Keeping It Cool on Campus

Keeping it cool: shopping at the UA BookStore.
April 02, 2013

The University of Arizona is cool and you can be, too! Summer is an excellent time to come and experience all that campus has to offer. Take in an art gallery. Relax in the shade.  Sip an iced drink.  Whether you’re hunting for culture, dining, nature or just plain fun, there are endless things to do at the U.  Unless indicated, items are free.

Arizona Public Media KUAT-TV/Radio Tour (520-626-3383) 
Are you a fan of NPR? Are you someone who can’t get through the weekend without listening to the “What Do You Know?” quiz or Tom and Ray on “Car Talk?” See where it all comes together in Tucson. Tour Arizona Pubic Media where local, PBS & NPR programs are broadcast. Reservations required.

The Arizona State Museum (520-621-6302)

There is a reason why The Arizona State Museum is the busiest non-federal archaeological repository in the country; it holds a comprehensive collection of American Indian basketry, and the world’s largest whole-vessel collection of Southwest Indian pottery. In addition to ongoing exhibits, this summer features exhibitions on Native basketry and Hopi quilts.

Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium (520-621-4516)

Science is cool at the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium! Flandrau’s ever-changing array exhibits cover a broad range of science topics. There are awe-inspiring shows and laser demonstration as well as telescope observing.  Get admissions prices and exhibit info on the Flandrau website.

Frances O'Brien Gallery

Located on the second floor of the College of Humanities (520-621-1044), this space is dedicated to the paintings of France O’Brien, portrait artist. O’Brien, friend and compatriot of Georgia O’Keefe made her home in Tucson and hosted artist from New York to Mexico. 

Herbarium (520-621-7243)

The power of herbs has been known for eons. Now, that knowledge is open to you.  With over 400,000 specimens, University of Arizona’s Herbarium is the world's largest collection of plants from Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.

The History of Pharmacy Museum  (520-626-4429)

Even a medicine bottle can beautiful! See for yourself at the History of Pharmacy Museum.  Spanning all four floors of the Pharmacy building, the museum contains a collection of over 60,000 bottles, original drug containers, books, store fixtures, and artifacts from Arizona (circa 1880 to 1950), including several large drug store fixtures from Arizona's territorial days. 

The Jim Click Hall of Champions (520-621-2331) 
The Hall of Champions showcases more than 100 years of University of Arizona Athletics heritage and traditions. Completed in 2002, the athletics museum boasts 9,000 square feet of floor space and a mezzanine level for special events. With a spectacular glass facade overlooking the UA mall, the Hall of Champions is nothing short of magnificent.

Joseph Gross Gallery (520-626-4215)

Art and science do an interesting dance this summer at Joseph Gross Gallery at the first solo exhibition in Arizona for Josh Keyes. His works have been shown in exhibitions, galleries and many publications.  Keyes employs a diagrammatic vocabulary, typically found in scientific textbooks, to orchestrate images that converge in his carefully executed, yet tumultuous ecological cross-sections.

Koi Pond

Recently selected as one of the most romantic places on campus by UA students, the koi pond is nestled between Park Avenue and the Arizona State Museum. This small freshwater pond is home to koi fish, ducks and more than a dozen turtles, and makes the perfect beginning or the end to your evening stroll through campus.

Campus Arboretum (520-621-7074)

And as you meander, you’ll be surrounded by one of the greatest collections of trees in Arizona, the UA Campus Arboretum. Many of these stately links to the past are the largest of their kind in the state; others have been designated as Great Trees of Arizona. Several are unique to the entire Southwest, and a few were the first of their kinds to be planted in the Western Hemisphere. 

McKale Memorial Center  (520-621-CATS)

Interested in a pro sighting? During the summer, former basketball players and now pros are said to visit McKale Memorial Center – home of the UA Department of Athletics. The building is open during the day and many of the campus community use the air conditioned space for walking.

