September events at Saguaro National Park - Tucson News Now

September events at Saguaro National Park

(Source: National Park Service) (Source: National Park Service)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Saguaro National Park is offering a variety of walks and talks that explore the park’s wonderful natural and cultural histories. Program listings also are available on the park’s website,, or visit us on Facebook. Interpretive programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Be sure to call in advance to make your reservations, as some events require them. 

Naturalist Programs at Tucson Mountain District (West District):

Programs are offered on most days in the morning at 10:15 and/or 11:15, and in the afternoon at 2:15 and/or 3:15 and last 30 to 45 minutes, unless noted otherwise.  Topics include mountain lions, lizards, coyotes, roadrunners, javelinas, kangaroo rats, insects, flowers, birds, plant and animal survival strategies, and the saguaro cactus.

Sept. 6, 13, 20, 27   10:15 a.m.   Mountain Lions: Beyond the Myth     Talk: 45 minutes
Envision a puma stalking its prey, then uncover the true nature of this elusive but essential predator. Misunderstood, maligned, and nearly eradicated by settlers, the cougar remains threatened by human encroachment. Wheelchair accessible

Sept. 7, 14, 21, 28   3:15 p.m.   Kangaroo Rat: Super Survivor     Talk: 45 minutes
Learn about the remarkable behavioral and physical adaptations these rodents possess that allow them to survive harsh desert environments. Find out how this nocturnal animal escapes predators, evades heat, and endures aridity. Wheelchair accessible

Sept. 3, 10, 17, 24   3:15 p.m.   Cooking With Prickly Pear     Talk: 30 minutes     
Learn how you can incorporate prickly pear into your diet. This program will show you how to collect and prepare prickly pear. Prepare for a sweet treat! Wheelchair accessible

Sept. 5, 7, 14, 21, 28   11:15 a.m. also Sept. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30   3:15 p.m.  Living With Giants Talk: 45 minutes 
The saguaro celebrates events and faces challenges throughout its life. A biologist explains how it provides shelter and substance for wildlife; when it flowers; its growth patterns; and how it fights for survival against drought, lightning, frost, and other dangers. Wheelchair accessible

Sept. 12, 19, 26   3:15 p.m.   Raptors!  Talk: 30 minutes 
Southern Arizona and the Sonoran Desert Region are renowned for the large variety of animal and plant species, especially birds, that can be found in the area. Among the most fascinating of those are the raptors, top predators of the avian world, who either live here year-round, or migrate through the area. Wheelchair accessible

Sept. 19, 26    2:15 p.m. What is the Reason for the Saguaro Fruit Harvest?  Talk: 30 min
For over a hundred years the Tohono O’odham have harvested the saguaro fruit every summer. Come participate in a cultural experience and learn about this enriching tradition. Wheelchair accessible

Sept. 12, 26   11:15 a.m.   Life Cycle of the Saguaro: Seed to Giant   Talk: 45 minutes
Hear some astonishing reasons about why so few Saguaro seeds make it to fruition. Wheelchair accessible. 

Sept. 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 19, 26   10:15 a.m. Marvelous Mimicry Talk: 30 minutes 
Not all is as it appears… Come learn all about the optical illusion that is mimicry and adaptation, of which has helped shape some of the life in the Sonoran Desert! Wheelchair accessible.    

Sept. 8, 18, 25  10:15 a.m. Cochineal: Nature’s Most Radiant Red Dye   Talk: 45 minutes
Come learn about cochineal and how it transformed world history.  This program will show you techniques on how to use cochineal as a natural fabric dye.  Wheelchair accessible.

Naturalist Programs at the Rincon Mountain District (East, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail):

September 1, 8, 15    10:00 a.m.    Is it a Cactus or A … sparagus?     Garden Walk  
We all know a cactus when we see it, right?  Maybe not!  Find out how our two families of spiny succulent plants are the same, but different.

September 1, 8, 15    2:00 p.m.    Fifty States, Fifty Parks       Presentation
 From Yellowstone to Lady Liberty … and 48 places in-between!  We’ll celebrate your National Park System and help you find a nearby park.

September 2, 9     10:00 a.m.    Hidden Wildlife      Garden Walk  
You want to see the park’s wildlife, but the wildlife doesn’t always want to be seen.  Learn how to enjoy your visit by looking for the signs animals leave behind as they eke out a tough existence in the desert.

September 2, 9, 16    2:00 p.m.      “Parks 101”            Presentation
Join us for a look at more than a hundred years of park history as we contemplate a new century of protection by your National Park Service.

September 3, 10, 17    10:00 a.m.    Easy Being Green        Garden Walk 
In the desert, you’d think it’s not easy being green.  But there are plants everywhere in the Sonoran desert!  We’ll give you a model that shows how every plant gets by in this land of little rain.

September 3, 10, 17    2:00 p.m.    The Changing Cactus Forest         Presentation
Our Cactus Forest has changed greatly over the years – and change is coming even faster now.  See what our grandparents saw, and think about what our grandchildren might see.

September 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27     2:00 p.m.    Exploring the Saguaro Wilderness        Presentation
Saguaro National Park includes over 70,000 acres of wilderness within its boundaries. Explore what’s “up there” with a park naturalist. Wheelchair accessible    

September 6             6:30 p.m.              Full Moon Hike        2-mile, 2-hour Guided Hike
Explore the Sights and Sounds of the Sonoran Desert as it comes to life under the full moon. Wear sturdy walking shoes and bring water and a flashlight. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (520) 733-5153.

September 7    10:00 a.m.    Who’s Who?           Garden Walk
The Sonoran Desert is home to many unique and delightful characters.  Walk through the garden and get some hints for remembering their names and faces.   

September 7     2:00 p.m.    Yesterday, Today and Saguaro       Presentation
Climate change has come to the National Parks.  Let’s discuss what’s happening today, and learn about a specific threat to our Sonoran desert and the Saguaro cactus.   

September 12, 19, 26      10:00 a.m.    Monsoon Rains in the Desert        Easy Walk
Join a park naturalist to learn the vital role monsoon rains play in the lives of Sonoran Desert plants, animals and humans. Wheelchair accessible

September 13, 20, 27      10:00 a.m.    Desert Botany 101    Garden Walk
Review the basic principles of desert botany on this easy walk through our Cactus Garden.            
For a complete listing - please visit the website -, or contact the visitor centers for daily updates.

Both visitor centers are open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, except Christmas Day.

  • Red Hills Visitor Center  (Saguaro WEST) - 2700 North Kinney Road Tucson, AZ 85743  (520) 733-5158                            
  • Rincon Mountain Visitor Center  (Saguaro EAST) - 3693 South Old Spanish Trail Tucson, AZ  85730 (520) 733-5153

For more information about Saguaro National Park and some of its partners, Friends of Saguaro National Park, Western National Parks Association, and the Rincon Institute, visit these websites:

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