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There are a number of great family-friendly attractions in Tucson. One must see is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum a unique mostly-outdoor facility boasting exhibits of wilfdlife, plants and nature from the region's eco-system. There can be a fair amount of walking in the outdoor heat, but the exhibits are terrific and highly varied. The kids will love the animals, especially the javelinas, wild little pig-like creatures that live in the Southwestern deserts and Mexico.
You don't have to be an aviation buff to enjoy the Pima Air and Space Museum, which features over 250 aircraft to check out up close. There is also a Titan Missile Museum and the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame on the premises.
Old Tucson Studios is a former Western movie set turned theme park that includes a train ride, cowboy gun battles, and plenty of family fun. The family will also get a kick out of touring the spectacular caves at Karchner Caverns State Park . Many other great state and national park areas dot the region. An interesting educational site is the Biosphere II Center a natural sciences research facility that offers tours.
The Tucson Children's Museum is a delightful excursion for any family with children. It includes a room exclusively for children under the age of four, as well as a climbing wall, play grocery store and other fun exhibits.
Tucson has a small but nice zoo at Reid Park. The Reid Park Zoo has rhinos, otters, polar bears, and a walk-through aviary, among other things. In addition to the zoo, Reid Park also has a small lake, a playground, an off-leash area for dogs, and a rose garden.
Near the University of Arizona, there is a wonderful volunteer-run historic trolley, Old Pueblo Trolley, that runs along 4th Avenue and then turns onto University Blvd, terminating at the gate to the grounds of the university. You can purchase an inexpensive all-day pass and get off and on wherever you want to visit shops and restaurants. The people who drive the trolley are passionate and enthusiastic volunteers who love to talk to kids and grown-ups about the history and workings of the trolley. They will even let your children ring the trolley bell.
Finally, drive outside of town to see the San Xavier del Bac mission, located on Indian land, for a unique cultural and educational experience. The Tucson area is loaded with fun things to see, excellent outdoor and natural attractions, and cultural attractions such as museums, native American sites and much more.
For outdoor adventure, a hot air balloon ride can be a spectacular way to see the Sonoran desert. Tucson Balloon Rides offers special full-basket discounts and children's rates to make it affordable for families.