Editor's note: We originally published this story on Dec. 24, 2018. It has since been updated.
School is out and your guest room is occupied.
Winter break looms large.
And sometimes, everyone just needs to get out of the house. We know.
Entertain your family or explore with friends by heading to a local museum. Tucson has so many options we wanted to give you some quirkier ideas (not that we don't love staples such as the Children's Museum Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the Tucson Botanical Gardens, etc.). You've probably heard of some of these, but we're hoping there are at least one or two new to you.
Just a note here: Check with individual museums regarding holiday hours. Many of these museums also have discounts for seniors, military and students.
Here are 14 fascinating Tucson museums. Happy exploring!
Go for the Christmas village.
The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, 4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive, will make you feel like a giant as you peek into hundreds of tiny doll houses, fairylands, holiday villages and international scenes. Admission is $10.50 general, $7 for kids ages 4-17 and free for kids 3 and under. Visit theminitimemachine.org for more information.
Go to see airplanes up close.
Pima Air and Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Road, has more than 350 historical aircraft and multiple hangars for you to explore. Admission to the museum for adults 13 and up is $13.25 for Pima County residents and $16.50 for other adults. Kids ages 5-12 are $10. Younger children are free. Visit pimaair.org for more information.
Go for the zen.
Yume Japanese Gardens, 2130 N. Alvernon Way, will transport you to a place of tranquility, with gardens carefully designed to promote meditation. There is also a small museum and art gallery focused on Japanese culture. The museum closes in the summer. Confirm hours before you visit, as they may change depending on weather. Admission for adults is $13. Kids ages 3-15 cost $6. Younger children are free. Visit yumegardens.org for more information.
Go for the old-fashioned post office.
Postal History Foundation, 920 N. First Ave., is all about stamps. The museum was founded not only to preserve postal history, but to also encourage young people interested in philately (the study of stamps). Check out the old-fashioned post office at the museum. Admission is free. Visit postalhistoryfoundation.org for more information.
Go because space is cool
Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, 1601 E. University Blvd., will teach you about fossils, the solar system and more. Admission for grown-ups is $16, children ages 4-17 get in for $12 and kids 3 and younger get in free. Visit flandrau.org for more information.
Go for the wagons.
Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum, 4823 S. Sixth Ave., will take you back in time. The museum has dozens of wagons and plenty of scenes recreating Tucson life in the early 1900s. The museum is currently closed for the season, but will re-open in January. Admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children. Visit tucsonrodeoparade.com for more information.
Go for the fancy cars.
The Franklin Auto Museum, 1405 E. Kleindale Road, will enhance your love of cars. This museum showcases a collection of Franklin automobiles. It's open through Memorial Day. General admission is $10. Admission for teens is $5. Kids younger than 12 get in free. Visit franklinmuseum.org for more information.
Go for the amazing toy trains.
Gadsden-Pacific Division Toy Train Operating Museum, 3975 N. Miller Ave., is a train-lover's dream. This place has toy trains criss-crossing mini mountains, towns and rail stations, all at table-top level (so you can see it!) There's also a real caboose outside and a railroad kids can ride. The museum is open the second and fourth Sundays of each month, except during summer. Admission is free. Visit gpdtrains.org for more information.
Go for the ruins.
Fort Lowell Museum, 2900 N. Craycroft Road in Fort Lowell Park, has reproduced an adobe officer quarters from the 1880s. You'll also find ruins from original structures (along with plenty of other typical park amenities) Learn about army life during this era. Admission is free. Go here for more information.
Go for the science!
Biosphere 2, 32540 S. Biosphere Road, had to make the list because it is just so cool. This three-acre mini-world has its own rainforest, savanna, ocean, wetlands and desert. The University of Arizona does research here. Adult admission costs $21 and kids ages 5-12 get in for $14. Visit biosphere2.org for more information.
Go to climb onto an old locomotive engine.
Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, 414 N. Toole Ave., is worth your time just so your kids (or you) can climb into Steam Locomotive #1673's engine cab. The museum itself offers an overview of transportation in our region and is right by the Amtrak station so odds are decent that you'll see a real-life train chugging along. Visit tucsonhistoricdepot.org for more information.
Go for a glimpse into the Cold War.
Titan Missile Museum, 1580 W. Duval Mine Road, will take you back to the Cold War era. At the museum, you can tour a preserved, underground Titan II missile site, where a missile was kept at the ready during the Cold War. A one-hour tour costs $13.50 for adults 13 and up and $10 for kids ages 5-12. Younger children are free. Pima County residents can get in for $12.50. Visit titanmissilemuseum.org for more information.
Go for the snazzy neon signs.
Ignite Sign Art Museum, 331 S. Olsen Ave., is a newer museum. It has plenty of historic and neon signs, plus mini mock-ups of iconic Tucson signs. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for kids 6-17. Younger kids are free. Visit ignitemuseum.com for more information.
Go to see historic Tucson come to life.
Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum, 196 N. Court Ave., re-creates the Presidio constructed in 1775. The Presidio comes to life with demonstrations and volunteers in costume during Living History Days. Go here for a schedule. Admission is $5 for adults and $1 for kids 6-14. Free for children 5 and younger. Visit tucsonpresidio.com for more information.