Phoenix With Kids

Children’s Museum Oro Valley at Tohono Chul

Have you checked out the new location of the Children’s Museum Oro Valley at Tohono Chul? If not, you’ll definitely want to add this special place to your to-visit list!

Abbey Bailey

Have you checked out the new location of the Children’s Museum Oro Valley at Tohono Chul? If not, you’ll definitely want to add this special place to your to-visit list! CMOV very recently moved to this location, which opened in January 2023. Tohono Chul, however, has been a Tucson fixture since the 1980s.

Tohono Chul is comprised of 49 acres of gardens and natural desert habitat– it’s truly a desert oasis with lots of mature desert plants and shade trees! Upon arriving at Tohono Chul, signs guide you to the parking area, which is plentiful and free. You’ll be walking through the gardens to reach CMOV and they encourage strollers and/or wagons! If anyone in your party requires accessibility considerations, Tohono Chul encourages you to call ahead so they can accommodate where you enter the gardens.

As you enter Tohono Chul, friendly docents (volunteers) are near the entrance ready to answer questions and share interesting facts! They gave us maps and pointed us to the Nature Niños characters which made it easy to navigate our way to the museum.

Friendly tip: Plan extra time to wander through the beautiful gardens in addition to visiting the museum! The walk to the museum was magical with springtime blooms abound, complete with fluttering butterflies. Along the way, the kids checked out water features and sculptures. We stopped by the desert tortoise habitat but he or she was still snoozing!

At the entrance to the museum, we were greeted by a giant horned lizard statue. The sound of chimes turned our attention and we saw bright colors and a water feature that led toward the outdoor play spaces. There was truly something for everyone at the museum, from the blankets set up for baby play to the peaceful meditation garden with foam building blocks and the indoor play areas complete with a grocery store and other pretend play items.

Children’s Museum Oro Valley at Tohono Chul

The Outdoor Living Garden Center had a play planting and potting area with faux plants and succulents. The watercolor painting area with spray bottles was a big hit with our artistic 6-year-old and the build-your-own ball maze was a favorite with the 9-year-old. The Utility Garden featured an epic mud pie station, water table, and a real-life tractor that you can paint! And lastly, the Winter/Summer Garden had all the pieces to make imaginary fairy gardens amongst the tree stumps.

Children’s Museum Oro Valley at Tohono Chul

The museum is open from 9-1 Tuesday-Sunday, although the outdoor play spaces are open the same hours as Tohono Chul. There are daily activities and programming, like storytime and the weekly Reptile Ramble, all aimed toward cultivating the next generation of nature lovers. Restrooms, drinking fountains, and a vending machine are located at the Children’s Ramada and Education Center. You’re also welcome to bring your own food and even have a picnic at one of the many picnic tables around the gardens.

The cost of admission is $15 for adults and $6 for children (5-12). Children under 5 are free and admission includes both the gardens and CMOV. We loved our visit so much that our family is even considering investing in a family membership! More info can be found on the CMOV website.

More things to do around Tucson can be found here!


  • Abbey Bailey

    Abbey is a mom of two children and lives in Oro Valley with her husband, Tyler. A long-time travel lover, she loves exploring as a family and talking with her kids about their experiences. Abbey loves reading, writing, and Sunday mornings spent in bed. Follow @abbeyjowriter on Instagram where she writes about motherhood, neurodiversity, and mental health.

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One Response

  1. You really find some educational &interesting places to take the Children to.So Proud of you & Tyler always out there sharing interesting things with the children.❤️❤️

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