In the Region: Oracle State Park brings plenty of beauty to Southern Arizona - Tucson Local Media: Features

In the Region: Oracle State Park brings plenty of beauty to Southern Arizona

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Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:45 am | Updated: 6:35 pm, Tue May 28, 2013.

Oracle State Park, a 4,000-acre wildlife refuge and a center for environmental education, is located in the northern foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. Ranging from 3,700 to 4,600 feet in elevation, the surrounding landscape transitions from oak woodland to desert grassland, with sweeping views all around.

The historic Kannally Ranch House, which sits on the property at Oracle State Park, is a unique Mediterranean-style building. The House offers patio views, bird watching and home tours. It is a museum with historic photos, original artwork and unique design features.

House tours are free with park admission. Visitors will learn the stories behind its hand-carved corbels, stenciled walls, hand-formed fireplace, French casement windows and cozy ranch kitchen. The Kannally Ranch House is a four-level pueblo-revival adobe home with Moorish and Mediterranean influences. It was built by the Kannally ranching family and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The displays include family photos, furnishings and several paintings by “self-taught” cowboy artist Lee Kannally. Picnicking on the patios is welcomed.

Environmental education programs for school children, first through sixth grades, are scheduled by reservation. Thousands of students have learned important environmental principles in these ranger/volunteer-led programs over the last two decades.

Other ongoing activities at the park include a park wildlife slide show, edible fruits display, and the junior ranger program is available anytime. Guided bird walks and guided hikes of three to five miles are held bi-monthly when the park is open.

Oracle State Park has trails that offer varying degrees of difficulty including a four-mile section of the Arizona Trail that transects the park and is multi-use for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. Bring your camera, binoculars, notebook, sketchbook, bird book and leash for your pet.

The park features a diversity of animals, plant species and rock formations. There are also oak tree-shaded washes, mesquite scrub habitats and riparian woodlands with manzanita and beargrass.

Oracle State Park is open to the public on a limited basis. For more information about the park visit AZStateParks.com/Parks/ORAC or call the park office at (520) 895-2425. The Park Entrance Fee is $7 per vehicle for up to four adults at the gate on Mt. Lemmon Highway near Oracle.

For information about all 27 Arizona State Parks, the trails, Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and the State Historic Preservation Office, call (602) 542-4174. For those outside the Phoenix area, call (800) 285-3703. Or visit the website at AZStateParks.com, Twitter/Facebook AZStateParks.

 

PARK INFORMATION

What: Oracle State Park, Center for Environmental Education, located at 3820 E. Wildlife Dr., Oracle.

Contact: (520) 896-2425

Park hours and open dates: Oracle State Park is open from Feb. 2 to April 27 on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Weekdays the park is not open to the public.

Starting in the fall of 2013 the park will be open from Oct. 5 through April 27, 2014 on Saturdays and Sundays. Hours will be 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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