Tucson is a booming desert city in Arizona. With a backdrop of mountains and a rich cultural scene, Tucson is a desirable region for people at all stages of life, including seniors. In fact, the senior population of Tucson has reached nearly 75,000. The city has implemented various programs and amenities to serve this growing community of older adults.
From nature retreats to cultural centers, Tucson has much to offer seniors today. Below, you’ll find our top choices for senior-friendly activities.
Enjoy a Performance at The Gaslight Theatre
The Gaslight Theatre has been a mainstay for drama performances in Tucson since its inception in 1977. In 1980, the theatre was rebuilt to accommodate 223 seats. This theatre now serves all of Tucson with a wide range of fun, family-friendly productions. It’s the ideal place for seniors to enjoy a night out with family, especially grandkids. Seniors can also attend concerts at The Gaslight Theatre for live music in this intimate venue.
The Gaslight Theatre puts on five different shows each year, with onstage performances six nights per week. The shows performed at this theatre range in genre from comedy to Westerns to musicals and more, offering something for seniors of all ages to enjoy. The Gaslight is also known for its delicious movie theatre-style snacks, so don’t forget to savor a treat when you visit.
Participate in The Senior Olympic Festival
The Senior Olympic Festival was created by the City of Tucson Parks and Recreation to celebrate and encourage healthy, active lifestyles among the senior population in Tucson. Open to older adults aged 50 and over, the festival takes place from early January to early February. It will take place at 25 venues across Tucson and includes a wide range of events, such as:
- Basketball shoot
- Leisure walks
- Track and field
These are just a handful of the event categories at the Senior Olympic Festival. Different events are held on different days throughout the January and part of February, so it’s possible for seniors to participate in multiple events in the festival. There are also several different venues that hold various events throughout the festival, so participating seniors and spectators get to explore the city over the course of the event.
Many of the events included in the Senior Olympic Festival involve a high degree of physical activity. Especially for seniors with medical conditions, maintaining the stamina to participate in these activities can be difficult. Oxygen therapy is a treatment method that can give seniors the oxygen they need to breathe easily during physical activity.
Explore Tohono Chul Park
Explore Tohono Chul Park
The Tohono Chul Park is a unique botanical garden that’s been delighting the people of Tucson for over 25 years. It spans 49 acres of vibrant desert land, including numerous themed botanical gardens and various species of wildlife. The view of the Santa Catalina mountains is beloved among visitors, providing a natural escape from the urban day-to-day. There are also scenic relaxation spots scattered throughout the grounds, giving seniors spots to stop and read a book or chat with fellow visitors.
The Tohono Chul Park also features Exhibit Galleries for Tucson seniors to explore. The galleries showcase work from local artists with a wide range of styles. Both a permanent collection and rotating exhibits are on display at the galleries, so they’re always something new to explore.
Classes, lectures, and workshops are also hosted at Tohono Chul Park. These events provide knowledge and insights into art, nature, and local culture. Subjects of the learning events at Tohono Chul Park include:
- Tai Chi
- Photo editing
- Desert living
- Nature journaling
- Garden design
Seniors receive discounted admission to Tohono Chul Park at just $13. Special events and classes are priced separately.
Enroll in EnhanceFitness
EnhanceFitness is a senior program offered by Tucson Parks and Recreation in partnership with the Pima Council on Aging and Catholic Social Services. Available to older adults at all levels of physical ability, EnhanceFitness provides low-cost fitness classes at multiple centers across Tucson. The program encompasses three hour-long classes per week at a cost of $20 per month or $50 per quarter.
EnhanceFitness classes feature 20 minutes of no to low-impact aerobic exercise, followed by stretching and guided strength training. Every four months, members of the EnhanceFitness class can receive fitness assessments to stay informed and optimize their health.
For older adults in Tucson, EnhanceFitness is a wonderful opportunity to stay fit and healthy in a senior-friendly environment. This program has been shown to consistently improve seniors’ physical, emotional, and social wellness.
With its beautiful desert scenery and rich cultural heritage, there’s much for seniors to enjoy as residents of Tucson. The community supports its senior population with vigor, providing programs and events like the ones listed above. So, as a Tucson senior, don’t hesitate to go out and enjoy the many perks that this region provides.
- "Botanical Gardens & Galleries: Tucson AZ." Tohono Chul, Tohono Chul. https://tohonochul.org/
- "The Gaslight Theatre: Family Entertainment: Tucson, Arizona." The Gaslight Theatre, The Gaslight Theatre. https://www.thegaslighttheatre.com/
- "Senior Olympic Festival." Official Website of the City of Tucson, The City of Tucson, 7 Feb. 2020. https://www.tucsonaz.gov/parks/senior-olympic-festival
- "Senior Programs." Official Website of the City of Tucson, City of Tucson, 29 Jan. 2020. https://www.tucsonaz.gov/parks/senior-programs#nutrition.