Space Ranch 2014

 Hold onto your hats because we’re taking you to space!


Space Ranch 2014 is now full and registration is closed. If you would like be on a waiting list to fill cancellations, please email us with your name and the number of people in your party.


At Science Getaways, our goal is to offer fun and relaxing vacations combined with science and learning. This February, we’ve got a Getaway that’s all about outer space: Space Ranch 2014 will be held February 27 – March 3, 2014 at Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. Visit the Registration Information page for complete details on how to join us on this fantastically fun Getaway.


The domes of the Mt. Lemmon Observatory Complex

We’ll have two special guest scientists along for Space Ranch 2014: an astronaut and a professional meteorite hunter! Charlie Walker is an engineer who was working for McDonnell Douglas when he became NASA’s first civilian astronaut, serving as a payload specialist on three shuttle missions. Geoff Notkin hosted the award-winning television adventure series Meteorite Men on the Science Channel and has also appeared on many other science documentaries. Of course, Phil Plait will be there as your host and resident astronomer, giving presentations about space and showing us the stars over the desert with his 8-inch Celestron telescope.

Charlie will talk about being an astronaut, recounting what it was like to live and work in space. Geoff will tell stories about his world travels looking for space rocks, and will even bring his professional metal detectors so we can hunt the desert for treasures. There will also be an optional trip to the University of Arizona’s Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, a working scientific observatory. Our guide, Adam Block, will provide a fabulous tour and stargazing evening for our group. While this is an optional trip, it’ll be the highlight of the Getaway. Check out the TripAdvisor reviews of this tour.


Now, just because it’s called “Space Ranch” doesn’t mean we’re going to forget about all the other science happening around us. Tanque Verde Ranch borders Saguaro National Park, which provides a stunning desert landscape and lots of fascinating plants and animals to learn about. Tanque Verde has its own nature center which gives daily presentations and nature hikes to teach us all about this fascinating ecosystem. There are programs about snakes, birds, cacti, and other living things that inhabit the local environment. They even have hikes that teach you about desert photography!


About Tanque Verde Ranch

The Rincon Terrace is a great place to watch the sun set over the desert.

Tanque Verde is an all-inclusive guest ranch in the Western tradition. The daily rate includes 3 fantastic meals served in the dining hall (where our group will have its own reserved space to sit together), horseback riding every morning and afternoon, horsemanship lessons, mountain biking, tennis, fishing, several pools and hot tubs, and access to the nature center. There are also tons of ranch activities including nature hikes, yoga, and movies (see a sample Winter Schedule). You can also wet your whistle at the Doghouse Saloon every evening. As a working ranch dating from 1868, Tanque Verde is the perfect place to soak up the southwestern atmosphere. Visit Tanque Verde’s website to learn more.


Belly up to the bar at The Doghouse Saloon



Gaze at the night sky while floating in the pool.









Fun Things We’ll Do

Take a trail ride through Saguaro National Forest

We’ll kick off our Getaway with an outdoor reception on Thursday evening. We’ll meet and mingle with Charlie, Geoff, Phil, and the other guests before heading to the dining hall for our first meal together. After dinner, astronomer Phil will break out his telescope to give us our first in-depth look at the stars.

On Friday Space Ranch kicks into high gear with optional horseback riding or lessons, mountain biking, hiking, nature stroll or a visit to the Nature Center. Then, after lunch, we’ll head out for the optional trip to the University of Arizona’s Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter for our private SkyNights tour and stargazing. We will depart Tanque Verde Ranch around 2:00 on a big, comfortable motorcoach, drive approximately 1 hour to the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, hear a presentation about the facility and do some stargazing at dusk, eat a gourmet picnic dinner provided by Tanque Verde’s chef, then head to the big telescopes to look deep into space. We’ll depart the SkyCenter around 9:00 and be back at Tanque Verde Ranch around 10:00. If you’d rather skip Mt. Lemmon and stay at Tanque Verde, that’s always an option. There are lots of planned ranch activities to occupy your evening, and the pools, hot tubs and bars will be open.

The rest of the weekend will be filled with presentations by Charlie, Geoff, and Phil, stargazing and enjoying the company of your fellow science fans. On Saturday evening there will be a Cowboy Cookout dinner in a lovely cottonwood grove along a creek. On Sunday morning you can ride a horse or take a vehicle to breakfast on top of a hill overlooking the ranch for the best pancakes you’ve ever had. Or, if that’s a bit too active for a Sunday morning, the dining hall is an option. You can take this vacation at your pace and be as active or relaxed as you like. You can see a sample Winter Activities Schedule to get an idea of the dozens of optional ranch activities available.


Accommodations & Rates

Sala with 1 Bed

Sala with 2 Queen Beds


The group rate applies to salas rooms only. Salas are large, comfortable rooms with 1 or 2 beds and a private bath. Casitas (junior suites) and haciendas (suites) are also available at a higher rate upon request. Our special group rates are $315 per night for singles and $485 per night for double occupancy, plus tax (currently 12.05%). The third and fourth occupants in a double room will each pay $150 per night. If you are interested in sharing a room to save money, let Tanque Verde know when you make your reservation and they will try to match you up with a roommate.

Tanque Verde does not charge a separate resort fee and wi-fi access is free. These rates include 3 meals per day and all regularly scheduled ranch activites. Spa services and alcohol are not included.

If this sounds like a vacation you would enjoy, visit the Registration Information page for all the details. We hope to see you at Space Ranch 2014!

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