Roy Drachman/ Agua Caliente Park, Tucson, AZ
Agua Caliente, literally meaning hot water, is a unique 101-acre park with a perennial warm spring. An artificial stream links together three ponds within the park. The ponds are fed by the spring water and support diverse wildlife and fish populations. The spring flow fluctuates during the year—at various times, due to drought, visitors may see the lower ponds dry. Human habitation has been found to date back about 5,500 years. The site makes for a perfect place for a picnic or day hike.
Agua Caliente Park is located on the far east side of Tucson. Agua Caliente Park has a long and interesting history behind it. In 1873, a ranch and health resort was developed to promote the curative properties of the warm springs. The ranch bunkhouse, which dates back to the 1920s, was used by ranch hands.
Improvements have added the modern conveniences without eliminating the historical aspects of the park, including a paved entry drive, parking lot and sand topped paved trails designed to blend with the surrounding ground surface.
Interpretive signs explaining the geology and history of the warm spring and the natural and human history of the site are installed throughout the park. The entry gates and interpretive sign supports were produced as part of the public art component of the park development. The ranch house, caretaker cottage, now known as Rose Cottage, and the bunk house have been restored. The ranch house depicts the home as it may have appeared in the 1920s. In addition, there are historic photos of the ranch and an art gallery that exhibits art by local artists on a rotating basis.
Agua Caliente Park has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
BIRDS: Year around Broad-billed Hummingbird, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Gilded Flickers, Phainopepla, Cooper's hawk, Northern Cardinal, Verdin, Vermilion Flycatcher, Rufous-winged Sparrows, and Abert's Towhee. American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, Cedar Waxwing, Western Bluebirds, Cassin's Finch during winter months. Spring: Bell's Vireo,Common Yellowthroat, Lucy's Warbler, Chat, Marsh Wren and Hooded Oriole . Sometimes Green Kingfishers, and Plain-capped Star-throat