park. Visitors will see the many birds that make the park their home.

Daily at 10 a.m., visitors can join a naturalist on a guided nature walk that lasts 1½ to 2 hours and will introduce them to the riparian ecosystem of Oak Creek and other aspects of the park. Plants, wildlife, geology, history and archaeology are some of the subjects that may be discussed.

Daily at 2 p.m., the park hosts either a guest speaker or a ranger/naturalist led activity of approximately 45-minutes. Programs may include a nature-hike, a special presentation or an educational/nature video. This program may be an indoor or outdoor activity.

Visitors are invited to also explore on their own, and a Junior Ranger program for kids between six and 12 is available. For more information about Red Rock State Park call (928) 282-6907.


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