ARIZONA STATE PARKS: For Immediate Release
Managing and conserving Arizona’s natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our Parks and through our Partners. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ellen Bilbrey at (602) 542-1996 or (602) 228-8518 or Monica Enriquez at (602) 542-6997. Contact by Email: pio(at)azstateparks.gov
(Phoenix, Arizona - September 20, 2013) - Oracle State Park Center for Environmental Education will re-open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays starting on Saturday, October 5, 2013 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Park's fall and winter season will last until Sunday, April 27, 2014. The Park will hold events during their season and will also have school programs by reservation and be open for tours of the Kannally Ranch House and hiking on the weekends.
Opening Weekend Hummingbird Program & Guided Sunset Bird Walk on Saturday, October 5: Naturalist Kathe Anderson leads the Bird Walk. It is free with park admission, but a reservation is required by calling (520) 896-2425. The program begins at 3:30 p.m. in the living room of the Kannally Ranch House, followed by a guided Sunset Bird Walk until 6 p.m. (Please note: the park entrance gate closes at 5 p.m, but the exit gate will remain open until the end of the bird walk.)
The program will feature a 30-minute video focusing on identifying the dozen or so hummingbirds that visit or reside in Arizona, including segments on nesting and "singing" hummingbirds, with stunning photography. The balance of the program will be an interactive question and answer session, with a handout listing some of the best places to see hummingbirds in Arizona.
Birding and Breakfast on Sunday, October 6: Enjoy an early morning guided bird walk with naturalist, Kathe Anderson, followed by a light breakfast on the patios of the ranch house, while participants finalize the list of morning sightings.
Breakfast hospitality is courtesy of the Friends of Oracle State Park, who are planning the menu. The Bird Walk will begin at 7 a.m., so a reservation is required, since it begins one hour before the park entrance gates open to the public. Make a reservation by calling (520) 896-2425.
Mini-Bug Fest following Birding Breakfast: Following the Birding Breakfast, Volunteer Rick Gagnon will offer a Mini-Bug Fest with interactive tables from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the ranch house patio, with the help of friends such as scorpion aficionado, Casey Egan, and others. Both activities are free with park admission.
Papermaking with Local Plants on Saturday, October 26: Join Val Bembenek from 1 to 3 p.m. Learn basic papermaking using mold and deckle in vats of iris leaf, ocotillo flower, creosote leaf pulps and take home your richly textured sheets. Reservation is required by calling (520) 896-2425. The $15 workshop fee includes the park entrance fee.
Children's Workshop on Sunday, November 3: Children aged 5 through 11 are welcome at this workshop, presented by Laurie Melrood. The workshop will last about 1.5 hours, beginning at Noon and offered again at 3 p.m. The workshop features rope making from roasted agave, desert broom brooms, gourd painting, cholla branch crafts, mesquite pitch painting, and more. Items are arranged on tables and participants are provided glue, beads, string and found items from nature for kids to make their own wonderful creative items from the offerings. They all take home at least one handmade craft. The workshop materials fee is $8 per child, in addition to the per vehicle entrance fee to the park. Reservation is required by calling (520) 896-2425.
Guided Bird Walk on Saturday, November 9: Led by M.E. Flynn at 8:15 a.m. Meet on the upper patio of the ranch house. No reservation is needed. The walk is free with park admission. Beginning in December, Bird Walks will be offered each First and Third Saturday of the month through April 2014.
Oracle Piano Society Presentation on Saturday, November 16: Join Dr. Stephen Cook, Artistic Director of the Oracle Piano Society, at 3 p.m. in the living room of the Kannally Ranch House. He will present a pre-concert talk on the Society's upcoming inaugural concert, "Picture Rachmaninoff," a play written and narrated by Paul Harvey, Jr., featuring piano works by Rachmaninoff and projected artwork. The presentation is free with park admission. For additional concert information, go the Society's website: www.oraclepianosociety.org or call Desert View Performing Arts Center at (520) 825-2818.
Guided Bird Walk on Saturday, November 23: Led by M.E. Flynn at 8:15 a.m. Meet on the upper patio of the ranch house. No reservation is needed. The walk is free with park admission. Beginning in December, Bird Walks will be offered each First and Third Saturday of the month through April 2014.
Tours of the Historic Kannally Ranch House: Tours will also resume weekly on Saturdays and Sundays starting October 5 at 10 a.m. and offered again at 2 p.m. Participants should check-in at the Office/Gift Shop. Reservations are NOT required. The tour lasts about 45-minutes and is free with park admission. On the tour, visitors will learn the stories behind its hand-carved corbels, stenciled walls, hand-formed fireplace, French casement windows and cozy ranch kitchen. The Kannally Ranch House is a four-level pueblo-revival adobe home with Moorish and Mediterranean influences. It was built by the Kannally ranching family and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The displays include family photos, furnishings and several paintings by "self-taught" cowboy artist Lee Kannally. Picnicking on the patios is welcome.
Environmental Education Field Trip Programs: Environmental education programs for school children, first through sixth grades, are scheduled by reservation on weekdays by calling (520) 896-2425. Thousands of students have learned important environmental principles in these ranger/volunteer-led programs over the last two decades.
Hiking: Oracle State Park has trails that offer varying degrees of difficulty including a four-mile section of the Arizona Trail that transects the park. Bring your camera, binoculars, notebook, sketchbook, birdbook and leash for your pet.
For more information call the park office at (520) 896-2425 or visit AZStateParks.com. Oracle State Park is located northeast of Tucson in the northern foothills of the Catalina Mountains. Elevations in the 4,000-acre wildlife refuge range from 3,500 to 4,500 feet. The park features a diversity of animals, plant species and rock formations. There are also oak tree-shaded washes, mesquite scrub habitats and riparian woodlands with manzanita and beargrass.
For information about all 27 Arizona State Parks, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703). Campsite or cave tour reservations can be made online at AZStateParks.com or by calling the Reservation Call Center at (520) 586-2283. Open 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST. Follow AZStateParks on Twitter and Facebook.