In July of 2015 we set out on a grand vacation through the southwest. We traveled for 21 days and over 6,000 miles, visiting 5 states and 9 National Parks. We explored new places and met up with old friends. Overall, it was an incredible journey and everyone learned so much. You can view all posts about our wild west adventure here.
Destination: Saguaro National Park
Date of Visit: July 2015
Kids: Cole (age 8) & Kiley (age 5)
Length of Stay: 1 Day
While in Tucson, we headed into Saguaro to hike among the gigantic cactus. The kids loved this park, and especially loved the Junior Ranger pack the let us borrow. At Saguaro they earned Junior Ranger badges and then, as a family, we earned “not so junior ranger” badges. Saguaro was my son’s most anticipated park to visit. He has an obsession with cacti so this was right up his alley. Saguaro National Park is divided into two different districts, the East and the West. We only visited the east region of the park while we were there because of time constraints.
He loved hiking the trails and identifying all the different cacti. Saguaro was by far the hottest park we visited. Make sure you go early and take LOTS of water. There is very little shade.
My kids loved the Junior Ranger Explore Packs that Saguaro provides to families visiting the park. It made it easy to complete their Junior Ranger books for another pin. Be sure to ask for one at the visitor center.
The kids earned their 9th Junior Ranger Badge on this visit.
Something unique to Saguaro was their Not So Junior Ranger Program. This is separate from the Junior Ranger Badge, and it’s designed for older kids, or adults, or for the entire family to complete. Of course we participated, because after watching the kids earn badges all over the southwest, I wanted one of my own.
Highlights: The kids loved the Junior Ranger Pack that we checked out at the visitor center. Also, the Not So Junior Ranger Program was a hit with the entire family. Saguaro had a surprising amount of wildlife you could see if you went to visit early and beat the heat.
What We Would Change: I wish we would have had time to visit both regions of the park. Maybe next time.
Recommended Reading: I highly recommend the Foder’s guide to National Parks of the West, we used it when planning our trip and it was a great resource. I liked that there were plenty of suggestions to exploring the parks with kids.