Staying Home for the Holidays? UA Has Plenty to Offer

From museum exhibits to Flandrau shows to the world's largest earth science laboratory, learning opportunities at the UA have become a natural part of the season.

University Communications, Jacob Chinn photo

A number of popular University of Arizona attractions will be open during the week between the Christmas and New Year's holidays, including Biosphere 2, Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, the Center for Creative Photography and two museums. If you're looking for something to do between the visits of Santa Claus and Father Time, here is what you will find — and when:

Arizona State Museum

At Arizona's oldest and largest anthropology museum, you can learn about the deep and fascinating history of our region. Did you know that crops have been grown along the Santa Cruz River in Tucson for more than 4,000 years? A visit to the museum offers a window into our region's past, an opportunity to explore the many ancient cultures of the Southwest and what they can tell us today.

A new exhibit, "Life Along the River: Ancestral Hopi at Homol'ovi," is devoted to the people who lived in seven villages along the Little Colorado River near Winslow, Arizona, in the 1300s. 

Address and phone: 1013 E. University Blvd., 621-6302

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Closed on Dec. 25 and 26 and Jan. 1 and 2.

Biosphere 2

Biosphere 2 is located north of Tucson at the base of the stunning Santa Catalina Mountains. This one-of-a-kind facility sits on a ridge at an elevation of nearly 4,000 feet and is surrounded by a natural desert preserve. Discover real-time research on the future of our planet as it unfolds in the world's largest earth science laboratory. These three tours are open over the holidays: Under the Glass, Family and History.

Address and phone: 32540 S. Biosphere Road, Oracle, AZ, 621-4800

Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 24). Closed on Dec. 25.

Center for Creative Photography

Founded in collaboration with Ansel Adams, the center houses a world-class collection of fine-art photography and the premier collection of American photography. Admission is free.

A new exhibition, "Courting Failure, Embracing Risk: Mark Klett and Collaboration," opens on Dec. 23. Featuring photographs from several projects and bodies of work, including the Rephotographic Survey Project, Water in the West, Third View, Yosemite in Time and, for the first time on public display, work from Lake Powell, the exhibit will explore Klett's creative practice and the ways that working with others expanded his artistic contributions to the field.

Address and phone: 1030 N. Olive Road, 621-7968

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday. Closed on Dec. 25 and 26 and Jan. 1.

Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium

Build your own solar system, solve hands-on puzzles or sculpt your own watershed in Flandrau's interactive exhibits. Then experience the wonders of a holiday planetarium show or fly to Mars in the fulldome planetarium theater. There is much for the family to explore at Flandrau.

Flandrau's annual family show "Season of Light," now in fulldome format, explores the many festivals of light (including Christmas and Hanukah) that celebrate the spirit of renewal around the winter solstice — the shortest day and longest night of the year. "Laser Holidays," a laser light music show, is full of popular Christmas and seasonal songs. 

Address and phone: 1601 E. University Blvd., 621-4516

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

UA Museum of Art

In addition to an outstanding permanent collection, UAMA offers unique exhibitions of painting, sculpture and other visual art forms from historic to contemporary.

A new exhibition, "You Are Here: Mediated Understandings of Our World," features maps and artwork that explore themes of navigation, accuracy, presumed reality and politics.

Address and phone: 1031 N. Olive Road, 621-7567

Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed on Dec. 24-26, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.