Revisiting the past in more ways than one!!

Trip Start May 01, 2013
Trip End May 01, 2014

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What I did
International Wildlife Museum Tucson
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Friday, March 7, 2014

Day 311 - Today we went to Old Tucson.  This is the place where over 300 Western style movies, as well as others, were filmed beginning in 1939.  It is still an active studio to this day.  Each time a film company would come, they would add more buildings to the "set" and it  began to grow like that before each film.  Some of the current buildings would be modified or painted or wood sided or stucco'd and the film would take place.  Unfortunately, there was a devastating fire that damaged many of the old buildings and many of the costumes worn by these actors. 

Some of the movies made here were:  ARIZONA (1939) starring William Holden and Jean Arthur
The cost of this film was $2.5 million.  That's a lot for that date.  BELLS OF ST MARY'S, with Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman 1945); LAST ROUNDUP with Gene Autry (1947).  In 1950, Jimmy Stewart starred in WINCHESTER '73.  That same year, Ronald Reagan starred in THE LAST OUTPOST.

 The 50's brought many western movies to this set.  Including, GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL; THE LONE RANGER; THE LOST CITY OF GOLD and CIMMARRON.  These movies were made from 1956 to '59.

John Wayne made 4 movies here - RIO BRAVO (1959), McCLINTOCK (1963), EL DORADO (1967), and RIO LOBO (1970).

Other actors who also made a movie here were Brian Keith, Maureen O'Hara, Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Gene Wilder and the list goes on.  Little House on the Prairie was filmed here. 

During the day there are many shows that you can catch, such as a stunt show, gun shootout, dance hall girls, you can take a train or stage coach ride, etc.  A little hokey at times, but it was fun to think that you were walking the same streets and entering the same buildings as some of your favorite actors.

Just when you think our day was done, we stopped in to the International Wildlife Museum of Tucson.  WOW, AMAZING, EXTRAORDINARY, MIND BOGGLING - none of those are enough to describe this fantastic museum.  You could spend a whole day there just opening and closing your mouth as you are so blown away by the displays of the animals from all over the world!  Unfortunately, this is the after-life for these animals, but the taxidermy that is done on all these animals is so very realistic that you are sure the tiger is stalking you.  One of the larger rooms contains 200 animals (several of the same species from different parts of the world all in a row so you can see the differences) and it took 30 years to gather these magnificent animals. Each exhibit has lots of information on where they are from, how they lived, and how conservation efforts are saving the animals for future generations.

Your first thought is a sad one to see so many animals (dead) in one room.  But then you realize that this museum is dedicated to conservation efforts and in trying to save what animals we have left on this planet. 

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Pamela on

I've seen most of Arizona but have to admit this is one attraction I missed :(

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