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By AZBW 

Arizona State Parks Presents

Throughout the month and beyond: There are wonderful things to do and see in Arizona.

 

Picacho Pek

Tours of Goodfellow Lodge at Tonto Natural Bridge

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Sundays and Wednesdays 11 a.m. (Wed. & Sundays) | 2 p.m. (Sundays)

Join us for a ranger or volunteer led walk through the Goodfellow Lodge, with a history of the property, the Lodge, and the people that called Tonto Natural Bridge home. The history, former use, and present use of these buildings will be included. Tour is approximately 45 minutes and is available at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays, as well as at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tour registration covers the standard park entry fee.

This event will have limited space, so sign up here today.

Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

April 25-28, 2024

This beloved celebration of birding and nature during peak migration in the Verde Valley began as a celebration of birding at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in 2001. The founders of the festival sought a way to provide a fun and educational birding experience to both the local community and visitors. We knew we had an undiscovered treasure in the diversity of habitats within the Verde Valley, as well as great birding in Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

The Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival gives participants the opportunity to experience birding during the peak spring migration season. The four-day festival is held at Dead Horse Ranch State Park on the banks of the Verde River. With close proximity to the Verde, Oak Creek, Sycamore Creek and other perennial waters, festival participants are invited to choose from a wide selection of offerings such as guided tours, hikes, and workshops in one of Arizona's richest birding habitats. Visit the festival website for details and specifics!

This year's festival theme is bird migration and its impact on riparian areas in our environment. The keynote speaker, Richard Crossley, will lead discussions, and the featured bird for the year is the common black hawk. There will be armchair birding and guided bird walks all across the Verde Valley from April 25 - 28 that require registration at verderiver.org/events/verde-valley-birding-and-nature-festival-2024.

The Free Family Nature Festival at the event will be in the lagoon area on Saturday, April 27.

Guided Bird Walks at Catalina

Catalina State Park

Sundays and Wednesdays 7:30 a.m.

Located in the Tucson Sky Islands Important Bird Area, Catalina State Park is home to 150+ species of birds. Experienced birding guides will help you spot and identify beautiful birds as you walk through the park for 3-4 hours. Bring binoculars and a birding field guide to enhance your experience! Guides are sold in the gift shops. Meet at the Trailhead Parking Lot near the restrooms.

Daily Guided Nature Hikes at Red Rock

Red Rock State Park

Daily 10 a.m.

Every morning, a volunteer naturalist leads a guided nature walk informing visitors about the different life zones of Red Rock State Park. The subjects discussed on this walk may include geology, wildlife, history, archeology, and plant life. The naturalists welcome questions during the walk, enhancing the learning experience.

Hikes are included with park entrance fees but are first-come, first-serve.

Faro Demonstrations

Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park

Sundays 10:30 a.m. | 1 p.m.

Volunteer Steve presents an educational and interactive demonstration of the popular Wild West game of Faro. Not only will you learn how to play the game but all the devious ways that players AND dealers would cheat. Faro was a popular gambling game and an important part of the fabric of Tombstone society during its mining boomtown days. We are excited to bring this exciting gaming demonstration to our historic Courthouse!

Please note that Faro demonstrations are for educational purposes only; betting of real money is not permitted.

Guided Bird Walks at Tonto Natural Bridge

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Mondays 9 a.m.

Join a ranger on a ~1 mile, mostly paved, walk through some of the most biodiverse terrain in central Arizona. A combination of plant communities and habitats surrounding the world's largest travertine bridge supports a wide variety of bird species that call the park home and we will be searching for. Meets between the Waterfall Parking and Waterfall Trailhead. Bringing your own optics is encouraged!

Event is free, day-use fee still applies.

Catalina State Park - Past, Present, Future

Catalina State Park

Second and fourth Monday of the month 10 a.m.

Catalina State park has been beloved for decades by many but do you know how the park came to be? Explore the history of Catalina State Park and its surroundings from the 1850s to today. Take a "behind the scenes" look at today's operations and get a "sneak peek" of exciting new upgrades coming to the park.

Meet at the Bobcat Amphitheater. There is no cost to attend this program but standard park entry fees apply.

Note: This program is weather dependent.

Guided Bird Walks at Red Rock

Red Rock State Park

Wednesdays and Saturdays 8 a.m.

Bird enthusiasts join a naturalist for a guided walk appropriate for beginner and advanced birders. Most year-round birds are found in the riparian area next to Oak Creek or along the field behind the Visitor Center. The Audubon Society has designated Red Rock State Park as part of the Lower Oak Creek Important Birding Area (IBA) because of the many species that live or visit here. Please meet up with the leader on the viewing deck above the visitor center.

