Guided bird walks, guided trail hikes, and tours of the historic Kannally Ranch House are scheduled at Oracle State Park Center for Environmental Education as it re-opens to the public on Saturdays and Sundays beginning February 2.
The park, which features scenic mountain vistas and pristine oak-woodlands, will be open on weekends during February, March, and April. Hours are 8AM to 5PM, and admission is $7 per carload at the gate on Mt. Lemmon Rd. in Oracle.
On Feb. 2 and 16, Mary Ellen Flynn will lead birding walks starting at 8:15AM; no reservations needed. On Feb. 9 and 16, Gaston Meloche will lead a 3 to 5 mile group hike starting at 9AM. Call Gaston at 520-638-5404 to register and for more information. Each Saturday and Sunday, 45-minute tours of the ranch house will begin at 10AM and again at 2PM; no reservations needed.
Wildlife video showings of park animals are featured continuously in the Ranch House living room, and the gift shop is open for browsing. Picnickers are welcome on the ranch house patios. These activities are free with park admission.
Of special interest is the annual volunteer orientation and training program, which begins on Friday, Feb. 15, with a “no-commitment,” get-acquainted-with-the-park class from 9AM to noon. Persons will learn about the Environmental Education School Programs and be introduced to the cultural history of the park. Please call 520-896-2425 for information and to sign up.
On Feb. 22, attendees will learn more about the park’s natural history, geology, plants and wildlife and interpretive education mission.
This volunteer training is focused on environmental education for first through sixth grades, and continues weekly on Fridays through March. Over the last two decades, thousands of students from throughout southern Arizona have learned important environmental principles in these ranger/volunteer-led week-day programs.
Other public programs this spring, such as speakers from Arizona Humanities Council, Earth Day activities, and nature-based workshops, are still being planned. Information is being posted and updated regularly on the park website: www.azstateparks.com (click on Oracle at the bottom of the page).