Last Saturday, my family & I saw our second performance at the Arizona Folklore Preserve. We truly enjoy this fine little theater set in one of our most beautiful canyons. We first experienced this unique place back in May when we went to hear Dolin Ellis, Arizona’s Official Balladeer.
On this most recent trip we enjoyed an excellent performance by singer/songwriter Michael Grande’. No doubt we’ll return again and again as other guest performers are featured.
Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul Park
Now that Thanksgiving is over (burp!), it’s time to start thinking about that next special season. Hopefully, you were not one of the trillion humanoids out on our roads over the past few days. I’ve never seen Tucson roads so crowded. It is literally true that on Wednesday late afternoon, it took me 20 minutes to drive from Oracle Road to the Freeway on Grant Road. There was that much traffic. Unbelievable.
Anyway, our family will soon visit Tohono Chul’s Holiday Nights. This celebration of the Season occurs over the next 3 Friday & Saturday nights, 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM. There will be music & dance performances throughout each evening.
Admission & Performances: Members $10; General Public $15.
Reservations: 520.742.6455 X 501
I notice on our SouthernArizonaGuide.com Events Calendar that there is quite a bit happening this coming weekend. Many of these happenings could be included in our Things To Do With Kids section. Ms. Karen, my 94-year-old father, & I will be doing a photo shoot at Tohono Chul Park’s Holiday Nights. I’d like to go to the Bisbee Historic Home Tour, but with our granddaughter & her boyfriend coming for Thanksgiving, I imagine a trail ride at Tanque Verde Guest Ranch or Colossal Cave Mountain Park will be in order.
On a different note, I have posted several features & reviews on our website recently. If you are a subscriber (FREE), you have already received them in our weekly email newsletter.
- Just How Good Is Overland Trout? We were driving through Sonoita in a driving rain last Saturday and stopped to check it out.
- Is The Arizona Inn The Best Hotel In Tucson? This is not our traditional dining & lodging review. Check it out and you’ll see why.
- Is Anyone Really Buried In Boothill Graveyard? After significant research, we finally debunk another Tombstone myth.
Yesterday, my family & I were treated to a tour of the newest exhibition at the Arizona State Museum on the U of A campus. “Curtis Reframed” is a retrospective of selected photographic prints by Edward Curtis taken as he traveled among the many Arizona tribes between 1900 and 1929.
Marketing Director Darlene Lizarraga arranged the tour for us. The tour itself was led by the Museum’s Curator of Photographic Collections, Jennelle Weakly. She was most helpful in answering our many questions, including those concerning the largely post-modern criticism about how the subjects were portrayed.
The story behind these exquisite photographs is most interesting, involving President Teddy Roosevelt, financier J.P. Morgan, and many others who made the original collection possible.
Some of that story is told by Guest Curator Aleta Ringlero who was interviewed last week on AZ Illustrated. I trust that you will find the video of interest, but it’s no substitute for viewing these portraits in person. Do go.
Parking is easy. I parked at the Tyndall Parking Garage 1/2 block south of University and 2 blocks from the Museum just inside Main Gate.
I highly recommend taking a Docent-Led Tour. Docents can add historical perspective that isn’t easily related on the walls of the exhibit. For example, the photograph I have used in this post of a Mojave Girl was the one that convinced J.P. Morgan to finance the project.
You will find more local history on our website: SouthernArizonaGuide.com > Main Menu > Local History.
For those of you who are interested in our Southern Arizona history & cultural heritage, I have just received notice from the Park Rangers at Mission Tumacacori about their upcoming events. All of them appeal to me as a photographer as well as a history buff.
Tours to Calabazas and Guevavi Missions
January 11 & 25, February 8 & 22, March 8 & 22, 2014 Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
The ruins of Missions Los Santos Angeles de Guevavi and San Cayetano de Calabazas, normally closed to the public, can be visited via special guided van and walking tours.
Tours leave from the Tumacácori visitor center.
$25 per person, RESERVATIONS REQUIRED
Reservations are made online through: www.recreation.gov
Anza Trail River Walks
January 4 & 18, February 1 & 15, March 1, 15 & 29, 2014 Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.
Guided walks leave from the visitor center to walk to the Santa Cruz River. One hour, 1/2 mile round trip. The walk is on a level, unpaved trail: wear comfortable walking shoes and bring
October – December, Saturday and Sunday; January – April, Wednesday through Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Artisans demonstrate traditional crafts on the grounds of Mission San José de Tumacácori. Demonstrations may include tortilla making, paper flower making, pottery, or O’odham basket weaving.