Steward Observatory Mirror Lab (520-626-8792)

A tour of the Mirror Lab campus offers a unique opportunity to experience how UA innovations are producing the world’s largest telescope mirrors. This behind the scenes tour demonstrates how cutting-edge optical technology and the revolutionary spin-casting processes are making telescope mirrors that produce images never before seen with such power and clarity.  Tours Monday through Friday, fees apply.                                                                          

The Museum of Optics (520-621-6997)

Located throughout the five floors of the Meinel building, the Museum of Optics offer access to its collection of antique and historic telescopes, microscopes, lenses and cameras. These specimens represent work by the world's most respected instrument makers from the 18th century to the present. eras. These specimens represent work by the world's most respected instrument makers from the 18th century to the present.

The Arizona Student Unions (520- 621-6423)

Open all summer, the student union is so much more than a bookstore and a few fast food joints. Sure, you can find everything from Chinese food to frozen yogurt in the food court. But there’s art and history, too. The Union and Kachina Galleries display original art by regionally and nationally prominent artists. Step back into WWII history at the USS Arizona collection, which started in 1950 with two photographs and has since grown to over 1200 images, 900 documents and close to 1000 three-dimensional features. Photographs range in age and subject from the launching and christening of the U.S.S Arizona, to the Memorial built astride the sunken battleship.  

UA BookStores (520-621-2426)

Books, music, clothing, computers, clothing are just  a few of the  items that fill this 63,000 square feet store that was designed to welcome campus and community for a rich and complete shopping experience.

UA Museum of Art (520-621-7567)

Located in the UA Arts District, the UA Museum of Art offers wide-ranging collections of over 5,000 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, with an emphasis on European and American fine art from the Renaissance to the present. This summer you can view, The Altarpiece from Ciudad Rodrigo; Joshua Olivera Palimpsest: an Image of What Once Was; The Abstract Art of David Headley; Sol LeWitt Days; and Master Impressions:  17th Century Prints from the Permanent Collection. Adults – $5; children, active military, students, faculty and staff – free.

UA Poetry Center (520-626-3765)

With nearly 70,000 items related to poetry in its collection, the Poetry Center is a living, breathing archive, a place where the spirit of poetry has served members of the community for over 50 years. Within this unique architectural space – a work of poetry in its own right – you can enjoy readings and lectures, classes and workshops, library exhibitions and discussion groups, or just browse, sit quietly and read. It is, as beloved teacher and friend Steve Orlen said, “The best living room in America for reading poetry.”

University Libraries (520- 621-6423)

This summer several of the Libraries exhibits celebrate our unique region’s culture and history. Special Collections has on exhibit an official centennial project:  Arizona 100: Essential Books for the Centennial. At the Main Library, check out, Happy Birthday Tucson: A look at Tucson's architectural and cultural treasures. And at the Science Engineering Library pop by, Happy Birthday Tucson: A look at Medicine and Medical facilities in early Tucson.

Center for Creative Photography (520-621-7968)

If contemporary is more to your liking, check out the Center for Creative Photography. Feast your eyes on the largest institution in the world devoted to documenting North American photography. Peruse the complete archives of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Frederick Sommer, W. Eugene Smith, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Garry Winogrand, and other great photographers of the modern era.

Tree Ring Lab (520-626-3617) 

In 1937 A. E. Douglass, founder of the modern science of dendrochronology, established the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona. The Lab is recognized worldwide as the preeminent center for the advancement of tree-ring techniques and the broad application of dendrochronology in the social and environmental sciences. To arrange a tour contact Rex Adams, Outreach Specialist, radamsatltrr [dot] arizona [dot] edu.

The Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory (520-621-6751)

The Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory is an enchanting desert oasis located on the south side of the College of Agriculture and Landscape Agriculture. This beautiful arid landscape employs low cost design and water harvesting.

Helpful Hints:

  • Feeling overwhelmed at the opportunities? Pop by or call the UA Visitor Center (520-621-5130) and we’ll help you plan your visit – or visits!
  • Wondering about parking and transportation? There is ample, affordable parking all across campus. And once you leave your car, Cat Tran, the free UA campus shuttle bus system, offers a great air conditioned way to get from here to there.  Visit