Nestled in the hills outside of Tuscon, Arizona, I found Saguaro National Park to be fascinating. First off, there are tons of Saguaro Cactus. Native to the Sonoran Desert they are only found in parts of Arizona, Mexico and a small slice of California. In addition, there are many others types of cactus, wildlife, and even some petroglyphs (as opposed to pictographs – yes we are total nerds and learned the difference).
When We Visited: January 2014
Ages of Kids: 8, 6, 3
Where We Stayed: Boondocked at Synder Hill outside Tuscon, AZ
Unless you have older kids and can do more hiking, this park can definitely be a day trip. We went around 10am with the Malimish crew and started with a trip to the visitor center to pick up our Jr. Ranger Booklets.
We got straight to work on the books including a visit to their outdoor cactus garden. We were too early in the year for most of the cactus to have blossomed, but I can only imagine how colorful it would be!
Once we had done all we could at the visitor center, we drove the scenic loop to the Valley View Overlook trail and proceeded to prod our little hikers up the trail.
It was not without whining.
Worth the hike! Beautiful views of the surrounding valleys and hundreds of Saguaro.
We somehow managed to talk the kids into one more small hike to see the petroglyphs.
Lastly, a final stop at the visitor center to turn in our booklets. This ranger was amazing. He did such a great job sitting down and talking with the kids about their experience.
We had a great time! We left around 1pm, so a total of 4 hours or so in the park. It was fun to go with friends, and we definitely will go back!