Tumacacori At Night
Experience Tumacácori at night, under the light of a full moon or a galaxy of stars. Tours may be offered. Call for details.Full Moon Nights Tuesday, December 17, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 15, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Friday, February 14, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Starry Saturdays November 23, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. March 29, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. April 26, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
We have 3 brief original videos in which Park Ranger Anita gives an enlightening tour of the old mission and cemetery. Go to SouthernArizonaGuide.com > Home > Videos.
You can get more information at Mission Tumacacori website.
When our 4 grandchildren were young, my job as Grandpa was weekly field trips. I would scout out venues that were educational, but also interesting to young people. We ranged all over Southern California taking in the zoos, railroad parks, natural history museums, including the La Brea Tar Pits, historic forts, old movie sets, Griffith Park Observatory, and so much more. I looked for places where they could learn about the world, but also burn off some of their natural exuberance.
But I don’t recall anything like Tucson’s Children’s Museum. If you have young children, say toddler to age 10, and you’ve never taken them downtown to what was the old Public Library, you really owe it to your young ones & yourself to go.
If you have visited the Children’s Museum, but not lately, return now. An extensive renovation & expansion with a ton of new interactive exhibits, arts & crafts space, & special events have made it a new & richer experience.
Recently, while on tour of the new facilities, I watched toddlers developing their motor skills in a safe environment, 4, 5, & 6-year-olds, developing their artistic skills & imagination, and 8 & 9-year-olds figuring out how some of the elements of our physical world work, such as gravity, light, & electricity.
With innovative programs, the staff of the Children’s Museum emphasizes reading & creativity, as well plenty of fun.
To me as an adult, one of the most interesting, & clever permanent exhibits was the Mini Nano Exhibit: how very, very tiny materials act and interact differently than large objects. There are several other new science exhibits included in “Investigation Station” that feature hands-on activities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
They have imaginative exhibits that teach young children about nutrition, grocery shopping, pet care, and body parts, such as mouth, nose, and heart.
The Museum also has a great space for birthday parties. Their courtyard is perfect for picnics. Or if you wish, you can call ahead to one of our local pizza parlors and have lunch delivered to the Museum.
Special events are common at the Children’s Museum, many tied to holiday themes and often feature music. Be sure to check the Museum’s Events Calendar.
Admission is $6 for children; $8 for adults, but senior adults are only $6. This may sound pricy, but if you purchase an annual membership you can save a bunch. For example, membership for one adult & two children is only $60 for a year of unlimited admissions.
On the second Saturday of each month, admission is $2. Saturday November 23rd is El Tour de Tucson downtown, which is a FREE day at the Museum, as is Sunday December 1st.
They didn’t have anything like Tucson Children’s Museum when I was growing up. In fact, they didn’t have anything like it when I was helping to raise our grandkids. Parents today sure have it easy.
Take your young kids or grandkids to the Children’s Museum. They will enjoy it and so will you.
For other ideas about activities for children, go to our Things To Do In Tucson With Kids section on SouthernArizonaGuide.com.
Children’s Museum of Tucson
200 S 6th Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701
Hours: Tuesday – Friday 9 to 5. Weekends: 10 to 5. Closed Mondays; Thanksgiving, Christmas, & Easter.
Let’s say you’re planning to vacation in Ethiopia, Garden Paradise of the Dark Continent. But, let’s also say you’re not sure you’ll like the food there. Oh, what to do?
Here’s our suggestion. Visit Zemam’s Ethiopian Cuisine, either on Speedway or Broadway for lunch or dinner. For an hour or so, the experience will be like visiting a country on the other side of the world without the cost or hassle of air travel.
We were seated right away. The first thing we noticed was that Zemam’s is a very simple place. Yes, there were some objects d’art on a wall that looked vaguely African. But other than that … no frills, no ostentatious displays.
The second thing we noticed was that our server didn’t speak English. Or rather, at first we weren’t sure it was English, so thick was her Ethiopian accent. But both Gil & I are world travelers used to tuning our ears to local dialects. By mid-meal, we could understand her, but not each other.
“Her” is Rahwa. Dark skin, slender build, & a beautiful face with a radiant smile. She was also quick. I’m fairly certain that from the time she took our order to the time she placed the platter on our table, not 4 minutes had passed.