Bird walks begin at...

8 a.m. March through May

7 a.m. June through August

8 a.m. September through November

Adventures at the Presidio

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

Saturdays through April 27, 2024

At the Tubac Presidio, every month is a new adventure! Join a family-focused program to explore nature and create your very own nature craft to take home. The adventures never end, because every month brings a new and exciting craft to enjoy! Activities include making wildflower seed bombs to sprout in the garden this spring and flower printing, making unique designs with flowers. See the cost and RSVP at the Friends of Tubac Presidio State Historic Park and Museum.

Guided Hike at Sonoita Creek

Sonoita Creek State Natural Area

Every Saturday through April 13 9 a.m.

Join us for a 5.5 mile hike through Sonoita Creek State Natural Area. This moderately strenuous hike will showcase grasslands, a rocky canyon and a forest of massive mesquite, ash, willow and live oak beside Sonoita Creek. Bring water, snacks, trekking poles and sun protection.

Call the Visitor Center to sign up. Hike is limited to first 10 people. (520) 287-6965

Gift Shop Open House

McFarland State Historic Park

First Thursday of the Month, Through April 2024 9:30-11 a.m.

Visitors are invited to stop by the park gift shop for coffee, conversations with local artisans, and the chance to shop for unique items such as fused glass earrings, stained glass hummingbirds and feathers, petrified rocks, crystals, Arizona postcards, McFarland State Historic Park patches & magnets, books pertaining to Arizona, farmhouse home decor, photography featuring the Sonoran Desert and images of Florence, hand painted rocks, metal yard art, a variety of paintings and photographs, saguaro rib hiking sticks, goat's milk soap and lotion, hand knitted baby blankets and jackets, raw local honey.

Free to the public - fee waived!

Catalina Nights

Catalina State Park

First and Third Friday of the Month Varies by Date

Witness Catalina State Park's nocturnal wildlife and stargaze on a one-mile, guided night hike on the Nature Trail. You'll learn fun facts about the Sonoran Desert's nocturnal animals like scorpions, coyotes, and bats. When the stars come out, experience a guided constellation tour featuring a variety of cultures and astronomy facts.

Please bring a flashlight, water, closed-toe shoes, and appropriate clothing for the weather.

Event is weather permitting. Caution, the hike begins with a steep climb and ends with a steep descent on slippery gravel at night. Children ages 5 years old and up are welcome to participate. The hike will take approximately 1.5 hours.

Meet at the main trailhead parking lot near the restrooms.

Registration is required.

Guided Hikes with Charles - Hunter Trail

Picacho Peak State Park

April 6 Times vary

Have you ever wanted to get to the peak of Picacho but didn't want to do it alone? Join our local volunteer Charles! He will guide you and a group of hikers up to the peak via our Hunter or Sunset trails. Learn more about the mountain, the surrounding land, and even some of the native plants. While taking consistent breaks, you will make your climb to the peak. If the peak isn't for you and you want something less strenuous, don't fret! Join Charles for his more beginner-friendly Calloway hike! A nice short hike that has a beautiful view. Sign up at our visitor center or give us a call! Spaces are limited.

Guided Tours of the Historic Kannally Ranch House

Oracle State Park

Apr. 7 | May 18, 2024 1 p.m.

Join one of our knowledgeable park docents on a 1-hour tour of the historic Kannally Ranch House. You'll learn the true story of how a family from Sterling, Illinois ventured west to start a new life on the land we now call Oracle State Park. There's lots to discover in this beautiful Mediterranean-inspired home!

Standard park entry fees apply.

Stargazing at Picacho Peak

Picacho Peak State Park

November - June Times vary

Come on down to Picacho Peak State Park and take a grand look at the beautiful stars above. In this 45-minute program, a park ranger will help you learn about some of the constellations in our night skies, their stories, and how they may have been used long ago. We will even have a telescope set up to look at the various planets and space phenomena throughout our solar system. Bring a blanket and your curiosity! And please, thank the stars above. (Meet at the Jackrabbit East Group Area)

Reptiles of the Verde Valley

Red Rock State Park

Sunday, April 7, 2024 2 p.m.

Join us for an interactive program about native snakes in Sedona and the Verde Valley. This program will cover snake identification, mimicry behavior and feature a meet-and-greet with "Cosmos," a rescued Sonoran gopher snake. This program is included with your park entry fee; however, seating is limited. Please call the park at 928-282-6907 to reserve your spots for this theater presentation.

