Marana, Arizona does summer right. That’s because there’s something fun for everyone, from toddlers to teens to retirees. Whether you’re looking to join a Marana Parks & Recreation sports team, explore mountain trails, find awesome activities for youngsters, take a refreshing dip or enjoy a day of designer shopping, Marana has you covered!
Take a look at some of our favorite summertime excursions:
Connect with nature
Catalina State Park — The Gladden Farms community is minutes away from Catalina State Park, with its spectacular mountain vistas and well-maintained trails. It’s a great morning destination with trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, ranging from less than a mile to nine miles. Bring your camera to capture photos of mountains, desert landscapes, wildlife, streambeds, catchment pools, ancient Hohokam ruins and more. The park also hosts engaging educational programs and “Music in the Mountains” concerts.
Saguaro National Park West — Another “must experience” park is Saguaro National Park West, just 20 minutes from Gladden Farms. It’s home to the largest cacti in the United States and an amazing array of native animals, birds, reptiles, plants and rock formations. There’s also a free Junior Ranger program and camp for young people (ages six to 10) — a fun and informal way for kids to learn about the park, gain outdoor skills, earn badges, create art and more. You’ll also want to check out the Western National Parks Association (WNPA) store featuring outstanding nature books, educational materials and one-of-a-kind keepsakes.
Sonora Desert Museum’s “Cool Summer Nights” — The Sonoran Desert is full of captivating nocturnal animals and other critters. On Saturday nights at the Desert Museum, you can watch bat aerial acrobatics, illuminate scorpions with blacklight flashlights, enjoy special themed activities and watch animals scampering about in their enclosures on a cool desert evening. You can also shop and dine during your visit. The museum is located within Saguaro National Park West, approximately 30 minutes from Gladden Farms.
Get back into the game
Marana Parks & Recreation — Marana Parks & Recreation’s summer programs are outstanding. You and your family can participate in sports, fitness, aquatics and outdoor recreation activities, enjoy signature events and participate in races. There are also special interest events and activities like the “Adventures in STEM with Lego® Materials,” “Paint Nights in the Park,” “Senior Adventure Trips,” and “Yoga for Stress Thursdays” programs. It’s easy to explore all the options for fun, fitness and adventure with the Marana Parks & Recreation app or their online catalog.
Topgolf — Topgolf is just 14 minutes from Gladden Farms and features climate-controlled hitting bays, a sports bar and restaurant, a rooftop terrace with fire pits, golf lessons and more. You can rent bays by the hour with up to six players. All ages are welcome (an adult must supervise anyone under 16). You can make reservations in advance (or not) and there’s no “golf” dress code. You can also bring your own clubs or use Topgolf’s complimentary ones. This is a fun place for “hole-in-none” to “hole-in-one” players.
Enjoy some retail therapy
Tucson Premium Outlet stores — Just down the road from Gladden Farms is the Tucson Premium Outlet. You can find up to 65 percent savings on designer goods from 70+ brands including Coach, Nike, J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, Polo Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Lucky Brand, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Converse, Disney, Forever 21, Godiva and Le Creuset. There’s also a food court and Starbucks for snacking and relaxing.
Prepare to be dazzled
The Star Spangled Spectacular — Marana’s annual Independence Day fireworks show is a sight to behold. And it features everything a family could wish for in a 4th of July event — live music, 30-plus food trucks, a family-inclusive beverage/beer garden, a kids’ splash pad and waterslide and a magnificent fireworks show. The event starts at 5 p.m. with fireworks on full display at 9 p.m. at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park. Lawn chairs, outside food and beverages, coolers, and leashed pets are welcome.
Catch a movie in the park
Movies in Marana — Grab your folding chairs and picnic blankets and head to select Marana parks this summer to enjoy family-friendly movies at sundown. The movie lineup is “Zootopia” on June 17 at the Soccer Fields at Gladden Farms Community Park; “Surf’s Up” on July 15 at the Marana Pool at Ora Mae Harn Park; “Big Miracle” on August 19 at Heritage River Park Splash Pad; “The Little Mermaid” on September 2 at the Marana Pool at Ora Mae Harn Park; and “Space Jam” on September 16 at FIELD 2 at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park. Food vendors will be on-site.
Swim & splash
Marana Aquatics and Splash Pads — Marana’s pool season runs until the Saturday before Labor Day at the Marana Pool at Ora Mae Harn District Park. The pool, 25 yards long, features seven swim lanes, a diving bay and ramada-style shade. There are also junior lifeguarding, drowning prevention and awareness, and swimming programs. Voted “Best Place to Escape the Heat” by Tucson Local Media readers, the Marana Splash Pads are also fun for kids and families. Admission is free and there’s plenty of parking, clean spacious bathrooms and shade structures.
About Gladden Farms
Gladden Farms promotes active, joyful living. It’s a great setting to make friends, play and call home. Our new homes — attractively priced starting in the upper $200Ks — are stylish, eco-smart and perfect for young professionals, families of all sizes, empty nesters and retirees. The community features signature events year-round, 112 acres of lush green space, 19 parks, miles of landscaped paseos connecting to scenic trails, 14 playgrounds, playfields, a splash pad, a dog park, and picnic and BBQ areas.