Remember, I said Zemam’s is a simple place? Well, ‘tis so simple there are no plates. No silverware, flatware, or plastic ware either. Not even a pair of chopsticks. If we were going to sample Ethiopian cuisine, we had to use our hands. Fine. “When in Rome …” And given where the recipes for our dishes originated, I’m guessing that we were only suppose to use our right hand.
Gil ordered the #12: Yedoro Alicha. Mild tender chicken slowly cooked with onions, garlic, ginger root & other spices.
I ordered the #10: Yebeg Wat. Hot & spicy dish of succulent lamb. Our orders (can’t say dishes) came with sides of various cooked veggies such as collard greens.
Both orders came on a single large tin platter set in the middle of our table. And each of us got strips of injera with which to eat our food. Injera is Ethiopian bread like nothing we’ve ever seen or tasted. It’s kinda spongy, and has a faint sourdough taste.
The general idea is to tear off a piece of injera, then use it to pick up a bite-size portion of food from the central platter. After you’ve mastered that maneuver, all you have to do is pop it into your mouth. Sounds simple, doesn’t it. But neither one of us could do it without using both hands … which I’m sure is a no-no in Ethiopia.
Rahwa gave us the choice of drinks: assorted American sodas, such as Coke; several types of juices, and two kinds of coffees & teas … regular ol’ boring American coffee & tea or real Ethiopian coffee & tea. We both ordered Ethiopian tea. Very tasty … somewhat akin to Good Earth tea … spicy sweet.
We found out later that Zemam’s Ethiopian Cuisine doesn’t serve alcoholic beverages, but you are welcome to BYOB. A slight corkage fee applies.
We both agreed. The food was delicious. Different, but really, really good. Is it authentic Southern Arizona Cuisine? Nope. Is it authentic Ethiopian cuisine? Yup! Do we wholeheartedly recommend Zemam’s to our friends & family? We do.
I will add Zemam’s to our List of the Best Restaurants By Cuisine.
The owners are Cynthia & Amanuel Gebremariam. He and his family started the business in a small rented house in 1994. Since then, the Gebremariam’s restaurant has been making Ethiopian food according to his mother’s recipes. As a tribute to his mother, the restaurant is named after her.
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday
Lunch: 11 AM to 2:30 PM
Dinner: 4:40 PM to 9:30 PM
Original Location: 2731 E Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85716
New 2nd Location: 119 East Speedway Blvd, where the Garland Bistro used to be.
Ms. Karen & I visited Tohono Chul Park last Sunday. We go there several times a year, usually with visiting guests, so membership makes sense for us. On this occasion, we wanted to check out their Sunday brunch for our upcoming feature on the Best Sunday Brunch in Tucson. We also wanted to see their new Desert Palm Oasis.
If you haven’t experienced it yet, do visit Tohono Chul Park’s new Desert Palm Oasis. They have created a reproduction of the ecology in the canyons near Guaymas, Mexico along the Gulf of California coast where 3 species of fan palms thrive. These rare palms are only found north of the border in a canyon near Yuma. At Tohono Chul you will find a pleasant, accessible walk along a stream and small pond with other plants native to to these canyons, such as Nacapule Jasmine.
You can view our brief Tohono Chul Park original video & find out more about their beautiful gardens, art galleries, and highly rated Garden Bistro at our website: SouthernArizonaGuide.com > Attractions > Parks / Gardens.
Last Saturday was the 13th Annual Empire Ranch Fall Roundup. Ms. Karen & I were there most of the day to take photographs. This fundraising event was a celebration of ranching life in Southern Arizona. Given the size of the crowd, it seemed like a very successful effort on the part of a lot of volunteers, donors, and sponsors.
All day long there were exhibitions, reenactments, entertainment, food, and demonstrations related to life on the Empire Ranch over the past 150 years. There was so much going on that we couldn’t get to all the Western skills demonstrations or “Cowboy Conversations”.
There was plenty for the younger kids to see & do, and the older folks seemed to appreciate the historical significance.
If you are a subscriber to SouthernArizonaGuide.com, you received the slideshow in your email inbox this morning. Otherwise you can view it by clicking on SouthernArizonaGuide.com > Main Menu > New Posts.
I have been invited to photograph this annual fun & fundraising event this Saturday. When I look at the schedule & map, I wonder how I will get everything included. There will be so much going on at the same time. Click on this link to see for yourself.
Should be a swell day’s outing for the whole family. If you subscribe to our SouthernArizonaGuide.com you will see selected photos in our next weekly email newsletter.