Thank you to White Stallion Ranch for hosting our stay at your beautiful luxury family-friendly dude ranch in Tucson Arizona. All opinions and photographs of the property are ours.
Day five started with an early 7 am ride. During the summer, these morning rides are the perfect ones to go on because the scenery is stunning at this time of day, and the desert heat hasn’t set in yet. We ride and then go straight to breakfast…
After that, we got ready for the day and decided we should take advantage of the fact that White Stallion Ranch is only 90 minutes from Tombstone. The night before, the ranch brought on a local historian as the evening entertainment and his stories about the area’s early days really stuck with us and Pete and I decided it was a great opportunity to bring an educational opportunity to the girls… and we both really wanted to see it.
We knew ahead of time that the town is very “touristy”, and that having had two pretty major fires, the buildings are not all original. That is just fine with us. We were happy to just be in the area where it all happened. There is something about walking the same streets as those that came before us walked that makes history come alive.
The drive to Tombstone was nice and easy. It was fun seeing the different towns as we went through. There were grassy areas and then dry cactus filled spots along the way. We parked right at the beginning of the historic area, across from the park. Then we walked across the street and the first thing that was there was the O.K. Corral. This is where they have a walk through learning center, and at the end in the back of the building (which is supposedly the back alley spot where the big gun shootout happened) they have reenactments throughout the day.
We knew we only had a couple hours to explore, and this is easily a full day spot, so we made short order of what we wanted to do. Emmy noticed a horse-drawn carriage coming down the street, and that the horses looked really familiar.
Pete made his way over to them and learned that they offer quick overview tours of the area, so we decided to take a ride. We learned that the horses looked familiar because they were the exact horses that Disney used to create the two animated horses in Frozen!
Em got to pet and hang out with them after they got a water soaking to stay cool. Then it was off on our tour.
We saw where all the historically significant characters lived and worked, and got a good feel for what life was like back in the late 1800’s.
Then we were starving. I had read that Big Nose Kate’s was the place to eat, and it didn’t disappoint. The live country music was pretty awesome too. As was having the girl’s picture taken on top of the big piano in the restaurant. It’s a fun picture to take, just note that there is a completely nude lady in portrait form hanging behind where you sit. Thankfully Emmy didn’t notice and I was able to angle my lens just right to block her out.
After lunch, we wanted to squeeze one more thing in before heading back to the ranch for a family rodeo! We decided that The Original Bird Cage Theater of Tombstone was the one thing we were missing, so we headed to the end of the road to experience it. They also offer mine tours and there was a ghost and history tour that sounded like a really fun thing to do if you are there later in the day. We love ghost tours and were bummed to miss it.
Inside the Birdcage theater are original artifacts from those that lived in the area at the turn of the century and from their travels to get to the area. There is also the original hearse that took many of the town dead to their final resting spot. Up and down the street we learned about all the murders in the area… I am sure it got a lot of use. You also walk through the theater area and there are the special rooms above that open overlooking the stage where working women “worked”. I found the town completely family friendly, but there are many references to the oldest profession in the world… if you know what I mean. I would be prepared to answer some questions. Emmy is a great reader and read a few things that could have lead to non-age appropriate discussions but thankfully they went over her head.
On the street, there are characters everywhere which helped imagine the town many moons ago.. We also gazed up into the hills as the town people would have, looking for Native Americans. We had a good discussion about the Native Americans and their role in history.
Back at the ranch, we were so excited to see our first glance into rodeo life. The True Family has a long history of participating in rodeos and they share some rodeo events with their guests.
We saw barrel racing and so much more.
Mr. True, one of the True Brother’s that owns the ranch now (after they inherited it from their parents who purchased the ranch in the 1960’s), explained each event with his insight and humor. It was such a fun way to end our last full day at the ranch.
I can’t get enough of these sunsets!
Here is our day 5 video recap: