Golf Club Opening at Award-winning Casino Resort. Tucson's newest golf course, Sewailo Golf Club, opens December 12, 2013 at Casino Del Sol Resort, Spa and Conference Center, an enterprise of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Sewailo, meaning "flower world" in Yaqui the language, is an 18-hole, par-72 championship course, blending 200 acres of Sonoran Desert landscape, 100 acres of grass, 14 acres of lakes and waterfalls, and a one-mile stream. Course designer Notah Begay III is the only Native American golf professional on the PGA Tour circuit. The adjacent 215-room Casino Del Sol Resort, Spa and Conference Center recently became the first casino resort to receive the Forbes Travel Guide's Four-Star Award for hospitality establishments worldwide; the property is also a recipient of the AAA Four-Diamond hotel award.
Butterfly Magic Will Surround You. The tropical greenhouse at Tucson Botanical Gardens has heated up for Butterfly Magic. This exhibition of some of the world's most beautiful and exotic butterflies spans eleven countries. Butterfly Magic runs through April 30, 2014. If you go, try the gardens's new Café Botanica, serving refreshing drinks and imaginative local, handmade food, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. For more information, visit tucsonbotanical.org. Just south of Tucson, at the Patagonia Butterfly Garden, in Patagonia Town Park, visitors can find more than 200 of the 700 butterfly species that can be seen in North America.
Studio Tour Boasts 224 Artists. Tucson will celebrate its artistic vibrancy on Fall Open Studio Tour Weekend, November 9-10. On this free, self-guided tour, 224 artists who live in Tucson and Pima County will open their studios and galleries to the public. On display will be works in varied mediums, styles, and genres, including sculptures made from recycled machine parts, hand-thrown ceramics, luminescent landscapes, abstract wax encaustics, silver and gold jewelry, leatherworks, woodworks, and more. A free directory is available online from Tucson Pima Arts Council. Learn more at tucsonpimaartscouncil.org/programs
Tucson Marathon Fitness Weekend. Winter's sunny and cool days equal peak running season in Tucson - a great time to train or compete at the time-honored Tucson Marathon, December 7-8. On Saturday, the Tucson Marathon Family Fitness Fest, on the University of Arizona Mall, is all about family fitness, with 10K, 10K relay, and 1-mile run/walk events. On Sunday, Tucson Marathon, Marathon Relay and Half Marathon, a Boston Marathon-qualifier, starts in rural Oracle, north of Tucson in Pinal County, and features a fast course that winds through Sonoran Desert scenery on mostly downhill paved roads; the half-marathon, starting near Biosphere 2, is one of the fastest point-to-point races in the country. For more details, visit tucsonmarathon.com
Amazing Holiday Lights. Glowing luminarias and twinkling lights announce the holiday season in Tucson and southern Arizona. You can surround yourself with amazing holiday lights at these special events: Holiday Nights-Tohono Chul (11/29-30, 12/6-7, 12/13-14), Luminaria Nights/Fiesta de Navidad-Village of Tubac (12/6-7), Luminaria Nights-Tucson Botanical Gardens (12/6-8), Christmas in Tombstone (12/13-14), and Luminaria Festival-Tucson Presidio (12/14). Find more holiday events on visittucson.org/events/holiday
Renowned Guitarist Joins New Venue. World-famous classical guitarist Gabriel Ayala is making a difference in his hometown. The Tucson native is creating awareness of Native American cultures while supporting responsible building construction as new artistic director of Whistle Stop Depot, downtown Tucson's newest and greenest performance venue. The 5,200-square-foot, steel warehouse - renovated with recycled, reclaimed, and handmade materials - can be rented for community events, and every wall tells a story. Upcoming events include Tucson Indian Market, November 30-December 1, and a salsa-dancing New Year's Eve with Tucson Latin All-Stars, December 31. Learn more about Whistle Stop Depot on Facebook
Tucson Voted Best Place to Watch a Sunset. Tucson was ranked seventh out of 10 cities in the 2013 "Best Places to Watch a Sunset" travel award contest, sponsored by readers of USA Today and 10Best.com. The winner's description - "Tucson's indigenous cactus and broad expanse of sky combine with warm hues of day's end to paint a mind's eye picture worth a thousand words" - also mentions Gates Pass, on the way to Saguaro National Park West, a local favorite sunset-watching spot. See scenic Tucson photos on Visit Tucson's Facebook page
Tucson Named Top-10 Mountain Biking City. Tucson was named one of the nation's top-10 cities for mountain biking in 2013 by USA Today. In "America's Top Mountain Bike Towns," Tucson's five surrounding mountain ranges are commended for offering "endless supplies of sweet singletrack." Click here to read the full story. Find a full range of Tucson mountain biking resources on visitTucson.org
Celebrity Nail Salon Now at Miraval. For the first-time ever, a Deborah Lippmann Salon at Miraval Life in Balance Spa has opened. Known as one of the most in-demand celebrity and editorial manicurists, Deborah Lippmann is an innovator in the field of nail health. This collaboration brings high-fashion nail lines together with the Miraval touch to create one-of-a-kind nail-care rituals at Miraval. The new services empower a unique nail and skin health assessment that customizes your manicure or pedicure to promote long-lasting nail health with beauty. View the assortment of services at miravalresorts.com
Six Raptors Now Fly Overhead. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum begins a new, six-month season of twice-daily Raptor Free Flight exhibitions, this month, with a new feature. The afternoon show will include a cooperative group of six Harris's Hawks - the biggest group ever showcased with this program - flying in tandem over the heads of spectators. The hawks soar and swoop in their native habitat while a narrator describes their attributes, habitats, and behaviors. This unique wildlife-watching experience features raptors native to Arizona and the Sonoran Desert trained to fly untethered, in open desert, not an auditorium. See the Raptor Free Flight photo gallery here. For more information, go to desertmuseum.org
New Sonoran Desert Plant Tour. Docents at the Campus Arboretum on the University of Arizona campus have developed a new tour featuring Sonoran Desert native plants in the historical Joseph Wood Krutch Garden. This cactus display garden was created in 1891 to recognize the educational value of the native vegetation that had evolved in the Sonoran Desert over tens of thousands of years. Upcoming tour dates include, January 22 at 10 a.m., and May 3 at 8 a.m. Reservations required. To RSVP, email email@example.com. Learn more at arboretum.arizona.edu
New Sense of Place Menu from Janos. The restaurant DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails, in downtown Tucson, has reset its culinary sights on Tucson with a Sense of Place menu highlighting the diversity and flavors of southern Arizona. With menu items like Chiles en Nogado, Shrimp Mojo de Ajo, and Cinnamon + Chile Flourless Mexican Chocolate Cake, Chef and owner Janos Wilder captures the unique culinary heritage of southern Arizona with both native ingredients and iconic dishes of the region. "You could eat these dishes with your eyes closed and know you were in Tucson," Wilder said. Look for new Sense of Place menus at the restaurant every month through the fall and winter. For more details, visit downtownkitchen.com
Visit Tucson Releases Video Annual Report. Visit Tucson has released its Annual Report, for the first time in video format, for the 2013 fiscal year, covering July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. The seven minute video, intended to engage stakeholders with compelling footage and expert testimonials, condenses 365 days of positive impact resulting from travel and tourism in Tucson and southern Arizona. See the video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/prS6cokzZTs
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What's New in Tucson is produced monthly and distributed to travel writers by the Public Relations department at Visit Tucson. For media assistance, contact Public Relations Director Jessica Stephens. Send news to Editor Deborah Melcher. Contact Isela Cano to be added to, or removed from the mailing list. Find more travel information on visitTucson.org.