Tubac Presidio State Historical Park Open Year Round

Tubac Presidio Park Events Calendar

1 Burruel St, Tubac, AZ 85646
Phone: 520-398-2252

The park is located 45 miles south of Tucson on Interstate 19.

Park Entrance Fees:
$5 adults, $2 youth (7-13), children (0-6) free
Open Daily: 9 am – 5 pm daily, Closed Christmas Day.

Tubac Presidio won TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012

New Exhibit at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

Tubac ambulanceThe newest exhibit at the community-run Tubac Presidio is a rare original 1800’s period carriage called an ambulance.

It has been restored and modified to replicate the ambulance that Phocion R. Way, an engraver from Cincinnati, Ohio, rode on from Mesilla on the Rio Grande River to Tucson in June of 1858.

Many other figures in Tubac’s Territorial history arrived here on this type of vehicle as well because of its comfort and speed. Our ambulance was restored over thirteen months by Hanson Wheel and Wagon in Letcher, South Dakota and is the only known vehicle of its type on display anywhere in the world.

Tubac ambulanceThe magnificent vehicle is the centerpiece of the new exhibit, and it enables us to tell some fascinating stories related to Arizona's history: why people came to Tubac which was the largest city in Arizona with a population of over a thousand people between 1856 and 1861, and what caused that boom to end so abruptly; the timeline of Phocion Way's 40-day journey from Cincinnati to Tubac; and a brief history of the short lived Jackass Mail and its successor the Butterfield Stage.

The Tubac Presidio enables visitors to experience 2,000 years of Southwest history. We showcase every culture (Native American, Spanish, Mexican, Pioneer American, and Arizonian) with award-winning artifacts and displays to bring those 2,000 years of history to life.

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park was due to close in March, 2010 when the Arizona Legislature swept Arizona State Parks funds. The community of Tubac came together and succeeded in crafting a Public-Private Partnership that allowed Arizona’s first state park to remain open and available to the public under the direction of the Friends of the Tubac Presidio and Museum whose mission is to operate, maintain, and continually improve Tubac Presidio State Historic Park.

The Ambulance exhibit is owned entirely by the Friends and is on display under a loan agreement with Arizona State Parks Board. One of many improvements the Friends have made to the Tubac Presidio, it is by far the grandest.

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

Tubac presidio MuseumThe Tubac Presidio State Historic Park is Arizona’s first State Park, Arizona’s oldest European community, and the oldest, best preserved Spanish Colonial Presidio site in Arizona.

The Tubac Presidio State Historic Park did not close as planned on Monday, March 29, 2010.  Executive Director Renee Bahl and County Manager Greg Lucero came to an agreement that Santa Cruz County take over the management of the park.

The effort was a Public-Private Partnership that allowed Arizona’s first state park to remain open to the public.

"Through this process we have witnessed something truly remarkable.  Our County Supervisors, State Parks, and the community of Tubac worked collaboratively to save Arizona's treasure, the place where Arizona started.  We have much to celebrate today," said Shaw Kinsley, President of the Tubac Historical Society.

Tubac Presidio MuseumThe Tubac Presidio Park preserves three significant buildings on the National Register of Historic Places: Arizona’s second oldest Territorial School House (1885), the Otero Hall (1914) and the Rojas House (1890).

(ASP- March 26, 2010- Phoenix, AZ)

Photos above: Tucson Presidio Museum. Explore the timeline of human settlement in the Santa Cruz River Valley, dating back to the Pima Indian settlement in the 1500s. Many artifacts on displays from time periods of Native American, Spanish Colonial, Mexican Republic and Territorial.

Tubac Presidio WallUnderground Archaeological Exhibit

Visitors can view excavated portions of the original adobe foundation, walls and plaza floor of the 1752 Commandant’s quarters, as well as artifacts discovered during the Presidio’s excavation.

Photo left: Tubac Presidio wall in the underground display part of the museum's exhibition open to the public.

Printing Press Demonstrations at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

Tubac Presidio Printing Press NewspaperTubac Presidio State Historic Park presents historic printing press demonstrations. 

These presentations honor print journalism and Arizona's 150-year-old newspaper, The Arizonian, which is still being printed on the original hand press at the Park.

It took seven years to bring the historic Washington Hand Press back to its original glory. The press had been in Tombstone and was found in a garage in the back of a house in the late 1970s.

It took State Parks staff and a very dedicated volunteer, many years to prepare an engineering plan and find all the parts to put it back together. They traveled to the Smithsonian to enlist the help of other experts to learn how to repair the press. This was the hand press that actually printed Arizona's first newspaper. Today volunteers operate the press on weekends for visitors, printing a commemorative edition of the original newspaper for the public.

On March 3, 1859 Arizona's first newspaper came off the presses. Its editorial policies included getting a separate government for Arizona as it was then part of the New Mexico Territory.  The press had come to Arizona by ship on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, then across the Gulf of Panama, to the Sea of Cortez and at Guaymas, was loaded onto an oxcart and sent to Tubac. It later went on to print a paper in Tucson and the Tombstone Epitaph.

Please call ahead to find out the latest information about the State Parks by calling (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703) or visit AZStateParks.com. Follow us on twitter.com/AZStateParks.

Entertainment Book 

Celebrate Anza Day at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

In 1776, most of us learned how new Americans were fighting for their independence from Britain, but in the southwest Capt. Juan Bautista de Anza was gathering about 300 Spanish settlers and military people for a long trip. They mounted up and left the Tubac Presidio with these people on a 1200-mile trek to the West coast to build the Presidio at San Francisco.  Their mission was to connect New Spain with San Francisco.

Tubac, which grew up around the Spanish presidio built in 1752, is Arizona's first European settlement.

The Anza Trail runs from Nogales, Arizona to San Francisco, California with the 3.5 miles section between the two parks followed by re-enactors each year.  

The Park serves as a trailhead for a 4.5-mile section of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, which follows the Santa Cruz River to the Tumacácori National Historical Park.

Read the fascinating journals of the military leaders and learn more about this historic trip at http://www.nps.gov/juba/index.htm.


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