As I mentioned last year one of our family traditions is to attend a fine arts performance; go see a show, concert, or play. This year we really could not find a show that fit the bill, so instead we attended some of the local holiday seasonal festivities. Lights, lights, and more lights with friends. (Sorry for some of the pictures, cameras did not like the dark so much)
The first event of the season was an evening at Holiday Lights in Tohono Chul park. The park is a Sonoran Desert Botanical Gardens oasis in northwest Tucson. For the holidays, they decorate the main pathways with a full canopy of lights. We decided to go on the opening evening which also included a small craft fair and food venue with great tapas. They even had prickly pear margaritas to enjoy while immersing yourself in the lights of the gardens. The lights were very well done and got us in the holiday spirit. We made an evening of it and really enjoyed it.
Out on the east side of Tucson is cowboy country. Ranches and horses dot the landscape. At Colossal Cave Mountain Park is a horse ranch that does trail rides and cowboy BBQs. During the Christmas season, they do Christmas in the Desert Wagon Rides at La Posta Quemada Ranch, complete with hot chocolate, smores, a hay wagon, Christmas carols and Santa. We went with our good friends, Susan and Jeff, for an evening of lights and stars and cool desert night temps. The wagon horses were Calamity and Jane. We had the last ride of the evening booked, but it was oversold, so they ran one more just for the four of us, a private tour. They had decorated the trees and cactus around the trail in little themed scenes. It was a fun and unique evening. It was soooo dark you could see the Milky Way, at least till the full moon rose over the mountains casting long saguaro shadows and making the cholla glow.
The Reid Park Zoo also hosts an annual holiday light show. While we have been to the zoo numerous times, this was the first time we had been at night and for the holiday lights. Our friends, Bryan and Karen, joined us for the evening. First, we tried a new-to-us pizza joint down near the University of Arizona campus, then headed out to the zoo. Wow, it was very well done. There were supposedly over one million lights strung amongst the trees and pathways. There were also animal themed displays aligned with their respective part of the zoo and live Christmas music and even carolers. The temps had dropped that evening, so it was the perfect night for hot chocolate and a stroll.
All in all, it was a great start for us to the holiday season and got us in the spirit of things. No winter wonderland for us this year though, we are headed to Texas to spend Christmas with Jennifer’s Dad and wife. Stay tuned.