Oracle State Park: Center for Environmental Education
The park is open Saturdays and Sundays. Hours are 8 am - 5 pm. Environmental Education Field Trip Programs for school groups are scheduled weekdays by reservation.
For reservations, call the park office at (520) 896-2425.
Check out all of 2015's great Star Party events Here.
Read the article in the March issue of Phoenix Magazine about Oracle's Dark Sky Designation Here. ( 837 KB PDF)
Look for the Latest Event Calendar Here ( 720KB PDF)
Guided Tours of the Historic Kannally Ranch House
Led by Docent, Mary Bast, beginning at 10am. Learn more about one of the earliest cattle ranching families to Oracle, and the architectural treasure they left behind. Tours last approximately 45 minutes through rooms and patios extending down the hillside. No reservation is needed; free with park admission. Contact park for additional details.
Sept. 5 & 6 - Guided Tour of the Historic Kannally Ranch House
10am. See above description.
Sept. 13 - Bighorn Basics
12:30pm. Join Arizona State Parks volunteer, Richard Boyer, as he presents “Bighorn Basics” at the Kannally Ranch House for a 35 minute talk to learn more about bighorn sheep. What are they? Where have they been? Where are they now? Many of the tools we use can be compared to the tools the Bighorn Sheep use to survive in mountainous areas of Arizona. For several years, Richard has presented this Bighorn Basics program at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado where he recently retired as a seasonal National Park Service Ranger. Free with park admission. Reservation preferred. – Offered again November 15.
Sept. - September Guided Bird Walk
Audubon bird walks will resume in September and through the season, led by Bob and Prudy Bowers. Dates to be announced soon.
Oct. 4 - Phenology Program
1pm. Plant enthusiast, Hilary Cox, will offer a presentation in the living room of the Kannally Ranch House. Phenology refers to key seasonal changes in plants and animals from year to year – such as flowering, emergence of insects and migration of birds – especially their timing and relationship with weather and climate.. Learn more about the National Phenology Program and a new ‘Citizen Scientist Project’ at Oracle State Park. Visitors can help monitor seasonal changes and add observations to the national database. The program allows public participation in scientific research, connecting people with nature to benefit our changing planet. There will be an optional group trail walk along the Phenology Trail following the presentation. Reservation preferred, free with park admission.
Oct. 10 - Intro to Digital Imaging with Wildlife & Landscapes
10am. Join photography enthusiast, Stan Bembenek. The 1.5-2 hour program will offer comparisons of digital equipment and their applications for capturing images of wildlife and landscapes. Stan will share a display of imaging devices (7 to 10 pieces of equipment), discuss capabilities, and offer recommendations and techniques for use in different environments, such as how to set up a wildlife camera. There will be some hands-on opportunities with the devices. This is not a class on how to take pictures and it will not include film cameras or how to alter images. The program will begin with a presentation inside at the ranch house before moving outdoors. Space is limited to 12 participants, reservation required. Free with park admission.
Oct. 10 - Star Party with Telescopes and Live Music
6pm. - 10pm. Enjoy Stargazing at the Kannally Ranch House with telescopes provided by Tucson Amateur Astronomers Association and others. Also, acoustic live music around the outdoor fire pit is tentatively planned. Saddlebrooke Stargazers Club and the International Dark Sky Association. Also, a live music duo is planned. More details coming soon.
Oct. 11 - Bear Necessities
11am. Join interpretive docent, Richard Boyer, in the living room of the Kannally Ranch House. Would you like to know more about the black bear of Arizona? Then this is the program for you. Information about bears, an appearance from the “Everywhere Bear,” and information about safety around Bears will be presented in this inter-active 30 to 40 minute program. You might even win a prize for your knowledge about the black bear! Free with park admission; reservation suggested. –offered again on December 6
Oct. 17 - Beginner Digital Astrophotography
4pm.-6:30pm. Join local amateur astronomer, Mike Weasner, This introductory program will include a description of camera equipment options, such as point and shoot, DSLR or any smart phone, for beginners to learn to take astro photos. Mike will share techniques for using any digital camera for hand-held photography at night, and in combination with a tripod or telescope. There will be a ‘play session’ after sunset using moon and planets for night sky photography using park telescopes. Participants are encouraged to bring your own camera, tripod or telescope for ‘playtime’. The program will begin with a presentation in the living room of the Kannally Ranch House before sunset, followed by 60-90 minutes outside after sunset. Space is limited to 12 participants, reservation required. Free with park admission.
Oct. 18 - Stab-binding Workshop
10am-Noon. Taught by Val Bembenek, local paper artisan. Make your own nature-journaling notebooks at the Kannally Ranch House. Learn basic Japanese stab binding technique to create blank journals of any size with unique embellishments, for your notes, sketching, photos or to give as gifts. The workshop fee is $5 per person in addition to park admission. Space is limited; reservation required.
Oct. 24 - Guided Hike: Arizona Trail Loop
8am. Approximately 6 miles. Hike the Wildlife Corridor Trail, National Scenic Arizona Trail, and back to the ranch house on the Manzanita Trail. Reservation required, call Guide: Gaston Meloche 638-5404.
Oct. 24 - “Desert Dozen” Program
3pm. Enjoy an informative presentation, followed by a pre-sunset Bird Walk, with Kathe Anderson. The birding presentation begins at 3pm in the living room of the Kannally Ranch House. “Desert Dozen” is a class focusing on very common birds of the desert/urban interface—quail, grackles, house sparrows and house finches, mockingbirds, mourning doves, etc.— a dozen of the species we see most days. It’s one way to start birding—because we use silhouettes, not just colored pictures, to focus on shape and size, which is a good skill to learn. The class also gives some insight into uncommon facts about these common birds. Following the one hour presentation, Kathe will lead a pre-sunset bird walk for 90 minutes, ending by about 5:30pm-before dark. Visitors may participate in one or both activities. Free with park admission; reservation suggested.
