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Old West in Tucson

Old Tucson

How The West Was Filmed At Old Tucson

Gather 'round the chuck wagon for a finger-licking cowboy cookout, with truly authentic Old West entertainment at Old Tucson-the award-winning movie location and theme park immortalized in more than 300 Western feature films and television shows.

Your private lunch will be at the High Chaparral Ranch, the setting for the popular 1960s' TV series of the same name. A duo of friendly cowboys will serenade you with songs and stories of "How the West Was Filmed" in Tucson while your cook dishes up ranch-style vittles.

Afterward, you'll want to join in the sing-along of Hollywood's best-loved Western tunes. This one-of-a-kind cookout and real history package includes admission to the theme park, featuring legendary stunt shows, staged gunfights, and musical revues, as well as stops at the movie memorabilia museum and gift shops. For $5 per person, group photos with your cowboy duo are available at scenic settings, including the High Chaparral Ranch set, the Old Tucson Lines stagecoach in Town Square, and the Reno locomotive train engine.

Attendees: 20 min./60 max.

Length: 1 hour (plus time in park)

Times: Daily, 11-4

Reservations: At least two weeks in advance. 50%-nonrefundable deposit due at that time. Remainder due upon arrival. Old Tucson Studios reserves the right to cancel due to changes in operations, in which case, the entire deposit is refundable.

Sample Menu: Choice of grilled chicken breast or hamburger, with tender baked beans and creamy coleslaw.

Contact: Gilbert LaRoque

Old Tucson Studios  
201 S. Kinney Rd., Tucson, AZ 85735 
(520) 883-0100 ext. 264

glaroque@oldtucson.com, oldtucson.com


 

La Fiesta de los Vaqueros

Celebrate The Cowboys At Tucson's Rodeo

Tucson returns to its roots every February during La Fiesta de los Vaqueros-the city's Celebration of the Cowboys-to experience real Western heritage and watch championship rodeo events under warm, winter skies. In existence since 1925, the event is ranked as a top professional rodeo and features exciting professional events such as bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, team roping, bull riding, and women's barrel racing, plus a country Western music concert. The Tucson Rodeo Parade is a treasured tradition of rodeo week. The largest non-motorized parade in the world, the parade features more than 200 Western-themed floats and buggies, musicians, and Mexican folk dancers.

Dates: Every February, visit www.TucsonRodeo.com for more information

La Fiesta de los Vaqueros
4823 S. 6th Ave., Tucson, AZ 85714
TucsonRodeo.com  
(520) 741-2233
(800) 964-5662


 

Tombstone

Wild West Legends Of Tombstone

Walk the same route the Earps and Doc Holliday did on the streets of Tombstone, Arizona, to the gunfight that made them legends. Visit the final resting place of many of Tombstone's most famous and infamous characters. Enjoy a re-enactment of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral and visit the theater that the New York Times called "the wildest, roughest, wickedest honky-tonk between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast." 

Your guide is John Rose, a noted historian who has appeared on the Voice of America and in Arizona Highways magazine. The tour includes O.K. Corral gunfight re-enactment, Tombstone State Historic Courthouse, Boothill Graveyard, a walking tour of Tombstone's streets, and lunch at the Tombstone Café. Tour can be booked at a reduced rate without lunch. 

Visitors are also welcome to download the new Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park mobile tour app. The mobile web app can be accessed on any web-enabled device.

Attendees: 20 min./80 max.

Length: 5 hours including lunch (can be shortened).

Sample Menu: Ham-and-cheese or turkey sandwich served with potato chips and iced tea.

Contact: John Rose

Tombstone and Thunder Valley Tours  
P.O. Box 787, Hereford, AZ 85615
(520) 378-2539
Tombstone and Thunder Valley Tours
1881@cox.net

Vigilante Hangin'

Participate in a mock hanging, featuring a selected member of your group, as the cowboy actors of the Tombstone Vigilantes make sure the "troublemaker" gets what he or she deserves (and receives a little tombstone to commemorate the event).

Length: 20-minute skit

Reservation: The Tombstone Vigilantes require advance notice of the name of the person who will be featured in the mock hanging, so a miniature commemorative tombstone can be created.

Contact: Tombstone Vigilantes 

Tombstone Vigilantes
P.O. Box 144, Tombstone, AZ 85638
(520) 457-3434
info@tombstonevigilantes.com

True Stories of "The Town Too Tough to Die"

Visit Tombstone and experience the history and grandeur of "The Town Too Tough to Die." Learn the true story of the Earps, and stage a mock hanging with one of the members of your group. Visit the home of one of Tombstone's few remaining pioneer families and walk the graveyard where many of the city's most infamous characters are buried.

