Oracle State Park: Center for Environmental Education
For the Public
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. Upcoming Events: For reservations, call the park office at (520) 896-2425.
Download Oracle SP Events Calendar ( 532 KB PDF)
Milky Way Rising Over Oracle SP
Mike Weasner of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee with another amazing time-lapse video of the Milky Way rising over Oracle SP. There is no audio track to this piece. The Oracle Dark Skies Committee (ODSC) is asking groups and individuals to write "letters of support" to receive a designation as an International Dark Sky Park. Learn more
Saturday, September 6: Ranger Led Nature Hike
Approximately 2.5-3 miles. No reservation needed. Free with park admission. Meet at the American Avenue Trailhead Parking Lot to begin the hike by 7am for about an hour. Identify fall wildflower blooms with Park Ranger, Gary Faulkenberry.
Saturday, September 13 and Sunday, September 14: Guided Tours of the Historic Kannally Ranch House, at 10am and again at 2pm
Learn more about one of the earliest cattle ranching families to Oracle, and the architectural treasure they left behind, on a tour of the four-level Kannally family home, with Interpretive Docent, Mary Bast. No reservation needed. Free with park entrance fee. Guided House Tours repeat at 2pm only, on Sunday, September 21 and again on Sunday, September 28.
Saturday, September 20 & Sunday, September 21: Mountain Bike Races! ‘Kannally Ranch Romp’ is presented by University of Arizona CyclingThe event will be headquartered at the Group Use Area at Oracle State Park. Cross-Country races begin Saturday at 8am, and Short Track races begin on Sunday by 7:30am. Competitive races start on Saturday by 9:45am and on Sunday by 9am. Races each day will end around 1p-2p. Courses are on designated multi-use paths through the park, including sections of dirt two-track, trail and main park road. More info at www.uacycling.com. Normal day use entrance fees apply for race participants and spectators. The Kannally Ranch House and public parking will remain accessible for all park visitors.
Saturday, September 27: Paper-making with Plants WorkshopJoin Instructor Val Bembenek at 12pm-2pm to learn basic paper-making using mold and deckle in vats of iris leaf, ocotillo flower, creosote leaf pulps. Take home your richly textured sheets. Reservation required; $12 workshop fee includes park entrance fee.
Sunday, September 28: Phenology Days ProgramJoin LoriAnne Barnett, Education Coordinator for the USA National Phenology Network, to learn about a new ‘Citizen Scientist Project’ at Oracle State Park. 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. The presentation begins at Noon in the living room of the Kannally Ranch House for a 30-40 minute talk, followed by a trail walk at 1pm along OSP’s new Phenology Observation Trail. Visitors will find signs along the trail designating plant species to monitor. Visitor observations recorded on a special handout will be compiled to a National database. The program allows public participation in scientific research, connecting people with nature to benefit our changing planet. This presentation is part of a larger Phenology Days week-long celebration of seasonal change in the Sonoran Desert, sponsored by groups that host the local Tucson Phenology Trail and the USA National Phenology Network. Visit www.usanpn.org/Tucson-phenology-trail. Reservation preferred, free with park admission.
Wrap-Up Gallery: Live Music & Star Party Photo Gallery
Tour the Historic Kannally Ranch House
Each Saturday and Sunday the historic Kannally Ranch house will be open for self guided tours (or guided tours offered by reservation). The Mediterranean-Revival Style Ranch House built in 1929, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Wildlife Slide Show
See what’s showing up at waterhole cameras in the park.
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.
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
Join Catalina State Park volunteer Richard Boyer as he presents “Bighorn Basics”. Many of the tools we use can be compared to the tools the Bighorn Sheep use to survive in mountainous areas of Arizona. Learn more about Bighorn Sheep at this talk. For several years Richard was was a ranger at Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado.
- Nov. 2, 12:30 pm
- Dec. 7, 12:30 pm
- Jan. 11, 2015, 12:30 pm
- Feb. 8, 2015, 12:30 pm
- March 8, 2015, 12:30 pm
- April 5, 2015, 12:30 pm
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