If you’re looking for a variety of things to do in Benson Arizona, you’ve come to the right place. The town is home to a number of budget-friendly attractions, including movie theaters, art museums, and history museums.
The quaint Benson History Museum displays various items and artifacts from the town and surrounding areas. It’s located in an old mercantile building from 1920 and it’s worth a stop if you are traveling through.
Kartchner Caverns is a set of 'living' limestone cave passages preserved in the foothills of Whetstone Mountains, south of Benson. Discovered by cavers Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts in 1974, the pristine passages are protected as state park land.
The caverns are known for their stunning array of speleothems, including stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies and shields. These formations are shaped by the way water flows, drips and pools inside the caves, creating a colorful underground world.
The caves are a natural habitat, supporting a variety of mammals and reptiles. You'll often see hummingbirds, butterflies, deer, lizards and bats during your visit.
One of the most interesting things to do in Benson is visit Gammons Gulch. This Old West town is located just a short distance away from the city of Benson, within Cochise County’s High Desert.
This museum and movie set is open for visitors who are interested in the wild west from 1880 to 1930. It offers self-guided tours and welcomes parties of any size.
There are also several activities and attractions that are free of charge. Some of them include the Butterfield RV Resort Observatory, which features a 16-inch Meade LX-200 GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.
The Benson Visitor Center also offers some free activities, including a train simulator. It also has an information center, museum and gift shop.
The Mescal Bar & Grill is one of the most interesting places to eat and drink in Benson. This establishment combines the best of the old and new, featuring a wide variety of food and drinks, along with live music and sports events.
Moreover, the staff here is a treat to work with. They are always on hand to offer assistance and recommendations, so you can enjoy your meal to the fullest.
Besides the food and drink, you can also find some cool attractions in the area, including the new Mescal Movie Set, which is a must-visit for fans of Western movies. The site was a backlot for the Old Tucson Studios in the 1950s, but is now open to the public with an extensive program of guided tours and special events.
Located in an old store building from the 1920s, this museum is packed with all sorts of interesting items and gifts. From old maps of the area to tools and objects used in the mining and cattle industry, this museum has everything you need to get an idea of what life was like here many years ago.
Quarles Art Gallery is run by Sharon and Doug Quarles, who are also local artists. They have both an art gallery and a gift shop where they sell all sorts of souvenirs, from paintings to jewelry.
Quarles's expressive paintings explore the complexities of human identity by rendering the multivalent thoughts, emotions and sensations that are available to us through our bodies. Her ambiguous figures merge with familiar domestic objects to create complex images that defy definition.
If you're into stargazing, Benson offers several astronomy-related attractions. A visit to the Vega-Bray Observatory, for example, gives you access to eight telescopes ranging from six to 20 inches in diameter and an astronomy museum to help enhance your learning.
There's also the Butterfield RV Resort Observatory, which features a university-quality telescope and free star shows. The Butterfield's astronomers will share their knowledge with you and your family, giving you an enjoyable night of stargazing.
If you want to take a deeper dive into the stars, consider the Fred Whipple Observatory, which is a joint venture between the University of Arizona and the Smithsonian Institution. The observatory's shuttle tours take visitors to the working research center and observatory at 8,550 feet above the valley.