At the Tombstone State Historic Courthouse, see the rifle belonging to Tombstone founder Ed Schieffelin, as well as the original bar from Wyatt Earp's favorite saloon, and then lunch at the Tombstone Cafe. Your guide is John Rose, a noted historian who has appeared on the Voice of America and in Arizona Highways magazine.

Attendees: 20 min./80 max. 

Length: 5 hours including lunch (can be shortened)

Sample Menu: Ham-and-cheese or turkey sandwich served with potato chips and iced tea.

Contact: John Rose

Tombstone and Thunder Valley Tours  
P.O. Box 787, Hereford, AZ 85615 
(520) 378-2539
Tombstone and Thunder Valley Tours
1881@cox.net


 

Old Bisbee

Focus Your Camera on Old Bisbee

Pack your camera and film, and head to Bisbee for a delightful, fun-filled day with local photographer David MacDougal of Picture This Gallery. On this tour of historic Old Bisbee, you will learn simple methods and techniques for taking great photographs. Choose your own subject. There are many charming things to capture in Bisbee-the Bisbee courthouse, St. Patrick's Church on Quality Hill, Bisbee's 1,000 stairs, or jailhouse doors. The tour is followed by a visit to Picture This Gallery to browse photographs.

Attendees: 2 min./50 max.

Length: 4 hours  

Contact: Ilona Smerekanich or David MacDougal

Bisbee Visitors Center
P.O. Box 1642, Bisbee, AZ 85603
(520) 432-3554

Step-on Tour

Enter Bisbee through the mountain tunnel, and you'll be transported back to the bygone days of mule trains, rowdy miners, and Victorian styles. At the turn of the 20th century, Bisbee was the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco and a bustling regional cultural center. Today, Bisbee offers a rare glimpse of the past and exudes Old World charm through preserved buildings and attractions.

When you arrive in downtown Old Bisbee, your step-on guide will show you the city highlights. Travel to the Lavender Pit Mine and learn about the 24-hour operation of mining. Next, visit the Copper Country Mansions of the former mining executives before stopping at the town's newer section. The tour concludes back in Old Bisbee.

Attendees: 1 coach

Length: 1 hour

Sample Menu: Mini croissants, chicken salad & ham salad, fresh veggies, crudités with dip, chips, water, and soda. Brown bag lunch in the park-weather permitting.

Contact: Bobbe Hossman

Old Bisbee
P.O. Box 1338, Bisbee, AZ 85603
(520) 432-3146


 

The American Cowboy

Fact Versus Fiction

Go beyond the glamorous movie images and legendary tall tales and discover what a real cowboy's life was like. Western culture expert Tom Chambers dispels common myths to create a more accurate picture of authentic cowboy life. Examine the clothing and gear that have become the visual identity of the cowboy and discuss how these symbols have evolved over time. Your group can participate in demonstrations to uncover the truth about life in the Old West and why the cowboy has been elevated to the status of classic American hero.

Attendees: 5 min./100 max.

Length: 1 hour

Contact: Tom Chambers

Tom Chambers
7386 Placita de la Intriga, Tucson, AZ 85715
(520) 404-8600
tchambers@horseyodeler.com


 

Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum

Tour the Museum

The Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum showcases more than 150 horse-drawn vehicles ranging from small buggies to elaborate coaches, wagons, and stagecoaches. Most of these are used in the Tucson Rodeo Parade, the largest non-motorized parade in the world, featuring more than 200 Western-themed floats and buggies, Mexican folk dancers, and musicians. All of the vehicles have interesting histories, some being in films starring Maureen O'Hara, Ava Gardner, and John Wayne. Manufactured by Ronstadt, Studebaker, Brewster, John Deere, and Healey, many of the vehicles use the same principles of mechanics that are used today in our modern cars.

Attendees: 10 min.

Length: Tours generally take 90 minutes depending on the group's interests.

Reservations: The museum is open December through mid-March for public viewing, but private tours can be scheduled year-round. The museum is closed during rodeo week (usually middle to end of February) because the vehicles are being readied for the Rodeo Parade. 

Contact: Bob Stewart

Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum  
P.O. Box 1788, Tucson, AZ 85702 
(520) 294-1280
(520) 591-9585
paradebob@q.comtucsonrodeoparade.org/

More Old West Ideas

Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum 
The exhibits at this entrancing museum give an explanation of how Bisbee came about and the lifestyles led there more than a century ago.

Queen Mine Tours
Experience the life of miners and learn how they toiled in the subterranean tunnels. Don a lantern, hat, and slicker to ride a train deep into the Queen Mine, with a former miner as your guide.

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral 
Watch Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Virgil and Morgan Earp fight the McLaurys and Clantons in daily 2 p.m. gunfight re-enactments.

Trail Dust Town
Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse at Trail Dust Town offers a taste of the Old West at Tucson's original cowboy steakhouse.

 

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