Oct. 25 - Birding and Breakfast
7:15am. Join Kathe Anderson. A reservation is required to join an early morning guided bird walk at the park. Following the two-hour walk, the group will be treated to a special breakfast offering on the patio of the Kannally Ranch House. Participants will review the morning sightings while enjoying coffee, treats and great views. Thanks to Friends of Oracle State Park for providing the fun breakfast! Free with park admission; space is limited, please call for a reservation.
Oct. 31 - Pinal Open Space and Trails Presentation
10am. Meets at the Kannally Ranch House. Join Celeste Andresen of the Nature Conservancy, for a one hour talk about recreational opportunities for residents of Pinal County, and to learn more about the importance and benefits of open space and trails. Free with park admission; no reservation needed.
Cowboy Artist Lee Kannally Paintings
An exhibit of impressionist-style paintings by self-taught cowboy artist Lee Kannally is on display at the Kannally Ranch House.
Nearly 30 oils, many that haven’t been on public display for decades, are included in the exhibit, with 24 on loan from the Oracle Historical Society and the remainder owned by Friends of Oracle State Park.
Oracle State Park is open to the public on a limited basis: Saturdays and Sundays only from 8am-5pm. Weekdays, the park offers school programs and facility rental by reservation. The American Avenue trailhead parking lot is open seven days a week to access the National Scenic Arizona Trail, and to accommodate after hours use by stargazers. The park remains closed to the public Monday through Friday due to budget reductions.
Oracle State Park is an International Dark Sky Park, designated in 2014 by the International Dark Sky Association.
Both a wildlife refuge and environmental learning center, Oracle State Park offers groups a chance to learn more about human's impact on nature.
Oracle State Park is a 4,000 acre wildlife refuge in the northern foothills of the Catalina Mountains. The park offers day-use picnic areas and over 15 miles of trails for use by hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. In addition, a section of the National Scenic Arizona Trail crosses through the park.
The property once belonged to one of the earliest cattle ranching families in Oracle, and includes a unique Mediterranean and Moorish style ranch house listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Kannally Ranch House may be reserved for group use or weddings. Constructed between 1929-33, the adobe house is four levels built up the hillside. Self-guided tours are available with guided tours on select dates. From the patios enjoy sweeping views of granite boulder outcrops and the San Pedro River Valley and Galiuro Mountain range in the distance.
Oracle SP also serves as a Center for Environmental Education and provides programming for all ages. Interactive programs for school groups are offered by reservation. These programs are conducted along trails, so students learn about habitat and the interrelationships between plants, animals, and people. Additional public programs, workshops, tours and concerts are offered throughout the year.
Tour the historic Kannally Ranch House at 10 am and 2 pm, on Saturdays, until April 28.
Although the land has been a park for just a short while, the area has been visited and used by man since prehistoric times. This interaction between man and the park environment has played an important role in shaping the landscape we see today.
Clovis Man occupied areas along the San Pedro River 10,000 to 11,000 years ago and quite possibly visited the current park site during these early times. It is also believed that the Hohokam resided in the relatively flat, grassy areas of the park and used the adjacent woodlands for hunting and food gathering some 600-800 years ago.
In the middle 1880s the Apache Wars had ceased in central and southern Arizona. This opened up large areas to mining, ranching, farming and the settlement of small towns.
In 1902 Neil Kannally arrived in Oracle from Illinois. After moving to the area, he homesteaded the land that would later become the park. Later, other members of the Kannally family joined him. The ranch grew substantially over the next several years and eventually 1100 Hereford cattle grazed the land.
In 1976, Lucile Kannally, the last surviving family member, donated the land to Defenders of Wildlife who later transferred the property to the State Parks Board
The Oracle Adventure: An Environmental Education Program for Grades 1-3
The Oracle Adventure offers an environmental awareness program specifically designed for sensory learning. This participatory and interactive field trip focuses on developing an awareness of nature through the senses. Appreciation of the natural world and our relationship to it is emphasized during a series of hands-on activities along a trail in the 4000 acre park. Park rangers and trained docents will guide the students during the 90 minute program, as they explore the oak-grassland and learn to use all of their senses in this exploration. Teachers receive a packet with pre-visit and post-visit classroom activity suggestions to further enhance the on-site experience.
The Catalina Adventure Program, based on the Oracle Adventure, is also offered seasonally at Catalina State Park. Call (520) 628-5798.
The Oracle Odyssey: An Environmental Education Program for Grades 4-6
The Odyssey sparks curiosity, challenges students to think about the environment in new ways, and encourages students to consider simple positive actions that contribute to healthy environment. The Oracle Odyssey focuses on habitat and interrelationships and includes the study of humans as an integral part of the natural community.
Teachers receive a packet with complete pre-visit and post-visit lesson plans. The materials contain specific key concepts, teacher background information, and student activity sheets. During their field studies, students are guided by park rangers in a series of activities along a trail in the 4,000 acre park. This 2 1/2 hour program of hands-on activities brings ecological concepts learned in the classroom into a real world context.
- Alamo Lake
- Buckskin Mountain
- Cattail Cove
- Lake Havasu
- River Island
- Yuma Quartermaster Depot
- Yuma Territorial Prison
- Dead Horse Ranch
- Fort Verde
- Red Rock
- Riordan Mansion
- Slide Rock
- Verde River Greenway
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum
- Fool Hollow Lake
- Lost Dutchman
- Lyman Lake
- Tonto Natural Bridge