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Tucson, known to the locals as "The Old Pueblo," is so named after an old Spanish word meaning "Black Base," a clear allusion to the volcanic mountains that provide a background to the city. People visiting Tucson should not miss its many annual festivals, many of which are directly related to the Native American traditions of the tribes that once inhabited the area.
Some famous festivals include the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show and the Tucson Folk Festival, which attract over 50,000 visitors every year. For those visiting Tucson in November, there is also America's largest All Souls' Procession, a parade held the weekend following Halloween. The parade, hosted to celebrate those who have died, is one of Tucson's most important celebrations, with almost 10,000 people taking to the streets dressed in costumes that honor their lost ones.
There are over 120 parks available to those visiting Tucson, including the Coronado National Forest, Sabino Canyon, and Saguaro National Park. Hiking and whitewater rafting are extremely popular with tourists visiting Tucson, as are cycling and canyon camping. Outdoor adventure outfitters abound in the city, and anybody visiting Tucson can find a group to fit their fitness level and interest. From horse riding to jeep outings, and from skydiving to helicopter tours, visiting Tucson allows everybody a great chance to enjoy the outdoors. Hot-air balloon rides are also popular. Though expensive, the rides offer the best chance to experience Tucson's beauty from the air. Most city and national parks offer cycling paths of different fitness levels.
People visiting Tucson should not miss a trip to Biosphere2, twenty minutes north of the city. The $200 million US Dollar experiment is home to deserts, ocean, and a rainforest, plus a large living complex that allowed a group of eight scientists to survive in an airtight structure without any outside help for two full years. Biosphere2 was built to prove the possibility of living in space colonies. On many fronts the experiment was successful, but at the same time it also showed the difficult challenges to living in space. The construction is now open for tours.
For those visiting Tucson and the surrounding area, just outside the city is the Titan Missile Museum, the only of its kind in the world open to the public. The Titan is an underground facility complete with a ballistic missile, control room, launch duct, and living quarters. The missile itself was deactivated in 1982, but the facility remains in its original state.
If you are looking for an amazing place to try some adventure sports Tucson, Arizona is a great place to head to. There is nothing like an invigorating hike, dirt bike racing, whitewater rafting and skydiving all in the same week.
If you aren't feeling up to jumping out of a plane Tucson also has some of the best bungee jumping spots around.
I think taking a week to get in as much action as possible with in Tucson will leave you with some incredible memories. In my opinion, I find Tucson to be quite affordable and a good deal for what you get.
Tucson, Arizona has some truly beautiful parks that can be enjoyed whether you are keen on the outdoors or not.
For those who are interested and have the cash, the hot air balloon tours offer amazing views of the parks, without the hassle of having to actually go in and get eaten by insects.
My wife and I were never really gung-ho about nature adventures, but love taking photographs, so we hit the air the last time we visited Tucson. A hot air ride for around 4 hours in the area will easy run you over $200 for a quick jaunt. If you are part of a couple and looking for a romantic experience, you can book a couple trip for about $700. Very pricey, but well worth it for the views and amazing pictures.