Tucson offers its own student-break fun

By Nancy Motherway
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 19, 1996

Chris Richards
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Goodwin Smith, religious studies graduate student, explores the depths of Peppersauce Cave. The cave, easily accessible from Tucson, is a local favorite.


If you are stuck in Tucson during spring break while all your friends are in Cabo San Lucas getting the ultimate tan or frolicking on the slopes of Aspen, this does not mean you are deprived of having a good time. There are still many events and undiscovered pleasures within the wide boundaries of the Naked Pueblo, even if it is spring break.


The Arizona Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace offers 25 acres of 16th century-type goods, and entertainment continues through March 24. The European open-air market offers plenty of vendors with arts and crafts, as well as performers with music, dance, comedy and jousting tournaments. Admission is $11.95 for adults, but discounts are available at Fry's grocery stores. To get there, drive North on Oracle Road, which will turn into Highway 77. Take Highway 89 north to Florence Junction, and head west for seven miles on Highway 60/89 to the festival gate. Call (520) 463-2700 for information.

On March 8, surf rock guitarist Dick Dale will perform at Club Congress from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Tickets are $11 in advance and $13 at the door. Club Congress is located at 311 E. Congress. For more information, call 622-8848.

Folk singer Patty Larkin, who sang back-up vocals for country music's Mary Chapin Carpenter, will be performing at the Unitarian Universalist Church on March 9 at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $12, $15 at the door. Call 881-3947 for ticket information. Unitarian Universalist Church is located at 4831 E. 22nd St., east of Swan Road. All seats are general admission.

The 14th Annual Tucson Poetry Festival is a three-day celebration of poetry and its relevance in contemporary culture. Titled "Poetry & Lies," it will examine how the truth is told, or not told, in our culture through poetry. The festival runs March 8 through 10 at the Temple of Music and Art on 330 S. Scott. For more information, call 321-2163.


Brunswick Camino Seco Bowl offers "Cosmic Bowling" Fridays from 9:30 p.m. to midnight. Located at 114 S. Camino Seco, the bowling alley is one of 30 nationwide lanes testing out the glow-in-the-dark style of bowling. With luminescent balls, orange pins and a disco ball glowing under the swirling mist of fog and black lights, the alley provides a near-psychedelic bowling experience. The cost to play is $10 for non-league bowlers, free for league bowlers. Non-bowling observers pay $3. For reservations, call 298-2311.

If you haven't seen it yet, springtime is the time to check out the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Part botanical garden, part geology museum and part zoological park, it contains1,386 plant species and 317 animal species. Including a display of plant and animal life at different elevations and an impressive man-made cave, the $8.95 admission is well worth it. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, located at 2021 N. Kinney Road, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. To get there, take Speedway west and follow the signs. For more information, call 883-2702.

Enjoy the irony and ice-skate in Tucson at the Iceoplex. Weekday public hours vary, but late sessions run both Friday and Saturday from 7:30 to 10:15 p.m. General admission is $5.50 and skate rental varies from $2.25 to $7. The Iceoplex is located at 7333 E. Rosewood St. For directions or information call 290-8800.

Itchy Foot Moe's skate park offers indoors skating and music, but for skateboarders only. Prices run $3 on weekdays from 3 to 9 p.m., and $4 on weekends, Saturdays from 12 to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 12 to 6 p.m. You'll need to fill out a notarized waiver for insurance purposes, but this is a minor hassle. For information call 622-5002.


Where else but in the beautiful Sonoran desert can you enjoy the cozy warmth of a slippery cave in the chill of spring? Peppersauce Cave contains a multitude of caverns and a perennial underground lake. To reach it, drive north on Oracle, which will eventually become Highway 77. Keep driving on Highway 77 until you reach the town of Oracle and turn right at the "Oracle Business District" sign (American Avenue), which takes you east. Drive roughly 5 miles and take Mount Lemmon Highway. After about 15 miles you will see Peppersauce Campground, but continue driving on Mount Lemmon Highway., which will turn off to the left. Park near the bridge, and Peppersauce Cave will be on the right. Although the cave will not be visible from the road, the worn trail will lead you to it. A helmet, flashlight and string are a must, and be prepared for mud.

Seven days of freedom provide an opportunity to discover Mount Lemmon's precious resources. Located on the mountain are ideal spots for camping, rock climbing and fishing. For information about those activities, call 670-4552 or 749-2855. For the ski report, call 576-1400. Take Speedway Boulevard east and then turn left on Wilmot Road, which turns into Tanque Verde Road and bends eastward. Keep going on Tanque Verde for another three miles until you get to Catalina Highway. Turn left. The base of Mt. Lemmon is straight ahead four miles.

If all else fails, strap on your in-line skates and take advantage of the UA's miles of uncrowded concrete. When else can you skate down the UA mall and avoid knocking down pedestrians?

Bryan Hance contributed to this article.