Seven Accessible Things to See and Do in Tucson, Arizona

Seven Accessible Things to See and Do in Tucson, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona

Situated in the southwest, Tucson, Arizona, is an exciting and popular city located in the Sonoran Desert. Not only that, it's just an hour away from the border with Mexico. Though this is a desert region, there are plenty of things to do and see here. For starters, there are plenty of natural trails for those more wilderness-inclined.

If you're looking for a more relaxing time, then there are numerous museums and galleries to explore covering everything from wildlife to space. And, if this wasn't enough, Tucson is just one of two UNESCO gastronomy cities in the entirety of the USA. Given this, it's well worth exploring a restaurant or two to get your taste buds tingling.

Knowing which of the numerous activities you should check out is essential if you want to make the most of your time here. However, not everything in the area is accessible and this is where we come in. We've taken a look at all the accessible options in the area, listing eight of the best.

Accessible things to do in Tucson

University of Arizona Museum of Art

A renowned art museum found directly on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson, this museum houses a wealth of artworks from ancient to contemporary. Not only that but the University of Arizona Museum of Art is also famed for containing art celebrating various cultures and different artistic movements. It's a vibrant place complete with exhibitions and educational programs.

University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson

Throughout the museum, mobility access is provided allowing wheelchair users the chance for independent navigation. All exhibits are accessible too, with easy-access seating and a clear line of sight from a seated position. Hearing disability access is provided at all exhibits, but only for some exhibitions for those with visual disabilities. However, a recent initiative is the launch of tactile tours.

Accessibility details:

  1. Step-free museum access
  2. Handicap push button
  3. Ramp with no handrails
  4. Lowered ticketing desk
  5. Service dogs permitted
  6. Written information and braille
  7. Tactile tours on request
  8. Step-free restroom
  9. Elevator
  10. Obstacle-free exhibition area
  11. Designated parking spaces in the Park Avenue Garage

Arizona State Museum

This is a popular museum in the area as well as in the state itself. The Arizona State Museum is a cultural institution in Tucson. It's all about preserving the history and heritage of the Southwest. It does this through an extensive collection of Native American artifacts, archeological exhibits, insights into the different cultures that have shaped Arizona, and educational opportunities.

Arizona State Museum, Tucson

The museum itself is accessible with a ground-level entrance. Entrance to the museum and exhibition spaces is also step-free and clear from obstacles. Some, but not all exhibits have hearing disability accessibility. Staff are also on hand to help with carrying bags if needed.

Accessibility details:

  1. Step-free, ground-level entrance
  2. Service dogs permitted
  3. Step-free restroom
  4. Lowered ticket desk
  5. Braille, large print, visual notifications
  6. Designated accessible parking

Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium

A very popular destination in Tucson, the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium offers a range of exhibits and displays covering different scientific disciplines. These are interactive, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the world of science.

Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, Tucson

With a gentle ramp entrance, this is accessible for all. The exhibition area is step-free and there are no obstacles in the way. All points of interest have a clear line of sight when seated, and most of them have hearing and visual disability aids for better interaction. Staff are friendly and helpful with skills for transfer, carrying and other aid provided.

Accessibility details:

  1. Service dogs allowed
  2. Staff available to Push/carry wheelchair/bags
  3. Transfers offered
  4. Visual and hearing guidance provided
  5. Lowered ticket desk
  6. Obstacle-free exhibit space
  7. Step-free museum access
  8. Elevator
  9. Step-free restroom
  10. Designated accessible parking

Tucson Botanical Gardens

As Tucson is in the middle of a desert, it may come as a surprise to find a flourishing botanical garden there. Tucson Botanical Gardens is a veritable oasis in Arizona. It covers an impressive 5.5 acres and is home to a huge array of plants. These, unsurprisingly, include succulents, cacti, and native Sonoran Desert flora. For those of you looking to get away for the day to somewhere peaceful to relax, this may be the place to do so. If you want a comfortable spot where you can appreciate the area's natural beauty, it doesn't get much better than this.