Guided Bird Walk at Lost Dutchman

Lost Dutchman State Park

April 10, May 8 Times vary

Join us for a bird walk starting at the Cholla ramada. We will start by going over the basics of bird watching and the rest of the program will be a guided walk on the trails searching for our feathered friends. Please bring your own binoculars if you have a pair.

Event is free, day-use fee still applies

Ranger Kira Guided Hikes - Sunset Vista Trail

Picacho Peak State Park

Apr. 13 8 a.m.

Have you ever wondered what the top of Picacho Peak looks like? Well, wonder no more! Join our wonderful Ranger Kira on a hike to the peak. You and a few other hikers will be guided up to the top of the mountain via the Sunset or Hunter trail. Learn more about the mountain and the surrounding areas, make some new hiking buddies, and enjoy the views. While taking consistent breaks, you will make your way all the way to the peak.

This trail involves steep switchbacks, rock scrambles, climbing up several cableways, and an elevation gain of 1,300ft. The total distance is 6.2. miles round-trip and takes 5-6 hours to complete. No children under the age of 10, no dogs, bring 4-5 liters of water, wear hiking boots, and bring gloves for the cableways. Hikers will meet at the Sunset Vista Trailhead parking lot. *Not recommended for inexperienced hikers*

Sign up at our visitor center or give us a call! Spaces are limited.

Guided Hikes with Charles - Hunter Trail

Picacho Peak State Park

April 6 Times vary

Have you ever wanted to get to the peak of Picacho but didn't want to do it alone? Join our local volunteer Charles! He will guide you and a group of hikers up to the peak via our Hunter or Sunset trails. Learn more about the mountain, the surrounding land, and even some of the native plants. While taking consistent breaks, you will make your climb to the peak. If the peak isn't for you and you want something less strenuous, don't fret! Join Charles for his more beginner-friendly Calloway hike! A nice short hike that has a beautiful view. Sign up at our visitor center or give us a call! Spaces are limited.

Stargazing at Picacho Peak

Picacho Peak State Park

November - June Times vary

Come on down to Picacho Peak State Park and take a grand look at the beautiful stars above. In this 45-minute program, a park ranger will help you learn about some of the constellations in our night skies, their stories, and how they may have been used long ago. We will even have a telescope set up to look at the various planets and space phenomena throughout our solar system. Bring a blanket and your curiosity! And please, thank the stars above. (Meet at the Jackrabbit East Group Area)

Touch Table Talk at Picacho

Picacho Peak State Park

April 14 9:30 a.m.

Come on down to the Visitor Center and ask a ranger about our touch table! Learn about the different plants, animals, and minerals here at Picacho Peak. Take a closer look at some animal skulls, feel some cool pelts, and learn about the different minerals on our peak. Not only will this teach you some cool new facts about the desert, but we hope it will bring some newfound appreciation for this wild yet amazing environment.

Visitor Center, 1 ½ hours. (will be outside for the time, guests make the experience last for as long as they want.)

Guided Hikes with Charles - Calloway Trail

Picacho Peak State Park

April 20 8 a.m.

Have you ever wanted to hike the trails of Picacho but didn't want to do it alone? Join our local volunteer, Charles! He will guide you and a group of hikers along our trails. Learn more about the mountain, the surrounding land, and even some of the native plants. Join Charles for his more beginner-friendly Calloway hike! This is a nice short hike that has a beautiful view. Sign up at our visitor center or give us a call! Spaces are limited.

• Calloway Trail

• Learn a little about hiking safety and enjoy the scenic surroundings of the Sonoran Desert as you hike up to an overlook below the face of Picacho Peak. The total distance is a 1-mile round-trip, elevation gain is 300ft, and will take 1.5 hours. Hikers will meet at the Calloway Trailhead located in the Harrington loop. *All skill levels welcome*

Picacho Peak Bird Walk

Picacho Peak State Park

Apr. 21 10 a.m.

Patagonia

Walk the trails with one of our rangers and learn of the many birds inhabiting the Sonoran Desert region! You may be able to see the quick yet beautiful Anna's hummingbird or even catch a glimpse of the majestic red tailed hawk. There are all sorts of birds in our deserts that we will help you find. During this short hike, the rangers will help you identify, find, and log each bird you see. So bring your binoculars and some water!

Sunset trail: 1 hour

Into the Snake Den

Picacho Peak State Park

April 28 9:30 a.m.

Join our park rangers at Picacho Peak State Park and learn about some simply spectacular serpents! From the tricky hognose to the stunning rattler, these snakes are absolutely ecstatic to meet you! In this 30-minute presentation, you will learn snake anatomy, whether a snake is venomous, and how to act if this slithery friend were to cross your path. These misunderstood creatures are not something to fear and we hope to bring some light to their many myths.

 

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