We spent a couple of days at the KOA park in South Tucson. We were able to go to the Gem and Mineral Show with Paige where we saw interesting and lovely treasures. Paige knows an awful lot about rocks, which she turns into lovely jewelry. I learned many things about rocks and will never look at the things the same way again. Thank you Paige.
Doug and I decided to go to the Kartchner Caverns State Park for a couple of days. This park is ideal because it is only about 45 miles Southeast of Tucson and it’s easy to find. You take I-10 to Exit 302 and then take I-90 to the park entrance. If you are in Tucson, you can just drive down and spend the day here and see the sites, hike and/or visit the caves, and then drive back.
The wonderful thing about Kartchner Caverns State Park, are the caves. Two men were spelunking (love this word) back in 1974 and they found the caves. They kept the caves a secret until 1978 when they told the Kartchner's, who owned of the property about them. The Kartchner's approached the State of Arizona and after 10 years of negotiations, the State took over the caves in 1988. The caves opened to the public in 1999. The ‘live’ caves have many beautiful minerals and formations that have formed over the past 100,000 years. There are two cave tours, which are about ½ mile each. The Rotunda/Throne tour is about 1-1/2 hours long. In this tour you will see the “Kubla Khan” which is the larges column formation in Arizona, among many other things. The Big Room Tour from October 15th to April 15th, is about 1 hour and 45 minutes long. It is very colorful and interesting. Adults and children over 7 years of age can enjoy this tour. There is a charge for each of the tours. You can make reservations at AZStateParks.com or call (520) 586-2283. There is also a little Bat Cave Cafe at the center so you don't have to pack a lunch.
In addition to the tours, the Discovery Center has interesting information about Cochise County and about the caves. Cochise County has lovely scenery in places like the Chiricahua Mountains and the Coronado National Forest and the Riparian National Conservation Area as well as a colorful history in Tucson, Bisbee, Douglas and Tombstone.