Tucson Botanical Gardens, Tucson

With the entrance on ground level, it's a simple process to get to the main garden. While there are easy paths, there are some obstacles in some areas. Additionally, some parts of the garden, like the Cactus Garden, do not have any seating areas at all. The main area does, but it is non-designated. Both the gift shop and restaurant are step-free, clear of obstacles, and offer ample turning space.

Accessibility details:

  1. Service dogs allowed
  2. Staff willing to carry bags/belongings
  3. Assistive guidance provided
  4. Wheelchair available
  5. Step-free building access
  6. Easy access to exhibition spaces
  7. Smooth, flat trails
  8. Step-free restaurant, gift shop, and restroom

Saguaro National Park

This stunning desert park covers over 91,000 acres in total. Located in south Arizona, the Saguaro National Park is divided into two sections, lying east and west of Tucson. It's home to the iconic Saguaro cactus, which can grow up to 40 feet tall making them an impressive sight.

Saguaro National Park, Tucson

The eastern section of the park includes the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center. Taking a hike here allows you to explore this desert ecosystem, while also enjoying sublime views no matter what time of the day you visit. Exploring this desert world is easy thanks to wheelchair-accessible trails. However, it's not all available for independent navigation as some park areas do have obstacles. At the Visitor Center, staff are willing to help, especially with wheelchair mobility. Mostly though, there is a clear line of sight to all exhibits even from a seated position.

Accessibility details:

  1. Staff available to Push/carry a wheelchair
  2. Service dogs allowed
  3. Visual and hearing disability guidance provided
  4. Step-free access to the Visitor Center entrance, restroom, and seating area
  5. Two designated accessible parking spaces
  6. A clear line of sight from a seated position

BioSphere 2

This is an incredibly unique research facility located in Oracle, Arizona. It was built in the 1980s to understand and investigate how humans can live in a self-sustaining environment. Currently, BioSphere 2 operates several enclosed ecosystems, including agricultural areas, rainforests, and coral reefs. Nowadays though, its sole purpose is one of education and scientific research.

BioSphere 2, Tucson

The BioSphere has step-free access, not only to get into the area but throughout the exhibition spaces as well. Getting about is easy, and can be done independently, though the exhibition space is not completely clear of obstacles. Additionally, there is no seating area within the exhibitions at all.

Accessibility details:

  1. Assistive guidance provided
  2. Service dogs permitted
  3. ASL through DRC
  4. Wheelchair available
  5. Step-free access at ground-level
  6. Lowered and standing ticket desks
  7. Step-free restroom and exhibition area
  8. Elevator
  9. 6 accessible designated parking spaces

Catalina State Park

This is a stunningly beautiful natural retreat located in Arizona. Catalina State Park lies close to the Santa Catalina Mountains, offering excellent views of them. The park is home to a range of exciting outdoor activities including picnics, hikes, and camping. Additionally, you're going to see a lot of nature due to the diverse flora and fauna, perfect for those who want a bit of wilderness.

Catalina State Park, Tucson

Depending on where you go, there are various levels of accessibility. Most areas are flat, though there are some gentle slopes to be mindful of. Additionally, the paths, while accessible, often have different substrates including gravel, grass, and sand. No assistance of any kind is provided.

Accessibility details:

  1. Service dogs permitted
  2. Smooth, flat outdoor area
  3. Step-free seating
  4. Gravel paths
  5. Gentle slopes
  6. Step-free restroom
  7. Two designated parking spaces

Explore a range of activities in Tucson

Tucson is a well-known destination renowned for its food and the desert. Alongside the wilderness and its wildlife, there are a plethora of museums covering all sorts of topics. Additionally, you can wander through the zoo, or relax in the botanical gardens. You can find out all about the different activities available in Tucson, Arizona by looking at our travel resources here.

Discover new foods, a lot of sun, and the desert while staying in Tucson, Arizona.