Monday, October 28, 2013

Beautiful murals (and walking) at Santa Cruz River Park

The Santa Cruz River Park is too big to be called a “pocket” park. But the walking trails connect to a central plaza that’s like a world of its own — thanks to Community artists and Santa Theresa Tile Works.

You can see close-up photos on the Tucson Murals Project blog in today's post Beautiful tile work at Santa Cruz River Park.
Location: north Riverside Drive at west Ontario Street, just south of Speedway and west of I-10 (click for a satellite view and map from Google).

Hours: Basically, daytime hours. (Not well-lit at night… closed late nights… and maybe not too safe at night, either.)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sit on a Gila Monster, share a book

It’s tucked away under a spreading mesquite tree, on the northwest corner of 10th Avenue & 2nd Street, in the art-rich Dunbar/Spring neighborhood. It’s my favorite Pocket Park — so far, at least! Here's the scene:

This particular Heloderma suspectum enjoys reading books — or (at least) putting her or his front foot on an open book:

You can join your six-foot-long buddy by sitting on her (or his... if you know, please leave a comment below) bumpy back (being there is sort of like getting a massage) — after you’ve chosen a book from the Little Free Library at the gila monster’s head.

Be sure not to miss the museum-esque surprise behind the Gila Monster’s tail. (Hint: Thanks to artists Hirotsune Tashima and Jason Butler, this is where I found out that the scientific name of our scaly friend is Heloderma suspectum.)

Update (November 27, 2013): There's a mural on a cistern just west of this scene. Click there to see a photo on today's Tucson Murals Project blog post.

Location: Northwest corner of 10th Avenue & 2nd Street

Hours: The best hours for reading are between sunrise and sunset (unless you bring a flashlight). The gila monster is pretty well-shaded... but, in early mornings and late afternoons, you may get some strong sunlight.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fabulous Feast (for the eyes and stomach :)

If you're looking for a peaceful garden to sit and reflect, the space between the buildings at the Tucson Buddhist Meditation Center, Wat Buddhametta, is a good choice. There are benches for sitting as well as a sculpture:

Please take your shoes off at the front door.

The Center also holds a number of classes and community events. (To find out more, click on their website, above.) My favorite is the monthly Thai buffet on the third Saturday of each month (except this month; see below about Tucson Meet Yourself). It starts at 5 PM in cooler months, and 6 PM other months. That's the time to arrive if you'd like the best choice of food and seating (though they do add some other dishes as the first ones have been eaten). They ask a $10 donation (this helps support the Center). The food is home-made (much of it by people who were born in Thailand — and learned how to cook Thai food because that’s what their family… and friends and neighbors… ate, too… :). I've heard that the monks make some of the food, too. Everything I had was delicious, and it's all-you-can-eat.

When I was there last month, there was a celebration of the founding monk's birthday. He had two birthday cakes to share and a talk about happiness. There were dancers and other performers to keep us entertained. You can sit outside at tables or inside on sofas or tables with fold-up chairs. It's fun and the food is great!

(Note: This month, there'll be no third-Saturday dinner. Instead you'll find your Thai feast at the annual Tucson Meet Yourself festival.)


Update (January 14, 2016): There's a new mural near the entrance. Click that link to see a photo on the Tucson Murals Project blog.

Location: On the east side of Swan, just north of 22nd.

Hours: During events (at least). See the website, above.

Parking: Dirt parking lot behind the gate.