TOMBSTONE: Known as "The Town Too Tough To Die", Tombstone, AZ is the town know mostly for it's the famous gunfight in 1881, "The Gunfight at the OK Corral". The gunfight was between Wyatt, Morgan & Virgil Earp, Doc Holiday & the McLaury & Clanton brothers. It is not a movie set, but the real thing preserved just as it was in 1881, including the wooden sidewalks.
In 1881, Tombstone was "The Queen of Boom Towns". Though primarily known for it saloons, gambling houses & bordellos, it ended up becoming the most cultivated city in the west. It produced more than $1 million in silver in the 1890's.
Today, still preserved, tourists can jump back in time & enjoy seeing the Birdcage Theater, Crystal Palace Saloon, Boothill Graveyard, Tombstone Epitaph & The OK Corral just as it was back in the 1880's. See daily, re-enactments of the famous gunfight, witness the dramatic events of the silver boom, the great fire, from Geronimo's Apaches to modern times.
BIOSPHERE 2: Discover one of the worlds greatest technological wonders, mini-earth under glass. The earth is known as Biosphere 1, & this 3.14 acre, glass enclosed mini-ecosystem, Biosphere 2. You won't believe it until you see it yourself. It actually has an ocean, desert, forest & rain forest all under glass.
This 250 acre, $200 million lab site, was originally developed to study life in outer space & is the worlds largest controlled environmental facility for terrestrial & marine plant growth & climate change science.
Initial construction began in 1984 & continued until Sept.1991, when the first two year live-in study began. The lab was totally self-sustaining, providing eight scientist all their food, water & oxygen from within. In 1995, Columbia University took over management and held ecology courses on the campus, which has a restaurant, hotel & conference center. In June of 2007, Unviersity of Arizona took over the reasearch. The Biosphere 2, under the university’s stewardship, allows UA to perform key experiments aimed at quantifying some of the consequences of global climate change.
KARTCHNER CAVERNS: For those who seek the underground, the Southwest hosts the Kartchner Caverns, Colossal Caves, Cooper & Silver mines. The most recent of all discoveries has been the Kartchner Caverns discovered in 1974 by two amateur cavers from Tucson.
They kept there discovery secret for 14 years to protect it from vandalism & exploitation & to ensure the survival of its delicate ecosystem. Unlike the Colossal Caves, the Kartchner Caverns is a wet, living cave into which water still percolates from the surface above & calcium carbonate features are still growing. It has an unusually wide variety of brilliantly colored cave formations, including the longest known Soda Straw stalactite formation in the world.
The contrast between the cave's natural 99%+ relative humidity & the dry desert climate above makes this cave particularly vulnerable. Un-monitored, air exchange could quickly destroy the cave's delicate ecosystem, halting it's growth & diminish the cave's natural beauty.
TUBAC: Established in 1752 as a presidio (fort) to protect the early European settlers who founded the nearby Tumacacori Mission. Tubac was first settled by the Spanish, but became part of Mexico when the country achieved independence in 1821. Tubac became part of the United States after the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, when it had become a ghost town. In 1860, a revival was brought to the village when the tales of the ancient mines & rich minerals in the Santa Cruz Valley lured mining companies, prospectors, storekeepers, travelers & journalists to the area. Tubac became the largest town in Az & published the state's first newspaper, The Weekly Arizonian.
Today, it is known as the place where art & history meet. It is the home to many artists, artisans & crafts people, the Tubac Center of Arts, numerous studios & galleries, & offers items ranging from pottery, stain glass, blown glass, metal sculptures, jewelry, wood carvings, paintings & much more. It is not just a tourist place, but a place where Tucsonans go for quality art.